Audio Surgeon Version 2
Audio Surgeon is the new name (and new version) for what used to be Audio Switch. Audio Surgeon (AS) is an audio file management tool that employs batch processing to allow users to process large numbers of files in a single operation. Audio Surgeon works with most common standard audio file formats. It will also allow you to add video files, but it does not process and save in a video format. When Video files are added it will strip the audio channel and allow this data to be saved in any standard audio format.
Audio Surgeon is available in two models: Standard and Pro. The major differences are that Standard limits you to processing 5,000 files or less in any single operation, it does not open (strip audio from video) and Standard does not change key or tempo, nor does it append to file names.
When a file is opened and analyzed in AS it will display the following information: File path, file name, file type, file size, length (minutes/seconds), ID3 Title, ID3 Artist, ID3 Album, ID3 Year, ID3 Comments, Frequency, Bit Depth, # of Channels, Volume, Track Gain/Loss, Tempo (Bpm), Key, CNS (Camelot number).
AS has the ability to change the key, tempo and loudness of a file. It can also append key or tempo values to the beginning or end of a file name. It can convert amongst different file formats. It can sort, filter and group files. It can locate duplicate files. And lastly it can automatically find, repair, or replace ID3 tags for audio files.
This manual contains all information about Audio Surgeon in text form; use the Training Videos to see demonstrations of common actions and narrated tutorials on the software. If there is a problem which cannot be resolved with the help of these two resources, contact the Help Desk.
The top navigation bar of the User Interface (UI) appears below.
Clicking this button opens a dialog window from where you can browse your computer’s files and folders and select one or more files to add. Select multiple discontinuous files by holding down Ctrl while clicking. Alternatively, holding the Shift key and clicking a first and last file will select all files between these two files. After you completed the selection of files simply click the OPEN button and the selected files will be added to the AS interface.
Also note that within this dialog there is an option to Autoplay the selected file. If this option is enabled, Audio
Surgeon will begin to play the file selected in the dialog window. Disable this feature by unchecking the box. This feature may be useful when you are not certain of the contents of the file. Lastly note the “Files of Type” box allows you to select Audio only or Video only or both.
If you right click the Add File(s) button, a different dialog window opens which allows you to search for a specific file. Click and type in the filename in the search bar at the top right. To the immediately left of this search box, you can change the file path or directory for where to search on your machine.
This button opens a new dialog window which allows users to browse the folder structure on their computer and select one or more folders. In the lower left corner is a checkbox titled “Include all Subfolders”; if this option is not selected, Audio Surgeon will import only files within this folder and ignore any files located in subfolders. If this option is selected, Audio Surgeon will import all files in the folder, including all files nested in any subfolders.
Opening the dropdown menu titled “Choose Files by Type” allows the choice between audio files only, video files only, or both.
Right clicking the Add Folder button opens a search dialog box allowing a search to be conducted by the folder name. This is essentially the same search functionality found in the right clicking of the Add File button described above, except the search is by folder name, not file name.
Import a playlist file from Windows Media Player, iTunes, or any other playlist in the .M3U, .xml, .itl, .wpl or .wmp format. You can select more than one playlist by using your Control key or Shift key and holding it down while clicking on folders.
Clicking this button allows you to browse and select a previously saved Audio Surgeon project and add it to the main interface.
The Save Project button saves the currently in-use list of files and all analyzed audio data currently open. Please note that while ID3 tag data will be saved, those file/song with more than one ID3 tag match (highlighted in blue text) will retain only the first suggested match. All alternative matches will be lost.
This option removes the currently selected file(s) in the main window of the product. This does not delete files from your hard disk. Select more than one file by using either your Control Key or Shift key.
A Processed file is one that has been modified or edited using the Audio Surgeon processing functions (Tab 5). These include changing key, tempo, volume, appending filed names, converting among file formats and Saving ID3 tag changes. Once a file has been processed that text for that file as it appears in the AS UI will turn Red. Selecting this option will remove all such files from the product interface (not from your computer)
This button when clicked will remove all the current files displayed in the main window.
The play button will play and allow you to hear the content of the selected file. If you have more than one file selected it can only play a single file at a time and it will always play the file nearest the top of the UI. After clicking Play, note that there are two options to Stop playback. One is to pause it, which means that when play is resumed it will pick up from where it left off. The second, which is Stop, will reset playback to the beginning of the file.
This button opens the Options window, where various defaults can be set. It contains two tabs. Under the General Settings tab from top to bottom let’s review what appear, starting at the top and proceeding to the bottom
The first items shown are default file locations. These are setup when AS is installed. You may change these locations by clicking the small button with three dots on it – to the far right of the path. This will open a dialog window where you can browse and select an alternative path to use.
The Source Folder path is the location AS uses when adding files, viz. so when you use the Open Files or Folders button this is where it looks by default.
The Destination or Output path is the default path used by AS when it processes files.
The Project path is the location AS uses for saving Project files.
The Additional Options section contains two settings. One is for setting the Autoplay default to On or Off, as it appears in the various dialog windows.
The second setting found herein is the default normalization value used by the program. By default this is set to 90 Db, but it can be changed. Whatever value is designated here is the default value used by the program when it normalizes the volume of files when that function is used. This value can be changed on a 1-time basis in the Tab 3 - Adjustments.
The On-Opening Settings are a list of all of the information which can be displayed in the main user interface. Deselecting a setting not only means it won’t be shown in the main interface, but it also means it will not be calculated. This is important to note because if you are adding thousands of files, deselecting parameters that are not of interest will reduce the time required by AS to complete and display the analysis of file characteristics. All characteristics can be detected and displayed by the simple process of opening them in AS, with three exceptions. These are key, tempo, and loudness. These values must be calculated by using the Analysis button found in Tab 1.
At the bottom we have Audio Quality Settings and Append Settings. The audio quality setting is set to High Quality by default. High Quality provides excellent quality and we recommend that you leave it there. The Extra High Quality will give you slightly better quality, but this setting takes much more CPU power and time. The HQ setting my require 10-20 seconds to process a file, the EHQ setting may require 2-3 minutes per file. Only when processing a small number of files should you consider using this setting and then, only if you have a robust processor (CPU).
The settings on the right-hand side are append settings. Selecting or deselecting these parameters will change the default settings applied in Tab 4 (Append) in the bottom work area of Audio Surgeon.
The GUI Resizing tab lets you adjust the size of Audio Surgeon elements to a preferred size to match your screen. Use the dropdown menu to select an adjustment and click “Apply”. Adjustments which are smaller than 1.0 will decrease the size of the user interface, buttons and text. Adjustments larger than 1.0 will increase or enlarge the size of the UI elements. The settings for resizing are calculated dynamically based upon the screen attached to your computer. If you change your screen you should close and then re-open AS again and this will allow AS to recalculate and determine what resizing values are available on the newly connect monitor.
The More Button provides links to a number of other products sold by TMJ Software
The Help Button found at the top, far right side of the UI, contains the following items.
User Guide: A link to this written document.
Training Videos: A link to a series of training videos for the product.
Help Desk: A link to our full service Help Desk for Audio Surgeon and all TMJ Software products.
Logging: On /OFF - These logs should be turned OFF unless one of our techs ask you turn these on. When on there will be a check mark to the left of this selection.
Show Logs: This opens the folder where the logs are saved for easy access to them.
Deactivate Computer: Selecting this option will delete the license file from the machine and remove that machine from your list of registered machines.
Offline Registration: This opens a dialog used for activating a machine that is NOT connected to the internet.
About Audio Surgeon: This selection shows a small dialog window that shows some basic information about the product, including the exact build number installed on your machine.
The main window displays all open audio/video files and displays all file information in columns. Clicking and dragging on the lines between columns will shrink or expand them. Right click on a selected file to open the data editing menu. Right clicking on the top column header provides two additional choices for resizing the columns.
Most of the file parameters can be ascertained immediately upon adding a file to the UI. These include: file name, file path, file size, file type, bit depth, frequency, channels, bitrate, ID3 Tags and file length. Other parameters must be calculated before they will appear. These include key, tempo, volume, track gain/loss and CNS value. These values will appear once the files have been Analyzed in Tab 1, in the bottom work area.
Users can control which values appear in the main window by selecting default parameters from the Options button. A second way to select parameters is by right clicking anywhere in the main window. This will open a context menu with several options including Show/Hide – and when this is selected the list of available parameters is shown.
This Right Click menu contains several other options which are discussed below:
Edit Meta Data opens a new window and it allows you to make changes to the meta data (ID3 tags) which appear.
Edit Details opens a new window and allows you to edit the key, tempo and BPM values.
Show/Hide was discussed in the above paragraph. The Accept Data for… is related to the ID3 Tags (meta data) and is discussed in the ID3 Tag section which follows below.
ID3 is a metadata container most often used in conjunction with audio file formats. It allows information such as the title, artist, album, track number, and other information about the file to be stored in the file itself. Audio Surgeon display the most important of this ID3 tag data and also has the ability to find missing tag information.
ID3 tag data will be shown immediately upon adding a file to the user interface. When files are Analyzed in Tab 1 in the work area at the bottom, there are 3 options related to ID3 tags that can be selected. Do Not Look Up ID3 Tags, Add ID3 Tags only for files missing such data, and Check, Repair and Replace ID3 tags for all files.
When ID3 tags are found by AS the data will be inserted into the Main Window. If AS finds more than one possible match, which is not uncommon, it will highlight the text in that field in blue. For each file that has blue text you can then choose the Edit Meta Data option from the Right Click menu and that will open an ID3 Tag dialog window that looks like the image to the right. Those fields were there were duplicate matches have a drop down arrow next to them. Clicking this arrow opens a drop down list showing you all of the possible matches. Users can review these matches, select the one they’d like to use and then click the "Use It" button to tell AS that this is the matching data you want to use. Once you have done this for any/all fields with multiple matches and are finished editing the ID3 Tags, click the Save button to save this data and close this dialog window. Remember these changes are NOT made permanent until you process the files in Tab 5.
From the menu that opens when right-clicking in the work area you also have an option to Accept Data as shown in the image to the right, for one, some, or all songs where there are more than one match. While AS displays what it thinks is the best match in the Main Window, it will not always be correct. Using this “Accept Data” option will save you time, especially when you are dealing with a large number of files, however it may not be as accurate.
Once you have reviewed and accepted the ID3 tags for all of the songs, or edited the data for one or more songs, in order for these changes to be permanently saved, the files with changed data MUST be Processed (Tab 5 in the bottom work area).
The area at the bottom of the user interface with the tabs containing blue circular numbers is called the Work Area. It is here that you can select changes to be made to files.
NOTE: If any changes are made using the tools in tabs 1-4, these changes are NOT permanently saved until files are processed in Tab 5.
File analysis is one of the major functions of Audio Surgeon. After a selection of files have been loaded into the program, clicking “File Analysis” causes AS to scan and calculate a files’ volume, BPM, key, and Camelot Number. (A Camelot Number is used in the Camelot Number System, a proprietary key analysis tool used by DJs.) In addition, as discussed above in Section 14, this Analysis Button can also look up, replace and repair ID3 Tag data. These ID3 Tag options are found immediately below the Analysis button. When the Analysis Button is clicked AS will analyze for and display all parameters that are selected and showing in the UI. If you are not interested in one of more of the parameters, you may turn them off. This is described in Section 10 above.
As the Analysis is proceeding data will appear on the screen as it is determined. The data determined during the Analysis process will be lost upon closing the application or removing it from the Main Window. To save the analyzed data associated with each file, use the Save Project button at the top of the UI. Saving as a project will save ALL data on the screen except for ID3 tag data with multiple matches. If file information has not been saved, Audio Surgeon will display an asterisk in the upper left corner of the program window.
In Tab 2 the “All files” option is selected by default, and displays all the files in the currently open window or active project.
The first option shown in Tab 2 is a duplicate finder. Not only can it be used to remove duplicate files from the UI but it can be used to DELETE duplicate audio files found on your machine.
Duplicate searches may be conducted based upon name, file length (min:sec) and tempo. Audio Surgeon’s ability to use unique duplicate matching parameters like tempo or file length means that it is unlikely a false positive (incorrectly identified duplicate) will be found. You can use 1, 2 or all 3 of these parameters. After clicking the Search button, all duplicates detected will be shown.
In the example below file length and BPM were used as parameters. As you can see, though the names are not the same, AS was able to identify duplicates by matching the BPM and song length.
Once duplicates are found as shown above, you have four options. 1) Select the duplicate copies using your mouse while holding the control key down and then tap the Delete key on your keyboard or use the Remove button at the top of the UI. This will remove these files from the UI (but not the source files themselves). 2) Click the Remove Duplicates button on the right side of Tab 2 and AS will automatically remove all duplicates from the interface, leaving only one of copy of any duplicate files in the UI. 3) Using “Delete Selected Duplicates” will permanently delete from AS as well as from your computer, any duplicate files you have selected with your mouse from the duplicates list displayed in AS. Again - this action will permanently delete the source file. 4) When “Automatically Delete Duplicates” is used, this tells AS to automatically delete the duplicate copies of ALL duplicates found on our screen from the source location. When deleting duplicate files automatically, AS deletes the duplicate file which appears FIRST.
It is possible that two files could be identified as duplicates when they are not (false positive) based upon the parameters you use. If you have any doubt or concern about the designation of a duplicate set of files you should select the files one at a time and then click the Play button at the top of the UI and listen to the first few seconds to make a final determination.
When the check box for find duplicates by name is selected the following dialog will open. By default, AS assumes an exact match, however, you can use Inexact matching by clicking the gray toggle for that option. Doing this will turn Exact Match OFF and Inexact Match On.
There are four options for Inexact match.
The first, if selected tells AS to ignore file extensions. So, for example, if you selected this check box, AS would match “song1.mp3” and “song1.wma” as duplicates.
The second is labeled “Robust Match”. This option employs a proprietary algorithm that analysis file names and flags similar names as matches. For example, this option would flag the following different (but similar) file names as matches
08 Help Me.mp3
This option often results in false positives but it does grab similar file names and after identifying them as matches, you can then manually review and determine if indeed they are matches or not.
The third check box is for Prefixes. It tells AS to ignore any text which appears BEFORE a separator value which you enter. For example, if you had files with names like 08-song.mp3 and 02-song.mp3. Selecting this option and inserting or typing in the dash ( - ) as the separator would cause AS to identify these two files as matches.
Lastly, the fourth box is for suffixes or text that appears at the end. An example might be file names like SongABC_1 and SongABC_12. Selecting this option and inserting or typing in the underscore ( _ ) as the separator would cause AS to identify these two files as matches.
Lastly in concluding this section, it should be noted that you can select 1, 2, 3 or all of these Inexact Match parameters and apply them at the same time.
The remaining three options in Tab 1 or for sorting, grouping or identifying files of like kind.
These options are to search: by key, by Camelot Number, and by Tempo (BPM). To search by key or by Camelot Number, select the respective radio button, click the key/Camelot Number box (it will initially say “None”), select the desired key(s) or Camelot Number(s) in the pop-up window, and select “OK”. Then hit “Search”.
To search for files by BPM, select the radio button, enter the desired BPM, and select the desired range, between +/-1 and +/-25 (for example, choosing 110 BPM and +/- 20 will return all files in the project between 90 and 130 BPM). To enter BPM, either click the up/down arrow keys, or click and type a value directly into the box. To choose the BPM range, click the dropdown menu and select the desired range. Remember to click “Search” to show the results.
To return to the complete list of files in the project at any time, select “All Files” again.
Once you have grouped or identified a series of files, you can then proceed to adjust volume, key or tempo of these files (Tab 3) or you can append to the file names (Tab 4). If you don’t want to do either of these functions you can click the Arrow with the text label to the far right side of the Tab 1 work area and jump to Tab 5 to process these files. Review Section 20 – Tab 5 for detailed instructions on the options available here to process and save changes to files.
The Adjustments tab contains tools to modify files by key, by tempo and/or by volume. Any combination of operations can be chosen. To prevent a particular change from being made, simply turn it off using the radio buttons (all adjustments are off by default).
To change the key of all selected file(s), select “Half Step” and choose the number of half steps by which to transpose the file(s). Formant Preservation is an additional setting that should be used when changing the key of songs that contain vocals. This setting eliminates the munchkin or chipmunk effect distortion that might otherwise occur. To use this tool check the “Apply Formant Preservation” box, or uncheck it to turn it off (on by default).
To change the tempo of all selected file(s), choose one of three options from the menu. Change the tempo of all files to a given BPM, add or subtract a given BPM value to/from all files’ existing tempo, or apply a tempo change to all files by a given percentage, with 100% being the pre-existing tempo.
To change the values for any of these options, either click on the up/down arrow keys or click and type a value directly into the box.
Audio Surgeon contains a function to normalize the volume of all files in a selection. Selecting this will increase the volume of softer song and decreasing the volume of louder songs, for a more uniform playback experience. The default value used by AS is 90 dB. You are free to change this default value from the Options Button, or you may simply change this setting in Tab 3. Although AS employs a limiter to reduce clipping problems, it is possible that increasing the volume of files may cause clipping to occur, so be cautious about adding volume to files.
As with all functions, the above changes will not be applied until the selected files within AS are processed in Tab 5.
The Append Settings tab is used to add information to the filenames of audio files, in order to make searching a list of files or songs easier. Files can be tagged by adding BPM, Key, Camelot Number, or by any combination of the three. Choose to put this information at the beginning of the file name, at the end of the file name, or a combination of the two, using the radio button. As with all functions, the above changes will not be applied until the selected files within AS are processed in Tab 5.
The Process Settings tab is used to manage the settings Audio Surgeon will use to process files. Audio files can be converted into different formats and bit rates using the settings in this tab. You can also over-ride the default “Save To” or output file location. To the right of these basic settings are additional settings that can also be applied.
Select an output format to convert audio files, or keep the original file format (Keep as is). If a different format is selected, some file formats will require you to choose a bitrate from the menu (the format standard bit rate is chosen by default; changing this value is optional). Use the [...] button to the right of the “Save to Folder” button to choose a new location to save the processed files. The default location is the Output subfolder within the Audio Surgeon main folder created at the time the program was installed on your machine. To change this default folder, select a new location using the Options button in the top menu of AS. If a new folder is selected using the [...] button it will, by default appear in the Save to Folder path found in Tab 5 - Processing.
Below is a description of the additional settings:
If the “Save to Same Folder as Source” checkbox is checked (unchecked by default), Audio Surgeon will send all processed files back to the original folders they were located in. If the new file has the same name/file type as the original file, AS will append the following to the end of the file name “-Copy 00001”
If the “Delete Original Files” button is checked (unchecked by default), Audio Surgeon will not only save the new files it creates, but it will DELETE the original files from the hard disk of your computer. NOTE: These deleted files are permanent gone and are not recoverable.
If both “Save to Same Folder as Source” and “Delete Original Files” are checked, Audio Surgeon will delete the original file and replace it with the newly created file, thereby eliminating the creation of any duplicate files.
Duplicate Folder Structure (DFS) Option
This setting will create an EXACT duplicate folder structure of the Top Level Folder you designate, the only exception is that the top level folder of this newly created files structure will have the word “_dup” appended to it. See example to the right.
There are many examples where this duplicate feature may be useful. For example, let’s say you have 10,000 songs in your library on your phone, and you’d like to convert them and have them all in the same file format (mp3). Moreover, some of these songs don’t have ID3 tags (song title, album, artist, etc.) and you’d like to add this data. Well AS can do all of this for you. And it can do this and keep your song folder structure intact as it currently exists on your phone.
For example, in the graphic to the right, if the Music folder (in blue) were selected as the top level folder, AS would create the entire folder structure (folders and subfolders) seen in this image with but with the exception that this second (new) folder structure would be given the Top Level name of “Music_dup”. Everything inside of this Top Level name would be identical. And, as AS processes files it will put the newly processed files inside of the same folder/subfolder as it was in the original.
This setting of Create Duplicate Folder Structure creates a new set of identical folders with the same files in them (however these files have been changed according to your selected settings – in the present example, they would have ID3 tags and be saved in a mp3 format). This allows you to have both the newly created files and the original files on your computer at the same time - in case you do need to roll back. Though AS should handle this operation easily, anytime you are processing a large numbers of files, it is only prudent that you should keep a back up for some period of time, in case you need to roll back the changes.
When you select this DFS option, AS will open a message window and ask if you want to copy all non-audio files to the duplicate folders. If you do, select yes. This may be useful if the folders contain album thumbnails used by your audio player or iTunes or other players.
After selecting Yes or No, AS will then prompt you to select a Top Level Folder. This is the folder to which AS will append the word “_dup” and it is the folder inside of which AS will create the exact duplicate set of folders and subfolders as now exist. AS will prompt you with the message window shown to the right – to remind you to do that. Use the Output path button on the left side of Tab 5 to browser your computer and select the Top Level Folder.
Once you have selected the Top Level Folder you are done, all that remains is for you to select the Process button for AS to create this structure and process your files
In closing, it is important to note that if you plan on using this Create Duplicate Folder structure option, you should only Add Files/Folders to AS from a single top level folder. To be clear, in the above example we were adding files from the Top Level folder “Music”. However, if you have files loaded into AS from folder or subfolders that are not found in the Top Level Folder Music – and you process all of these files at the same time using the Duplicate Folder settings, AS will not know what to do with files outside of your Top Level Folder. In that case AS will open a dialog and ask you what you want to do with this files that are found OUTSIDE of your designated Top Level Folder.
Finally, select the “File Processing” button to apply all changes that you have designated to be made to files in tabs between tabs 3-5 to have these changes applied and made permanent. If a large number (1,000’s) of files are selected, the Processing Operation may take hours. The time it takes will depend upon the settings you have selected within AS, as well as your computer’s resources, principally CPU and Memory.
The following is a list of keyboard shortcuts that can are recognized by Audio Surgeon. On Mac machines, you will use your Command key rather than the control key to activate these same shortcuts.
Ctrl-A “select all” in main window.
Delete key = Delete any selected files from main window
Shift + A = Open Add File Dialog
Shift + F = Open Add Folder Dialog
Shift + P = Open Add Playslist dialog
Shift + O = Open, Open Project Dialog
Shift + S = Open, Save Project Dialog
Shift + R = Remove Selected Files
Control + P = Remove Processed Files
Control + R = Remove All Files
Space Bar = Start/Stop playback of selected file
Control + F = Start File Analysis-okay
Control+ Shift + F = Start File Processing
Shift + M = Accept ID3 Data for Selected files
Control + Shift + M = Select ID3 Tags for ALL songs
Escape = Stop Importing of Files