I have been spending a lot of time with oga83's Pinball Browser. If you are not familiar with the program, here is a brief summery. It is a PC program that allows you to browse, export and import DMD images and sound files from any Stern S.A.M. system game. The thread with the details and download link for the program is here:
What I am hoping to do here is to give a bit more detail on how to convert a sound file into a compatible WAV file that can be imported into a game's firmware.
I have been using a sound editing software called Audacity. It is free and can be downloaded here:
After you have the program installed and open, you will first have to go to FILE on the top left and then OPEN. You will then browse to the sound file that you want to convert.
When it opens...it will more than likely have 2 sound tracks showing (because most sound files are stereo). If there is only 1 sound track showing you can skip to the next step. If there are 2 tracks showing you will want to convert this to a single mono track. Go up to the top to TRACKS and select STEREO TRACK TO MONO. This will combine the tracks into 1 mono track.
The next think you need to do is to set your project to the correct rate. On the bottom left of the program you will see the current rate and a pull down box. The rate you want to set your project at is 24000. This is not one of the selectable rates in the pull down box so you will have to highlight the current rate and type in 24000 to change it.
Having experimented with importing quite a few files I will suggest that you now set the volume level. It seems that even after the volume of the sounds have been tweaked, they are still a bit low when patched into the firmware and flashed onto the game.
To adjust the volume of the track you will find it's volume slider of the left side of the sound track. The top slider there is the volume. I usually slide it to the right to about +3 dB. Then play the track and keep an eye on the output display at the top of the program. If these green bars peak into red....you need to bump down the volume a notch and replay the clip again. If you play the entire clip and you only get green...you will want to bump the volume up a notch. The goal is to get the volume as high as you can WITHOUT GETTING ANY RED. I have found if you get any red it will cause distortion when imported into Pinball Browser and also when that firmware is flashed onto the game.
After you get your volume set you are ready to save your file. Go to the top to FILE and select EXPORT. Then save the file where you would like as a WAV file. You may then get a pop up box that says EDIT METADATA. This is basically tag data that some sound files have embedded in them. You will want to press the CLEAR button to get rid of this information. If you keep the tag data on the WAV file....it will not import into Pinball Browser.
At this point your compatible WAV file should be saved where you placed it and ready to import in the Pinball Browser program.
A few other notes about the Pinball Browser program and sound file length. If you select a 28 second sound clip that you want to replace and you import a 45 second sound file to replace it. The Pinball Browser program and the game will only play the first 28 seconds of that clip. It will then loop (in the game) or end, depending on what the original sound clip was programed to do. On the other hand, if you import a 20 second clip to replace the original 28 second clip...you will get silence for the last 8 seconds. I believe if another game sound can play in that last 8 seconds of silence depends on the sound clip that is getting replaced and how it is programed (to possibly be overridden or always play out it's entire original length).
I hope this helps and if anyone has any other tips, suggestions or corrections...feel free to chime in.
I'd also like to thank oga83 again for this great Pinball Browser program.