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#1 2015-02-01 14:33:29

pretzelz
Member
Registered: 2015-02-01

imitone first trials

Hi all, and Evan,

Firstly I want to say, like everyone, I've been waiting years for something which resembled what imitone promised - and from watching the videos and listening to the demo sound clips, I was convinced. As such, I took the plunge and bought the Prime version, but my experiments this evening have left me rather... hmm...

To get to the point, I trialled some very simple vocal phrases (and one spur of the moment more creative vocal phrase off the top of my head) with what seems to work best for me: Pitch bend on, everything else off. (Volume auto adjust on).

I've put the audio and audio/midi together in my daw - taken a screen shot, and rendered the audio for you to hear.

Is there something I'm seriously lacking in my setup? I know I'm not a perfect singer, and I was only using my internal laptop mic (at the tip of the monitor.  I tried using a usb webcam mic too, but both seem to have the same low level 'noise'.  I also trialled singing far away and right up against the microphone. The difference wasn't significant)

Ultimately I really want to be able to do some interesting vocal solos (sure, at half speed is fine). But at present, it looks like I'm a long way from achieving this. My traditional method is to audio record a solo, then just manually transcribe it onto the piano roll. But I could do this much faster than cleaning up the result of using imitone.

(note, I'm trying to remain very positive in this post, as Evan I appreciate you put alot of time and thought into this product, and it may just be me that has it all wrong)

So, audio and a .jpg attached.   :)

imitone_trials.jpg

imitone_trials.mp3

Many thanks Evan and others for reading, listening, and sharing your thoughts...

Last edited by pretzelz (2015-02-03 10:09:53)

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#2 2015-02-01 16:51:39

Yragael
Power Tester
From: Belgium
Registered: 2014-05-30
Website

Re: imitone first trials

Hello, glad to see you here.

First avoid the internal mic from your laptop [the one near the webcam].

I say this because I used it on my laptop one day I was in a rush and too lazy to power on my desktop. After 10 minutes of struggling, I decided to power on the desktop... lol
the level is too weak and even with singing close to it, it is a mess.

low and high notes like in your screenshots may happen but not that often, this is why I suspect the gain [maybe untick the auto volume input adjust in imitone and raise down  the minimum arrow to zero]

I love long notes, you could do this for your first trials. singing long sustained notes and passing form one to the other gently. for scaping cellos with smooth and long attack.
Once you understand how imitone is reacting to your voice, you can raise up the speed of the notes.
Overall it can help you spot when you reach the right note.
I'm not a singer either, like I said in another post the learning curve is something to take in count.

Thanks to imitone, I have to say my skill is increasing, not to the point I will participate to THE VOICE one day... hmm no way...
but at least to a point where I can put my ideas to midi in a matter of a few minutes, not always perfect but with a few editing it is all good.

about microphone, I use a sm58 clone wich looks perfect for imitone. if you got a headphone+mic it could work very good.

The UBBER TIP: Raise a bit the gain and put the mic onto your throat and sing... I do it 85% of the time for whistling and singing, it works like a charm once you spot the right volume input for it [headphones required but not always]
For example with my soundcard, for usual singing, I raise the volume knob to 50%, for throat use I would raise it to 75%. To give you an idea.

the mic onto the throat is excellent, no breathing will interfer with note detection.

I hope these tips will help you.
I'm an user like you, so my post is not THE bible, just my thoughts from my tiny experience with imitone [from V0.5.1a on may 2014]

Best regards


EXTRA NOTE: don't understand what I said like you would take extra care using imitone, NO

Stress it the most, give it intensive session with fast notes and weird babbling like babies. Make it show you its guts.
We are beta testing, Evan needs all info we can give him to make it the most effective voice to midi app in the world, isn't it after all! ;-))

Last edited by Yragael (2015-02-01 17:35:28)

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#3 2015-02-01 19:45:05

Evan
developer
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Website

Re: imitone first trials

Hey, Pretzelz --

Probably issue number one here is the choice of instruments.  Right now I have imitone engineered to track very, very accurately and respond very, very quickly, which means it doesn't take precautions not to play super-brief notes and slide between adjacent ones.  This makes it much more well-suited to control continuous-sounding instruments like winds, brass and strings than stricken and plucked instruments like guitars and pianos which play a loud "bang" with every new note, no matter how short.  I'll be adding a "velocity mode" (probably within the next month) to remedy this, but it isn't finished yet.  I think I'll also be adding a "composer mode" at some point that gives cleaner output, but with higher latency.

The intuitive explanation for that is that the voice is functionally a continuous instrument:  its sound inflects much more like a violin than a piano.

General advice on having a good experience with imitone:  Snap to a musical scale by clicking on imitone's piano keys, and make sure you can hear both your voice and your instrument when you sing.

Lastly, just to be totally sure:  Were you using 0.7?  It came out last night and it's much more responsive than 0.6!

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#4 2015-02-02 14:07:28

pretzelz
Member
Registered: 2015-02-01

Re: imitone first trials

Greetings Evan and Yragael,

Thank you both for your reply and suggestions. With time, I'll get through them and try more out. It would be a dream to be able to sing (at half speed) and have the output pretty accurately transcribed and I appreciate your efforts in trying to get there with it.

So a few quick points for now:

- Yep, imitone 0.7 Prime, seems I bought it on the eve it was released!
- My vst instrument is TruePianos in the DAW
- I've ordered a USB microphone for some initial trials (and will also try holding it to my throat -- but not sure why this is necessary based on the demo videos I saw of some pretty accurate transcribing in noisy areas)
- I haven't yet tried snapping to a musical scale, simply because I can create a complete music track (house) with all original lines, and still not have taken note what key it's in. Will it make a difference? Does it filter out notes it thinks I don't intend to sing?

One thing I also noticed in my playaround yesterday... for the recorded vocal wav clips you see in the screenshot (or hear in the demo) I put them through ReaTune plugin in my daw Reaper, to see what I would get. I have to say, the pitches all seemed to be much more spot on - except that all the pitch gliding in my voice, resulted in a stream of notes.

What would be interesting, is to obtain a short dry vocal audio sample, very much in tune, and recorded on a decent mic. And run that through imitone (using stereomix instead of mic as the input - if possible?) as an example of how best imitone can produce results. Does anyone have one or would like to produce one?

Thanks

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#5 2015-02-02 16:04:44

pretzelz
Member
Registered: 2015-02-01

Re: imitone first trials

hmm, when Echo input is on, my voice sounds like it's coming through at less than 8,000 Khz sample rate, or maybe 8 bit.   Is that intended?

Last edited by pretzelz (2015-02-02 18:09:52)

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#6 2015-02-06 14:48:05

Evan
developer
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Website

Re: imitone first trials

Echo input plays back the audio imitone is analyzing -- for now I downsample imitone's input to 8K to save some CPU in the algorithm, and that's what you're hearing.  I play that instead of the original audio so any resulting distortion can be heard and checked.

Regarding your points:
- Cool, 0.7 is the best for now obviously.
- Pianos are going to be tough until I clean up some of the false positive notes and implement a "non-glissando" mode that cuts down on pitch slides and fluctuations.  (I'm starting to have a pretty good idea how this will work.)  Velocity mode will also help.
- USB cardioid dynamic microphones (like the Rock Band style ones) don't need to be held to the throat and will generally work very well for all pitches as long as you keep them within an inch or two from your mouth.  Higher pitches track well from further away while low vocals can be very distance-sensitive due to the microphone's bass-boosting "proximity effect".
- Scale snapping excludes notes outside of the ones you've enabled, making it easier to play in-key.  I will be adding a function very soon that can guess which scale you're singing in, if that helps.

There's a way to play WAVs directly through imitone, but the process is very finicky as it's not an official feature yet...  (Create a .wav using audacity export WITHOUT SONG METADATA, drop it in imitone's appdata directory with the name "capture.wav", press R in imitone.  The appdata directory can be opened by pressing control-R or cmd-R in imitone.)

What demo are you talking about?  If you mean the trailer on the homepage, that was done with a much older version of the software.

I would be interested to do a formal comparison with ReaTune in time, as it's one of the best real-time software pitch detection systems predating my own.  (Unfortunately it is not well-suited as a controller due to its design.)  If you wanted to do a formal comparison under "ideal" conditions, you might use a song composed of simple sine waves.  For "real" conditions you might be able to find a dry vocal track on FreeMusicArchive or a sounds library or something..?

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#7 2015-02-06 16:37:35

pretzelz
Member
Registered: 2015-02-01

Re: imitone first trials

Hi Evan,

Thanks for the information! I look forward to exploring some of those points further.

At the moment though, it's Friday night, and I've just recorded my first successful riff part with imitone -- and I'm thrilled! Compared to the speed I used to create the equivalent, this was MAGIC!

Like others have reported, my attempts to whistle (at half speed), instead of sing, for my voice, is far more accurate with pitch detection. (my voice is usually too flat) And following a recording, I can clean it up within 20 seconds by:

1. Select all notes - filter show all notes which are tiny - DELETE

2. Select all notes - quantise - 1/16 - (allow notes to be moved left or right but disallow shrink or grow)

3. Change a few mispitched notes by a semi tone

DONE

:):) Brilliant!  And what's more... it was all done through my stock internal laptop MIC!


Evan, I wonder about the idea of including an optional setting which cleans up the feed simply by deleting small likely-mistaken notes (1/32T is what I set in Reaper to clear the 'bits')?  Granted it only takes me 15 seconds to remove them with the filter, but that'd be really cool, if optional!

Keep up the super work!

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#8 2015-02-07 15:02:25

Evan
developer
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Website

Re: imitone first trials

Good to hear you've got it working well for you!  With an internal laptop mic you can get pretty bad tracking on deeper or grittier sounds because the mic's bass pickup is weak.  A cardioid dynamic microphone (like the USB Rock Band one, or a Shure SM58) will track much better.

I'll be working on making imitone's output cleaner.  Removing small notes isn't a great strategy in itself, because I would need to wait that fraction of a second before deciding to trigger one, increasing the latency (though in some cases this may be acceptable).

My main solutions for the near future will be:  Adding a "non-glissando" mode where imitone will only play notes when your pitch is stable and not sliding, and cleaning up the off-notes that appear in higher and lower octaves.

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#9 2015-02-07 15:53:20

pretzelz
Member
Registered: 2015-02-01

Re: imitone first trials

Hi Evan,

Thanks for your reply. It will be exciting to watch your progress continue on the points you've mentioned. Good luck, and I look forward to being able to make some rock solid use of imitone now in my projects :)

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