Well its been somewhat a long time coming but I finally got the time to add #2 of the ways to play music articles using Visual Basic and Visual Basic .NET 2002/2003 and Visual Basic 2005/2008. This post is basically to describe two different librarys. The first is Bass.Dll and the second is FMod.dll.
Both of these librarys are Free as long as your application that is using them are NOT commercial or compensated. So if its a Freeware application or personal application they will grant you a license to use them. Bass.dll has a lower cost option if your making a Shareware app though. You will definitely need to read through the license agreements of each library before using them in your applications.
BASS.DLL Audio Library
This is a very nice library for pretty much all of your music or audio needs. It plays everything from mp3’s to waves and mod music. It has alot of source code and examples for Visual Basic and Visual Basic.NET. This library even gives you access to the samples that are playing so you can plot your own visualizations or ffts. I’ve had alot of experience with this library a couple years ago and even made the original VB.NET api and examples for the author. The .dll is very small in size (Under 100KB) so it won’t bloat your application.
Author Information: BASS is an audio library for use in Windows and Mac OSX software. Its purpose is to provide developers with powerful and efficient sample, stream (MP3, MP2, MP1, OGG, WAV, AIFF, custom generated, and more via add-ons), MOD music (XM, IT, S3M, MOD, MTM, UMX), MO3 music (MP3/OGG compressed MODs), and recording functions. All in a tiny DLL, under 100KB* in size.
On Windows, BASS requires DirectX 3 or above for output, and takes advantage of DirectSound and DirectSound3D hardware accelerated drivers, when available. On OSX, BASS uses CoreAudio for output, and OSX 10.3 or above is recommended. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs are supported.
C/C++, Delphi, Visual Basic, and MASM APIs are provided, with several examples to get you started. .Net and other APIs are also available.
As you can see, this is a very powerful and flexible sound system. If your interested in this .dll then go to the main audio librarys webpage.
FMOD Music and Sound Effects System
This is another very popular sound system that is used by game makers and the like. Crysis is a newer game that uses this library. This library has been around for a very long time and has matured quite a bit. It has nearly all the features you’ll ever need in a sound system. It plays most all of the common music formats as well. This library I guess would be considered a competitor to the Bass library above. The library has Visual Basic based APIs and Examples as well. I am not completely sure about Visual Basic.NET though. I don’t have much experience with this sound system like I do with the Bass sound system. Below is some author information…
Author Information: FMOD Products
Why choose FMOD?
FMOD supports more hardware platforms than any other audio system – including the latest ‘next gen’ consoles. Consider the cost savings of not having to change code across any platform – Save months of development time.
FMOD is actively developed, with regular releases of new features. Many new requested features have been provided to customers in a very short turnaround – want a new feature, just ask!
Many customers are amazed at the personal level of technical support they get, either by phone, email or even personal visit (if applicable)
- Fantastic sounding DSP audio engine
- Choice of low-level API or data driven API
- Built-in DSP effect suite and VST support
- Advanced features such as 2D/3D morphing
- 3D reverb support and geometric occlusion
- Performance optimized for each platform
- Comprehensive technical support
If your wanting more information about this library you can click this link to their website.
Well, thats all for Part #2 of this article series. Hopefully this post was useful or helpful to you in some way. Remember to always read the librarys license agreements before using them in your applications. They both allow free use in a free application. Otherwise you will need to buy a license if your using them in a commercial application.
I will put up Part #3 when I get the chance. Part three will be on using the Windows API to do some audio or music based playback using the VB languages. Till then, Have Fun!