Feature Requests: batch processing etc

I am working with a larger project in SL7 (Elements), only using the standalone app.
I would really like to see following features in future update of SL Elements/Pro:

  • When creating new project in standalone app; ask for location and auto create project map with subfolders (layers, saved selections, imported files, exported layers, project presets like noise prints etc). Also choose preconfigured template or import settings from other SL project when creating new project.

  • No presetting “length” for new projects

  • Simple notepad for each project, with “notes export” for import to other projects

  • Possiblity to import several audio files at once to separate layers

  • Global audio import/export presets and standard template per project (for example when importing lots of “unknown audio files” the settings always resets between imports, and you have to manually choose fs, stereo/mono, bit depth etc for each file)

  • Save noise print snapshots from layer selections and use as template for noise reduction in other layers or in other projects

  • Perform batch processing (declick, noise reduction from saved noise print preset etc) and operations (Cut, Fade etc) on several layers at once by multiselecting layers in the layer window. Align audio of selected layers, by setting markers or finding transients.

  • VST Effects - I didn´t get this to work reliably at all, nothing happened when i tried to process a layer or a selection with some of the third party VST:S, and SL crashed a few times. A plugin manager is needed, similar to Cubase/Wavelab (maybe even option to import plugin settings and user plugin folder structure from Cubase). But I noticed there where no Steinberg VST:s at all in the list… Only Steinberg VST instruments. I think Steinberg should do much more with the VST integration between products - if I own Wavelab, Cubase and Spectralayer I kind of expect to be able to use all Steinberg VST:s in all products… A minimum of Steinbergs VST:s would be the restoration/post VST:s from Cubase imho. SL is quite expensive though, so I´d think it would be reasonable to include Wavelabs restoration VST:s, or even Nuendos Restoration/Post VST:s.

  • VST-chain to serial process through multiple VST:s, and/or vst insert slots on the master channels (with option to export layer/selection with or without passing the master insert).

  • Added processing options: Normalizing (peak/true peak/loudness etc) / Fade in and out / Trim / Envelope/ Loop / Reverse

  • Shift+Click for selection of a range of layers and Ctrl+Click for selecting multiple, not adjacent layers

  • Editing modes (similar to protools) to make a “clip” from a selection, that can be moved and rearranged in certain ways depending on the mode. Editing in the wave window and a faster Crop function with key command, to supplement the Cut (now it is a two step process to invert selection + cut)

  • Shortcuts for Mute all Layers at once (there is already a button to unmute all), and Shift+click to mute a range of layers

  • “Quick Audition” button on each layer

  • A more comprehensive export all/selected layers and export current file selection, as separate file/files function

  • Keyboard shortcut templates for choice of similar shortcuts as in Cubase/Nuendo/Wavelab/Protools and other Audio/DAW:s that can access SL

  • “Audio connections” in the standalone app, similar to the one in Cubase or Wavelab with only Inputs and Outputs, to be able to name Inputs and Outputs for easier identification. If the products integrated more it would be possible to simply import the audio connection in/out from Cubase.

  • Audio pool function (again, could be the same as the one in Cubase)

EDIT: Added requests:

  • Pan function on each layer (there is already volume and phase control)

  • Resize selection by dragging the corners/sides. I can now move the selection, but not resize (this can be done from the Display tab now, but interaction is easier if you drag over the actual spectra/waveform)

  • When saving a project, save all separate tabs as part of the project. This way it would be simpler to keep a project together, working with different parts of the project in different tabs with their own layers and then save it as one big master project. The tabs with their included layers could be saved by right-clicking the tab and save or save as, and the project is saved in the project folder/subfolders with all tabs included. I was a bit surprised that this wasn´t how it worked already.

  • Enhanced metering (larger meters and more options for metering - include Cubase “Super Vision”) and more info in bottom row (project sample frequency /bit rate etc).

  • Adding support for VST inserts in the master output and including Cubase/Nuendo/Wavelab plugins would add great value to SL7 standalone app for restoration / post / audio design work! It would also allow users to non destructively work with their own VST bundles in the process, and open up for further development of plug ins for specific tasks instead of integrating them into SL itself.

  • Automatic Solo of selected Layer option (accessible directly from the Layers window for easy toggle on/off)

These suggestions would make it much more efficient to work with SL for example when having a batch of audio files that need similar processing in my opinion. I guess a lot of it is already on the table for future upgrades, if SL is intended to develop into the fully fledged post production / audio restoration / audio design tool I hope Steinberg are aiming for!


More features are nice, but they also open the gateway to more bugs. IMHO, SL is not a fully realized standalone app for a reason: it’s really designed to work best with another program like Reaper.

Well, we´ll see how Steinberg develop SL in the future but the standalone app could be a serious contender to iZotope RX and I often see them compared regarding post and restoration. Of course SL7 as an ARA2 plugin fills the function of adding editing possibilities to other programs like Reaper/Cubase etc, and it does so in a great way, but the standalone app exists and has much room for development.

Just including functions like VST support on the masters would open up for another level of processing and measurements for both the plugin and the standalone app, and including the VST plugins from Cubase/Nuendo whould also expand it to great length. The VST process function seems buggy as it is, so it will need some work anyway - and with VST being a standard and Steinbergs history I can´t see how VST-chaining would be an issue - but VST cahining and chain presets would serioulsy make VST processing easier in some cases. Actually, a plugin manager would help the user to blacklist troublesome plugins and increase stability!

Naming inputs/outputs, external audio pool, shortcut templates (to make working in SL similar to the host DAW), saving noise prints or project templates and a notepad would enhance the workflow in the standalone app a lot and I can´t see that would be risk of introducing a lot of bugs.

Other options, like quick audition or mute all / layer selection follows solo, Crop etc is more of expanded “macro” functions - doing several operations at once, but not really introducing new functions in the software.

So, the big ones imho and where there is a real difference between ARA2 plug and standalone and where the standalone could be a full blown application for post / restoration / sound design is how projects are handled (project folders, saving all tabs as part of a project etc) and the batch processing functionality, importing multiple audio files as separate layers and selecting / processing multiple layers at once. That is specific for the standalone app, but I have seen others requesting some of these features as well so there is a niche for SL standalone.

Another feature that probably could be more prone to introducing bugs is more advanced editing, but that would actually make a more mature product and be useful either way - and I guess Steinberg is already going that way with SL7. I mean, it is marketed as an advanced spectral “editor”.

I don´t know what Steinberg intend for SL in the future, but I think it would be sad if the standalone app didn´t get enough attention to grow into a really powerful post / restoriation / design tool on its own, that could compete with iZotope etc and with a competitive price tag. Between Cubase (music creation) - Nuendo (Film/TV general media/games) - Wavelab (Mastering) - Dorico (Notation) there is certainly room for Spectralayers as a more complete post/restoration/design app - with ARA2 plugin support as a bonus! I see it as a quite natural step forward in Steinbergs arsenal, but that´s only me.

And I will of cours continue to suggest improvements or report bugs from my user perspective to hopefully make that happen.

you could also argue that the more mature the product gets it gets more attractive to more users, and with a greater user base there are more ways of using the software and more people reporting bugs etc. More users is also more money for development, and this actually could lead to a better product with less bugs in the long run -and less risk of the product being discontinued because of the competition…

It’s not? How is not? The software started as a fully realized standalone app…

This is a great request list. I would personally like more batch options and save noise prints to make it easier to batch process microphones recorded in the same location for example. Export as multiple files would also be nice so each layer becomes a seperate file.

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As I get my toes wet with SpectraLayers, I can wholeheartedly support the wish for batch processing. It’s a big deal! Dealing with post projects with consistent issues (eg, high frequency noise over several bands through the length of a 10-hour, many files) isn’t a very elegant process at this point, and to be able to take advantage of SL’s unique power in an automated way would make it very much more useful here.



I give an easy example of what makes it “not fully realized” – in Ambience Match, EQ Match, or any process that has a Preview button with a Bypass check box, clicking Bypass stops the preview and makes you click Preview again. A Bypass option SHOULD immediately switch between the processed and unprocessed sound – back and forth, on/off, so you can easily hear the differences… It’s not a difficult coding challenging; many applications have been doing it for decades. Oversights like this definitely put it in the “not fully realized” category.

You might be correct in that precise, specific little workflow example Ted_Trobaugh and hence I also support this improving process.
However, on a global view and also on the specific features achieved… “what has been realized” Whoa!! is bewildering.

@Ted_Trobaugh SpectraLayers 9 (coming out in a couple days) brings real-time dynamic process preview (meaning dynamic parameter changes during preview, as well as dynamic bypass). Among other improvements across the board: SpectraLayers 9 World Premiere - YouTube

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Okay so after many years of using Spectralayers and experience, I believe the best way to implement batch processing is on groups, that way you can solve many problems at once while saving resources and time for other features. For example if you add many layers to a group and then select and hilight that group, and select any of the processes then logically speaking (intuitively) it would make sense to batch process what is in that group.

The other suggestion/idea I would suggest to @Robin_Lobel is to treat groups as ONE merged encapsulated layer. For example, when you merge any layer or any group you can undo the function and the merged layers or groups can become undone again (causing them to become un-separated again). If you apply that concept/idea to groups and you treat groups as ONE encapsulated merged layer (where anything you do to the selected hilighted group automatically applies to all layers) then you would be solving 20+ problems at once and that would give you the liberty to focus on other features.

The best way I can reiterate to @Robin_Lobel the idea of treating groups as ONE merged encapsulated layer is to think of Ableton Live’s freeze concept and apply it to groups. In Ableton Live you can freeze tracks to free up cpu intensive plugins and can continue working on projects without dealing with buffer issues or stutters or worrying about the cpu being bottleneck by other plugins or other resources. Also, if you treat groups as ONE merged encapsulated layer (when hilighted or selected or focused on) you would be able to apply all selections and edits to all layers simultaneously. For example if you’re working on a project and that project has groups and you select one of the group layers and the group layer is hilighted and selected and you use the rectangle shape tool and apply a selection and delete a selection, then that selection should automatically apply to all layers within that group. When groups is treated as ONE merged encapsulated layer, you would be able to take my concept and solve many problems at once and solve many foreseeable issues in the future while having the liberty of focusing on other priorities.