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Mayae
KVRian
 
500 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Denmark

Postby Mayae; Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:07 am Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin (v. 0.2.9)

Hey guys.

Notice: Subscribe to the mailing list for Signalizer to get updates and discuss development of Signalizer here:
http://jthorborg.com/mailman/listinfo/s ... orborg.com

TL;DR:
- I'm looking for feedback on my new alpha plugin, see links at end of post.
- It looks like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfyausOsFRs
Background info
Some of you may have seen me hanging around in the dsp-devs forums, where I maintained my last public project, Audio Programming Environment.

I study sound design with a heavy emphasis on dynamic and interactive audio design. This led me down the path of programming plugins to accomodate my personal needs in production. Once in a blue moon, I produce something I consider to be usable by other people.

I really enjoy the act of programming creative tools - but it takes time to learn to do properly. Signalizer, the plugin in question, has been my testbed for developing algorithms, methods, UI and whatnot needed for having a base for audio programs.

About this project
Signalizer is all about engineering-grade and -customization visualization of audio in real-time, with very fast response and frame rates. This allows immediate intuitive feel & look of audio, as well as very precise measurements for analysis.

Now, there are a lot of signal analyzers out there. What differentiates this project?
  • Interactive displays
  • All UI and graphics colours changeable
  • Vector graphics all the way
  • Everything is smoothly variable and zoomable, no more fixed block sizes etc.
  • Fullscreen hardware-accelerated graphics
  • Being open source, the developer is mostly interested in implementing user feedback and requests
  • Completely free & redistributable, no license/user sign-up, no e-mail spam
  • no installation packages, completely self-contained
  • A focus on creating general purpose visualizations without too much jazz, for i.e. VJ'ing
  • All-in-one package for all your analysis needs (at some point)
  • No load on the main thread

Some feature highlights
Vectorscope
  • Built in 3D transformation
  • Classic X/Y vectorscope ('lissajous') or 'polar' projections
  • Balance and stereo correlation meters
Spectrum analyzer
  • Standard fft
  • Custom developed filter bank with 'minimum Q' tuning, ie. optimizes frequency/time tradeoffs to something akin to constant-Q transforms, but much more natural
  • Projections on to graphs or spectrograms
  • Can design own dsp windows
  • Together with all the classic channel modes (side/mid/left/parallel etc.), it shows precise phase cancellations in the spectrum as well
  • Peaktracker

What I'm interested in
One thing is feedback about the usability and purpose of the program, which is of course very welcomed - but also UI design, practices and the program as a package. Is there anything missing? Is the program easily usable? Is the text readable? Does the UI work as you expect, is it confusing to navigate - etc?

Bug reports (stability is #1 concern right now) and feature requests is also very welcome. I developed the set of features I needed the most, but what do you guys need in this sort of program?

Other than that, I hope you enjoy the program and are willing to contribute back or support the open source community with experience, code (or comments on) or feedback. I strive to program best practices, so if you notice something bogus let me know.

Also, if anyone programs a cool preset please do share it :)

End notes, links etc.
You can find more information, source code and binaries on Signalizer's dedicated home page.
Here's a direct link to an auto updated page of release binaries. The releases contain x32 and x64 versions of VST, VST3 and AudioUnits for OS X and Windows, as well as debug versions of previous. The debug versions contain additional info, that generates better debug output for reporting back bugs.

The project is a massive WIP, but I wanted to get it out now to test out the UI and get some feedback on directions.

I usually update and release fixes a couple of times a week, if I have the time. Inside the release you will find a small version log that lists the most recent changes. Otherwise, you can check out the revision history.

Release notes

Thank you for any interest
Last edited by Mayae on Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:03 am, edited 5 times in total.
lolilol1975
KVRist
 
483 posts since 6 Dec, 2015

Postby lolilol1975; Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:44 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Where is my jaw drop emote ?

Testing right now. :clap:
This might well be the best viz plugin around when it's finished. Hope it doesn't tax the CPU too much.

edit: okay, so here is a quick feedback.
First off, I like this plugin very much and I think it will be my go to plugin for all visualizations when it's finished. It feels more both polished and a lot more responsive than the ones I have right now. Having 1000 fps on the scope is kind of cool.

Now my remarks/bugs. I tested the 64 bit version with Reaper 5.18 on Win10.
(you can dl Reaper for free for testing purposes)

Usability issues:
1) it's impossible to know when on/off buttons are on or off, they need to be reworked.
2) I have an oscilloscope in the vectorscope preset list ? It's confusing at best. Meanwhile, I could never make the oscilloscope and statistics views work
3) the graphics are pretty, but where are the values ? I want values in the scales by default. I could get some in the spectrum after searching in the preset list, but that's inconvenient. One shouldn't have to do that. Also please have grids turned on by default.
4) Duplication of options. The choice between spectrogram and spectrum appears in 2 places. This is unnecessarily complicated.
5) Options are scattered in different windows, not very clearly defined in my opinion. I think the global options menu should be separated from the instruments options, I find the current position one on top of the other confusing. Maybe it should be swapped with the freeze button.
6) it's hard to find the resize window handle when the background is black.
7) slow down the refresh of the values to 0.5 sec or something. It's not possible to read them when they are refreshed at full speed.
8 ) I would like to be able to go back to default values (or last value) by double clicking the knobs. It's now customary in plugins.


Bugs ?
1) I don't know how to use the oscilloscope, I could never make it work, not the statistics
2) the resize often leaves an ugly trail behind it on Reaper.
Last edited by lolilol1975 on Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mayae
KVRian
 
500 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Denmark

Postby Mayae; Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:14 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

lolilol1975 wrote:Where is my jaw drop emote ?

Testing right now. :clap:
This might well be the best viz plugin around when it's finished. Hope it doesn't tax the CPU too much.

Thanks for the swift reply. Regarding the CPU tax, well nothing comes for free ;) doing near-zero latency transformations and high-fps imagery will eat some CPU. However, it's directly related to FPS rate and/or window sizes, which you can set accordingly. There's still a lot of possible optimizations for the graphics, but it will be constant reductions and won't alter the algorithmic complexity of the operations at hand.

Throughout the program, if you disable options and/or paint something with invisble colours, it won't be calculated anyway so you can reduce cpu usage that way as well.

That's why I went ahead at an early stage, and ensured all graphics rendering are OpenGL so they don't stall and lag all other GUIs and general system responsiveness. Also why all audio-processing is lifted off the real-time audio processing and into another thread, so it never taxes processing power of your platform.

First off, I like this plugin very much and I think it will be my go to plugin for all visualizations when it's finished. It feels more both polished and a lot more responsive than the ones I have right now. Having 1000 fps on the scope is kind of cool.
:)

Now my remarks/bugs. I tested the 64 bit version with Reaper 5.18 on Win10.
(you can dl Reaper for free for testing purposes)
Yes, I tested it in Reaper as well.
Usability issues:
1) it's impossible to know when on/off buttons are on or off, they need to be reworked.
2) I have an oscilloscope in the vectorscope preset list ? It's confusing at best. Meanwhile, I could never make the oscilloscope and statistics views work
3) the graphics are pretty, but where are the values ? I want values in the scales by default. I could get some in the spectrum after searching in the preset list, but that's inconvenient. One shouldn't have to do that. Also have grills by default.
4) Duplication of options. The choice between spectrogram and spectrum appears in 2 places. This is unnecessarily complicated.
5) Options are scattered in different windows, not very clearly defined in my opinion. I think the global options menu should be separated from the instruments options, I find the current position one on top of the other confusing. Maybe it should be swapped with the freeze button.
6) it's hard to find the resize window handle when the background is black.
7) slow down the refresh of the values to 0.5 sec or something. It's not possible to read them when they are refreshed at full speed.
8 ) I would like to be able to go back to default values (or last value) by double clicking the knobs. It's now customary in plugins

1: Okay, I see your point. I guess when you're writing the graphics yourself you never notice this. I planned on rewriting them anyway, as I don't feel they fit the look of the rest of the program.
2. Right, this was probably not explained well. The statistics and oscilloscope are not developed yet (publically, anyway). To substitute for this, the vectorscope can act as a temporary oscilloscope - thats why I kept the preset there. The tabs are there because.. yeah, I don't actually know.
3. Values on vectorscopes is possible but I decided against it, as what you're interested in is the spatial propagation of the signal - the rest should be measured using an oscilloscope (which is still a work in progress ;)) As for values and grids on the spectrum, it's controlled by the painting colour. I guess the default preset should have grids on (you can just do the modification, and in the global settings, set the current preset as default).
4. I assume the duplication is in the preset and the setting in the spectrum view? Well, the preset just sets the previous value. I agree the spectrum is kinda bloated, and I considered splitting them up - it's just that the code and data is 95% equal so atm. they are one.
5. Right, this is what I fear. I try to keep most shared things in the global pane, and the rest in the submenus. It may be viable swapping them, but do you think it will solve the issue - or will the current state be natural after some usage?
6. Yes, this is actually a bug I will look in to.
7. Hmm, I never thought of this. I'm guessing you're referring to the peak tracker in the spectrum view?
8. Agree, and it shouldn't be that hard to do - it's definitely high on the todo-list.

Bugs ?
1) I don't know how to use the oscilloscope, I could never make it work, not the statistics
2) the resize often leaves an ugly trail behind it on Reaper.
As for 1, see number 2 in previous answer. As for 2, yes - I'm currently disabling repaints while resizing as it makes the operation much more smooth, even though its still bad. The problem is the OpenGL driver has to reinitialize the window each time, so it will probably never be silky smooth to resize...
lolilol1975
KVRist
 
483 posts since 6 Dec, 2015

Postby lolilol1975; Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:22 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Cool ! :clap:

Maybe you should warn in your first post that the oscillo and stats are not out yet.

5. Right, this is what I fear. I try to keep most shared things in the global pane, and the rest in the submenus. It may be viable swapping them, but do you think it will solve the issue - or will the current state be natural after some usage?

I found it especially confusing because when the global options is open, suddenly the number of items/icons in the menu changes. You get used to it after a while, but this is not what one expects with this sort of tabbed interface. Let's see what the others say about this.
Dozius
KVRian
 
825 posts since 26 Oct, 2005

Postby Dozius; Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:33 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

This is fantastic! Eagerly awaiting implementation of the oscilloscope and statistics views.

I agree the current options pages are kind of unintuitive but I managed to find my way around after a few minutes. I could see inexperienced users getting very frustrated and/or lost easily.

One feature request for me would be to have a way to separate colour schemes from the rest of the options. I can foresee scenarios where it would be nice to quickly switch between per-defined views without altering the colour scheme or vice-versa.
Mayae
KVRian
 
500 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Denmark

Postby Mayae; Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:53 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

lolilol1975 wrote:Cool ! :clap:

Maybe you should warn in your first post that the oscillo and stats are not out yet.

5. Right, this is what I fear. I try to keep most shared things in the global pane, and the rest in the submenus. It may be viable swapping them, but do you think it will solve the issue - or will the current state be natural after some usage?

I found it especially confusing because when the global options is open, suddenly the number of items/icons in the menu changes. You get used to it after a while, but this is not what one expects with this sort of tabbed interface. Let's see what the others say about this.

Yea, the warning is done :) And yes I know the menus can be quite.. dynamic. Lets see how it turns out.

Dozius wrote:This is fantastic! Eagerly awaiting implementation of the oscilloscope and statistics views.

I agree the current options pages are kind of unintuitive but I managed to find my way around after a few minutes. I could see inexperienced users getting very frustrated and/or lost easily.

One feature request for me would be to have a way to separate colour schemes from the rest of the options. I can foresee scenarios where it would be nice to quickly switch between per-defined views without altering the colour scheme or vice-versa.

The colour schemes being separated makes great sense btw., I'll see if I can figure out a intuitive and flexible way to implement it.

And yes, the menus. Just not sure how to properly implement an intuitive system. They will constantly evolve as features get added so one static page is probably not feasible (nor fun to reimplement). The tabs was a quick to easily add more stuff semantically grouped, without bloating specific pages too much. At least during development.
Debutante
KVRAF
 
2849 posts since 15 Jan, 2005, from Ottawa, Ontario

Postby Debutante; Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:55 pm Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Jumping freakin frijoles...
User avatar
Naenyn
KVRian
 
818 posts since 26 Sep, 2013, from Arizona, USA

Postby Naenyn; Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:09 pm Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

This is a thing of beauty. Nicely done. Really looking forward to seeing where you take it!
Debutante
KVRAF
 
2849 posts since 15 Jan, 2005, from Ottawa, Ontario

Postby Debutante; Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:26 pm Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

looks very promising - ill buy it.

controls are VERY laggy at times, also lagging up the host.

CPU use is exceptionally low for an alpha anything.

- for spectrum and vector scopes.
tapping on a tab produces no image. so I have to pick a tab first, then click on the 1st settings icon (gears) - only then do I get my display . otherwise it says NO VIEW SELECTED - for spectrum and vector scopes.

oscilloscope has no image whatsoever - only NO VIEW SELECTED

again - CPU usage is almost nothing. probably a percent not even. and not a single crash in as many minutes

FL Studio 12 32bit
Windows 8.1 64bit
AMD FX-8350
16G 1866 RAM

this is a gooder.
Mayae
KVRian
 
500 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Denmark

Postby Mayae; Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:50 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Debutante wrote:Jumping freakin frijoles...
That's an expression I didn't know :)
Naenyn wrote:This is a thing of beauty. Nicely done. Really looking forward to seeing where you take it!
Thank you so much.
Debutante wrote:looks very promising - ill buy it.
Well luckily you won't have to :)

controls are VERY laggy at times, also lagging up the host.
This is something I definitely don't want to happen. Can you describe more about the circumstances, is it while using a specific view/setting? Is it only sometimes, or is it reproducible?

tapping on a tab produces no image. so I have to pick a tab first, then click on the 1st settings icon (gears) - only then do I get my display . otherwise it says NO VIEW SELECTED - for spectrum and vector scopes.
This sounds like a bug. So if you load the plugin and click on a tab, it will still say 'no view selected'?
oscilloscope has no image whatsoever - only NO VIEW SELECTED
Yes, it's not implemented yet.

again - CPU usage is almost nothing. probably a percent not even. and not a single crash in as many minutes
So I'm correct in deducing it hasn't crashed yet? ( :) )
Dozius
KVRian
 
825 posts since 26 Oct, 2005

Postby Dozius; Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:08 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Mayae wrote:And yes, the menus. Just not sure how to properly implement an intuitive system. They will constantly evolve as features get added so one static page is probably not feasible (nor fun to reimplement). The tabs was a quick to easily add more stuff semantically grouped, without bloating specific pages too much. At least during development.


This makes sense for early development. It might even be better to get the core functionality set before trying to tackle a cohesive options system. Premature optimization and all that. :wink:
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larsomat
KVRist
 
106 posts since 22 May, 2013

Postby larsomat; Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:30 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

This looks awesome for an alpha!

A few remarks after playing with it for a few minutes:
- Yes, values! I want to see in which frequencies my peaks are. I didn't find a way to turn them on.
- Is there a way to configure the slope, like in SPAN? SPAN has a default slope of 4,5db per octave. Pink noise has a slope of 3db per octave. I'd like to configure it like that.
- The graphics are very laggy when I move my mousepointer around. (Edit: Span has the same problem, so it might be an Bitwig issue.)

Bitwig 1.3.9, OSX 11.11 (Edit: 10.11, of course)

Keep going! This is very promising.
Last edited by larsomat on Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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aMUSEd
KVRAF
 
27527 posts since 14 Sep, 2002, from In teh net

Postby aMUSEd; Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:50 am Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

Looks beautiful

Took me a while to work out 'view RAW' was the download link.
Mayae
KVRian
 
500 posts since 1 Jan, 2013, from Denmark

Postby Mayae; Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:12 pm Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

larsomat wrote:This looks awesome for an alpha!

A few remarks after playing with it for a few minutes:
- Yes, values! I want to see in which frequencies my peaks are. I didn't find a way to turn them on.
- Is there a way to configure the slope, like in SPAN? SPAN has a default slope of 4,5db per octave. Pink noise has a slope of 3db per octave. I'd like to configure it like that.
- The graphics are very laggy when I move my mousepointer around. (Edit: Span has the same problem, so it might be an Bitwig issue.)

Bitwig 1.3.9, OSX 11.11

Keep going! This is very promising.

Thanks a lot. The grid is controlled by the colour you can adjust (so when it's missing it's basically because the colour is invisible).
Regarding slope, I guess it would be trivial. Just never used it myself. I'll consider it. I haven't actually checked it out in Bitwit (or OS X > 10.8), but I've heard about some similar troubles linked to how OS X changed message handling to be laggier in some cases...

aMUSEd wrote:Looks beautiful

Took me a while to work out 'view RAW' was the download link.

Thanks. Yea it's not really a nice solution, but it'll do until I get ftp set up for my server.
User avatar
aMUSEd
KVRAF
 
27527 posts since 14 Sep, 2002, from In teh net

Postby aMUSEd; Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:44 pm Re: Signalizer: Alpha open-source & free audio visualization plugin

OK been trying this on Mac (Tracktion 7) - in fullscreen is it possible to move the toolbar out of the way as it's right in the middle of the screen?

Not sure why the osc and stats are saying 'no view selected'? What does that mean?
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