Does this software exist?

ohiomatt33

Member
Messages
459
This week I started integrating a new practice method to work on my ear, and my versatility. My instructor recommended I go down the Top 40 Country chart, and learn each song in it's entirety, and in detail, attempting to cop the tones on the record as much as possible. (I am loving it so far, I really never thought to try to tweak my pedalboard to get the sound from the record, I've kind of just been happy with having a solid base tone, and not deviating to far from it.)

While doing this, sometimes I struggle to actually hear the guitar part in the mix. With some of the poppier production going on, the vocals or cymbals are so loud in the mix they seem to just wash over the guitar part. (I'm not talking lyrics, I mean the ad-libs and "ooo-yeahs")

Is there software that I can get that would be able to cut the level on vocals and other instruments?
My solution right now has been to seek out videos of tv performances, or acoustic radio spots, since the guitars are much more prevalent in these.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,270
Your instructor said "learn each song in it's entirety, and in detail". Yet you only seem to be talking about the guitar part. So I assume you've got the vocal and chords down already? Maybe the bass too? (All these are more important than the guitar part.)

(Of course I'm only guessing what your instructor meant....;))

Transcribe software has an out of phase option, which removes anything panned centre in stereo tracks. That usually means vocals (and bass), and can make other parts - including guitar - clearer. Sometimes, too, panning left or right might make guitar clearer. Otherwise, there's no way you can change the mix on a recording. Guitar is usually mixed in with other instruments, somewhere in the stereo spectrum. EQ won't help either, as guitar shares its frequency spectrum with most other instruments.
 

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,356
I've used ASD and Transcribe. Currently I'm using Riffstation and prefer it for being able to isolate parts from a mix. Great program and easy to use.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,270
I've used ASD and Transcribe. Currently I'm using Riffstation and prefer it for being able to isolate parts from a mix. Great program and easy to use.
Can it isolate parts better than Transcribe? from the same audio?
 

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,356
JonR - Granted I haven't used the current version of Transcribe, but I'm finding Riffstation works quite well for isolating guitar parts, vocals, bass, etc. Not sure what you mean by from the same audio?
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,270
JonR - Granted I haven't used the current version of Transcribe, but I'm finding Riffstation works quite well for isolating guitar parts, vocals, bass, etc. Not sure what you mean by from the same audio?
I mean, I'd be surprised if it can do what you say significantly better than Transcribe can, given normal MP3 or WAV (CD quality) stereo files. (Transcribe can't isolate parts at all, only sometimes make an instrument slightly more or less clear than the others. That's unless the stereo mix itself isolates instruments left or right.) I guess I need to download a Riffstation trial! ;)

EDIT: OK, just had a quick play with it, and it is an impressive tool. The isolation control does seem easier to use than on Transcribe, which has a combination of controls on different tabs (mono/karoake, EQ). Transcribe could probably do as well, but not so intuitively. However, true isolation is still not possible, not unless - as I say - an instrument truly does have its own place in the stereo spectrum in the original mix; in which case Transcribe will work as well (and as easily).
IOW, the capability of the underlying analytical software is probably the same, but Riffstation's interface is a little easier to use (in this respect anyway).
In general, Riffstation is more geared to "doing it all for you" than Transcribe - which has advantages and disadvantages.
Riffstation presents you with the chords as the track plays, which is impressive. (On Transcribe, you have to choose "Show Chord Guesses" from a menu and then select part of the track, and it will then present 3 or 4 possibilities, or tell you the "spectrum is too messy".)
However, Transcribe's reticence in this respect is honest. It's admitting that no software can reliably identify chords as confidently as Riffstation seems to suggest.
In the first test track I loaded into Riffstation, it got a chord wrong straight away. It happened to be a diminished chord, and the program (it admits) only recognises maj min and dom7s. But it still labels every chord as one of those three, it doesn't leave a blank or a query where that's not the case. So a beginner whose ears are not very good can well end up with a wrong set of chords, unawares.
Riffstation will let you relabel a wrong chord, but it still doesn't offer a diminished option. (It's true that dim and half-dim chords are vanishingly rare in rock music, but I often want to transcribe pop, soul and jazz songs, where more complex chords do occur. Riffstation is too focussed on a rock market, which is OK, but the over-confidence of its chord identification is a major flaw, IMO.)
The Riff builder option looks a lot of fun - I haven't tried it yet, but it's the kind of thing I used to mess around with using reel tape recorders back in the 1960s... (man that was clunky...:()
So it goes a lot further in that creative direction than Transcribe - not a flaw with the latter, of course, because that's well beyond what it was designed for.
One other thing Transcribe does: it lets you label the waveform, with section, measure and beat markers, and you can type text labels at any point you like ("verse", "chorus", chord symbols etc). This helps enormously with navigation. (Again, Riffstation does some of the same things automatically - chords, marking beats, calculating tempo - but I prefer the hands-on operation of Transcribe.)
Another (small) thing I don't like about Riffstation is the rotary knob controls - it doesn't feel intuitive to control those with a mouse (click and wheel), although I've used similar interfaces before. Sliders would be better; they just wouldn't look as cool! :rolleyes: (And personally I think the black and orange interface is ugly anyhow; I'm not sold on software that pretends to be hardware. That's probably an age thing... ;))
 
Last edited:

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,356
I mean, I'd be surprised if it can do what you say significantly better than Transcribe can, given normal MP3 or WAV (CD quality) stereo files. (Transcribe can't isolate parts at all, only sometimes make an instrument slightly more or less clear than the others. That's unless the stereo mix itself isolates instruments left or right.) I guess I need to download a Riffstation trial! ;)

EDIT: OK, just had a quick play with it, and it is an impressive tool. The isolation control does seem easier to use than on Transcribe, which has a combination of controls on different tabs (mono/karoake, EQ). Transcribe could probably do as well, but not so intuitively. However, true isolation is still not possible, not unless - as I say - an instrument truly does have its own place in the stereo spectrum in the original mix; in which case Transcribe will work as well (and as easily).
IOW, the capability of the underlying analytical software is probably the same, but Riffstation's interface is a little easier to use (in this respect anyway).
In general, Riffstation is more geared to "doing it all for you" than Transcribe - which has advantages and disadvantages.
Riffstation presents you with the chords as the track plays, which is impressive. (On Transcribe, you have to choose "Show Chord Guesses" from a menu and then select part of the track, and it will then present 3 or 4 possibilities, or tell you the "spectrum is too messy".)
However, Transcribe's reticence in this respect is honest. It's admitting that no software can reliably identify chords as confidently as Riffstation seems to suggest.
In the first test track I loaded into Riffstation, it got a chord wrong straight away. It happened to be a diminished chord, and the program (it admits) only recognises maj min and dom7s. But it still labels every chord as one of those three, it doesn't leave a blank or a query where that's not the case. So a beginner whose ears are not very good can well end up with a wrong set of chords, unawares.
Riffstation will let you relabel a wrong chord, but it still doesn't offer a diminished option. (It's true that dim and half-dim chords are vanishingly rare in rock music, but I often want to transcribe pop, soul and jazz songs, where more complex chords do occur. Riffstation is too focussed on a rock market, which is OK, but the over-confidence of its chord identification is a major flaw, IMO.)
The Riff builder option looks a lot of fun - I haven't tried it yet, but it's the kind of thing I used to mess around with using reel tape recorders back in the 1960s... (man that was clunky...:()
So it goes a lot further in that creative direction than Transcribe - not a flaw with the latter, of course, because that's well beyond what it was designed for.
One other thing Transcribe does: it lets you label the waveform, with section, measure and beat markers, and you can type text labels at any point you like ("verse", "chorus", chord symbols etc). This helps enormously with navigation. (Again, Riffstation does some of the same things automatically - chords, marking beats, calculating tempo - but I prefer the hands-on operation of Transcribe.)
Another (small) thing I don't like about Riffstation is the rotary knob controls - it doesn't feel intuitive to control those with a mouse (click and wheel), although I've used similar interfaces before. Sliders would be better; they just wouldn't look as cool! :rolleyes: (And personally I think the black and orange interface is ugly anyhow; I'm not sold on software that pretends to be hardware. That's probably an age thing... ;))
I totally agree with you JonR. A much easier more intuitive program to use. I misunderstood previously that you were talking about true isolation of parts which of course with these programs isn't possible yet, but what it does do is quite good considering. As well, I don't even bother with the chord identification part, honestly that's horrible, but then so are many transcriptions so I prefer to use my own ears than be spoon fed the changes. All in all though it's quite a good tool for what it does and I much prefer it to the other programs. Glad you found it useful! :)
 

ohiomatt33

Member
Messages
459
Your instructor said "learn each song in it's entirety, and in detail". Yet you only seem to be talking about the guitar part. So I assume you've got the vocal and chords down already? Maybe the bass too? (All these are more important than the guitar part.)

(Of course I'm only guessing what your instructor meant....;))
I should've known you'd bring sound reason to this question Jon! hah

What brought this new practice method up was me telling my instructor that I can easily learn riffs and solos by ear and play them when the time comes, but when I'm the "lead" player in the band sometimes I don't have anything of worth to say in the verses, bridge, etc., especially when writing my own songs. (We discussed the value of laying out and NOT playing, which I'm very good at! ;))

So he suggested that I go through the country charts (to begin this with) and learn each song, even the ones I don't like, and pick apart every single guitar part from beginning to end. Once I've learned all the parts, do my best to cop the tone of that part with the rig I have. That way, when someone says "I'd like this song to have a Little Big Town vibe." or "I'm going for a Jason Aldean feel for this track," I can not only get the tones the artist is most likely thinking of, I can think in the same vocabulary in which the guitar players on those records did.

So far, it's been incredibly effective. Instead of just hearing a main guitar part throughout the whole song, I'm finding cool acoustic parts happening, copping pedal steel lines, and hearing all these tasty licks in the background I never caught before. In just the first week I've found some great tones in my pedalboard I hadn't explored before. I'M HAVING FUN PLAYING GUITAR DAGGUMIT! It feels good to have fun and broaden my musical vocabulary at the same time.

All that said, I think I will download the demo of Riffstation and see what it's all about. I did realize an inherent flaw in my using of one of these programs, is that I use Spotify to listen to and learn new music almost 90% of the time, the other 10% being when the artist sends me their songs via mp3. (Which I suppose then it would be nice to have Riffstation for those times, as I don't have youtube videos to fall back on if I can't figure a chord out.)

Thanks for the suggestions guys!
 

Tmidiman

Member
Messages
4,191
If you have an iOS device try Roland's R-MIX tab. It will allow you to sonically isolate the guitar freqencies. You can then mix the level of the band verses/or the level of the guitar (or what ever instrument you want) to what you want to hear. This allows you to isolate the instrument and either drop out the rest of the band or drop the instrument in the mix.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,270
If you have an iOS device try Roland's R-MIX tab. It will allow you to sonically isolate the guitar freqencies.
Only if no other instrument shares those frequencies, right? What about a second guitar, piano, horns or vocals?
The best that can be done - if the guitar is (as usual) mixed in alongside other instruments or vocals in a stereo track - is to enhance some measure of separation, via a combination of EQ and panning (or phase switching). In the average stereo mix, no instrument can be totally "isolated". Still less in a mono mix of course.

In fact, a well-trained pair of ears is really the best tool for isolating one instrument from a mix, because - especially with many years' experience listening to music recordings - we can pick up on nuances of phrasing, and the shape of the sound over time (attack, decay, envelope), as well as the distinctive timbre of different instruments. We generally know a piano from a guitar (eg), and software would struggle to make that distinction.
I'm sure software could (eventually) be programmed with all the sensitivities necessary to make such judgements (seeing as everything we hear is measurable), but - AFAIK - nothing anywhere near that exists yet.
(Having looked at R-Mix, I doubt it can "isolate" any better than Transcribe or Riffstation, so it would depend on the usability of the interface. In that respect, it looks interesting, possibly more intuitive to use especially if you like working with visual representations of the sound.)
 
Last edited:

Tmidiman

Member
Messages
4,191
Here are a few screen shots of R-MIX tab.

Full song.
Only if no other instrument shares those frequencies, right? What about a second guitar, piano, horns or vocals?
The best that can be done - if the guitar is (as usual) mixed in alongside other instruments or vocals in a stereo track - is to enhance some measure of separation, via a combination of EQ and panning (or phase switching). In the average stereo mix, no instrument can be totally "isolated". Still less in a mono mix of course.

In fact, a well-trained pair of ears is really the best tool for isolating one instrument from a mix, because - especially with many years' experience listening to music recordings - we can pick up on nuances of phrasing, and the shape of the sound over time (attack, decay, envelope), as well as the distinctive timbre of different instruments. We generally know a piano from a guitar (eg), and software would struggle to make that distinction.
I'm sure software could (eventually) be programmed with all the sensitivities necessary to make such judgements (seeing as everything we hear is measurable), but - AFAIK - nothing anywhere near that exists yet.
(Having looked at R-Mix, I doubt it can "isolate" any better than Transcribe or Riffstation, so it would depend on the usability of the interface. In that respect, it looks interesting, possibly more intuitive to use especially if you like working with visual representations of the sound.)
A well trained ear is great, but this software is pretty freakin' cool too. It's just just another EQ. It literally can paint out an instrument or vocal. It's not 1000%, but it's a new take and works better than most isolation hardware/software.

I use Anytune Pro+ to slow down any fast patches for transcription. It also has some nice things for getting better at playing passages. There are a lot of deep features there.

What I like best about these two programs is that they are more tactile and organic than using a mouse to click through a song. Nice that these two program are highly mobile too. You can use them anywhere.
 

Tmidiman

Member
Messages
4,191
To the OP. Here is a demo of R-MIX. This is for iOS and not the PC/Mac version. The cost is more reasonable and and it allows you to draw in what you want or don't want to hear. It's not the best example, but just check it out and see if this is what your looking for.

Again, it's very organic. And you can draw or erase large sections or small points. Even scattered points.


 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,270
[R-Mix] literally can paint out an instrument or vocal.
If it can do that, then so can Transcribe and (probably) Riffstation.

However...
What I like best about these two programs is that they are more tactile and organic than using a mouse to click through a song. Nice that these two program are highly mobile too. You can use them anywhere.
That's where R-Mix will win out, for some anyway - on its interface.
The underlying algorithms are no better than in similar software. (And judging from reviews, R-Mix is limited in other ways.)
Transcribe doesn't have an app version, and yes, it's operated mostly by mouse clicks; but personally I'm happy sitting in front of desktop PC to work. I have no need to use such software on the move or on my phone.
Like you, I will use other software for anything Transcribe can't do.
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,008
yes.
the software comes bundled in a suite including your mind, your desire, motivation & work-ethic.
the hardware includes your brain, ears, heart & hands, your instrument(s).

software is fun, can be useful & very creative, but:
nothing works better than your own ear trained & tuned to hear both the whole & the parts (as they interact unevenly to create that whole) simultaneously.
 
Last edited:






Trending Topics

Top