Problems and suggestions [DONE]

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Problems and suggestions [DONE]

Postby trondis23 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:43 pm

Hi!

First, I would like to congratulate you for being the first Android developer that has concentrated on the most important features of a music player first: the playback quality. I don't need a fancy UI, album art and lyrics downloads, or to tell my friends what music I am listening to etc. I just want to find my album as quick as possible, touch the "play" button and enjoy the music in high quality. The most important feature for me, except the quality of the sound, is perfect gapless. And it seems like Neutron is the only Android program to support this. PowerAmp claims to have it, but there are pops in the transitions between tracks.

Unfortunately I have some problems that might force me to uninstall the program. But I will watch this space to see if you eventually find a solution.

I have a HTC Desire HD. This is one of the most powerful phones on the market. But, it seems, still not powerful enough to run this program. When I touch a button on the player, quite often nothing happens. I have read your answers in this forum, and you state that you can't do anything about the "unresponsive UI" of some HTC phones. That's a great pity! Your potential user base will be small if you don't find a way to solve this.

Another problem I have is updating the database. I thought I could just select the entire music folder, or a subfolder if I added new albums. But there are quite many albums that won't show in the database, even after many attempts.

If I might suggest some improvements otherwise, it would be to improve the database. My preferred way of finding my albums is to enter the "artist" first, and then find the album. That is because I have several albums by the same artist, so I can scroll through a shorter list this way. But now I get all songs by the artist instead of the albums, which means that songs from different albums will be mixed. So I think you should fix this. However, this also requires that the program supports the "album artist" tag. Otherwise the artist list will be useless if you have "various artists" albums. The database should also support multi disc albums. Some programs have an option to scroll through the alphabet, which is a fast way to find an item in a long list. That would be neat too.

Previously I used a program for Windows Mobile devices called Phantasm Music Player. This had approximately the same features as Neutron, and sounded a lot better than any other program for that platform. It had DSP effects like parametric EQ, crossfeed and reverb, plus preamp, replaygain, perfect gapless, support for most audio codecs, etc. This worked without problems on hardware with quite modest specifications. And, unlike some other Windows Mobile programs, you could use all the DSP effects at the same time. It was all written in assembly code, I think. The processor of my HTC phone is twice as fast as my Dell Axim. So why can't Neutron work on it?
trondis23
 
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby dmitrykos » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:20 pm

Hi! :D

> perfect gapless

It is guaranteed to be sample-correct, e.g. new audio sample from next music composition follows right after last audio sample of previous. I am glad that you like it!

> "unresponsive UI" of some HTC phones

Yes, this is the biggest Android OS problem - fragmentation. Neutron's UI is not rendered by Android and it uses default graphics setup provided by Android OS which is meant to be fastest and compatible. So on many HTC models it is not true and FPS is low. By the way what is the value shown in bottom-left corner (small FPS number)? To my regret I got 2 Samsung devices Galaxy S and S II. If you wish to help me to test some modes (I will provide several installations) I would be glad.

> But there are quite many albums that won't show in the database, even after many attempts.

Do you have at least one MP3 which does not get scanned by Neutron? Could you please e-mail me one to e-mail: neutronmp@gmail.com? I also got big music database but those files get scanned. May be you got files with some specific tag structure on which Neutron's parser fails.

> enter the "artist" first, and then find the album

Ok, I understand what you mean. May be it will make sense to implement Folder mode, where music database is not pre-scanned and sorted but you will simply browse to folder - just like on all other Android music players. I will think about it.

> The processor of my HTC phone is twice as fast as my Dell Axim. So why can't Neutron work on it?

It is problem of HTC GPU - Adreno. CPU will render audio just fine! I do not know why HTC provides default mode which is so slow and so different from PowerVR SGX GPUs used in Samsungs. Android fragmentation makes me really upset as developer due to such inconsistency. Anyway, as said earlier - I could provide several versions of Neutron with different graphics settings and you could check which one gives better FPS. On Galaxy S FPS on Neutron goes up to 60! I believe on Adreno GPU it is possible just need to find magic number!
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby dmitrykos » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:15 pm

Could you please check this APK about UI perforance: http://neutronmp.com/download/NeutronMP_888816T.apk

Also could you compare original release and this APK's FPS.
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby trondis23 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:33 am

Thank you for your fast reply. I just installed the version above. It seems to work the same. Sometimes the response is fine, other times I have to press several times before something happens. I do get a visual feedback when I touch the control, so it is a bit strange that it won't respond. The small number in the bottom left corner varies a lot when the player is paused (10-55). When it plays it can go up to around 57. This depends on the position of the top slider in the UI setup. If it is set to the lowest value (33) it will stay on 33, but I will get a lower number than the top value of the slider (62).

I found the reason why the database wouldn't update properly. The program crashed in the db update process. I had just added a new album to check the gapless playback (and it is perfect!). I first checked if there was something wrong with the tags in that album. But they were fine. But the filenames were rather long. After shortening them the database would update fine.

I hope that you consider my suggestion about the database. This is how most other programs or standalone players work. You could of course also add folder navigation - some people prefer that. But I don't.

Anyway, I decided to keep the program after all. The sound and the perfect gapless is reason enough. I will help you to test out different installations if you want. I hope we can find a solution to the UI problems.
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby dmitrykos » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:24 am

> Sometimes the response is fine, other times I have to press several times before something happens.

Neutron's UI has automatic feature to decrease FPS to 01 when music is stopped and UI not used for >=1 minute. If you touch it once FPS will return to 33+. What if player is playing and you touch FPS buttons, for example in Settings (MENU button), would those buttons be same unresponsive?

> The program crashed in the db update process... But the filenames were rather long.

I believe something wrong with UTF-8. Could you please post here or e-mail me an example of such filename? Just direct copy-paste. It would help me a lot!
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby trondis23 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:27 pm

The buttons can be unresponsive whether the player is playing or not.

An example of long filename: "Chris Cutler - Twice Around the Earth - 01 - Twice Around the EarthYes".

There is something wrong with UTF-8. Scandinavian characters will come out wrong. The Swedish ö comes out as u, in the artist list.
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Re: Problems and suggestions

Postby dmitrykos » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:40 am

Ok, now I understand what is the problem. Most probably conversion from ASCII to UTF-8 could cause the crash. I already improved this part of code yesterday (not released yet), so let's check how it works in next release. Also will check tags with Scandinavian letters.

> The buttons can be unresponsive whether the player is playing or not.

HTC..HTC.. Ok, today will make couple of APKs with different settings, let's check how they perform on your device. Will post downloads in this thread once made them.
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