Soloist® Comparative Recorder Software

Why choose Soloist® Digital PC Comparative Recorder for your language learning applications?

Here are just a few of the reasons:

A Technology You Can Trust, a Name You Can Depend Upon
Its important that you know and can trust the company that you will be depending upon for the sale and support of such an important purchase for your school. SANS is a leader in educational technology. Our team has been selling language labs in the United States for over 30 years and remains at the forefront of cutting edge technology for the language learning classroom.

Soloist is Written and Maintained in the United States
Soloist software is produced in the United States of America. It was designed and is upgraded based on extensive input from local educators. Do you have an idea for a new feature or change to Soloist? Just submit your request, and if it is something that most users would like, chances are that it will be quickly implemented.

Soloist is Simple to Use
Soloist appears similar to a cassette player or PC media player program. The language-learning specific functions are intuitive. To hear a phrase over and over again, just click “A-B Repeat” at the beginning of the phrase and click it again at the end.

Soloist is a True Comparative Recorder
Soloist uses a single file for playback and simultaneous comparative (“drill”) recording(1) with most sound files. Just like a cassette, the “program” (lesson) material is on one track, and the student recording (“drill”) is on the other track of the same file.

Other language learning PC recorders use separate files for each “track”. This is like having a special cassette deck with two tapes – one tape containing the program material, and one tape for recording the student’s voice. Obviously, you could not play both of these tapes at the same time on a standard cassette deck, and likewise you cannot play two separate files at the same time using a standard software application.

Soloist uses only Standard File Formats
The sound files produced by Soloist are international standard formats (WAV and MP3), playable on any Windows 95 or higher PC. You can listen to a student’s comparative recording, (which can be saved with or without the program track), on any PC anywhere anytime.

Some other systems can produce proprietary files containing the recording – files that are not in compliance with international standards and may not compatible with any other program.

Soloist has the Best Possible Sound Quality – Virtually No Dropouts
Since Soloist uses a single file for playback and recording of audio, it does not “stream” audio from a Server if recording is going to be done. Instead, Soloist automatically copies files to the local hard drive. This prevents the unacceptable dropouts in sound due to server/network bottlenecks – assuring the best possible sound quality for the students.

Soloist Supports a Large Variety of Multimedia File Formats
Soloist can open and play/display sound, video, still image, text and Hyper-Text Markup Language files. All this multimedia functionality is built right into Soloist – no other software is needed.

So in addition to helping students learn languages orally and aurally, Soloist can help them learn both reading and writing and can provide visual reinforcement.

Soloist has Highly Accurate Random Access
Soloist can access any point in a sound file with 1/10th of second accuracy. Since many words take less than a second to speak, this helps students quickly locate any single word.

Soloist Allows Students to Work at Their Own Pace with “Varispeed”
Soloist can playback sound files slower or faster than they were originally recorded with “Varispeed”. This easily adjustable feature permits more advanced students to work faster, and novices to work slower. In addition, recording at normal speed while playing back with Varispeed is possible – something never possible with education cassette recorders.

Soloist Can be Integrated with a Comparative Cassette Deck
Cassettes still have an advantage of being low-cost and very transportable – who doesn’t have a tape player (at home, in the car, or a Walkman)? In addition, there is an abundance of audio lesson material existing on cassettes.

Soloist can be integrated with Sony’s ER-8020 comparative cassette deck, allowing students to listen/record digital files or analog cassettes. Students can also copy to/from files and cassettes at normal or two times normal speed. Want to take home a copy of a ten minute digital recording on a cassette? Copy it at two times speed and you’ll be ready in five minutes.

Soloist has Integrated “Voice over IP (VoIP)” Technology
Soloist can be used with Sony’s Virtuoso Instructional Control Software to create a truly all digital, PC-LAN based language learning system. Voice Communications over the LAN are performed using VoIP technology, technology that is integrated into Soloist. In order to minimize network bandwidth consumption while providing excellent sound quality, Soloist uses Sony’s own “LPEC” (Long-term Predictive Excitation Codec) for audio compression/decompression.

Soloist has Integrated “Text-To-Speech (TTS)” Technology
Soloist supports the Microsoft standard Speech Application Programming Interface (“SAPI”) – both versions 4.0a and 5.1. Soloist can use any installed TTS engine to have the computer speak text in either its built-in Text Editor, or in any of the message boxes displayed by Soloist.

TTS engines (some of which are available at no charge) are available in multiple languages. So your text files can instantly be heard by your students, assisting them with correct pronunciation. You can even create WAV or MP3 files directly from text files, enabling your students to do comparative recording with the TTS voice.

Soloist has Integrated Speech Recognition (SR) Technology
The Speech Application Programming Interface also includes Speech Recognition technology. You can have Soloist use this technology to accept voice commands from your students. For example, by simply saying “Open Lesson”, Soloist can automatically open today’s lesson file for your students.

Soloist has Advanced System Diagnostics built-in
Ever experience “everything was working yesterday, but not today”? To help find out why, Soloist can perform diagnostics providing detailed information about the PC, operating system, Network, Soloist settings, etc. Soloist can be set to automatically perform the diagnostics each time it is started. If a problem is found (such as the server containing the program lessons is down), the user will be notified. In addition, if a problem is found, the diagnostic data can automatically be emailed to designated administrators instantly.

Soloist has the Capability for Self-Maintenance (Automatic Version Upgrades)
Software updates are common, but keeping your system up to date does not have to be a chore. Soloist can be configured to automatically check for updates provided by Sony and then perform the upgrade without user intervention. It can check for updates in a specified folder or on a specified FTP site.

Soloist has Hundreds of Additional Features
Soloist has literally hundreds of other features. Many are unique to Sony and most are customizable by the administrator. All features are intended to make Soloist easy to use and the most flexible choice for language learning. Contact your Sony authorized Reseller for complete details and a demonstration.

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(1) Refer to Sony’s White Paper titled “Language Learning Systems Series – ‘Comparative Recording'” for more information

© 2001-2002. Soloist is a trademark of Sony Electronics Inc. All features and specifications subject to change without notice.