ROM for Apple & Wintel Machines

Updated Dec 6 1999

The following was written as the spec for the Multisession ROM-formated copies of EREWHON.

Caveat!
These are only guidelines. The World of Windows is too anarchic for guarantees. No matter what you've been told, Wintel machines are not capable of running multimedia in anything other than a relatively crippled form. We don't guarantee the software will work on your computer. We don't even mean to suggest that it will.

Apple
5 meg free RAM, 7 meg preferred. 68040 processor or better. 2X cdrom drive capable of reading "Blue Book" multisession disks, Quicktime 2.1 (supplied on the rom) and a 256-color monitor.
Robert runs it successfully on his Mac IIFX which is a fast 30 processor with LOTS of ram.

Wintel
Windows 3.1 or Win95, 5 meg free RAM, 8 meg preferred. 486 processor or better. 2X cdrom drive capable of reading "Blue Book" multisession disks, Quicktime For Windows 2.1 (supplied on rom disk), 256-color monitor with 100% Windows compatible video card, and a 100% Windows compatible soundcard. The soundcard will need to deal with 16-bit sound successfully. These programs call on up to 4 channels of 16-bit sound on Windows machines. This can be a heavy burden. It will almost run on my 486SX at 25mhz with 4 meg of ram using a DOS era 8-bit soundcard.

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History of Strange Science

The first pressings of EREWHON were formatted for ROM using the Active Audio, or Pre-Gap, method. The two previous Ubu Projex Enhanced CD releases, Folly of Youth and Beach Boys, were formatted for ROM as Multisession disks.

Why the change? We asked the same question.

(For a description of the two ROM formats see the Avant Garage Tech Support Page at our other web site. The ROM drives on many computers cannot see the ROM data, regardless of the ROM format method used, because the hardware is incapable, or the drive's firmware needs updating, or the software drivers that operate the hardware need updating. See the Tech Support Page for guidance.)

We've had reports that some drives can read the multisession disks we've released but not the active audio formatted copies of EREWHON. We also had the following distressing report:

When I play the CD in my CD player it does nothing but count down to zero for almost 15 minutes, then the audio program commences.

Some older cd players don't skip the data track of active audio disks. See Flaws for some specific model numbers.

Now for the tiresome bit...

EREWHON was intended as a multisession disk (CD Extra, or seedee +). The Nimbus engineers were experiencing a series of computer crashes and couldn't produce a multisession disk without introducing noise into the audio stream.

In a fax dated 12/13/96 an engineer explains,

The ability to create a Multi-session Enhanced CD is tied to mastering from CD-R. When we received the audio and data for the pressing, we experienced a problem with our gold disc system and all the gold test discs sent to your American colleague had numerous faults in the audio tracks. After several days of not being able to resolve this problem the only way left to ensure that the disc met your deadline was to go for the Pre-Gap method instead. This method has the same problem as the Multi-session method in that there are some CD drives which will not see the data. The proportion of both are roughly the same. By using this method we were able to cut from the tape and produce a good quality replica of the supplied audio, which your colleague was delighted to receive.

In hindsight I believe I should have fully explained to your colleague the different mastering process that applied to this job. At the time however I was up to my neck in faulty CD equipment and CD-R recording units. The situation now is that we have changed our software and CD-R recording units and have experienced no problems with audio quality.

In other words, they changed the ROM format of EREWHON and didn't tell us.

Nimbus supplied new masters in the multisession format and recent and all future pressings of EREWHON are multisession. These disks have an M printed in the pink portion of the cd label above the titles. Under certain conditions Ubu Projex will exchange multisession versions of the album for active audio versions. Tim/Kerr Record in America is effectively out of business. We cannot exchange their pressings.

One format is not better than the other, one doesn't work better than the other. If your computer sees the Active Audio format be happy; there's no guarantee your computer will see the multisession format. If your computer doesn't see the Active Audio format there's no guarantee it will see the multisession format.

Corel supplies a piece of Windows software called the Music Adviser that will tell you if your drive can or cannot read one of the formats. It's free. Note: You must have a disk to test. Note, again, the whole issue of being able to read the ROM is primarily a Windows problem.

The Mac will just about read anything anywhere any time. You shouldn't experience any problems.

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