User Interface

I know, Audectras user interface can be a bit confusing at first glance. This guide will help you to understand the key elements of the graphical user interface.

Dashboard Tab

After Audectra has finished loading during the splash screen, the Dashboard will present itself with real-time measurements to you.

3D Visualization

On top of the dashboard is a real-time 3D spectrogram visualization. Here you can see a small window of the frequency spectrum, where the frequency increases from the left side to the right side. The height of the pillars indicates the strength in the corresponding frequency bin.

Beat Detection

Wondering how Audectras beat detection algorithm catches up with your currently playing song? This is where you can take a look! The beat rate is presented in the lower gauge and the algorithm’s confidence in the upper gauge on the left hand side of the dashboard.

Features

On the dashboard you can see a few of Audectras key audio features represented in gauges and detected and calculated in real-time.

Performance

Keep in mind, that Audectra is performing real-time calculations on your audio stream, updating your effect settings according to your configured bindings and rendering your projects accordingly. I admit, there is tons of magic going on under the hood. However, if you want to know how well Audectra is performing, you can take a look at the right hand side of the dashboard, where you can find a gauge for the core load and one for the render load. The core load does not indicate the CPU usage of Audectra, but the load of Audectras multi-threaded core, where the real-time calculations are performed. Analogously the render load shows you the rendering load of your currently selected project in the projects tab.

Clients Tab

The client tab allows you to manage all connected clients, where each client can have multiple channels.

On the left hand side you can see the client/channel list and on the right hand side a configuration summary of the currently selected client.

Client List

The client list shows you all connected clients, where each expandable node in the tree shows the name of the client. To view the channels of a client, simply expand the corresponding node. Audectra will save your client configurations for the next start.

Add a Client

To add a new client simply click the “+” button above the client list, which opens the client wizard below.

Rename a Client

To rename a client you can either click on the client name of the selected client or press the F2-Key on the selected client, enter the desired name and press the Enter-Key.

Remove a Client

to remove a client simply select the client you want to remove and click on the “-” button above the client list.

Client Wizard

The client wizard allows you to easily configure a new client. The first page of the wizard lets you choose the connection settings for your new client.

After clicking “Next” you will be able to configure the channels of the new client. To add a new channel, click the “+” button above the channel list, and the “-” button to remove the currently selected channel. On the right side of this page you are able to choose the size of the currently selected channel. The minimum size is 1×1, which corresponds to a simple non-addressable RGB-Strip.

The last page of the client wizard shows you a summary of your configuration for the new client. Hitting the “Finish” button will add the new client to the client list. If you want to change the configuration, you can go back by clicking on the “Back” button.

Projects Tab

In the project tab of Audectra you are able to manage multiple rendering projects.

On the left hand side you can see the list of open projects and on the right hand side a render preview and project settings of the currently selected project. The frame rate of the currently selected project is shown on the left side above the render preview.

Project List

Here you can see all your open projects, where each root node of the tree corresponds to one project labeled after the projects name. The child nodes show the currently active render patches of each project, allowing you to see where the projects render is output at one glance.

Add a new Project

To add a new project, you can either click the “+” button above the project list, or right click on the client list and select “New”. This opens the project wizard, which is described below.

Rename a project

To rename a project you can either click on the project name of the selected project or press the F2-Key on the selected project, enter the desired name and press the Enter-Key.

Save/Load a Project

To save a project, you have to select the project you want to save, right click on it and select “Save”. This will open a file dialog, where you can specify where you want to save your project.

To load a previously saved project, right click on the project list and select load. This will open a file dialog, where you can select the project file you want to load.

Enable/Disable a Project

To disable a project, you have to select the project you want to disable, right click on it and select “Disable”. This will stop the rendering of the project. Analogously you can enable it again be selecting “Enable” in the context menu.

Add/Edit a Patch

To add a new patch configuration to the selected project, right click on it and select “Patch”. This will open the patching wizard described below.

To edit a patch configuration, you have to select the patch you want to edit in the project list (under the projects root node), right click on it and select “Patch”. This will open the patching wizard with the current patch configuration loaded.

Close a Project

To close a project, you have to select the project you want to close, right click on it and select “Close”. This will close the project and remove it from the project list. Remember to save the project before closing it!

Project Render Preview

Here you can see the latest render of your currently selected project.

Project Settings

Configure the target frame rate and total brightness of your currently selected project here.

Project Wizard

The project wizard helps you in creating a new project. First you need to specify the project type – do you want to create a single-pixel project for a non-addressable RGB Strip or a multi-pixel project for strips/panels with addressable pixels.

If you choose the multi-pixel project, the project wizard asks you if you want a strip or a panel project. A multi-pixel strip project limits the height dimension to 1 in the next step.

In the next page you can specify the dimensions of your project. Keep in mind that Audectra allows you to chop the overall project render into multiple patches and thus multiple clients/channels later on.

After clicking “Next” the wizard presents you the summary of your project configuration. You can go back and correct the configuration by clicking the “Back” button.

After clicking the “Finish” button, you will see a new project in your project list, which you can rename or patch to your liking.

Patching Wizard

The patching wizard allows you to easily patch up your projects output render into several clients/channels – for example, if you want to build a larger panel with multiple smaller panels. The first thing you need to specify for this new render patch is which client/channel you want it to be sent on each frame. The list on the left side shows you all channels, which aren’t yet occupied by any other project or patch.

After selecting the right channel and clicking on “Next”, the wizard will ask you to specify what kind of patch you want it to apply for you. This depends on your addressable panel/strip configuration. If your addressable panel consists of WS2812B LEDs, which are connected in snake lines and the first pixel starts on the top left side for example, then you have to select “Snakelines – Top Left” in the list on the left hand side. On the right hand side the wizard shows you a small illustration of your currently selected patching mode.

Click “Next” if you have selected the right patching mode for your target. On the next page you will be asked to position your new render patch correctly on the projects output render. You can do so easily by changing the x- and y- coordinates on the left side of the page. The wizard will help you in positioning your render patches by visualizing your project’s patch configuration on the right side of the page. Each pixel of your projects output render is symbolized by a little square. For each square, its color indicates

  • if the pixel is not patched (gray)
  • if the pixel is already patched (dark green)
  • if the pixel will be covered in your new patch (lime green)
  • if your patches overlap (dark red).

If you are happy with the position of your new render patch click “Next”, which will lead you to a small summary of your selections.

You can always go back to previous pages and alter your configuration by clicking “Back”. Otherwise, if you are happy with the configuration for your render patch, click “Finish”.

States Tab

Here you can create and modify all states and state transitions within the project you’ve selected in the projects tab.

States List

On the left side you can see a list of all states in your selected project. The currently active state is marked green.

Add a State

Simply click the “+” button on top of the states list to add a new state to your project.

Rename a State

To rename a state you can either click on the name of the selected state or press the F2-Key on the selected state, enter the desired name and press the Enter-Key.

Remove a State

To remove the selected state, simply click the “-” button above the states list.

Manually change State

You can manually change to the selected state by clicking on the “*” button above the states list.

Transition Table

The table on the right side shows all transitions to and from your currently selected state. Transitions, which origin from your currently selected state are marked with ids.

Add a Transition

You can add a new transition by clicking the “Add” button below the transitions table. This opens a little wizard, where you can specify if you want to add a transition from or to your currently active state.

In case you selected “To State”, clicking next allows you to choose the state to which you want to add a new transition to. In case you selected “From States” you can specify multiple states where you want to add a new transition to your currently selected state. 

Click the “Finish” button to add the new transitions.

Modify a Transition Condition

Click the “Modify” button to open the expression editor for your currently selected transition. The expression editor is an extremely powerful tool, allowing you to fine-tune your transition conditions to perfectly fit your purpose.

The border surrounding the input box indicates, if your expression can be compiled (green) or not (red). You can only save expressions, which can be compiled. Keep in mind, that your expression needs to return a Boolean value – true or false. When your transition condition is true, it fires and triggers a change of state.

Additionally to the functions of the System.Math library, you can use all functions listed under “Functions”. Select the “Functions” category on the left side to get a list of all supported functions. Click on a function in the middle to get a description on the right side.

Tip: You can select and modify edit transitions conditions at once, by selecting multiple transitions while pressing the CTRL-Key, and clicking on the “Edit” button. The new transition condition will then be applied to all your selected transitions at once, if you click the “OK” button.

Remove a Transition

Remove the selected transition by clicking the “Remove” button below the transitions table.

Layers Tab

Here you can combine various effect layers with configurable blending and opacity options together to create your personal visualizations. The layer configuration you see in this tab corresponds to the project you’ve selected in the projects above.

On the left hand side you see the render of your currently selected layer in the layer list on the left side. Above this render you see the measured frames per second, the blending and opacity options of the currently selected layer. On the right hand side above the layer list is a preview of the projects output render, which results from your layer configurations.

Layer List

The layer list shows you all layers in your project, which you have currently selected in the project tab.

Add a Layer

To add a new layer, click on the “+” button below the layer list and select the effect you want to add to your layer list. New layers will always be added on top of your layer configuration.

Rename a Layer

To rename a layer you can either click on the name of the selected layer or press the F2-Key on the selected layer, enter the desired name and press the Enter-Key.

Remove a Layer

To remove the currently selected layer, simply click on the “-” button below the layer list.

Move Layer up/down

To move your currently selected layer up or down, simply press the “CTRL + UP” or “CTRL + DOWN” keys on your keyboard.

Enable/Disable a Layer

You can easily enable or disable a layer by clicking the checkbox beside the layer name in the layer list. This will exclude the layer from rendering.

Layer Settings

Access the settings of your currently selected layer by clicking the “LS” button below the layer list. This will open a side panel beside Audectras main window with configuration options. In this example, you can change the blob effects color, size and position on the layer.

The configuration options you can see on this side panel differ from layer to layer (or effect to effect). Sometimes you might need to navigate through multiple pages of options for your selected layer. There are two buttons on the button of the side panel for this navigation purpose.

Bindings & Triggers

Audectra gives you a very powerful feature, allowing you to bind various layer settings with real-time processed music features or to use them to setup a custom trigger. This allows you to bind the intensity of the fire effect to the signal intensity music or trigger a new particle on each beat, for example. The possibilities are endless, and since you are even able to create your own effects for Audectra, you can make your music visualization dreams come true!

Bindable Values

To bind a layer setting to a music feature, you have to click on the “Bind” button beside the setting you want to bind. This opens the expression editor for the value layer setting, which you can see below. Note that not all layer settings are bindable.

The border surrounding the input box indicates, if your expression can be compiled (green) or not (red). You can only save expressions, which can be compiled. Keep in mind, that your expression needs to return a value between 0 and 1. Use the graph at the bottom of the expression editor, which gets evaluated in real-time, to fine-tune your expression.

Additionally to the functions of the System.Math library, you can use all functions listed under “Functions”. Select the “Functions” category on the left side to get a list of all supported functions. Click on a function in the middle to get a description on the right side. Analogously you can take a look at all available music features in the “Fields” category.

To activate a binding, simply right click on the “Bind” button. Note, that while a binding is active, you are not able to change the bound layer setting manually. To remove an active layer setting binding, simply right click on the “Bind” button. The color of the bind button indicates, if the binding is active (green) or inactive (red).

Bindable Triggers

To open the expression editor for a trigger condition, simply click on the “Bind” button beside a “Trigger” button in the layer settings side panel.

Create your trigger condition by writing an expression, analogously to the bindalbe values above. However, keep in mind, that a trigger condition needs to return a Boolean value – true or false.

To activate a binding, simply right click on the “Bind” button. Note, that while a binding is active, you are not able to change the bound layer setting manually. Note, that you cannot manually trigger a bound trigger. The color of the bind button indicates, if the binding is active (green) or inactive (red).

Settings Tab

The general settings area can be reached by clicking on the second icon on the right sidebar. These settings are applied to all clients.

Audio Device

Here you can set the Audio Output Device you want Audectra to capture from. Your default Audio Output Device is selected automatically by default, or when clicking on the “Default” button beside.

Hue Setup

Setup your Philips Hue bridge by clicking the “Hue Setup” button and following the instructions on screen. You only need to do this once, Audectra saves the acquired bridge configuration persistently.

Extensions

Click the “Extensions” button to open the following window, showing you the status of all effect extensions. If there is an error with one extension, you can look it up here.

Pressing the “Refresh” button will look for modified or new extensions, compile and dynamically link them in for you on the fly. These changes only apply to new instances of the corresponding extension.

Automatic Updates

Audectra checks for new updates on startup and notifies you if there is a new version available for download. If you agree, it downloads and starts installation process for you, making it a lot more comfortable to keep Audectra up-to-date. If, for whatever reason, you don’t like this feature, you can easily disable it by un-checking the “Automatically check for updates” checkbox. You can also trigger Audectra to check for updates manually by pressing the “Update Now” button.

License Activation

The License Tab gives you a quick overview of your purchased license, including information like the product version and its expiration date. If you are using the Basic version of Audectra, then you will be able to upgrade it by providing the product key, which you get with your invoice. Just simply copy and paste your purchased key into one of the text fields below, click activate and wait for a message box (0.5 – 2 seconds). Please note, that Audectra needs an internet connection for activation (and only for activation).

User Interface of v1.5.1

Client Settings

Audectra starts up with the client settings open. Alternatively you can always switch to the client settings by clicking on the first button on the right sidebar.

This client settings area includes the client list, history graphs and configuration tabs. These elements will be further explained in the following sections.

Client List

The client list contains all connected clients. Each client can be enabled or disabled by simply checking or un-checking the checkbox on the left side of each client entry.

By selecting one of the entries in the client list, Audectra will automatically show you its configuration on the right hand side. Additionally, the history graphs will automatically attach to your selected client. If you want to remove the currently selected client, simply click on the “-” button and Audectra will take care of the rest. If, on the other hand, you want to manually add a client to the list, then just click on the “+” button above the list, which will popup a little dropdown list, where you can click on the client type you want to add (like “Serial” for example).

History Graphs

The history graphs are located above the client setting tabs on the right side. These graphs show you, from left to right, the past highs, mids and bass values after applying the current client configuration.

These graphs are extremely valuable for fine tuning your Trigger/Divider settings, as they get updated in real-time. For this purpose, the graphs will automatically be attached to your currently selected client from the list above.

General Settings Tab

This tab shows you detailed information about the currently selected client. Here you can find the ID, client type, connection address, firmware version and hardware version of the selected client.

Additionally, you are able to change the overall brightness of this client by adjusting the slider in the middle. On the bottom part of this tab, you are able to assign a mode to the selected client. The available modes will be described in the following. Clicking the “Reset” button on the top right corner of this tab allows to easily reset the configuration of this client to default values.

None Mode

Checking “None” in the Mode Selection will stop all active modes and reset the color back to black.

Static Color Mode

The Static Color Mode allows you to select your desired color, which won’t change unless you change the Mode, select a different color or close Audectra. Your selected color will be saved.

By clicking the colored square right next to the Static Color Mode, the color selection dialog opens and allows you to exactly select or specify the color.

Band Controlled Mode

In Band Controlled Mode, Audectra splits your audio output in the frequency domain into three sub bands where the intensity of each band is calculated and, depending on your set Color Assignments in the Settings window, combined into a color.

The default mapping between frequency sub band and color is:

  • Low frequencies: Blue
  • Middle frequencies: Green
  • High frequencies: Red

These three colors combine into one RGB Color which will be sent to the controller.

Intensity Controlled Mode

In this mode, the color is calculated based on the overall intensity of your audio output, ranging from a calm blue to an intense red.

Beat Controlled Mode

When this mode is active, Audectra calculates the best matching BPM value and perfectly aligns it with your audio output. Due to our complex algorithms, that allow us to detect and align beats in real time, this mode takes a bit more system resources than the other modes.

Our Algorithms need about 3.5 seconds to adapt to your audio output and have a refresh time of 2.5 seconds.

Combined Mode

Audectra’s Combined Mode automatically switches between the Music Controlled and Beat Controlled Mode, depending on the probability of the calculated BPM matching your audio output. Which means, Music Controlled Mode for the “chilling” parts of your songs (commonly the parts where our Beat Detection Algorithms get confused) and Beat Controlled Mode whenever the beats kick in!

Rainbow Sweep Mode

This Audectra Mode, like the Static Color Mode, does not depend on your audio output. It slowly fades between red, green and blue, creating an relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.

Trig/Div Settings Tab

With the Trigger Level and Divider you are able to customize your experience with Audectra for each frequency area (Bass, Mids, and Highs).

The Trigger Level specifies the minimum intensity of a frequency area, which your Audio Output has to reach to be included in the calculation. The Divider divides the outcome of the calculation by your specified Divider.By modifying both parameters you are able to set the sensitivity of each frequency area to your liking.

Assignments Tab

Here you are able to choose your desired color assignments for the Band Controlled Mode. The default color assignments are:

  • Low frequencies: Blue
  • Middle frequencies: Green
  • High frequencies: Red

You are also able to choose a custom color for each band, and Audectra will blend them in perfectly with respect to their corresponding frequency bands.

General Settings

The general settings area can be reached by clicking on the second icon on the right sidebar. These settings are applied to all clients.

Audio Device

Here you can set the Audio Output Device you want Audectra to capture from. Your default Audio Output Device is selected automatically by default, or when clicking on the “Default” button beside.

Frequency Resolution

This slider allows you to set the accuracy of the background calculations between “rough” and “fine”. Note, that there exists a trade-off between the responsiveness of Audectra and the calculation accuracy: A finer resolutions leads to more accurate results, but less responsiveness. On the other hand, a rough resolution comes with less accurate results, but more responsiveness. Its up to you to decide.

Update Frequency

Set how often you want Audectra to calculate and send a new color to its clients. An update frequency of 30 Hz means, that Audectra updates the clients 30 times per second with a new color. Thus, a higher update frequency leads to a more detailed experience.

Client Discovery

Activate this feature, if you want Audectra to automatically find and connect clients that are supported. This allows you to just plug in your controller, and Audectra does the rest.

License Activation

The License Tab gives you a quick overview of your purchased license, including information like the product version and its expiration date. If you are using the Basic version of Audectra, then you will be able to upgrade it by providing the product key, which you get with your invoice. Just simply copy and paste your purchased key into one of the text fields below, click activate and wait for a message box (0.5 – 2 seconds). Please note, that Audectra needs an internet connection for activation (and only for activation).

Additional Information

Spectrum Graph

This beautiful graph shows you the full frequency spectrum of your audio output, whereas the vertical shows you the intensity of each frequency (bottom: lower frequencies – top:higher frequencies). I personally love watching it while listening to different songs.

Tray Icon

When clicking on the Minimize-Button, Audectra minimizes to tray and displays it’s Tray-Icon. If you want to restore it from Tray, you only have to left click on the Tray-Icon.

Beat Dot

Unlike in previous versions, the beat detection algorithm has been optimized and now runs permanently in the background, trying to detect beats in real-time. When the algorithm is very confident about its estimation, then you will notice a little dot, located in the top left corner of Audectra, blinking to the beat. I personally call this little dot the Beat Dot.

Questions?

If you have some further questions, feel free to ask them in our forum: forum.audectra.com

I know, Audectras user interface can be a bit confusing at first glance. This guide will help you to understand the key elements of the graphical user interface.