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  #1  
12-21-2018, 05:13 PM
Mathsisfun Mathsisfun is offline
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Hi Everyone,

I'm a sound engineer for film and television with an intense interest in automation, and I wanted to make a "robot" version of me that could improve peoples audio. Anyway fast forward a few years and its ready for use. It has a bunch of podcast creators using it already but I thought it might benefit you all too as it can extract audio from vision files, fix it, then wrap mux it back in.

The tool is a simple upload form at fixaudio.net

Also when I say free I mean properly free, as in no advertising, and I don't even harvest your data.

I'm actively developing this and its a real passion for me, so if you have any feedback or feature requests please feel free to send them my way. Under this post I'll post the current available presets for people who might like to read them

-M (Merry xmas!)

Which setting should I use?

1. Gentle.
Use this to add that final bit of polish to your audio, or if you are generally happy with the sound but just want minor improvements and smoothing.

2. Medium.
A good all round setting.

3. Aggressive.
This setting has a focus on speech intelligibility. It cuts subsonic rumble, emphasises the human speech range, firmly denoises, and runs restorative anti distortion tools at a high setting. It is also firm in its levelling out of volume changes.

4. Podcast Enhancer.
This is a special setting designed for podcast creators who have recorded an episode where their host is connected via a low quality remote link like a poor Skype or phone connection. It uses the same approach that traditional FM radio took to solving this problem, a process known as high frequency emphasis/limiting.

5. Restorative tools only.
Use this if you are already perfectly happy with the EQ, levels, and general sonic quality of your audio, and are just seeking technical improvements. It will mitigate clicks, pops, crackles etc and leave the rest as is.

6. Forensic.
This settting will sacrifice everything else in an attempt to help you understand what is being said.
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  #2  
12-22-2018, 11:48 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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I appreciate your efforts, but having visited your website, you do require an email to use your service. Why not share it as freeware or provide a link to download the processed audio instead of having it emailed back?

Edit: How about posting some Youtube links demonstrating your software in action so we don't have to provide an email address, which IMO, IS harvesting info.
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  #3  
12-23-2018, 12:19 AM
Mathsisfun Mathsisfun is offline
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Hi Lingyi,

Thank you for your feedback, you make some good points. I will try to answer as best I can. With the youtube videos, there are some before and afters on the site, so hopefully that is enough for people to be able to judge what the service does, although I should probably add some more.

In regards the email requirement to use the service. It is a technical problem which I was unable to solve with my current resources. The short version if that the computation can't occur in the cloud, so the file has got to be taken offline, and often it does take a bit of time. So I wasn't sure how to achieve that without asking people to "check back later" via email. I admit it requires trust on the behalf of user and just because I say that I don't harvest addresses, its essentially asking people to take the word of a stranger. So yes I am not sure what the solution is. I will think more about it though and see if I can come up with a better delivery mechanism.
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  #4  
12-23-2018, 01:11 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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I understand that website development may not be your forte, but I will highly recommend that no one takes you up on your offer until you offer some alternative for delivery.

You also state that it "often does take a bit of time." for your software to complete the task. What assurance is there that your software is truly doing all the work and not you making the adjustments manually. What does "often takes a bit of time." mean? A 128MB file should take no more than a few seconds to download. What is your software's processing time? Real, 2x, 10x processing time?

Again, I applaud you for offering your service for free, but why not offer it for free, shareware or trialware if it works as well as you claim it does. Why limit it to a service that no one knows what's being done 'behind the scenes?"

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
- Carl Sagan

Finally, you have a YouTube channel under your real name (based on the domain registration for fixaudio.net) from which the samples on your site are linked. Why don't post direct links to that page?

I'm sorry for being so rough on you, but your two posts here raises more red flags than lowering them. I wish you luck in your solutions and hopefully someday, I'll be able to recommend your service/software.

Edit: BTW, asking visitors to email you directly with any questions or special requests is another red flag (possibly harvesting emails) on a (IMO) questionable site/service.

P.S. I highly recommend not posting anything at videohelp.com until you've at least solved the email requirement as I'm a regular there and as rough as I may seem, there's some that will take you to task even harder.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-23-2018 at 01:22 AM. Reason: additional info
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  #5  
12-23-2018, 01:30 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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Another critique, why don't you have A/B comparisons of the same section of audio in your samples instead of allowing the audio to run while switching between before and after snippets? As an audio engineer you know the importance of A/B comparisons of the same section of audio.

Sorry, but another red flag raised.

Edit: Take a few long steps back after digesting what I've posted and ask yourself, "Would I trust this person, website, service?" Hopefully food for thought that will improve the delivery of what you have to offer.
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  #6  
12-23-2018, 02:16 AM
Mathsisfun Mathsisfun is offline
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Hi Lingyi,

You are actually the first person I have met who has responded this way. But if you respond this way, of course there will be other people who will too, so I will do my best. I will try to answer you generally and then specifically.

Generally, I think the proof is in the pudding. Or to put it another way, people live and die on their reputation, as do things like websites. This website is new of course, so the internet will swiftly decide whether it becomes popular or gets blacklisted. But for me, this is a passion project, it is how I have kept myself happy over the last two years outside of work hours, and that is really all I can say.

Specifically, I will try to answer you point for point. There is no app, because I currently don't know how to write an app, and as this is a hobby for me I can't justify spending lots of money getting someone to write one for me. But I am learning, and maybe one day it would be possible. The top two requests I get at the moment are "please snip out the silence in my podcasts automatically" and also "make the site mobile responsive". I mean conceptually I know how to do these things of course but that is some serious work cut out for someone of my skill level already to translate that into action.

When I say "it takes a bit of time" I mean the file processing takes time, especially if it is a one hour podcast that needs lots of leveling noise reduction etc. Every file is different so I don't know ahead of time exactly how long it takes, sometimes its quick and sometimes it takes ages, particularly if there is alot of mp3 encoding and decoding to do. I also can't afford to buy a server farm so it has to just toil away on the machine I have available at home.

The before and afters are linked from my personal youtube channel as you can see because that was the easiest way to do it, and since I have nothing to hide I don't mind if it links that way. I could change it though I suppose. In regards the A/B comparison, I will take this feedback on board, next time I make a batch I will make them loop over the same sequence. Personally I do not always A/B this way, but understand that alot of people do so that is fair enough and a good idea.

Lastly about offering people to contact me directly with feedback or suggestions, this is because I am enthusiastic and want to develop it more. For all I know the "aggressive" setting is too gentle for peoples use and needs to be beefed up a bit, or maybe the "gentle" setting is coming out at the wrong level. One big surprise I had was that I expected when I started telling podcast creators about it, that they would all say that 128mb file upload limit is too small for them, because as a sound engineer I would be expecting them to render their finished podcast as a lossless file before sending it to processing. But they have all been happily using it by running high quality mp3's through it, so who am I to say? Its impossible to judge what people do and don't want until they tell you.

But lastly, I know I can't prove I am a genuine person beyond these words, and really time will tell as (hopefully) a good reputation develops. But you make some good points, and I will do my best to address those that I realistically can as soon as possible. And really Lingyi I thank you also for engaging me at all on it, because this kind of feedback is important and helps me work out what to do next.
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  #7  
12-23-2018, 02:50 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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You state you don't have an app, so I'm assuming you're using some type of script to automate your process. Could you offer the script for people to use or is it tied to specific software you're using? A popular free audio program, Audacity supports scripts, though of course you'll need know how to write them to fit the requirements of the program. Perhaps you could connect with someone in the GNU / Open Source community who could help you develop an app for free.

While your intentions may well be good, you're headed towards sure failure once your service offerings overwhelms your ability to fulfill the requests in a timely manner. What happens when you have 24 hours of processing in your current queue and have another 24 hours waiting to be processed? What happens if something in your home PC fails and you have hours of work waiting? People love free, but are quick to complain if things aren't done in a timely manner.

Once again, I highly advise taking a long hard look at what you're doing, possibly even taking down your website until you have some solid solutions. It took me seconds to get your real name and your location, and a few more seconds to link your website videos to your YouTube account. You may only get one chance to make your passion a reality, make that chance a good one! Unfortunately, getting negative feedback is far easier than getting positive, and negative feedback will follow you far further than positive.

Wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
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  #8  
12-23-2018, 03:21 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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Here's an example of someone being torn to bits at videohelp.com, mainly for this unsupported claims, but because he only offered online processing and would only send a trial of his software if asked via email. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...h-h264-h265%21

These are sample posts where things really went downhill. Don't let this be you!

sophisticles

"I would be happy to try your technology, unfortunately you seem to be purposely obfuscating usage of your preprocessor; you do not allow the download of a binary file that one can use to process a source, you force a tester to upload a sample but you put an artificial limit of 65mb per file and you do not allow to download the processed file.

If you are really serious about this technology and really believe in it alter your site so that one or more of the following is allowed:

1) Offer a cli binary that one can use to process a source prior to encoding with the encoder of their choice

or

2) Allow a user to upload a sample and then be able to download the supposedly processed file so that he may then feed it into the encoder of their choice.

Unless and until one is able to start out with a source file, encode one of them with the encoder of their choice and process another copy with ZPEG and then encode it with the same encoder and use 20% less bit rate and compare the 2 encodes using PSNR, SSIM and one's own eyes, I have to consider your site a scam.

The way you have it configured now you control all the parameters and the end user is supposed to trust that you are not pulling a fast one on the back end.

No one, except for the greenest of video enthusiasts, is going to buy what you're selling until you make the process more transparent."

"You seem to be purposely obfuscating usage of your preprocessor" - or am I trying to make it accessible to the widest possible audience?

raymondwestwater

"Why don't you contact me through the contact page? I would be happy to create you an account and show you the usage.

I do indeed have a cli version available for use. I can make it available to you if you would like to make a real test, or I can run a file through the preprocessor for you and send you the result.

sophisticles

"Attention folks, this guy is a liar and a charlatan and we shouldn't be giving him any more attention. In this thread he has claimed that this is new technology that works by finding redundancies video that commonly used encoders, such as x264 and x265 are incapable of finding. He also claiming that this "pre-processor" of his is not a filter. He also claims that this program of his is fully compatible with every encoder out there. At first I was wondering how that could be, as it would require that it contain multiple built in encoders to provide the functionality he advertises.

As you will recall he offered to share the binary with me if I would contact him via the contact page on his web site, I did so. He would not and did not provide the binary as he promised but he did download the sample file I linked to and he did provide the processed file for comparison purposes, I will let you guys see for yourself what he is doing:"

None of his claims of people lining up to use his software have been proven to be true and I and other posters on that thread checked up on his PH.D and questioned his knowledge of video compression.
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  #9  
12-23-2018, 03:29 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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BTW, I'm about a layperson to audio and video processing as it gets. I don't do any audio or video processing at all, but over the years I know that what you claim to be able to do automatically can be done manually, with lots of trial, error and knowledge of audio.

Once again, I emphasize, you may have only one chance. Make it count!
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  #10  
12-23-2018, 07:03 PM
Mathsisfun Mathsisfun is offline
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Thank you Lingyi, I am reading this thread now and will think on what you have said.
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