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Subject: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Posted by: Sneddy
Date: 7/22/2013 6:24:14 PM

I am a long time SCS purchaser (several versions of Vegas, CD Arch, and Acid over many years). I LOVE these programs! I made a HUGE error in not trying out the software first - I watched the online video eliminating the siren, etc. and expected this software to do magic. WOW was I wrong. I think Sony should never have released SL until average users could do something with it. Vegas, CD Arch, and Acid are feature rich programs where even beginners can get initial good results. I KNOW IT'S MY FAULT FOR NOT TRYING IT FIRST but if I was hired as a business consultant for SCS regarding this less than satisfactory first version, I would at the very least give early adopters a free upgrade or credit to sacrifice the license to purchase other SCS products.

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Doug_Marshall
Date: 7/28/2013 9:53:53 PM

I agree with you on some things. SpectraLayers is absolutely extraordinary in its power to separate a recording into component parts and modify things you want to manipulate in some way. Perhaps, in return for that complex capability, we must sacrifice some user-friendliness and give Sony a bit of a break.

In my case, I found that purchasing the training videos was an absolute necessity and was money extremely well spent. Gary Rebholz did a great job of explaining the software and showing examples of editing tasks - though even with all that material, when you go to do it yourself, you're bound to leave out something and be forced to review the video again. It's that obtuse!

But it's also that brilliant. So I'm both frustrated and amazed simultaneously. I suggest getting the training videos. And be prepared to watch some of them more than once. Work through the procedures until the syntax seems more natural to you. Soon enough, you'll begin to think within this new paradigm and begin to develop your own style with the tools.

That said, I am disappointed at the support we've seen for the product. The update that came in version 1 may have fixed some things but broke others. I bought version 2 and see improvements, although I noticed that the Window Size options now stop at 32,768 instead of 65,536. Believe it or not, that crazy level of resolution in version 1 saved my life with a faint but obnoxious 119 Hz hum in a file: only at that size was the hum clearly visible amid other room noise in the recording. Sorry to see that option go, painfully slow though it was!

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: UKharrie
Date: 8/15/2013 8:58:18 AM

I watched two Webinars, the latest with the Siren was pretty good too, but even after quite a bit of work there was a hint of the siren where it was "removed" - I guess with some extra effort it might approach zero . . . but this is a tall-task and we/The Public have to get used to the process, learn tricks and so on.
Maybe I liken it to painting Christmas cards with your feet, after an accident. You know where the paint should go, but it won't!

I fear SL is outside my price-range and wonder that a cut-down version shouldn't be made available . . . . the purpose being to get practice in the art . . . . in the same way MS platinum is trying to hook us into Vegas Pro. - at least you will know where all the basic features are and could build on that.

My only concern (for Sony, though I shouldn't perhaps), is that I don't see what bits could be removed and still make the program good. Here's a suggestion . . . make the "Studio-version" limited to 5 minutes. Not sure how that would prevent folks cutting an hour-long "nightmare" into 5-min slices . . . but it's a thought.

The Issue for OP is that he has to learn new ways of thinking . . . we've had plenty of time getting used to simple Audio - volume changes, add echo, cut out clicks (or reduce them to 5% so timing remains 100% is my preference) . . . and now we have to get our heads round the frequency/time idea - it's like a box-full of Helmholtz resonators, all jumping about and we can push some of them away . . . . oddly Magical.

I would suggest Sony includes some trial-files in SL - so folks can learn the different tools one by one, rather than be presented with one of "our" recordings where we won't ( yet ), know how to deal with it. This might be part of "Show Me How" - which is a brilliant innovation and one that Sony rather Hides, IMHO.

I suggest Sony coins a new phrase for this idea..."Show me These" - where the Tutorials start with a dodgy sound-clip (maybe with the video - so we understand what it's about . . . this could run in V/MSp or in any Media Player. The successive Tuts get harder as more experience is gained.

If there are any trial copies of SL I'm up for it, but I cannot spend a whole month leaning new tricks, so it has to last longer, since it is a New Thought process.

Finally . . . does it stand-alone? When done; do I import the Audio into Movie Studio platinum and (lip-)sync it up?
...Pretty much as any Foley...

Message last edited on 8/15/2013 9:05:32 AM by UKharrie.
Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Cielspacing
Date: 8/15/2013 12:23:55 PM

I dont think neither of your replies Doug Marshal and UKharrie are coherent with the point the OP, Sneddie is making in this thread; in few words, that SL is a dissapointment to those who bought it, in its first year

Yes, (Dough M.) saying that "agree (...) on some things" and then stating the deepness of what SL is trying to solve.so "in return for that complex capability, we must sacrifice some user-friendliness and give Sony a bit of a break.". Or (UKharrie) saying that "The Issue for OP is that we have to learn new ways of thinking" in order "to get our heads round the frequency/time idea", are both probably correct assertions, but equally missing this thread's point.

As the SL situation stands, SCS initially released V1.0 that it was claimed to be (and was priced accordingly) a full fledged solution for a list of tasks amply promoted by SONY.
After a few months, V1.5 update came out to solve a few bugs, at the cost of breaking some other functions as this forum documents.
Now, not a full year has past, SCS releases V2.0 and charges for the upgrade to its early adopters, without even FIXING the issues V1.5 had brought.

This shows a very disloyal SCS behavior with its SL customer base and...
A Dissapointment... as the OP declares in this thread's title.

Message last edited on 8/15/2013 12:35:46 PM by Cielspacing.
Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Sneddy
Date: 8/26/2013 8:28:52 AM

I appreciate everyone's thoughts on my post. While they would never admit it, I think SCS sees how flawed this release was (especially knowing of Izotopes excellent noise reduction offerings). I also see how a software company shows no flexibility in
offering credit toward the purchase of another product by unregistering the license of a product consumers deem dreadful (like SL in my opinion). I don't think SCS would go Chapter 11 if in this rare case, they gave a free upgrade to SL V1 purchasers (disgruntled or otherwise). In fact it would be a brilliant business decision and one Harvard Business School, Wharton, Sloan, or any other major business school would use as a case study for proper client/customer focus. i'm not holding my breath this will happen.

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Cielspacing
Date: 8/29/2013 1:26:32 PM

" I think SCS sees how flawed this release was " (Sneedy), well lets hope it is not flawed in terms of actual or future functionality. This hope is what probably had propelled the early adopters that bought V1.

What I do certainly agree in, is in the flawed marketing strategies SCS has been using for most of the SL release.
If a company does have a long lasting loyal customer base (Soundforge, Vegas, etc) many of whom, do have needs and functions that the actual offerings available fail to accomplish, then it seems wise to try to develop such innovative software as SL and then to utilize various coherent strategies in order to get this base to adopt it. Obviously having additional marketing push to bring in customers of potentialy interested segments from elsewhere.

However SCS decided instead to charge extra US$200 for an update to the scarce early adopters that actually decided to take the risk and bought and devoted their time attempting to use SL, and this happened when less than a year have passed since its initial launch!!! Oh yes, they gave a U$50 discount on the 1st month...

And what other efforts has SCS made to attract the SF, Acid or Vegas users?... Nothing, except for SF users, yes in this case, for US$400 you upgrade to SF11 plus get SL V2...That means a non-crucial SF upgrade together with a V2 SL, that -of course- you risk to have future yearly US$200 payments for uncertain increases in its functionality.

It does not surprise that this SL forum is far from active... which should be one of the first concerns SCS should have, this way, prospective buyers would be able to appreciate here beforehand, usage modes and real-world applications, apart from the visibility of different configurations. This would also bring priceless information to SL developers.

At the end, if anything SCS -for their own interest- should be giving early adopters additional software, customer care and whatever facilities they are able to come with... until this release get some good level of street or work credibility.

It also would be wise to try to get knowledgeable users from their extensive existing customer base to use and incorporate SL into their tools, by way of selective promotions of various kinds. I would even advise to create a selection process and pick for instance, supporters that have proved be at the forefront in terms of usage or visibility and make them official beta testers.

Until this critical mass is achieved SCS should be very wary, proactive and reactive to what users actually need and express... very different to what SL releases and related actions have shown so far..

I really hope that they change navigation course, because SCS other lines of products -and I would say support too-, are rather excellent.

Message last edited on 8/29/2013 1:40:00 PM by Cielspacing.
Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: bellhop
Date: 8/30/2013 7:42:12 AM

I tried the trial version of 2.0.22. It never started up. It hung permanently at "Loading Plugins/Tools" and had to be eventually shut down with Windows Task Manager. I'd have left it alone longer, but I can't work with that window always on top in the middle of my screen. I'm under extreme deadline pressure, but took a little time in the hope that SpectraLayers could help with a problem that I have. I might even put in some debugging time, but I can't spare it right now.
I like the concept and could really use software like this if it eventually gives me the tools that I need - and actually runs. I have two versions of Sound Forge on two machines and use the heck out of them both. Sound Forge with iZotope plug-ins really does it for me. SpectraLayers would be a nice addition when you eventually get it right.

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Sneddy
Date: 9/2/2013 11:21:13 AM

I appreciate cielspacings and bellhops postings. I just bought Waves WNS noise suppressor and it did a very good job of lessening wind noise in a project I'm working on. WNS is not Cedar Audio but it's also not $$ four figure software.

It could be SL could do this wind suppression. Are there any SL users (either v1 or v2) who have used SL specifically for wind suppression? If yes, any chance for a YT tutorial?

Regarding SCS releasing SL for general use and creating v2 without giving early adopters a free upgrade or a chance to unregister the software for credit on other useful SCS software, I hope they recognize the error they made. It could be they don't want to open the floodgates for disgruntled buyers of future releases of new products.

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: Bax3
Date: 10/17/2013 9:33:31 PM

As far a Sony giving customers a break on update pricing - I very much doubt it. They just proudly announced an "update/upgrade" to Nector - the update for current owners of version 2 is as much as the original was promoted for. That effectively double the cost to 'step up' from Element to the "full version." I have not found anything in Nector I can't do with Ozone 5 ( well there is the "pitch correction" and that sounds really bad - perhaps it works better in the new version. I guess I will never know.

Subject: RE: Spectral Layers - A Disappointment
Reply by: UKharrie
Date: 6/29/2014 8:48:39 AM

It's a fact of Business that Managers fail to communicate with Customers ( er, sooner of later ).
Software is a Business and there is no reason to believe Sony Creative won't forget its customers as long as the sales continue.... there is a possibility they will put a "Bad year" down to World Events and similar, without seeing a TREND that could take more than 5-years to work through.
One only has to recall the slow decline of Print-media when the Internet took over and Retail Shops are still in Denial.

Every day a Manager should look in the mirror and say "Why chose my Software over something else?"
Fact is that folk are attracted by different features and Sellers always try to hit them with "Easy to use" -or- New features . . . when in reality being a bit faster at doing the Core 20% of features, would be appreciated by existing Users. You don't need to Sell existing Users, but still need to KEEP them.

Sales Mangers see "Doing the right thing" as a loss of Income, but what they should see is that they are merely restoring the expectation position when they took the money. I hope SL early-adopters are rewarded - as it is unlikely they will want to remain Buyers.

Curious as it is a no-cost Option and if they'd done that....We here would not have heard about it . . . . Come-on Sony, you're a World-Class Company. . . . . aren't you?

The above is based on what I read in the above Forum Posts and may not reflect reality, which I shall be pleased to ack. - do tell.

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