Sqmp3Gold

 

Welcome to sqmp3Gold! Below is the main screen. Take a look around and familiarize yourself with the layout.

 

 

Select mp3 files location

Located slightly to the right of center screen is a box called mp3 Folder. Navigate to where you keep your mp3 files and double click that folder. After locating your folder, also right click it to save that folder to your Favorite mp3 Folders box. With sqmp3Gold, you can have your mp3 files in many different folders. As long as you remember to right click that folder and add the folder to your Favorite mp3 Folders, the program will know where to search for the files you select.

 

 

Once you have selected your mp3 folder, you will notice the box to the far bottom right of the screen will be propagated with all the files in that folder.

 

 

Notice in the upper left hand corner of the mp3 files box, the number of mp3 files in your folder will be shown. (5974 in my case).

 

Favorite Patter and Favorite Singers

 

Before we add to our favorite singers and patter boxes, find the box to the left of the screen called favorites and right click it.

 

 

There you should see 5 choices. Select New and choose a favorite filename. What we are doing here is getting ready to setup favorites for Friday night, or Summer Festival, or even perhaps Sting favorites. For now, name your file practice.

Now from your mp3 files, drag and drop to your hearts content to your favorite singer and favorite patter boxes.

 

.

 

It is suggested to turn off the Sorted checkbox during the Drag and Drop process as with it checked, the program will warn you each time you add a file that you will destroy your unsorted order. So uncheck the Sorted checkbox. Also, by doing so, you will be able to add your favorites in the order in which you would like to play the song. In the event you would like to see a Sorted list, simple check the box whenever you like. The program will automatically remember whether you want the box sorted or not when you restart the program in the future.

You may also Drag and Drop files from Singer to Patter and Patter to Singer, and you, of course can have a song listed in both boxes.

 

Let’s Play

To play a song, simply double click the song from any of the 3 boxes (Favorite Patter, Favorite Singer, or mp3 Files).

Also, if you single click a song from the Favorite Patter and single click a song from the Favorite Singer, it will cue them up.

 

 

And it will give information about the mp3 file in the File Info box (center right screen)

 

 

One of the reasons that this information is important to us is that we may have recorded the song twice. If we are going to put effects on the song (tempo and pitch), it is better to use the song that was recorded using the highest frequency and the best sample rate. (22050 is not a good selection to tweak. 44100 is better.)

 

Back to Playing

Now that you have the songs cued, you have another option (besides using your mouse to double click). If it is the cued patter record you want to start, just hit the spacebar. Hitting the spacebar again will stop the song. Also F1 will start and stop the song. Notice, too, that when using the spacebar or F1 to start and stop songs, the timer (top right) will reset.

 

 

Similarly, hit Control-spacebar to start and stop the cued singer. (Actually, you can stop the singer with the spacebar too.) Once a song has started, it will be added to the current song box

 

 

The different between spacebar and F1 is that the spacebar will play the Cued Patter. F1 will play the Current Song! (There is a difference)

 

F2 is similar to F1. It will play the Current Song and it will stop play. However, when you hit F2 again, it will resume playing the song (from the point at which it was stopped) and it will not reset the timer.

 

Another thing to note: When you hit the spacebar, if a song is playing it will stop the song and record all the effects to disk. This includes speed, pitch, EQ, trackmarks, etc.

If you stop the song using Control-spacebar, the settings will not be saved. This is a feature, not a bug.

Timer

On the menu, you will find Timer.

 

 

You can set the timer between 1 and 15 minutes. When the song begins to play, the timer will countdown to zero and then it will turn red and count up.

 

 

Singing Call Features

 

When you start a singing call, in the Counter box, you will find what sequence you are on.

 

 

Playing a patter to the end

When you play a patter mp3, you may decide that you don’t want it to loop, but would rather let it play to the end. Hit Control-e (or F7) and the counter will display: Playing to end. In the event that you change your mind, hit Control-e (or F7) again to cancel. If the song has played beyond the end loop mark, it will jump to the beginning of the loop.

 

 

 

Helping hints

Throughout the program, if you would like information on what a specific button or control does, just place your cursor over that control and a little helpful hint will be displayed over the object.

 

History

After starting an mp3 file from either the patter favorites or singer favorites, the filename will be highlighted in yellow (default) signifying that you have used that patter or singer. If you decide not to follow through with playing that song, simply right click the song to reset the color to its original state. At the beginning of a dance, if you would like to clear all the yellow marks, go to the menu under history and click clear. There you can, also, change the color of the highlighted items (background) and the font color of those items.

 

Color Options

In addition to being able to change the highlight color, you can also change the overall color of sqmp3Gold. You can select any color you wish by clicking on the color option on the menu.

 

 

Fading

 

At any time during play, you can fade the music to 100% silent by hitting Fade on the menu or hitting Control-f. The fade is set to 5 seconds.

 

Checking Internet for Update (Manually and Automatically)

sqmp3Gold has the ability to check for updates provided that your computer is connected to the internet. Click the menu item called Updates and the sub-menu item called Manually Check Internet for Update if you want to check to see what version is available on the server. Select Automatic Update if you want sqmp3Gold to do the work for you.

 

 

About

To find out what version number you have, click on About on the menu. This will tell you about the licensing and version number.

 

Effects (Singing Calls)

One of the most significant advancements in computer audio technology is the ability to change the tempo without changing the pitch and vice versa. Sqmp3Gold allows you to do this is real-time with singing calls. There are so many records that are just a little too high and occasionally some that are even too low. All these records are now in your key! There are 3 ways to change the pitch of a song: simply move the slider called pitch scaling, use F5 and F6, or find these items on the menu.

 

 

These controls will adjust the music by semitones. (Each number corresponds to a note on the piano… including the black ones. There are 12 semitones per octave.) Although sqmp3Gold allows you to change the pitch by +30/-30 semitones, you will find that a + or – 5 is as much as you would want to stretch the song. Therefore, if a song is exactly a half an octave too high (or low) for you, forget it; choose another song.

 

 

Similarly, if you would like to change the tempo of a song, move the Tempo slider to the left or right the desired amount, use the F3 and F4 keys, or find them on the menu. Changing the samplerate is the same as changing both the pitch and the tempo together.

 

 

If you hit the spacebar to stop a song, whatever Tempo or Pitch settings are showing at the time will be associated with the current song. Each time you replay the song, the same settings will appear automatically. Be aware that changing the samplerate cannot be memorized and associated with a song!

 

Effects (Patter)

When selecting a song from the favorite patter box, you only have the ability to change the tempo. This will also change the pitch. That is the bad news. The good news is that because of this, we can have perfect looping.

 

Some technical details about changing the pitch and speed together

 

When you change the speed and pitch (frequency) to effect the BPM by 1, (example: 125 BPM to 126 BPM), the frequency will change 14 cents. There are 100 cents per semitone. If you have perfect pitch, you will be able to distinguish a note by 20-30 cents. Therefore, if you change the BPM by 1, nobody will hear the change. If you change the BPM by 2, very few people will hear the change. I think this a great trade-off for having perfect looping. We can’t have both.

Equalizer

The equalizer is a new feature for sqmp3Gold. It comes with 5 presets:

 

Bass

Mid

Treble

Default

Flat

User

 

You can also design your own setting. First, move the Bass, Mid and Treble sliders to the desired positions. Then click in the dropdownbox (where it says Flat) and type in your desired name for the preset. Hit enter and your preset will be written to memory and be available each time you use the program (until you hit the delete key if you want to get rid of it). By using the equalizer, you can enhance poorly recorded music. If you hit the spacebar to stop a song, whatever EQ setting is showing at the time will be associated with the current song. Each time you replay the song, the same settings will appear automatically.

 

BPM (Beats Per Minute)

The science of determining BPM is not perfect. Sometimes this will yield not so perfect results. A very large percentage of the time, it is very accurate. Now, in sqmp3Gold, the BPM is calculated “on-the-fly”.

 

 

You’ll notice that there are 2 BPM counters. With a singing call, the one to the left calculates the BPM of the song 30 seconds into the song and comes up faster than the one on the right. The one on the right calculates the BPM every 10 seconds. It becomes quite evident whether the music is played by live musicians or is “canned” in a midi studio, as the live musicians BPM will jump all over the place and the midi music will remain relatively constant. When playing a patter, the BPM indicator to the left is the recorded BPM and the one to the right is the current BPM value based on adding the recorded BPM plus the tempo slider.

 

BPM is a very complicated science and therefore the BPM indicator sometimes doesn’t show the right number or any number at all. This is normal. I won’t go into the details of audio technology (probably because I can’t), but suffice to say, if this BPM calculator is correct most of the time, it is pretty cool! Depending on the music you play, you should expect 1 song out of 100 to fool the BPM calculator. If you ever see the BPM indicator showing exactly ‘125’, the BPM calculator probably failed; the field was automatically filed in by the program.

 

BPM Override

 

The BPM override will take each song you play and change the tempo slider to try to match the desired BPM. In this way, if you decide that the group you are calling for needs to dance 125 BPM, all of the songs you play will be close to that. Also, of course, if your songs have been recorded at different BPM, this will play them all at the same BPM without you having to set each one individually. Sometimes it might be good to set your BPM at one speed for the beginning of a dance, another speed for the middle of the dance and yet another for the end of the dance!

 

 

 

Put Link on Desktop

 

The installation program that comes with sqmp3Gold should put a link on the desktop for you. In the event that you clean your desktop and your original link disappears, you can restore that link with the following menu item.

 

 

Backup/Restore

The backup and restore feature gives you the opportunity to backup the files that have been made by you when running the program. These files are located in the ini and favorites folders. Use this if you have a fresh installation on your notebook computer and want the favorites, track marks, colors, and folders to be the same on both machines. Also in the event that something goes wrong with your computer, you will be able to restore the program back to its last saved state.

 

There are 2 things you need to tell the computer: what drive would you like to backup to (or restore from) and whether you want to backup or restore. The files are kept in a folder called sqmp3gold backup.

 

 

Record

For those of you who like to record the dance you’re calling (and perhaps sell the mp3s), sqmp3Gold allows you to record the dance on your computer at the same time you’re using it to play the mp3s! You simply take a cord from your Hilton (high for line in, low for mic… depends on which Hilton), and plug it into the line/mic input on the computer, just as you would a tape recorder or MD for recording.

 

Click record on the menu and you will get the following screen.

 

 

 

First select the source. (I have selected Wave Out Mix. Your source may vary as it depends on the soundcard as to what you see in this box.) Next click Filename and change this to what you like (Friday Plus Dance as an example). I would suggest you slide the bottom slider all the way to the right. This is the volume level. Start the music and click record. What you will first see, in all probability, is the volume slide decreasing to an appropriate level. This is the auto level feature of sqmp3Gold. If the slider goes all the way to the left, your signal may be too strong. However, to check it, click Stop Rec. (same button) and then Play to hear the file you just recorded. All files recorded will be places in a folder called Recorded Dance which is located under the main folder of sqmp3Gold. Each time you hit record, the filename you chose will be automatically incremented: Friday Plus Dance1, Friday Plus Dance2. In this way, you can record each tip separately.

 

As much as I don’t like to use my mouse (touchpad) at a dance, the F8 key will turn off and on the recorder. 

 

 

You might ask, “How will I know it is on”. When the recorder is on, it will turn the clock red. When it is off, the clock returns to normal. Therefore, you don’t need to have the recorder box showing to record. Just use F8 and notice whether the clock is red or normal (on or off).

 

 

Remote (Hilton Reset)

 

We have to have a use for the old Hilton reset. With sqmp3Gold, and a special cord, we can plug it into the serial port of the computer and control some features of sqmp3Gold. (If you don’t have a serial port, you can get a USB to serial converter.) Directions for making the plug can be found on the menu under Remote and Making the Cord. You can also purchase a cord from sqmp3.com for $20 US.

 

Once you have the cord and it is connected to the Hilton Reset and the computer, click Remote, on the main menu and on.

 

 

 

Under the same menu you can select a port. Sqmp3Gold will automatically list the available port from which you can choose.

Then you have 3 choices as to how the reset button will behave:

 

*      classic Hilton reset

*      toggle start/stop (Default)

*      toggle stop/resume

 

 

*      the classic Hilton reset will reset the song to 15 seconds after the beginning

*      the toggle start/stop will act as the F1 key does; reset to beginning of the song and reset the timer

*      the toggle stop/resume will act as the F2 key does; stop and resume without resetting the timer

 

Making the cord (Remote)

Ingredients:

cord

9 pin serial (female)

phono plug (female)

 

You will need a 9 pin Serial plug for the computer

and an RCA female (phono plug) to connect to

the Hilton microphone assembly.

 

Baking:

1 2 3 4 5

 6 7 8 9

 

The 9 pin Serial connector:

 

The pins are numbered as if you were looking at

the back of plug. Number 1 is top left and number

6 is bottom left.

 

connect 1 to 6

connect 4 to 6

connect 7 to 8

center of RCA female to 2

ground of RCA (outside) to 3

nothing on 5

nothing on 9

 

Thanks to Leif Håkansson for the idea, pinout

and initial code.

 

Looping

One of the more significant advances in square dance calling technology is the ability to have contiguous loops in our music; the ability to seamlessly loop a patter so that the dancers don’t have to change their footing when the “record” resets. Sqmp3Gold allows you to do that. In fact, sqmp3Gold allows you to make a perfect loop. I said perfect, and I mean perfect.

 

From the main menu, select Looping. There you will see the following:

 

 

As it was with the MD player, we want to set our loops on the downbeat and on the first beat of a measure. If we count 1, 2, 3, 4 with the music, we want to set the loop on 1. Not on 3 ½ or just before 1, but on 1.

 

As we listen to the music, and we get to the place where we want to start the loop, click the Start button.

 

 

 

Using the “>” button, move forward to a point in the song where we want to place the end trackmark. Hit the button End when you find the first beat of the measure toward the end of the song. If you find a part of the song that is identical to the first part of the song (example: start of the 1st figure and the start of the 4th figure), your loop should be perfect. If it is a little off, you will hear, for a 2 second period, what seems to be 2 songs playing simultaneously. Using the “<” button you can adjust the loop in increments of .01 seconds.

 

 

 

You can use the *** button to jump to the end of the loop to test the loop.

 

 

Notice, too, that as with the other controls on the screen, when you hover your mouse over the control, it displays a hint for that control. In this case it says, “5 seconds from end of loop”.

 

The music will jump to 5 seconds before the end of loop so that you can hear the loop you created. After it plays the loops, click the *** again. It is a good idea to wait 5 seconds before clicking the *** button. This will allow the song to fully load into memory.

 

In the event you find that the positions you selected to start and end the loop just doesn’t work, but you feel that you nailed the loop, try using the Change Both Start and End buttons. Here you can adjust the start and end loop positions forward and backwards at the same time. Most of the time, this feature is not needed.

 

Now that we have a loop for that song, click Looping from the main menu to make the looping box disappear. Each time you play a song from your “favorite patter”, the program will set the loop to your saved settings and show you where the song is going to loop in the Counter box (below).

 

 

In the event that you have never made a loop for the patter record you are playing, sqmp3Gold will automatically set the start loop to 15 seconds after the song begins and it will set the end loop to 15 seconds before the song finishes.

 

If you decide that you want to let the song play to the end, hit Control-e.

 

Lyrics Page (F12)

 

 

 

One of the most important things to do when first arriving at the Lyrics page is to navigate to the folder of your lyrics (using left clicks), then right click it to add it to your favorite lyrics folder file.

 

 

You will then be presented with the following screen. Choose yes to add this folder to your Favorite Lyrics Subdirectory (Folder). By repeating this to other folders, you can have as many folders for lyrics as you like.

 

 

 

Marrying mp3 files to lyrics

 

Sqmp3Gold has the ability to marry specific lyrics to your mp3 file. Simply play an mp3 file, hit F12. Select the lyric (in the event that sqmp3Gold didn’t do it for you) and right click the lyric. You will be asked if you want to marry that lyric to the current mp3 file. You should answer “I do” to marry the lyric, or “Divorce” to remove the previously saved marriage. Now when you play an mp3 file and hit F12, your lyric will be displayed instantly. Take care in marrying your files; sqmp3Gold will marry the file and the folder in which the files reside. In the event that you change your lyrics (or mp3) files to another folder, the marriage will be lost.

 

Once an mp3 file and lyric have been married, you can also play the mp3 file by double clicking the lyric.

 

We receive our Lyrics from so many different sources, that the names may not match. In the example where the mp3 file is called Crazy – GMP 1006.mp3 and the lyric file is called Crazy – Global Music1006.mp3. It would be very difficult for the program to match this mp3 with this lyric. This is another place where marrying lyrics to mp3 files will be useful. Also note that if you marry a lyric to an mp3 file, the Lyrics page with come up immediately.

 

 

      

 

 

Lyrics format

sqmp3Gold gives you the ability to use lyrics of different formats as well. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

html, htm, txt, jpg, bmp, gif, doc, rtf, pdf, or any other format the Internet Explorer can read.

 

 

 

Callerlab Lists and Definitions

Sqmp3Gold comes with the Callerlab list and definitions. The definitions at Callerlab are only available in PDF files.

 

 

Tabs

There are tabs on the lyrics page that can be useful if you read choreography or singing call figures.

 

 

Simply open the file you would like to view, and navigate to that page by clicking the tab with your mouse or by hitting the 0-9 keys on you keyboard. Next to the filename, you will see a number for fast access to that page. As an example, if you are playing a singing call (lyrics are always zero on the quick keys) and you need the lyrics for the song, and you also are calling A1 and are reading figure sequences, you may hit the zero key to view the lyrics and the 1 key for the choreography. You can toggle between these to at your heart content.

Function Keys and Control Keys

 

Space Bar:

 

Starts Favorite Patter

 

 

Stops play and memorizes setting for the current song

Ctrl-Space Bar:

 

Starts Favorite Singer

 

 

Stops play and does not memorizes setting for the current song

Ctrl-E

 

Play to End

Ctrl-F

 

Fade

Ctrl-V

 

Volume Control:  Volume up

Ctrl-Shift-V

 

Volume down

Equalizer:

 

 

Ctrl-B

 

bass up

Ctrl-Shift–B

 

bass down

Ctrl-M    

 

mid range up

Ctrl-Shift–M

 

mid range down

Ctrl-T

 

treble up

Ctrl-Shift-T

 

treble down

Ctrl-P

 

Change program Focus to favorite patter

Ctrl-S

 

Change program Focus to favorite singers

Ctrl-A

 

Change Horizontal Screen Split Up

Ctrl-Shift-A

 

Change Horizontal Screen Split Down

F1

 

Stops Playing MP3 & Restarts Timer

F2

 

Stops Playing MP3 & Resumes Playing from last position & Timer Keeps running

F3

 

Decreases speed 1 BPM each tap on Patter and 1% on singer

F4

 

Increases speed 1 BPM each tap and 1% on singer

F5

 

Pitch Up

F6

 

Pitch Down

F7

 

Play to End

F8

 

Toggle Record

F9

 

Reserved

F10

 

Reserved

F11

 

Toggle Main Page/Lyrics Page to last tab viewed

F12

 

Toggle Main Page/Lyrics Page to lyrics tab (0)

Right/Left Arrows

 

Switch between Patter/Singer/mp3 files