An SPC player is, as the name suggests, a program that can play SPC music files. They are an essential tool for music porters and anyone interested in using custom music in SMW.
What are SPCs?
An SPC is a type of file that stores Super Nintendo (SNES) music data. SPC files use up to eight tracks, or channels, to produce music, and no SPC file can be larger than eight tracks.
SNES emulators, specifically ZSNES, can produce an SPC file if so commanded. Note, however, that unless the action is taken at the start of an in-game song, the SPC will sound cut-off.
Most music files (.mid, .wav, .mp3, etc.) can be played on a computer with built-in players like Windows Media Player, Sound Recorder, WimAmp. Because SPC files are so specific, however, they cannot be played back with these programs without modifying the programs themselves. Thus, there are a variety of of programs that will allow the playback of SPCs.
Super Mario World Central hosts a wide range of SPC players in its Tools section. Some of these players are: Audio Overload, KuroMelo, OpenSPC, and WinSPC.
Which player is best for me?
All SPC players have their merit, although some people prefer certain players. Certain SPC players are in Japanese, and others have confusing options. Some support drag-and-drop playing, and others do not. Many people consider Audio Overload to be one of the best SPC players because of its versatility; it can play many different music types and is relatively easy to use.
Why are SPCs and players used?
Custom music is difficult to insert, let alone write. All songs featured on SMWCentral come with an SPC so that the song can be listened to without having to be downloaded and inserted into Super Mario World. This saves time for music porters and moderators alike.
A Brief Caveat
SPCs are not 100% accurate. Some samples, such as Drum and Percussion, will be amplified in an SPC. As well, all SPCs/players glitch up on occasion, so be aware.