A media player with waveform view? (foobar2000)
Anyone who has worked with an audio editor like Audacity or Traverso DAW would know that for something normally invisible like sound, a picture really paints a thousand words. Even if you’re the casual soundcloud listener, you know right away from the waveform when a sound will be loud or silent. If you are transcribing or learning a song, scrolling through the waveform is much more intuitive than just looking at the track time. It may also come in handy if you want to quickly inspect the samples in an sfz or kontakt instrument.
Nonetheless, despite its usefulness, many popular media players (e.g. VLC, Windows Media Player) do not have such a feature. After all, a normal person is not likely going to stare at a sound player. Perhaps this is why soundcloud has its waveform view. To keep your attention. Imagine soundcloud using horizontal scrollbars instead. Ew…
As I have been editing tracks and samples recently, I thought that seeing the waveforms of songs I regularly listen to might improve my skills and intuition. Although I can somehow use Audacity for this purpose it is not designed as a player that will go through your play lists. You have to wait a little for it to load a file.
Fortunately, there is an audio player that has this capability, foobar2000. I’ve already been using foobar2000 for its other praised features such as playing an audio file unadulterated. But I haven’t dug into it’s menus and preferences to notice that it has a spectrogram visualization. Foobar’s shipped spectrogram is not exactly what I had in mind though. It’s too quick as it is zoomed into a fraction of a second. For something with a wider view, similar to soundcloud’s visualization, use wave seek bar component instead. It also allows you to jump to different regions of a track, visually, instead of blind trial and error as with most media players.
Did I mention that foobar2000 is an “audio player?”. Yes, we’ve gotten so used to “media players” playing both audio and video, but this is not really necessary. Of course a video player must also be able to play the audio contained in the video file so it is just thoughtful to extend this feature to videos without pictures. But there are audiophile developers who would rather make a great audio player than have something generic for both. And since there is a tight competition with all the good media players out there, chances are, you’ll get one for free.