UC Toolkit Part 2: Audio Tools

William Bell
Vice President, Solutions and Products


The audio tools I use came to mind when I was looking at my notes for a UCCX project I did a few months ago. Yeah, I do look at notes and deliverables from previous projects. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, I realized after looking on Cisco Support Community that there are a lot of folks who are asking for tools they can use to create ring tones or UCCX prompts. Well, I have been using a couple of audio tools for several years with great success and now is as good a time as any to highlight them.

Before going into the tools, lets do a quick primer on the audio formats you need to navigate in Ciscoland.

Audio Formats for Cisco UC Applications

There are several Cisco UC apps that allow administrators to create custom audio formats.

Application Format Sample Rate Sample Size Notes and Considerations                   
ring tones
(no header)
8kHz 8 bit Max ring size: 1,6080 samples
Min ring size: 240 samples
Note: # of samples should be evenly divisible by 240
Note: Ring should start/end at zero crossing
CUCM MoH 16-bit PCM wav
8-bit CCIT a-/u-law
Stereo and mono formats supported
In later versions of CUCM, mp3 is no longer supported
CUCM converts accepted formats to various modulations
that IPVMS can use.
Unity/CUC CCIT u-law
8kHz 8 bit Media Master can be used to record or upload media
Greeting Administrator (CUGA) can be used to record prompts from TUI
8kHz 8 bit Can use a custom CRS script to create prompts.

The Tools
Ok, let’s get to it shall we? I primarily use two tools in my “audio toolkit”: Audacity and Switch.
Audacity is a free audio editor and recorder that has been around since 2000. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux platforms. Audacity has a pretty robust set of features for a free application. You can see a list of features here. The latest release is available on sourceforge (Audacity Download). I currently use Audacity 1.3 beta on Mac OS X. I also have Audacity 1.2.6 on my Windows VM. The 1.3 beta has crashed on me once or twice but the interface has a number of enhancements that definitely make it worthwhile.

So, how do I use this tool? I will say this now. I don’t use the tool to its fullest extent! I use only a fraction of its capabilities. That being said, some of the tasks I lean on Audacity for are:

[Click on one of the following to see a step-by-step walkthrough.]

You could also use it to create prompts for other applications or do things like convert mp3 files for use with Music On Hold.
Switch Sound File Converter

Switch Sound File Converter (Switch) is an audio file conversion utility from NCH Software. There is a free trial version of the software available. You can also purchase a full feature license. I found that I only need the free version for my menial tasks. They do have versions that run on Mac and Windows. I have both installed but I have had to rely on the Windows version for use with Cisco audio file formats. I can’t specify CCIT u-law format in the Mac trial version. On Windows I have used version 2.0(3) and on Mac I have used version 4.0(6).

So, how do I use this tool? Well, I have only had to use this tool for one specific purpose: Bulk converting UCCX prompts. Switch can batch process any number of files, converting them from whatever source format they have to a format used by your application.

It isn’t surprising that a Cisco UC engineer needs to deal with things like audio prompts, ring tones, music on hold, etc. I have always had to tweak some audio file in some way. I have found that with Audacity and Switch I have all of my bases covered.

2 responses to “UC Toolkit Part 2: Audio Tools

  1. This is a very interesting & useful series. I am looking forward to future posts on the UC Toolkit.

Leave a Reply