Use Cases

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Revision as of 17:30, 7 July 2007 by Suf (talk | contribs) (Tidying)
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Ideas extracted from the feature requests page.

Wildlife I

A lot of wildlife enthusiasts utilise this software for recording and editing animal sounds (e.g. birds, bats) who generally work from the spectrum rather than the waveform. The following would extend the sound analysis capabilities of the software and make the spectrum feature easier to use:

  • Threshold settings to remove the displayed background noise - i.e. only sound over a certain amplitude is displayed
  • Time marks displayed along x-axis, more frequency marks along y-axis
  • User defined spectrum colours
  • Settings saved upon exit (e.g. fit vertically, spectrum, threshold)

Foreign Language Instruction

Features for "books on tape", field recordings, etc... This is a collection of features that will facilitate converting recordings made "live" or on physical tapes into digital form. My use-case is my attempt to turn foreign language instructional cassettes into MP3 files.

  • Recordings such as these frequently feature a lot of meta-data that is spoken by the presenter, things like "Unit 3", "Activity 5" and "Page 7", which I want to capture as labels. I would like, while either recording or playing a project, to be able to define "hot keys" that instantly create labels according to a template which could optionally include automatically incrementing numbers. Currently, I have to press something like [Ctl-M], "u3" and [Enter], and then hand-edit the .aup file afterwards. If several pieces of data occur in rapid succession, this is especially hard to do accurately.
  • It would be nice if the label were inserted a bit before the time of the key-press, to allow for reaction times.
  • It would also be nice to be able to adjust the play-back speed of a recording, and have a key that, during play-back, jumps backwards one or two seconds. Especially when scanning speech, this would reduce the time required to label everything.
  • Even with compensation for reaction times, it is unlikely that a label will be exactly where you'd want it to be. I'd like to be able do two things to help with this. One is to use the mouse to sweep a region and then have Audacity adjust the selection boundries according to a Nyquist extention, for instance to move the selection's start point forward until it is a fixed time prior to the end of silence. The other thing is to, given a selection that covers exactly one label, adjust that label so that it matches the selection.
  • Finally, I'd like to see label-based navigation of tracks, things like "scroll to the {first,next,previous,last} label". Note: you can already click in a label then tab and SHIFT - tab back and forth between them

These features would allow to perform a mostly unattended capture of a presentation or a cassette tape, play it back at hight speed and mark points of interest, and easily revist those points to adjust the labels.


  • Create labels in real time from external source during recording: It would be nice to be able to create labels immediately during the recording process, using either remote calls or listening on a socket. I currently fake this with a little python script that logs the intended labels and (hopefully) the correct time-since-start into an external file, then "Import Labels". It would be nice if there were some way to do this directly, since Audacity always has the correct "current" time-in-recording.

We use this for pulling in GPS-sourced time, scene change hints, and some other stuff. "waterfall"/"voiceprint" spectrum display option (instead of, or above/below waveform display)