A few more FR and issues


I am using Spectralayer 7.0.21 Pro Standalone for a specific task, importing multiple files for noise reduction and processing, while comparing the files to get similar results. I´d hoped this would be the perfect task for SL7, since much of the work consists of selecting harmonics and reducing noise.

I have encountered issues on the way:

  • Dragging bars to set values (for example setting FFT Size) is erratic. When setting FFT size to max, if I try to get hold of the bar again I seem to catch the edge of the whole SL window instead. When dragging the Min Amplitude bar to the left, there seems to be no stop - I can drag the mouse across the whole SL window and the value keeps decreasing. Sometimes there isn´t even a selection arrow showing up when hovering over the bar, but a selector tool instead and it´s impossible to get hold of the bar. Trying to select a value in one of the bars is also difficult sometimes, The tool changes somewhat erratic between the arrows to drag the bar and the selector to select and input values manually - regardles of clicking/doubleclicking. The only safe way seem to be right click and select all, and input the value manually.

  • There is no batch function, and I have found no way in the standalone app to load multiple audio files as layers at once. In a DAW it is possible to do this though, by importing the audio files as new tracks, selecting all and then start SL as an extension on all of them simultaneously. This in fact loads all files at once into separate layers in the same SL project. The problem for me though is that this leads to CPU spikes that makes it impossible to work with the files in SL, or even crashing the host. I have tried this in both Cubase 11 and Nuendo 11 but the issue persists. This is on a 4,2GHz (7700) i7 with 32MB RAM / Windows 10, and the source files where short 88,2/16 files. I could see this would be an issue if SL was a real time processor, but my understanding is that the changes you do are processed into a new file? And when simply opening an audio file in SL it should behave like any multitrack player when the file has been transferred/analyzed and a view is rendered? But in short, it seems like multi layer handling need optimizing.

  • I´d also +1 on the request to be able to split files in more ways, and more editing choices. For example, edit L/R separately, split L - R to separate layers and split Sides/Mid for separate editing, cut harmonics in harmonic selecion to separate layers for easy adjustment of their individual levels etc.

  • Harmonic selection is another area where the functionality is great but a bit lacking. I would really like the possibility to easily “lock” to a frequency when dragging the selection without the selection “wandering off” up or down when the source signal becomes weaker. Transform got a similar “lock” in recent upgrades (axis lock), but it should be possible to do this on the fly with a Global key command working with all selections/transforms (holding Alt or Ctrl to lock iehter axis when dragging). I guess I could find a work around by manually inputting values in the selection fields, but it would take a while to figure out how because of the way those values depend on each other - I haven´t managed to sort that out yet but it´s not very intuitive.

  • Shortcuts and navigation seem to be a bit erratic. I can zoom in the frequency with +, but not zoom out with -. I have made new shortcuts for play/stop/return to start etc, and they doesn´t always work (especially when working with SL as an extension). When dragging the playback head to the right end of the spectrum window the display scrolls to the right instantly, but when I drag it to the left it´s really lagging. It also moves in steps when dragging the playback head regardless of what scrolling option is set (for example continous). There really should be a bar on the bottom to navigate towards start or end in the layer, though the overview on top is great and works as expected.

Is it not possible to define the mouse wheel shortcut in more ways than selecting one of the two preconfigured behaviours (Ctrl or Alt + mouse wheel for Scroll and 3D Zoom)? If I would like to use Shift scroll for frequency zoom for example? I can´t find it in the OM (and the online help is really limited).

Best Wishes

I´ll add my other FR here:

  • More intuitive handling of selections (both time and frequency) in the Display panel. Now the length is preserved when changing start or end time positions. In practice, adjusting the start or the end position gives the same result - you simply move the selection! It would be more intuitive if changing the start position only changed the start time and altered the length, but didn´t change the end position. And if changing the end position didn´t move the start position. Changing the selection length actually does what changing the end position should do - it moves the end of the selection. This is not consistent with how the manual setting of zoom values work either.

I´d propose a solution where you highlight the position, or positions you want to change. For example: if you only want to move the selection you only highlight the start position. If you want only the start position to change while end position stays in position, you highligt both start and length positions before doing the adjustment. With this solution, if you only highlighted length, the result would be the same as when you expand or retract the selection in the Select - Modify Selection menu: both start and end positions would move. This appear to be a more intuitive and unified handling of how altering selections work, and all options could also be available in the Select - Modify Selection menu.

  • Harmonic Selection - User specified. When in harmonic selection mode and no selection is active, the boxes in the Display Panel are empty. I´d like a User alternative, where I can manually specify the values; fundamental frequency, number of harmonics, start and end position of selection - and with an added box for frequency content (odd/even harmonics). It would also be useful to be able to nudge the individual harmonic selections up or down for fine tuning the selections to certain harmonics, or sound design tasks.

  • Moving selection by dragging; snap to grid/relative grid functionality. Now, when you alter the values in the Display panel they snap to (relative) grid regardless of your settings (view grid / snap to grid). With the alteration [CTRL] you can make fine adjustments. When working in the spectral window this is not consistent: moving the selection won´t snap to grid at all - regardless of the settings - and the [CTRL] key brings up the player tool. I don´t really see snap to grid doing much at all, and according to the manual it should “snap the mouse cursor” to the grid. This is a bit confusing, what is the difference between the “mouse cursor” and the “tools”? Do any of the tools work as a “mouse cursor” and actually snap to the grid? What unit of the grid is it snapped to?

  • Playback with sound Outside of selected area, option. A toggle with the option to actually hear the sound outside of a selection at playback or only hear the selection. This is now possible only with the speaker tool.

  • Selection follow Region Markers Option available “on the fly” with a key command (for example Alt+Drag also adjusts selection). Now you have to move a region marker and then doubleclick on it to append the selection.

  • Time Markers and Regions and Spectral Markers and Regions windows under a separate menu: “Windows” and make them Dockable or Floating to make it possible to have them visible when working on an audio file. Enhanced functionality in Time Markers and Spectral Markers Region Windows to make “selection between (region) markers”, “listen to region”, “listen from marker” easily accessible. Also possibility to change marker names, or at least show the text in the description when hovering over a marker in the Timeruler.

  • Float/Stay on top option on windows, like some of the process windows. If for example you are setting the gain on a selected area and need to finetrim by listening and adjusting, then listening and readjusting, you need to reopen the Process - Amplitude - Gain windows each time. If they window could stay on top until you manually close it this would speed up the process a lot.

  • Unify the units when making operations in the spectral view. Many windows display values in “pixels” regardless of what unit is set in View (Time, Frequency, Power Units).

  • Zoom bar on the X axis as well as the Y axis. There is already a zoom bar for the frequency, but there is no one for setting the time zoom.

  • Visible curves to manipulate aspects in spectral editor window. With curves and contours visible and the option to manipulate them (lika automation curves in DAW:s) it could be possible to change gain, mainpulate pitch-/formant- and loudnesscurves, automate doppler effects or sound randomizations via special SL contour presets etc easily.

A few other things i have noted:

  • When editing a file in “external editor” from Wavelab Pro 10.5, the Layer is assigned another name than the clip/audio file in Wavelab - so when updating the file in Wavelab after editing in Spectralayers the name of the clip changes. If I have say 100 files to edit, with complicated names that I need to keep when resaving those files, as soon as I have exported them to Spectralayers and back after editing, I need to input the correct name again. Is this how it is supposed to work or is it an issue with Wavelab? When using SL as ARA extension in Cubase Pro 11 or Nuendo Pro 11 the Layer gets the same name as the clip on the track.

  • I have assigned keyboard shortcuts to Register Noise and Reduce Noise to be able to work in an efficient way, using key kommands. I can Register, press Return to OK when register is done, Bring up the noise reduction dialog - but when I want to start the processing I need to click on OK. Enter won´t work as OK in some windows. This is also inconsistent.

  • Regarding the GUI / Naming of functions etc, I wish in further development that the mindset will be a product for and used by Sound engineers/designers and Musicians, and that inspiration to workflow etc is more influenced by Wavelab for example than photo editing programs. Functionality and priorities, imho, need to focus on efficient ways to solve real life tasks that the program will be used for - and this is something users share on these forums.

It would also be nice to be able to start up a Steinberg product and feel a consistency between products, in transport shortcuts and naming/handling of windows - and that the product is targeted at sound engineers/designers / musicians - this is actually a selling point for staying in the same echosystem when there are other alternatives to choose from.

It’s a wonder you have time to actually use the software.

Update: Don’t know why my comment was flagged. I was being entirely sincere. The above is a remarkable critique of SL. I certainly have nothing to add to it.

I’d be happy enough with the ability to preview VST parameters in real time. I doubt this is a new complaint/request.

You have some great ideas here. Thanks for writing them down. Hopefully Robin will see them, and incorporate some in the near future.

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I imagine Robin is never short of ideas. What he could probably use is more programmers.