Author Topic: Waveform displays as a straight line  (Read 14003 times)

drystream

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Waveform displays as a straight line
« on: October 28, 2010, 08:27:25 pm »
For logistical reasons I record to a CD-RW and import the file (usually both sides of an LP as one file) into VS.  The import window shows the file being read normally, and then I click the Split Tracks tab.  The window reports that a waveform is being generated, but occasionally the waveform is displayed as a straight line.

When I click the play button the file plays back correctly, and I can move the cursor anywhere on the line and the whole album seems to play OK.  I just don't see the waveforms for the individual songs and can't put in the track breaks.

I've removed the recordings from VS and re-imported the files and so far have been successful when doing this, i.e., on a second try the waveform is generated correctly for the whole album.

Any ideas on what causes this anomaly in VS?

Steve

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2010, 12:01:15 pm »
I'm not sure why it's happening but try right-clicking in the waveform display and selecting 'Regenerate waveform display'.  If that doesn't work, I'd like to arrange to transfer one of the files that causes this problem to our webserver so that I can investigate more thoroughly, if you'd be willing to help with that.

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 08:44:10 pm »
Paul, I haven't had the problem recur since I posted the question, but I do have another problem that may be related.

On some of my albums that I've processed with VS I've noticed that I don't get a playback of some of the songs.  When the song comes up in iTunes my stereo gives a sharp 'pop', but the song doesn't play.  The time display in iTunes moves along slowly, as if the song is playing, and the correct running time is displayed.

I finally thought to take a look at the directory where the songs are stored and discovered that the file size of the songs that don't play are very small.  For instance, for the album by Love called Forever Changes, 5 songs are < 1 MB in size, while the other 6 range in size from 13.6 MB to 34.1 MB.  The larger files play correctly.  All tracks were generated out of VS at the same time; all have the same filters applied; all were equalized to -1dB.

I save all my tracks as Apple Lossless.  When I imported one of the problem songs back into VS the file is displayed as a straight line in the Split Tracks window.  Right clicking on the track and selecting Regenerate Waveform Display does nothing.

Randomly going through the 50 or so albums that I've processed with VS, I find that some albums have all presumably good files (large file sizes), but others have several songs with small file sizes that will not play.

As a further test, I opened up Forever Changes again in VS and regenerated the tracks.  This first time I did this all the songs but one came out with large file sizes.  A second regeneration has resulted in all the tracks being between 13.3 and 40 MB, so they all will presumably play correctly.

This random behavior is troubling and will take a lot of time to correct for my recorded albums.

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2010, 09:06:01 pm »
Well, things aren't as clear-cut as I had hoped.

I knew of another track--Sweet Dreams by Emmylou Harris from the album Elite Hotel--that would not play.

I took a look at the m4a files in the album directory, and was surprised to find that the file size for that track was 24.7 MB (another one on the album is listed as 487 KB.

When I load that track into VS the waveform is maxed out in both the Split Tracks and the Cleanup Audio windows.  As expected, when I open the 'filter settings' window and click 'play', the bars go nearly all the way to the right into the red zone and don't bounce around at all.

I had hoped to be able to identify problem tracks by looking for track files with small sizes, but this example shows that there are other problems occurring.  Now I don't know whether regenerating the tracks is going to result in all usable tracks or not for any given album, or if regenerating tracks will introduce more problems than it solves.

BTW, I'm using a 1-year-old iMac with all current updates to the operating system and other software.  I'm using VinylStudio V7.5.5 Mac.


Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2010, 09:22:26 pm »
OK, please leave this with me.  I will look into it.  Are you saving to AAC or Apple Lossless?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 12:18:57 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2010, 01:06:10 am »
I'm saving to Apple Lossless.

I should note that I've previously recorded about 4200 songs to CD-RW from albums (in aiff format) and imported the albums directly into iTunes and saved as Apple Lossless.  I used to just insert the track breaks manually as the albums played, so VinylStudio has made the import process much more controlled and 'hands-on', which I like.

I haven't had the problems I'm experiencing until I started processing newly recorded albums with VS.


A short follow-up:  I regenerated the Emmylou Harris album and now the song Sweet Dreams went from 24.7 MB to 631 KB; all the other songs on the album seem to play OK.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2010, 04:16:45 pm »
Hi,

Just a quick note to say that I think I am on the trail of this.  It appears to be an anomaly of the hiss filter so, in the short term, if you disable this you should be OK.

I will post here again when I have more information.

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2010, 04:35:27 pm »
Thanks Paul.

In the short term I've been playing a couple of seconds of each song in iTunes after the album is saved.  If a song doesn't play I go back to VS and re-save just that one track.

It's kind of strange that the problem tracks either have no waveform, or the waveform is clipped to the max.  There seems to be a toggle to go 100% one way or 100% the other way.

I'll sort through my albums for problem songs and see if I've applied the hiss filter in each case.  Will report my findings.

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2010, 05:52:17 pm »
OK--here are my summary findings:

I went through about 575 songs on 50 albums.

I found 11 songs that wouldn't play on 5 different albums.

In all cases both the rumble and hiss filters were used.

I regenerated each song, keeping the filters in place.  In 2 cases I had to regenerate twice for the song to come out right.

I guess I'm lucky that most of my albums are in good shape, and I didn't use the rumble or hiss filters on the majority of them, although the problem did not occur for every song where the filters were applied.

Thanks for looking into this so quickly Paul.  I really do enjoy using VinylStudio to process the albums, so now that the problem is identified and isolated it can be controlled.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2010, 09:24:13 pm »
OK, thanks for the update.  I have now identified the cause of the problem and we will issue an update within the next few days.  VinylStudio should alert you when this happens but I will also post back here just to be sure.  We have had one or two other similar reports so it is nice to nail this.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2010, 04:02:43 pm »
The problem is now fixed - hooray!  A new version of VinylStudio - V7.5.6 - went out today.  VinylStudio should offer to update itself but if it doesn't you can select 'Check for Update' from VinylStudio's Help menu.

Many thanks for your help in pinning this down.

drystream

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2010, 04:32:25 pm »
I got the new version--will continue on my digitizing project.  I do have some tapes I'd like to transfer too, so the hiss filter will probably be even more useful for them than for my albums.  I'm glad that the bug fix was able to be incorporated into this release.

Just last week I was wishing for a time listing for individual tracks, so that enhancement is also appreciated.

Thanks for your efforts.

Steve

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2010, 04:52:10 pm »
> Just last week I was wishing for a time listing for individual tracks, so that enhancement is also appreciated.

Yes, it was suggested by another user.  Sometimes it's the little things...

swisstemp

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2010, 09:56:45 pm »
I get an occasional 'flat-line' as well. I'm on Snow Leopard and VS 7.5.6. Had this once under the previous VS version, where closing and restarting the app did the trick. Now I have a number of albums that import (at an acceptable file-size), play and de-click, but show a flat line for the waveform, so it will not scan for trackbreaks, etc. I've closed and restarted the app, removed and re-imported the album(s) and even rebooted the machine. I've opened the source file as well as the 'recordings' file (=copy) in Audacity and Adobe Audition and waveform shows as normal. I've digitized approx 600 albums in Audition and recently switched to VS because I get a better result with less effort. But this issue does not help (30 done, another 400 to go). My imports are in wav format.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Waveform displays as a straight line
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2010, 10:44:41 pm »
Hi,

I don't think this is the same problem (we cured that one).  Something about the files you are trying to import is upsetting VinylStudio.  If you'd like to pursue this (as I would), please contact me direct and we'll try to get one of those files to me for analysis.  They will be too large to email but we can do it via FTP.  You can contact me at:

p DOT sanders AT alpinesoft DOT co DOT uk

Also, try 'regenerate waveform display', although that shouldn't usually be necessary.  Thanks.