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Abbreviation for DownLoadable Sounds. The DLS Specification, which was adopted by the MMA in 1999, defined the first industry-standard approach to delivering sound sets for sample-based (“wavetable“) synthesizers. DLS allows composers and sound designers of CD-ROM and Internet-based content to develop custom sound sets and achieve consistent playback across a broad number of existing and pending devices. A DLS-compatible synthesizer becomes an expressive and interactive audio reproduction engine that performs as the composer intended. The combination of MIDI messages controlling small sound samples, as opposed to the use of streaming digitized audio, makes DLS handy for interactive multimedia applications, and for putting sound and music on web pages where fast downloading, seamless playback, and user interaction are critical. The level 1 specification describes a minimal synthesis architecture and feature set needed for a device to be capable of playing DLS-format sound samples. Later levels (DLS-2, etc.) address enhanced performance and features, and may include different methods of synthesis.

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