Audio Settings Window
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The Audio Settings window gives you control over the content, colors, and filtering of the audio data displayed at the top of the sequence grid. It can give you valuable insight on how to align your lighting effects to the music.
The "Audio Settings" window is normally docked on the right side of the main Light-O-Rama S5 Sequencer program window. To keep the window open, click the pin icon in the upper right corner of the window. It can also be dragged and dropped such that it "floats" outside of the main window.
From the Audio Settings window you can:
At any license level, including demo, the music for your sequence can be displayed as:
With a Pro license, you can also display the music for your sequence as:
•a spectrogram where the frequencies are shown using a linear scale. This format is useful because the frequency data has not been "stretched" or otherwise manipulated -- lines representing the notes being played will be clean and sharp. However, you will see a note's harmonics, and because the vertical scale is linear, the harmonics will be spaced more closely at the lower frequencies and farther apart at the higher frequencies.
•a spectrogram where the frequencies are shown using a logarithmic scale. In this format, harmonics are evenly spaced.
•a spectrogram with pitch detection applied. Pitch detection tries to find the actual notes being played in a song and eliminates many of the harmonics that clutter a typical spectrogram. Please note however, that pitch detection is not perfect, and you may still end up with a cluttered spectrogram for music passages with lots of percussion or where many instruments and/or voices are playing at the same time.
All spectrograms are limited to a frequency of 3000 Hz at the high end. This should be satisfactory for all popular music; you would only miss the top 6 keys on a standard 88-key piano keyboard.
The screen-shots that follow show the same section of the song "Dueling Jingle Bells" displayed using each method. Color scheme is "Argo". In the spectrograms, the lower, middle, and upper frequencies are shown on the left side of the display along with the note that is closest to that frequency.
Audio displayed as waveform
Audio displayed as a spectrogram with a linear vertical scale (requires Pro license)
Audio displayed as a spectrogram with a logarithmic vertical scale (requires Pro license)
Audio displayed as a spectrogram with pitch detection applied (requires Pro license)
The height of the audio display area can be set to 0 (hidden) by dragging the "Display Height" slider all the way to the left. Move the slider to the right to make the display area taller. A taller audio display allows you to see more detail -- which is especially useful when viewing a spectrogram. Keeping the display height short allows you to see more channels in the sequence grid. The audio display height is stored with the sequence. Each sequence can have a separate audio display height.
You can also click on the waveform icon on the toolbar to hide or unhide the audio display area.
You can choose your colors for the waveform and spectrograms in the "Colors" section. The first option in the drop-down allows you to select custom colors. The others are the built-in color schemes. The color scheme you choose here is applied to all open sequences, and is remembered for the next time you open the Sequencer.
The built-in colors schemes do a great job of highlighting the detail in spectrograms.
When you select "<custom colors>" from the drop-down, 3 additional color boxes are displayed. "Foreground" is the color of the waveform or spectrogram; "background" is the field that it is drawn behind it; "highlight" is the vertical bar showing the position of the mouse. Click a colored button on the left to set a color. As you change each color, the audio data will be redisplayed with the newly selected color.
The Sequencer will remember the colors that you chose so that waveforms in other sequences will automatically be displayed using those colors.
Built-in Color Schemes
A variety of built-in color schemes are available. Below the drop-down box is a color sample of your selection.
When viewing spectrograms, our favorites are "Argo" and "Grayscale Reversed". "High Contrast" is also useful at eliminating some of the clutter in the spectrogram when used in combination with the Brightness slider.
The Sequencer will automatically scale the audio waveform vertically so that it fills the entire height of the waveform area. By default, all audio frequencies are displayed.
You can scale the waveform up or down, or apply a frequency filter using the controls in the lower part of the Audio Settings window. These controls are only visible when the Audio Data selection is set to "Waveform".
The following screens are taken from a sequence that uses a specially constructed audio file. The audio consists of 5 tones, each 2 seconds long and each one an octave higher than the previous tone (10 seconds total). The first 2 seconds have a 110 Hz tone (A2), followed by 2 seconds at 220 Hz (A3), followed by 2 seconds at 440 Hz (A4), followed by 2 seconds at 880 Hz (A5), followed by 2 seconds at 1760 Hz (A6). Here is what the waveform looks like with no audio filtering:
Emphasize Low Tones
Here is the same sequence with the low tones emphasized. Notice that the frequency cut-off for the filter is adjustable using the slider.
Emphasize Mid Tones
Here is the same sequence with the middle tones emphasized. Notice that the mid-point frequency for the filter is adjustable using the slider.
Emphasize High Tones
Here is the same sequence with the high tones emphasized. Notice that the frequency cut-off for the filter is adjustable using the slider.
Scaling the Waveform
You can use the "Waveform Scaling" section to scale up low level audio signals to see more detail. The following example shows how this can be used to see where the beats are more clearly.
Increasing the vertical scale of the waveform
You can zoom in on the spectrogram, or change its brightness using the controls in the lower part of the Audio Settings window. These controls are only visible when the Audio Data selection is set to one of the "Spectrogram" options. By default, all frequencies are displayed.
To zoom in on a note, uncheck the "All Frequencies" box, then choose the note of interest using the "Center Frequency" slider. The selected note is shown below the slider, and also on the middle label of the spectrogram display. The level of vertical zoom is controlled using the "Frequency Range" slider. Move the slider to the left to zoom in, or to the right to zoom out.
Once you have zoomed into your area of interest, you can switch among the 3 spectrogram types and the zoom settings will stay the same -- allowing you to easily compare the data shown in the 3 formats.
Sometimes the spectrogram will show too much information, perhaps overwhelmed with harmonics or percussion. Move the "Brightness" slider to the left to tone things down. Of if there are details that are faint and you want to see more clearly, then move the "Brightness" slider to the right.