4 suggestions: Feedback option in Help menu; sub-folders in Plugins folder; default effects preview length; preview effect with & bypass

Hello. I have the following 4 suggestions. I recently started using Audacity again after stopping using it a long time ago because of oddball quirks that made it too difficult in comparison to what was a good solid program that remained a favorite, and also my favorite program has become too old to stay with that has regularly beaten out other audio programs but it is malfunctioning by changing the length of MP3 files.

  1. Add an option in the Help Menu that is for giving feedback & making suggestions, and this option would be separate from people using the message forum to ask other users for help, because the purpose of what I’m writing about isn’t to get help from other users since no help is being needed or being asked for but instead it’s to report things to the programmers. This option could bring up a window with 4 fields:
    A) Title/Summary
    B) Dropdown list of 2 options: suggestion/Feedback or a bug/malfunction/error/crash
    C) Drop-down list of categories or areas of Audacity, for the user to choose what area/aspect they are writing about. For examples: the menus, a particular window or a particular dialog that displays after selecting a menu option
    D) Their feedback or what they’re suggesting.

  1. Currently, the folder “Plugins” inside the folder where Audacity is intalled, is a big huge collection of plugin files. It is also a where a user can put plugin files when adding a new plugin to Audacity. I myself will never use a folder in Program Files to put my plugins because Audacity is using these plugins and I want the plugin files to be more organized with the program that is using them so I put them in Audacity’s own Plugins folder; only if I had multiple audio programs using plugins would I use a centralized plugin folder. My suggestion is to allow the user to create sub-folders in the Plugins folder, and those folder names to display in the menu “Effects” with the name of each effect displaying in the Effects menu under the name of each folder. Allowing for sub-folders would make it much more organized, for example by category, and also simpler to find a particular Plugin file instead of having to look through a very long list and having to remember the filename or at least a part of it.

  1. In “Preferences, Playback”, there is an option called “Effects Preview”, for typing in how many seconds that an effect’s changes to the audio will be played so you can know whether or not the settings you’re using for the effect are good enough or not. This setting should be deleted, just erased from existence and not shown anymore, and instead the number of seconds used for the preview should come from the length of the selection itself. If the user hasn’t selected any audio then the number of seconds that the effects preview dialog uses should be the length of the audio in its entirety. It doesn’t matter how long or how ridiculous it would be to think that someone would listen to a preview for however long an audio file/selection is, because from the programming viewpoint it’s still just a number of seconds, whether it be a small number or large number, it doesn’t matter. It’s still just a number fed to a computer programming algorithm. Erasing that setting from the “Preferences, Playback window” and using the number of seconds of selected audio (or the entire length of the audio), makes it unnecessary for the person to have to react to the confusion they have and to have to do a Google search about why the preview length is so short and basically useless for determining whether or not their chosen effect’s settings are good enough. I had to do a Google search because it made absolutely no sense to me why only 6 seconds was being previewed, no sense whatsoever, but then to find out there’s a setting that has to be manually set by the user, makes even less sense, which makes total sense as to why the possibility had never ever occured to me to think there’s a setting in the Preferences.

  1. In the dialogs for all of the effects, have an “Off/On” button or “Bypass/Preview” button. It is very helpful to listen to a “before/after comparison” or “with/without comparison”, and sometimes it’s more than just helpful but it’s necessary. The way it is now, you have to apply an effect and then do Undo/Redo to listen to the difference. Or maybe a copy-and-paste of the audio selection to a new window and do the effect on the pasted portion in the new window, then go back and forth between the two windows for listening to the comparison. Instead, using an “Effect Off/On” button or “Effect Bypass/Preview” button, that task of pasting into a new window and switching between the two windows can be mimicked/duplicated inside memory and transparent to the user. Inside memory using variables, there would 2 audio clips, the original and the modified, and both are the same length, and the playback location is being tracked while it’s being played. This playback location would continue to be tracked as the user switched between the original and the modified (i.e., “Off/On” or “Bypass/Preview”). And if necessary from the programming standpoint, both of these clips could be treated as files instead of selected portions.

A few milliseconds of silence is added when you make (or re-make, re-export) an MP3. Audacity will do that too. (LAME FAQ)

Some effects require multiple passes over the same audio. When used on a long selection, that could cause a long delay before the preview starts to play. The idea of a “preview” is that it gives you a quick look at what the effect will do without having to wait for the entire selection to be processed.

Thanks for the feedback!

  1. isn’t practical to implement as it technically is a form you can submit personal information to, so to comply with COPPA and GDPR, we’d need to raise the minimum age of Audacity to 13+.
  2. Audacity generally finds plugins if they’re installed to the default directories, the default being something each plugin standard (VST3, LV2, …) specifies somewhere. Installing plugins - Audacity Support has a list of what’s what. If you’re working with raw .dll files, rather than installers, this can be a bit cumbersome, I agree. We want to give you an option to specify a folder in which you typically store your stuff sometime in the future so that you can manually tell Audacity where to look for plugins.
  3. Ideally, we’d want to transition all effects towards being usable as realtime effects. All plugins already are, and if you use them via the effects button for each track, you’ll see that there is no more preview and things just sound like whatever effect you have.
    As for the previews, I agree that having a setting for that is a bit strange and I’d like to move that to inside the effect window one day. Having a time limitation unfortunately is technically necessary for some effects that need to work with the entire track at once.
  4. The realtime effects have exactly that. You may want to look into Using realtime effects - Audacity Support