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Re: [Bioacoustic-monitoring] [Nature Recordists] Re: annotation/labeling

To: Peter Shute <>, "" <>, "Charles S. Henry" <>
Subject: Re: [Bioacoustic-monitoring] [Nature Recordists] Re: annotation/labeling of wav files
From: Douglas Gillespie <>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:41:31 +0000
The next release of PAMGuard ( will also have basic 
functionality for marking our sounds on a spectrogram with the time and 
frequency box being written to a database table. This functionality is only 
available in Viewer mode. Primarily, PAMGuard was designed for semi-automatic 
real time detection of marine mammals, but is also widely used for offline 
analysis of archived (wav file) data. PAMGuard is both free and open source - 
so you can always change the code yourself if it doesn't do quite what you want 
it to. 
Douglas Gillespie. 

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute
Sent: 29 September 2014 23:10
To: ; Charles S. Henry
Cc: ; 
Subject: RE: [Nature Recordists] Re: [Bioacoustic-monitoring] 
annotation/labeling of wav files

Charles, it would be a valuable resource if you could make notes about your 
evaluations of those programs, and post a summary here. One can spend many 
hours evaluating programs that start out promising but turn out to have a flaw 
that means they aren't suitable, so it's good if one can have advance warning 
about such things.

I can confirm that Acousmographe is free. The author (or authors?) is French, 
but there is an English version. I wasn't able to find an English manual though.

Triton is one that I didn't come across when I was evaluating programs. I just 
had a quick look at the manual (from, but I see no mention at all 
of adding annotations. The manual is for v1.64 while the software is up to 
v1.80, so perhaps the annotation capability was added after that version. It 
seems to be highly suited to dealing with extremely long recordings, so I'm 
really interested to hear how you go with this one.

One thing I think one needs to be very cautious of when evaluating programs 
like these if you intend to commit a lot of time to analysing data with them, 
is future support. I suspect a lot of programs like these start their life as a 
postgrad student project, and many end their life there. They may do 99% of 
what you want very well, but when the times comes to contact the author for 
advice or to do something about a missing feature or a serious bug, they cannot 
be found and no one at that institution is interested in or capable of helping. 
Some have support forums, others have nothing. Some support forums are very 
active, others have had no postings for years.

It's well worth torture testing a program before committing to it, just in case 
it can't do something you need.

Take care to keep a backup of the installation files, as you may find when you 
go to install on a new computer that they're no longer available. It might also 
be worth keeping an archive of previous versions of installation files, just in 
case a new release introduces new bugs.

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From:  
> Sent: Tuesday, 30 September 2014 3:34 AM
> To: Charles S. Henry
> Cc: ; ; 
> Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: [Bioacoustic-monitoring] 
> annotation/labeling of wav files
> dear all thanks for all the valuable input you gave me.
> so far this is the list of program that have been proposed:
> Sonic Visualizer, free, multiplatform
> Acousmograph, free?, multiplatform
> Praat, free, multiplatform
> Raven, multiplatform
> Audition, mac/win (free only for win, old version but still
> great) AmadeusPro, multiplatform XBAT, for matlab Triton / Triton 
> Logger, for matlab Audacity, free, multi platform
> I have to work on soundscapes and thus I need to label multiple, 
> sometime overlapping, frequency-time regions of the spectrogram.
> I'll test all these for their labeling/annotation capability and I'll 
> post my results.
> thanks again
> Gianni
> 2014-09-29 19:10 GMT+02:00 Charles S. Henry <>:
>       Hi Marco,
>       I agree, Praat is an incredibly versatile program and should allow 
> Gianni to do just what he was hoping to do. Plus I love its sonograms.
>       And it's available on PCs and Macs.
>       Charlie
>       On 9/29/2014 12:18 PM, Marco Gamba wrote:
>               Hello Gianni,
>               You should try Praat ( <>).
>               Praat textgrids are exactly doing what you are looking for and 
> they 
> can be stored (and manipulated) as text files separately.
>               However, you should probably avoid working on very long files.
>               If I can help with more, please do not hesitate to ask.
>               Cheers
>               Marco
>               */Marco Gamba, PhD/*
>               */Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi - 
> Life 
> Sciences and Systems Biology/*
>               */Via Accademia Albertina, 13/*
>               */10123 Torino, Italia/*
>               */mail: 
> <>
>               */tel: (+39) 011-670-4560
> <tel:%28%2B39%29%20011-670-4560> /4559/*
>               On 29 Sep 2014, at 17:43, < 
> <>> < 
> <>> wrote:
>                       'Amadeus Pro' should do the same thing (on Mac)
>                       Regards
>                       Martin
>                       ...out from MKO^V^Pad...
>                       Am 28.09.2014 um 19:21 schrieb "Gianni Pavan" 
> < <>>:
>                               dear all, I'm searching for a
> software to make labels or annotations, e.g. to mark and label 
> specific points in time or specific freqeuncy-time areas on 
> spectrograms of wav files.
>                               the main requirement, other
> that being easy to use, is to maintain the data separate from the wav 
> file, without touching the wav file.
>                               any suggestion ?
>                               Gianni
> --
> Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali 
> Università degli Studi di Pavia Via Taramelli 24, 27100 Pavia 
> __._,_.___
> ________________________________
> Posted by: Gianni Pavan <> 
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