by Kevin Alfred Strom
I’VE RECENTLY BEEN EXPERIMENTING with two plugins (for the popular audio player Winamp) which can create superb music mixes for personal listening, and can even form the core of an Internet or over-the-air broadcast station. As many of you know, I’ve been involved with broadcasting and radio in one way or another for four decades now, so these virtual devices really caught my eye.
The first add-on is Sqrsoft’s free Advanced Crossfading (ACF) plugin, which not only eliminates gaps between songs, but also takes out the several seconds of silence that sometimes plague the beginning and end of downloaded mp3s that you might get from iTunes or Shareaza or your friends’ thumb drives, and that’s not even mentioning its main function — mixing the very last seconds of one track with the first few seconds of the next track, just like a radio station disc jockey might do.
The second is the Sound Solution (SS) v1.1 audio processor by Alessandro Tomassini, a truly amazing piece of free software which can do almost anything that $5,000 FM broadcast audio compressors and limiters can do. One of the main problems with listening to downloaded mp3 and wma files is the wide variation in level that one encounters — one track will be so soft you have to turn the volume nearly all the way up, while the next is recorded so hot it might cause permanent hearing loss at the same setting as the first. SS solves this, and can also make your audio stream more consistent for broadcasting over the ‘Net or via an FM broadcast transmitter large or small.