Fri, Sep 23 2005 10:28 AM
Well i have a quick one, and this migth be easy to answer.
I remember in the past MS has profiles for speaker sets, but that never actullay worked right.
So I wonder it is possible ofr MS to set profiles to different speaker set so it can put limits to each channel to avoid music when playing to loud distord?

Of course an user can deactivate this if he chooses.

  Sat, Sep 24 2005 4:52 PM
Your patent application for a "Flat Volume Control" seems to be of questionable novelty. Hardware digitial mixers have been doing this for years. E.g. Roland's VM series does Fader Groups which may manage an arbitrary number of channels, including mute and volume. So your approach seems like a specialization of a general technique which is widely used.

Also, it seems some of your worry on UI has to do with not so with it users forgetting to turn up the volume on their external speakers. You (Steve) showed an example of your laptop which has a "potentiometer". Problem with a potentiometer is their physical manifestation is stateful. Why not mandate stateless volume control devices like a V-Pot so that your software has complete control. For the masses that don't know what a V-pot is (virtual potentiometer) you can see an example here: Mackie V-Pot (note V-Pots have been around a long time, so Mackie did not invent them - though they seem to suggest so on this web page)

Yes I realize that you would have to create a new remote interface between audio cards and remote amplifier/speakers but I think that would be of added value and something that *is* patentable. <ducking> If you all were worth your salaries </ducking> you could even try masking this information in a wide-band low volume signal on top of the audio channel so that existing audio connectors wouldn't have to be redesigned and the signals would be imperceptible by any human. Caveat, I would actually be surprised if this technology hasn't been invented yet.

Lastly, quick question, what's going on with DirectX DirectSound/DirectMusic? Are they going to be intergrated into WAVE? <edit> and how soon? </edit>


  Sun, Sep 25 2005 12:50 AM

Are there going to be new featuers in Vista that would allow me to pipe audio out of one application directly into another .. sort of like virtual patch cables from the "output" of one app to the "input" of another audio app. 

Many audio production and recording applications use ReWire to accomplish this - each application has to be ReWire aware and the applications act as ReWire hosts or ReWire clients or both.  Will the OS support something like this natively?

Glad to see what I've seen so far.

  Mark A. Richman
  Tue, Sep 27 2005 1:08 PM
Is there any way to get at the per-application audio stream via DirectSound or some other API? I'd like to be able to record what I hear from any given application.

  Tue, Oct 4 2005 6:43 AM

Steve Ball is a great. You can hear the years of experience he has. I like when he talks from a general user perspective. I also agree when he says that MS should be carefull using PR-Speak ('glitch-free'). Steve and Larry talk about things everybody as a user has experienced (incl. Bluescreens, Hang-ups, etc), so "per-app-volume" is a huge step that adds to the user-xp(erience). 

It must have been hard to convince the kernel-team to give audio the low-level-priority-access they need for high-quality audio. Not only pro-audio-customers will be excited.

thx for the video - and BTW, the sound was ok

  Wed, Oct 5 2005 2:50 AM

Just catching up to these threads and questions...  It's been a  busy time in Building 50 lately.    So... "why is there an OSX box stapled to the wall in the hall outside my office ?"   What a strange question?   Is it not obvious?  Here's one answer (among many): inspiration and motivation.  

Let's face it: many things that Apple has done recently have been beautiful and well-executed.   Certain products, like certain people, have an intangible charisma which, in itself, can be a source of energy and inspiration.   This cannot be captured in a spec - it is something that is transmitted via direct experience.   Hanging this box is not about copying features or parroting an existing set of functions (as vulgar "Redmond, start you copiers" banners have proclaimed in the past) although, those are easy assumptions.  

Whether you love or hate Microsoft, the fact is that, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of innovations, insights, and brilliant ideas, designs, and products born within Microsoft people and teams every year, a fraction of which make it (often without high-falutin' theatrical press events or magic shows) into the huge line-up of MS products.  If find it rather naive to assume that engineers or artists who are educated in technology or arts should intentionally avoid exploring the products and aspirations of the opposite brain or competitors or explore areas that appear to be outside of that which we like or dislike to avoid 'noise' or 'pollution' or influence or ideas that challenge our own sense of value.   Okay, that sentence was a mess.  Let me try that again.

I want to experience and be influenced by and inspired by all that is beautiful, graceful, elegant and excellent in the world - including people and/or products who one might assume are our 'enemies' or competitors.  Even the idea of 'enemies' is sooo 'chair-throwingly' 90s and out of tune with what is required for long-term, sustainable success.   The world is a huge place, and the quantity and quality of opportunities are only increasing as we continue to mature as a world society of billions and billions of network-conected, media-based people.   Is there anyone alive who is not inspired by the absolute magic in the possibility of a 50" plasma HD home theatre connecting them to every person, meeting, genius, book, lecture, concert, film, song, class, thought or media event that has ever occurred or is occurring right now?   Okay, there may be a few monks who prefer to practice their meditation or run symmetrical scales on their guitar in the corner rather than jack-in to these streams.   We're surrounded today by so many mundane miracles that we've become numb to the incredible options we have at our fingertips as we sit at these hypnotizing screens.
While, 'getting there first' may have some buzz, biz, and brand value, it's only a small fraction of what really matters.   Who reading this believes that there is no one at Apple who runs or owns a Windows machine, smartphone, xbox, or whose lives are never ever touched by any MS product?  More importantly, don't you want us (in Redmond) to learn from obvious examples of excellent product design?  Of course, we all have to be extremely careful about IP.  But those concerns are orthogonal to the idea that inspiration is, itself, a virus worth passing to your friends and neighbors.

* * *

So, coming back to the first question:
"why is there an OSX box stapled to the wall in the hall outside my office ?"   Here's one more shorter answer: last year, I went to the Apple store and bought a G5 with my own money.  I use a Mac at home for my own music work.  I've been recording music on Apple machines since 1992. I also work in parallel on music on Windows machines.  I live in both worlds. Until late 2001, there was not sufficient will (read: defensible business justification) within MS to address Windows audio and video performance, quality, fidelity, latency. We are now in a different landscape.

In my self-acknowledged, kool-aid driven view, it is the beginning of new era for Windows Audio and Video.   Perhaps more precisely, it is also the beginning of a new era for Windows users (consumers, prosumers, and pros) who wish to work and play with audio and video in their daily lives.   Certainly, we also still have a long, long way to go.  Perhaps, not as long as we think if you believe Ray Kurzweil.   But what a great time to be alive and working in this medium.

* * *

  Duwayne A. Wright
  Duwayne A. Wright
  Fri, Oct 7 2005 5:20 PM

 I'll keep it simple.  Thank you!  I hope it can be kept separate, i.e. Music/Windows/Nonfictions/Programs all have sound controls.  That would be great!

  Sat, Dec 3 2005 4:09 PM
I don't see how this is an operating system "problem" that needs to be resolved by a specialized design team.  Why not just put a volume control in every application?  A new mail sound isn't a "system notification," it's a sound that is played by Outlook.  Just put a volume control in Outlook.  It seems like all the extra sliders and the syncronization, the meters and etc. would be more confusing to a user than a simple individual volume control slider.

"One little thing can solve an incredibly big problem."

  Sun, Jan 29 2006 3:47 AM
He said that they were hoping to win the approval of the pro audio industry. As someone with experience in the field, I can say that I won't be completely satisfied until I can attain complete control over each application's audio, as in, like a sound board. I want to be able to mix, equalize, and channel every apps audio. Hi's, Lo's, Mid's, Surround fading, master EQ, even monitor channel output would make me one happy camper.