Xounds 1.4, by Unsanity LLC
Posted: 6-Apr-2003

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Unsanity LLC Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: John Gebhardt Class: UTILITY
     
$10   Download

Xounds is a "haxie" that provides the functionality of Mac OS 9's Appearance Sounds for Mac OS X. Basically, it provides sound feedback when you perform certain actions, such as selecting menus, dragging windows, emptying the Trash and more. At this time, not all event sounds are supported, but the developer plans to add more sounds in future versions. Xounds is able to convert Mac OS 8 or 9 Sound Sets.

A haxie is an Application Enhancer in OS X, much like an extension in OS 9. That means that along with the added functionality comes some added risk of operational complications.

Xounds installs easily from a disk image file and will import your existing Appearance sounds directly from your Mac OS 9 Appearance folder. Xounds is controlled in its own Preference Panel placed in the "Other" category at the bottom of the System Preferences window. There are three settings tabs: XoundSet, Advanced, and Exclude List (see picture below).

The XoundSet let's you choose the set to use, as well import, delete or download more sounds. Note that only system sounds can be imported or used. Entourage and other e-mail sounds won't work without some kind of conversion process.


The Advanced options lets you choose different volume levels depending on the type of action that is performed (aka, Menus, Windows, Controls, and Finder). The Stereo Panning effect, when activated, matches the sound location from your speakers to the location on the screen where the action occurs (provided you have stereo speakers). For example, clicking into the left menu would make the sound come out of the left speaker.


The Exclude List lets you eliminate sounds from selected applications while permitting sound enhancement in the Finder and other apps. You may want to use this feature for applications that already has its own sounds built-in.

Having used Xounds for several months now, I have not encountered any problems or conflicts. I have noticed that some of the longer duration sounds form an R2-D2 Sound Set seem to get cut off. This is a bug that was identified in version 1.3 (1.4 is the current version) and corrected. The bug note suggests that reloading form the original Sound Set will correct the problem.

Summary
If you used Appearance sounds in OS 9, then moving from OS 9 to OS X can be quite disturbing, making your computer seem like it lost it's sound capabilities. Sounds have a way of breathing life into inanimate things, especially a computer. While Apple's Appearance sounds breathed life into Mac OS 9, it takes Unsanity's Xounds to restore audio life to Mac OS X. It is a low cost shareware add-on, and lifetime upgrades are included in the price of $10. Well worth the price!

Pros

  • Brings Appearance sounds to OS X
  • Low shareware fee includes lifetime upgrades
  • Supports converting any OS 9 Sound Set
  • Easy to install and use

Cons

  • Not all Appearance sounds are currently supported
  • Limited selection of Sound Sets

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice