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Average Rating: 4.7

Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards

David K October 27, 2016, 6:00 am
This may sound like a small issue, and I guess it is, however, the wide variation of the sound volume in all three of my current Rocket courses is becoming .... problematic for me. 

The sound volume seems to vary as much as a factor of four.  I use a Bose speaker system to amplify the auxilliary output of my computer so I can hear the sound better than off the "El Cheapo Production" speakers in my laptop. 

Particularly, I do most of my studying well into the late night, sometimes until 4:00 a.m..  I go to the opposite side of the house while my wife sleeps.

Some of the cards are so low in volume I raise the computer control so I can hear it.  Some point latter, even in the same lesson, a card will come up that is so shockingly loud, it shakes me up as well wakes my wife four rooms away.

Shouldn't it be possible to run all the audio files through some mind of compressor-filter, and then set them to one standard setting? 

Certainly, at the very least, your audio engineers should determine whatever they think is the optimal recording volume level, and then stick to it.  

I might as well give you a heads up now, that within a couple years when  a lot of us are going to be asking for Flashcard sharing between languages so us aspiring polyglots can study all of our hardest cards from all the Rocket courses we've ever taken this will be even more of a problem.

Right now I do not mind having to adjust the volume between Modules, or Languages, but it is a pain, to have such variation from within a single lesson.

I have just discovered a way to get my hardest Flashcards from many different lessons into one custom file.  Once I've identified a problematic Flashcard, like the German ones that are three sentences long, I go back to the lesson area, and click the start that puts the whole sentence into the My Vocab.  Then I can import them into the custom Flashcard sets.  The wide variation of sound recording levels, and lack of a standard, quickly  becomes apparent.

Thanks

PS  One of my mentors is famous for saying "The only sustainable competitive advantage a company will ever get is the ability to learn faster than its competitors."

Rocket should have a bright future given your willing to listen to and  respond to such a continuous deluge of "suggestions for improvement."   I hope you development team finds that such a passionate response from your customer-users is a wonderful thing not just a pain in the neck.  The corporate landscape is littered with the carcasses of major multinational companies that were once number one, but are now gone. 
 


Cheers.
 
Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards
drewster October 27, 2016, 6:22 am
Hi David,

I use the flashcards all the time but I've never even noticed they have sound. I still can't actually see that they do. How do you use that? I only use them visually.

Cheers,
Drew
Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards
jason-oxenham-ceo October 31, 2016, 7:09 pm
Hi Drew - There is an audio icon at the top of the FlashCards that toggles the sound on/off (if the card/set has audio associated with it).

Hi David - If you come across a couple of specific examples of very loud and very quiet phrases that would be great.  That would make it easier to investigate.
Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards
David K November 4, 2016, 10:16 pm
Hi Jason - I've created a public file in the Chinese section called "Illustration of Excess Sound Variance for Jason and Rocket Team" that contains 16 examples.  Originally, I had a few "normal" ones so you could initially calibrate your sound settings.  But, as I added more examples the order changed, (The ability to change the order within a file without having redo the entire file would be a handy wishlist addition.) 

Listen to the "加拿大, Jiānádà, Canada" and "师傅 Shīfu Master (driver)" for examples of quite cards and set the volume to what you would consider normal,  to contrast the others.

Also, you need to do this experiment with either headphones or a higher level sound system driven by the aux out channel of the computer...Read More
Hi Jason - I've created a public file in the Chinese section called "Illustration of Excess Sound Variance for Jason and Rocket Team" that contains 16 examples.  Originally, I had a few "normal" ones so you could initially calibrate your sound settings.  But, as I added more examples the order changed, (The ability to change the order within a file without having redo the entire file would be a handy wishlist addition.) 

Listen to the "加拿大, Jiānádà, Canada" and "师傅 Shīfu Master (driver)" for examples of quite cards and set the volume to what you would consider normal,  to contrast the others.

Also, you need to do this experiment with either headphones or a higher level sound system driven by the aux out channel of the computer.   The typical laptop computer speakers are so poor they can act as a compression filter making the variation less noticeable and painful.

You or your sound engineer can also listen to the 477 Flashcard set I created for the Chinese Level 1 course to get a better understanding.  You will notice a variation to the "problematic" level in approximately 3%.

I presume you have access to a sound studio which could measure each word, but if  you do not and it would be useful to your effort I would be glad to accumulate a list of the most egregious variations in the Chinese, Spanish, and German courses, (and any others you'd like to give me access to.)

I intend to create Flashcash sets for the entire vocabulary of the courses I'm working on so it will be easy to identify and correct excess variants.

BTW Entry is difficult in the Chinese flashcards because of a lack of the software Pinyin or Hanzi entry keyboards you have in the Write It sections.

I also found an error in the Search function within the Flashcards.  Search will not find any Pinyin words not correctly marked for tones, but with no tone character generater I was looking for examples in the random search results and then cutting and pasting them back into the search function.   This is when I noticed that when one pastes the target word found in a sentence for example, the function inserts five spaces prior to the target word in the Search Box.  It will then yield an incorrect "No Results" outcome.

If one erases the invisible spaces the Search Function then works well.  Also, for the benefit of anyone trying to find words one can type in just the first one or two characters before the toned character and then one will usually find the target word in the first 1 to 5 pages of search results. 

If you would rather just give a list to your sound engineer here is a paper list of the flashcard set: 
 

印度        Yìndù                    India
应该        Yīnggāi                 Should; ought to
溺             nì                            to drown
动物园   Dòngwùyuán     zoo
加拿大   Jiānádà               Canada
师傅       Shīfu                      Master (driver)
妮            nī                             girl
五            wǔ                          5
公司       gōngsī                  company
有轨电车  yǒuguǐ           diànchētram
图书馆   Túshūguǎn      library
公共汽车站   gōnggòng qìchē zhàn       bus stop
尖             jiān                     pointy
抱             bàoto                hug
太棒了! Tài bàng le!     That's awesome!
泥             ní                        mud

Also, as I've reported elsewhere, it would be useful to be able to use the record function within the Custom Flashcards.  Picture files would also be useful to add memory aids Memes as many other systems do. (See Memrise Mandarin HSK Level 1, or ChinesePod101. )

Cheers,
David
Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards
jason-oxenham-ceo November 7, 2016, 7:28 pm
Hi David - Thanks for that. We are looking into these issues!
Normalization of Sound Volume of Flashcards

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