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QQ SpecWeb Helper App

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

HomerJAU

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I will now post all QQ SpecWeb Helper app info in this thread: (updated for version 1.3 on 2016-3-26)

List of Helper features (on top of SpecWeb features):
  • Option to Over Sample original stereo files (reduces some known artefacts on lower sample rate files) - creates a copy at 24bit 176.4 or 192kHz of the source stereo file used by SpecWeb
  • No need for users to learn the SpecWeb command-line interface. It can all be done from Helper via a easy to use interface
  • Option to Re-sample the MCH output file file back to its original stereo/source sample rate, or leave at above over-sampled rate or save at hi-rez 88.2 or 96kHz
  • Option to create MCH files in the stereo source folder (SpecWeb's default), Save to 'parallel' folder (next to original but new folder renamed with '(upmix)' suffix), or to a User defined folder (all set in Helper Preferences).
  • Add multiple files for conversion by selecting just their Parent folder (all files in that folder are added for conversion - i.e. all files from the album folder)
  • Add multiple folders (as above) for batch conversion of multiple albums (select one at a time but convert all)
  • No limit to the number of files you can add the the 'convert queue' (limited by hard disc space of the output folder's drive)
  • Option to re-tag the MCH files 'Album name' with a user defined suffix (e.g. '(upmix)') to differentiate original stereo album from MCH version in music playing progs (Foobar etc)
  • Helper also tags the MCH files with 'Album Artist'
  • Option to tag the new MCH files with any album art (named: folder.jpg) found in the source (stereo) folder

New Features added in Helper 1.1:

  • Helper now uses parallel processing to do concurrent tasks when using the 'Use Over Sampling' preference setting (conversion times are faster as it Over Samples next file while SpecWeb converts current)
  • Added a SpecWeb INI file editor tool (Open any SpecWeb.ini file and edit. Save or SaveAs to make a copy - there is also a button to reset to Recommend settings)
  • Added a new 'Examples' info in the Preferences to help users visualize/understand the MCH Output file options (where converted files are copied and named)
  • Added a dimer to show total lime to convert all the selected files (shown at end of batch conversion)
  • Helper tags MCH files that don't have tags in the source (stereo) files by looking at the stereo folder name. If the folder name is in this format: ARTIST - ALBUM (note the '-') then Helper splits that into 'artist' and 'album' and tags all MCH files with those names (it also adds a tag for song title by reading the file name and removing leading track numbers)
  • Resample Option of "88.1 or 96kHz" will force a re-sample of MCH files even if source was higher (e.g 192kHz to 96kHz) - even if Oversampling is NOT selected.
  • Added link the SpecWeb's Manual from Helper (INI tool page)

New Features added in Helper 1.2:

  • Added new user Preferences to enable user defined number of parallel tasks (up to twice as fast as previous conversions using 4 tasks on a quad core)
  • Added new command to Oversample only
  • Added new command to Resample only (supports resampling of both stereo and MCH files from its own list)
  • Supports new SpecWeb 1.2
  • Added support for Drag & Drop file addition to queue
  • Added a new Preference to keep the temporary oversampled files during oversampled conversions (default is to delete like previous versions).
  • Added new SpecWeb Play device selection preference

New Feature added in Helper 1.3:

  • Supports new SpecWeb 1.3 (support for new Specweb 1.3 options)


(Helper Options are set in Helper 'Preferences' dialog)

Prerequisites:
Before using Helper please check the two following prerequisite are installed on your target PC: (.NET 4.6.1 is a new requirement for Helper 1.1)

1. To use Helper you must first install the SpecWeb files from the link on first page of the SpecWeb thread. (Helper cannot convert files, its done by SpecWeb)
2. Helper is a Microsoft DotNet application. If you haven’t got the Microsoft .NET runtime 4.6.1 installed then also install this: (if in doubt install it anyway)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/down....aspx?id=49981


How to download and install QQ SpecWeb Helper:

The SpecWeb Helper App (Windows only) can be downloaded from the link below (it's a zip file containing all the Helper installer files), click the small 'download icon' at top when the link below opens):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B67BGVX7nHIld0NHV1lsS2ZnVHM/view?usp=sharing

Now, unzip the Helper files into any folder or on your desktop. There is a 'Setup.exe' file which installs Helper. Double-click on Setup.exe and let it finish. This creates a shortcut to Helper on your desktop and adds Helper to your programs menu.

To update Helper:
(if you already have installed most previous version of Helper): Please delete all previous QQ SpecWeb Helper folders and files. They are no longer needed and follow the download and install instructions above. This applies to versions that where installed by the early 'copy' method. If you installed using the recent Setup.exe method (from 1.1 or later), you may have to uninstall your previous version of Helper.

SpecWeb Helper is free for your enjoyment.

Feel free to post queries/suggestions/bugs etc here (or PM me).

THX
Garry
 
Last edited:

HomerJAU

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Running Helper 1.1:
To run Helper double-click on the 'QQ WEb Helper' shortcut file on your desktop.

Helper 1.1 helps guide you through the setup by disabling anything that cannot be done without setting some mandatory Preferences and directing you to what is next.

First you should use the Preferences button to select the SpecWeb.exe file you installed in the SpecWeb program's 'bin' folder. This allows the Helper to run the SpecWeb.exe to do the MCH conversions.

The following shows the Preference screen after it has updated:

prefs.PNG

There is a Preference above to 'Hide SpecWeb Window' it that pop-up during conversion is annoying. A new 'Donate' button to remind users and allow to donate to SpecWeb development (requested by zeerround the SpecWeb developer) - I am not receiving a dime nor looking for any.


On the Helper main window use the 'Add Folder' button to add all flac files in that folder, Use 'Add Files' to select individual files (or multiple files by using CTRL or SHIFT keys when 'clicking' - usual Windows multi select). You can add as many files/folders as you want.

main.PNG

Click 'Convert' to run the batch conversions. (If you check 'Use Over Sampling' then also ensure you choose your over sampling options in the Preferences dialog - or you can use the recommend defaults)

When converting files that are over-sampled (if option selected), converting to MCH (using the current SpecWeb.ini file settings) and/or re-sampling (if option selected) - Please do not close the Helper window while running. Let it finish. (You can also use the Stop button which stops after it's finished the current file)

So set some preferences (select how/where the MCH files will be copied), select 'album' folder(s) or select some files, click 'Convert' and all current Helper options are used to convert all selected files using SpecWeb.

Over Sampling in Helper:
If you use Helper's 'Use Over Sample' option then conversion to MCH will require more time than SpecWeb alone. Because Helper adds over sampling before and then re-sampling steps at end. In addition, SpecWeb takes longer to process since the over sampled file is larger.

You may like to check the difference between over-sampling and non over-sampling. I (& others) found it resolved some MCH issues in certain files that contain frequencies (like prominent snare drums and types of guitar tuning etc) that creates a swishing effect and/or weird/distorted sounds in the rears.

Configuring SpecWeb:
Configuring SpecWeb is still the same as using SpecWeb alone, except that Helper 1.1 or higher now has a SpecWebi INI file editor. You can even ope an existing SpecWEb.ini file, use the 'Use Recommended Settings' to reset to those values, then save.

Helper13ini.PNG

Helper uses the 'current' SpecWeb.ini file for all SpecWeb's conversion settings, with the same rules of priority (see SpecWeb's manual). So you need to make your SpecWeb conversion settings in the appropriate SpecWeb.ini file, if you have multiple files.

THX
Garry
 
Last edited:

HomerJAU

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(Moved from SpecWeb thread:)

I'm currently working on a new Helper feature that allows users to import a ScecWeb.ini file (SpecWeb's preferences/settings file) and allows easy editing of the settings (Which SpecWeb's Player does now). You then have the option to save to either overwrite the imported ini file or save it to another folder.

SpecWeb supports multiple SecWeb.ini files (allowing for different settings/MCH mixes):
if there is an ini file with same name as current music file in source folder - it uses that (settings per file)
if there is an ini file named SpecWeb.ini in the source folder - it uses that (settings per album)
if no ini file in the source folder - it uses the SpecWeb.ini in the SpecWeb program's bin folder.

The above priority allows users to keep multiple settings (ini) files which allows you to keep settings used for specific mixes. But there is a fair amount of manual edit and file copying required.

So the new Helper feature will help users copy existing ini files, make setting changes and copy to one of the folders above. Basically it's the first step in allowing you to easily manage a library of settings you've used.
 

HomerJAU

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(Moved from SpecWeb thread:)

I don't understand the Preferences part in the helper app.....
Ok. I will write up something. You can pretty such select any options but you must select the SpecWeb.exe file at top.

you will get slightly better results on some files by using an Over Sample option.

the others are mainly about where you want the output MCH files to go.

you can't go wrong really, just try a couple of files initially then a couple of album folders.
 

HomerJAU

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(From SpecWeb thread)

OK, now there's an issue. Helper won't open a folder, gives me an error message. I've tried opening different folders as well as loading tracks...I also rebooted. Ideas? Specweb appears to work fine if a drag and drop, but of course I want to use Helper.

Thanks
What are the error messages? Did you download from the link above?
 

HomerJAU

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(From SpecWeb Thread)

Did a fresh install of both SpecWeb and Helper today. Synced them up, Helper is chugging away.... Difference is, SpecWeb window doesn't open now...where before a window used to pop up to show me that SpecWeb was working. I don't really care as long as Helper is converting, but just curious if this is normal?
This is now normal in Helper.

i will add a new option today to allow users to choose whether to hide or show the SpecWeb pop-up window.

IMO you don't want it to pop up as you can see the progress on the status line at bottom of Helper, plus if you are using your PC for other tasks the ScpecWeb Window interferes with your work.
 

RobJam

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Hi Gary, Yes I always use the freshest links. I just uninstalled Helper completely and reinstalled...it seems to be working fine now. Thanks for the support :) I'm thinking as I re-installed both earlier quite possibly I installed helper first DOH, dunno don't remember. Old age dontchaknow.
 

HomerJAU

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Hi Gary, Yes I always use the freshest links. I just uninstalled Helper completely and reinstalled...it seems to be working fine now. Thanks for the support :) I'm thinking as I re-installed both earlier quite possibly I installed helper first DOH, dunno don't remember. Old age dontchaknow.
Actually the order of install is not important but Helper won't run unless the Microsoft .NET runtime is installed and it won't convert without SpecWeb being installed. So not sure why Helper didn't work first time...

Jon has given me rights for me to admin this thread so I can update the first post with latest version/update info. So always look there as I can ensure that Helper download link is always the latest version.
 

HomerJAU

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I need a volunteer or two to beta test the next Helper (1.1) release (and two of its new features):

New Features:
1. Added a SpecWeb.ini import, edit and save feature (you can save the ini files anywhere, and name them after a specific music file or name them 'SpecWeb.ini'

This feature gives you the ability to use a User Interface to edit an ini file, copy and clone previous SpecWEb.ini files (and save them for future use). You can also 'reset' the data back to SpecWeb's recommended defaults

2. Added a 'Play in SpecWeb' button. You can now play any stereo file in the Helper file list and use SpecWeb's great feature of being able to tweak the settings in real time to hear what the changes are doing to the current file playing. Over and above SpecWeb, Helper allows you to do this to the Over Sampled stereo file, so you can enable/disable Over Sampling, Play the file, tweak the settings, save the ini settings. (and Go to the ini Helper and copy/clone to another folder etc.)

This will be ready soon. I just need to do a bit more testing, in between some domestic tasks...

THX
Garry
 

GOS

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Garry - I"d love to, but I've got a super busy week ahead of me at work. I'm afraid I won't be able to test it to give you proper feedback. :(
 

HomerJAU

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Thanks John. I will PM you a download link this morning. I decided to move the new SpecWeb.ini tool to a new dialog as its not a Helper Preference.
 

HomerJAU

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I'm wondering about features for Helper's next version (post final 1.1 release).

Is there any interest in creating DTS-CD, DVD or Bluray compatible files for burning SpecWeb up-mixes onto disc? I know most are happy with FLAC but anyone need DTS encoded files? Just thinking...

Any other suggestions welcome.

I probably won't start anything new until 1.1 settles in and I've caught up on other domestic tasks and hobbies. (Haven't listened to much music lately) :)
 

skherbeck

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I'm wondering about features for Helper's next version (post final 1.1 release).

Is there any interest in creating DTS-CD, DVD or Bluray compatible files for burning SpecWeb up-mixes onto disc? I know most are happy with FLAC but anyone need DTS encoded files? Just thinking...

Any other suggestions welcome.

I probably won't start anything new until 1.1 settles in and I've caught up on other domestic tasks and hobbies. (Haven't listened to much music lately) :)
I think there are plenty of members who can't easily listen to 5.1 flac who would love to be able to burn directly to some kind of disc!
 

zeerround

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I think there are plenty of members who can't easily listen to 5.1 flac who would love to be able to burn directly to some kind of disc!

I would agree, but just want to point out that with the advent of hdmi it got a lot easier to connect your computer to a home theater receiver. Most graphic cards with hdmi have a multi channel digital sound driver, so you don't need a multi-channel analog sound card, or analog ins on your HT.

But yeah, I would love to see SpecWeb integrated with QQ Helper and/or AudioMuxer to make creation of CD/DVD/AVCHD/BluRay disc images push button easy. I think all the pieces are there. It just needs some work to tie them together.
 

HomerJAU

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I can confirm Helper 1.1 supports supports both SpecWeb 1.1 and 1.0 versions.

The Helper 1.1 INI editor also converts a SpecWeb.ini file version 1.0 to a SpecWeb.ini version 1.1 file. If you first select the 1.1 SpecWeb.exe file in Helper preferences - so Helper knows you are using SpecWeb 1.1 - Then open and save any SpecWeb.ini file it is saved in the new format.
 

HomerJAU

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I would agree, but just want to point out that with the advent of hdmi it got a lot easier to connect your computer to a home theater receiver. Most graphic cards with hdmi have a multi channel digital sound driver, so you don't need a multi-channel analog sound card, or analog ins on your HT.
Agree but for many, just about any PC setup is complicated, let alone managing files and tagging (required by a lot of media organisers and players). Also lots don't want a PC in their listening room, or believe in hi-fi mystique. But once done you'd never go back to disc systems!

But yeah, I would love to see SpecWeb integrated with QQ Helper and/or AudioMuxer to make creation of CD/DVD/AVCHD/BluRay disc images push button easy. I think all the pieces are there. It just needs some work to tie them together.
This looks pretty straight forward, just add Audiomuxer to the chain of automation. Add an album to Helper, convert by SpecWeb and send the MCH album to Audiomuxer to create a disc (one-click)!

I have no doubt more here would jump in if/when we deliver that.
 

HomerJAU

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I have just updated the first post on this thread with details of the new Helper version 1.1 release/download
 
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