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StationPlaylist Studio Add-on Guide
Revision: July 2018 for SPL Studio add-on 18.08
Author: Joseph Lee
Thank you for choosing Station Playlist Studio add-on for NVDA. This add-on guide is designed to get you started using SPL Studio with NVDA.
If you are new to NVDA, consult the NVDA user guide to familiarize yourself with how NVDA works and commands. If you are new to SPL Studio, please read the SPL Studio user guide that comes with the program to get to know various operations available in SPL Studio.
About the add-on and this guide
The add-on and this guide is shaped by you, the NvDA users around the world. If you wish to suggest features, report bugs or want to say hi, please use the contact information at the end of this document to contact the author.
Note: The features and commands described in this guide may change as new add-on versions are released.
What is StationPlaylist Studio
StationPlaylist Studio (oftened shortened to SPL or just Studio) is a radio broadcasting software which assists broadcasters with streaming live or recorded shows over the internet. In addition to live shows, SPL Studio assists a station with playback of songs around the clock, playing jingles at specific times and more.
What does the SPL Studio add-on do
The SPL Studio add-on for NvDA contains following features:
- Announcing toggle states of various controls such as automation.
- Ability to obtain playback and other status information from within SPL Studio.
- Ability to configure status announcement verbosity.
- announcing playback time such as remaining time for the current track.
- Managing SPL Studio functions from other programs.
- Announcement of when the end of track and song intros are approaching.
- A dedicated mode to learn cart machine assignments and play carts from anywhere.
- A handy alarm to let you know your microphone has been turned on for a while.
- A central configuration dialog to configure various add-on settings.
- Customize NVDA's behavior on a per show basis via broadcast profiles.
- Switch between broadcast profiles instantly or let NvDA activate a specific profile before a show begins.
- Ability to switch to SPL Studio from any program.
- Assisting with broadcasting via support for Spatial Audio's SAM encoder and StationPlaylist's own SPL encoder.
And so much more.
The SPL suite
In addition to StationPlaylist Studio, this add-on comes with support for the following:
- StationPlaylist Creator
- Track Tool
- SAM Encoders
- SPL Encoders
Certain commands will work across Studio and apps listed above, while others are specific to Studio, Track Tool, or encoders. See the sections below for details.
Add-on requirements and versions
The SPL Studio add-on requires the following:
- An evaluation or a registered copy of Station Playlist Studio 5.10 or later installed on a computer running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or later. If using Studio 5.10, 5.11 or 5.20, use builds 43, 13 and 48 or later, respectively.
- Optional: an evaluation or registered copy of StationPlaylist Creator 5.10 or later.
- Optional: an evaluation or registered copy of SAM Encoders.
- NVDA 2018.2 or later. Certain functionality will require recent versions of NVDA.
About version numbers
Until 2016, add-on versions were identified by major.minor. This has changed in late 2016 so versions are now identified by year.month.revision. For long-term support versions, year.month will correspond to the LTS release date (e.g. 16.10.4-lts).
Support for old Windows releases
In August 2017, NV Access announced end of support for Windows XP, Vista and 7 without Service Pack 1. Consequently, support for these Windows releases from this add-on ended on April 30, 2018. For people who need to use Studio on old Windows releases, please use add-on 15.x.
Obtaining, installing and updating the add-on
To download the add-on, click the following link: Download SPL Studio add-on
Installing SPL Studio add-on
You can install the add-on in a number of ways:
- If you are using NVDA 2012.2 or later on your computer or if you are using a portable version of NVDA, go to NvDA menu, select Tools, then choose Manage Add-ons. From Add-ons Manager, select install, then navigate to the folder where you downloaded the add-on file. Press ENTER on the add-on file, and NVDA will ask if you wish to install the add-on. Once installation is complete, NVDA will ask you to restart NVDA for add-on to run.
- If you installed NVDA 2012.3 or later on your computer, using the file manager of your choice (Windows Explorer, for example), navigate to the folder where you downloaded the add-on file. Press ENTER, and NVDA will ask if you wish to install the add-on. Once installation is complete, NVDA will ask if you wish to restart NvDA for the add-on to run.
- If you are upgrading from a prior version of this add-on, NVDA will ask if you still wish to install the add-on. Say Yes to continue.
- If you are upgrading from add-on versions prior to 2.0, remove the previous version first before installing 2.0 or later. This is not the case for users upgrading from 2.0 or later versions.
- If you are running Windows 10 and obtained NVDA via Microsoft Store, you cannot install this add-on.
- To use touchscreen commands, you need to install NVDA 2012.3 or later on a computer running Windows 8 or later.
- Once add-on 5.0 or later is installed, you cannot go back to an earlier version of the add-on, especially to a 4.x release.
- Downgrading from add-on 6.0 or later to an earlier version will cause broadcast profiles to be lost.
- You cannot go back to an earlier version of an add-on after installing add-on 7.0 or later due to configuration format change.
- If using NvDA 2016.1 or later, you need to disable audio ducking (NVDA+Shift+D), otherwise volume of audio from Studio will be lowered each time NVDA speaks. A reminder dialog will be shown after installing add-on 6.3 or later (you can tell NVDA to suppress this reminder dialog).
- Installing the add-on on a computer running an unsupported version of Studio is not supported.
Updating Studio add-on
From time to time, the add-on receives updates that include new and changed features, bug fixes and so on. Provided that NVDA lets you update add-ons, you can easily update to new releases by pressing SPL Assistant, Control+Shift+U (first assign a command to enter SPL Assistant layer). Alternatively, NVDA can check for add-on updates automatically. When the add-on tells you that an update is available, say yes. Once the update downloads, NVDA will ask if you'd like to install the add-on.
- You cannot use this feature to update between add-on branches. If you wish to do this (say, going from stable version to a development version), you need to check for updates after selecting the desired update channel and restarting NVDA, or you need to install the desired version manually. Also, if using development snapshots, one way to tell add-on revision is the date when the add-on was released, which is displayed alongside the version text (e.g. 20180315-dev.
- NVDA and/or the add-on will refuse to check for updates if at least one of the following conditions are true:
- NVDA is running in secure mode.
- You are running NVDA from source code.
- You are using Windows Store edition of NVDA.
- You are using a build of the add-on that does not support updates (for example, if using a custom build supplied by the developer).
- NVDA itself checks for add-on updates, in which case the add-on itself will not check for updates.
When you start Studio after installing the add-on, a welcome dialog will be presented, giving you essential information about the add-on and basic concepts. After dismissing this dialog, from Studio window, press Alt+NVDA+F1 to reopen this dialog.
Using SPl suite with NVDA
This section describes features available when using SPL suite of applications with the included add-on.
About add-on commands
You can use many of the native SPL Studio commands to control the program. In addition, NVDA provides additional commands (including layer commands) to read status information and to control SPL Studio from anywhere. In addition, a dedicated touchscreen mode for Studio called "SPL mode" is available on touchscreen computers to perform touch gestures.
The layer commands
NVDA provides two layer command sets when using Studio for various tasks and to announce status information:
- SPL Assistant: this layer set, available from within SPL Studio, allows you to obtain various SPL status information such as whether a track is playing, automation status and so on.
- SPL Controller: this command set, available everywhere, allows you to control SPL Studio from anywhere, including playing the next track and turning microphone on and off.
We'll meet these layer commands and how to use them throughout this guide.
Note: Starting with add-on version 2.0, the layer commands are not assigned so you can assign your own commands. So whenever you see SPL Assistant or SPL Controller, substitute your command (e.g. if you have assigned NVDA+grave accent for SPL Controller, press NvDA+Grave to access SPL Controller layer).
When you start or switch to SPL Studio, you'll be placed in the track playlist. This is a list of tracks you have added to be played via Studio. On top of the track listings is an hour marker to tell you the tracks you have added for this hour.
For each trakc in the playlist, a check mark is available to select tracks for playback. As you select tracks in the playlist, Studio will show the total length of the playlist, useful if you wish to know if the selected track fills the current hour slot.
If you press NvDA+Up Arrow (not the numpad up arrow) or NvDA+Tab, NVDA will tell you the track information such as duration, artist, whether the track is selected for playback and so on. You can also let NvDA play a beep to indicate the track category, and when you reach top or bottom of the playlist, NVDA will play a beep to let you know of this fact. You can configure these behaviors from add-on settings.
Note: for best experience, tell Studio to use accessibility mode from options dialog.
Track playback controlls within Studio window
You can use native SPL Studio commands to control track playback. Here is a list of the commands:
- ENTER or P: play the selected track.
- U: Pause or continue playing the track.
- S: Stop track with fade out.
- T: Instant stop.
- Alt+Down arrow: Skip to next track.
From Studio window, to see if a track is playing, press the SPL Assistant command. NvDA will play a beep. Then press P, and NVDA will announce if the track is playing or stopped.
Reviewing information about a track
Visually, the playlist viewer is shown as a table. Each row corresponds to track entries and various information about a track (called tags) is spread across 18 columns. On the far left is a check mark that denotes whether the track is selected for playback, and one can use the mouse to reorder other columns.
You can use NvDA's table navigation commands to move between columns such as artist, duration, category and so on (termed Column Navigator). That is, you can press Control+Alt+left or right arrows to move through columns, and Control+Alt+up or down arrows to move vertically (next or previous row while staying at the column of your choosing, either the column you are reviewing or a specific column). You can also press Control+Alt+Home or End to review leftmost or rightmost column. A beep will be heard when you reach the edge of the track item row or the first or last trakc on the playlist viewer (the latter if you enabled top and bottom notifications).
Another way to review track columns is telling NVDA which columns you'd like to obtain information from. This is called Columns Explorer and is activated when you press SPL Assistant, followed by a key from the number row (more on SPL Assistant layer below). Alternatively, press Control+NVDA+number row commands to review data for individual columns.
By default, the following columns or slots are defined:
- Time scheduled
Note: Position 10 is 0 (zero) key.
To configure column slots, open add-on settings, then select Columns Explorer. You'll be greeted with ten combo boxes (one per column slot) where you can select columns you'd like to explore when SPL Assistant, number keys are pressed.
Customizing column announcements
By default, NVDA will announce all available information about a track. However, you can ask NVDA to not announce certain columns, change column announcement order, or prevent announcement of column header text such as Artist, Genre and so on.
To customize column order or exclude certain columns from being announced, open add-on settings, then uncheck "use screen order" checkbox. Then select "Manage column announcements". The controls in this dialog are:
- Column checkboxes: Check the boxes to let NvDA announce the selected column, or uncheck them to suppress announcement of unchecked columns.
- Column order: This list shows column announcement order. Use move up/down buttons to change column order.
After configuring column order or announcement, select OK, then select OK from the main settings dialog.
To let NVDA only announce column content, from add-on settings, uncheck "Include column headers when announcing track information". With this checkbox checked, NVDA may say things such as, "Artist: artist name", and if unchecked, NVDA will only say, "artist name".
Note: To return to default behavior of announcing columns in screen order and/or announce all columns, from add-on settings, check "Use screen order". Artist and title are always announced.
In case you receive a request from someone and need to write it down, you can use track comments feature to add, change, review or remove comments (notes) for tracks. As you move through tracks, you may hear NvDA say, "has comment" or play a beep to indicate existence of a track comment for the selected track. Press Alt+NVDA+C to let NVDA announce track comments if any, or press it twice to copy track comment to clipboard so you can review it from somewhere.
To add a track comment, press Alt+NVDA+C three times. Type your comment and press ENTER. Leaving the track comment empty will remove track comments.
Note: You cannot add track comments to hour markers, break notes and other such tracks.
From time to time, listeners may chime in and request a track or two to be played. Provided that you are using the StationPlaylist request scripts on your website, you can be notified of request arrival. When this happens, NVDA will play a beep to notify you of this. Once requests arrive, press Control+Q from StationPlaylist to open requests window.
Note: in order to use this, StationPlaylist must be set to pop up requests window when requests arrive.
Playlist and time information
As you work with SPL Studio, the following commands are available to obtain various information about current playlist and the currently playing track:
- Alt+Shift+T: announces elapsed time for the currently playing trakc.
- Control+Alt+T: Announces the remaining time for the currently playing track.
- NVDA+Shift+F12: Announces broadcaster time (time as reported by Studio such as 5 minutes to 2). Pressing this command twice will announce minutes and secondsl eft until top of the next hour.
- SPL Assistant, H: Announces the duration of the playlist for the hour slot.
- SPL Assistant, Shift+H: Announces remaining track duration for the current hour slot.
- SPL Assistant, P: Announces whether a track is playing.
- SPL Assistant, C: Announces the title of the currently playing track and playback player, if any.
- SPL Assistant, N: Announces name and duration of the next track if selected, as well as the player that will be used to play the track.
- SPL Assistant, S: Announces the time when the selected track will be played (scheduled).
- SPL Assistant, Shift+S: Announces length of time before the current track will play (i.e. starts in; you should use this command about a second after moving to a new track).
- SPL Assistant, D: Announces duration of the remaining tracks in the playlist (may become inaccurate (up to several seconds) for very long playlists).
- SPL Assistant, Y: Announces whether the currently loaded playlist has been modified.
- SPL Assistant, F8: Takes a snapshot of the current playlist and presents information about the playlist on a window. These include total duration of the playlist (from start to finish), name of the longest track, number of categories and so on.
- SPL Assistant, Shift+F8: transcribes playlist data in a number of formats. See Playlist Transcripts section for details.
In addition, you can assign a command via NVDA's Input Gestures dialog to announce time in hours, minutes and seconds as reported by Studio.
Note: for current and next track commands, you can ask NVDA to announce internal player used for playback, as Studio uses multiple internal players for track playback.
Setting options and announcing option status
Besides track and time information, NVDA allows you to use native Studio commands to change various options such as microphone on or off, automation and so on. As you change these options, NvDA will announce new values either as words or beeps. To change these options, use the SPL commands as follows:
- A: Toggle automation.
- L: Line-in.
- M: Microphone on/off.
- N: Microphone on/off without fade.
- R: Enable or disable record to file.
- Control+T: Cart edit/insert mode on or off. If status message is set to beeps and if cart insert mode is active, you will hear "insert" when you press this command and status changes to cart insert mode on.
To announce current values for these options, enter SPL Assistant layer, then press the corresponding native command from the list above (except where noted). For example, to hear if automation is enabled, enter SPL Assistant then press A.
Additional commands and exceptions for SPL Assistant layer include:
- U: Studio up time.
- T: Cart edit mode status. To change cart edit mode status, press Control+T (Control+T is a native SPL command).
- I: Listener count (I as in "Internet listeners").
- Control+K: Drop a place marker on the selected track.
- K: Move to a predefined marker track. See place marker section for more details.
- Shift+P: Pitch for the current track.
- Shift+R: Report library scan results (number of items scanned) or track current library scan in the background.
- W: Weather and temperature (see below).
- F1: Shows a dialog listing available layer commands.
- Shift+F1: Opens the online user guide using the default web browser.
- F9: Mark the start of track time analysis.
- F10: Performs track time analysis. See track time analysis section for more details.
- F12: Switches between current and an instant switch profile. See instant switch profile section for more details.
Note: When the microphone is turned on with or without fade, pressing M from SPL Assistant will tell you the current microphone status.
SPL Assistant command layout
NVDA isn't the only screen reader with scripts for Studio. There are scripts for JAWS for Windows and Window-Eyes that provides similar functionality to NVDA add-on.
The SPL Assistant layer commands described throughout this guide are the default commands when the add-on is first installed. You can change layer command compatibility by going to Advanced Settings in add-on settings dialog.
Following are SPL Assistant command assignments when JAWS for Windows layout is active:
- C: Cart Explorer (you can toggle this by pressing Alt+NVDA+3).
- L: Listener count.
- R: Playlist duration.
Following are SPL Assistant command assignments when Window-Eyes layout is in use:
- E: Elapsed time of the currently playing track.
- G: Metadata streaming status.
- R: Remaining time for the currently playing track.
Other SPL Assistant commands described in this guide are same across all layouts.
These allow you to obtain information about a loaded playlist, including total running time, top genre, storing playlist data to a file and others. You can perform these functions on an entire playlist or a portion of it.
The Playlist Analyzer features include:
- Track time analysis: announce total duration of part of a playlist.
- Playlist snapshots: present information about the playlist or a part of it, including top artist, total and average duration of tracks loaded and others.
- Playlist transcripts: view, copy, or store playlist data in a variety of formats to the clipboard or files.
Note: playlist analysis range is defined by presence of playlist analysis marker (if not defined, the entire playlist will be analyzed, otherwise a partial analysis will take place). To limit analysis scope, move to the starting track and press SPL Assistant, F9. Then move around the playlist until you come across another item, then perform an analysis command (see below). To analyze an entire playlist, clear playlist analysis marker by entering SPL Assistant, then press F9 twice quickly, or for playlist transcripts, select "entire playlist" when asked to define transcript range.
Track time analysis
If you are unsure as to length of time required to play selected tracks, you can ask NVDA to perform track time analysis. First, move to the starting track, then press SPL Assistant, F9 to mark the track as start analysis marker. Then move to the last track and press SPL Assistant, F10. NVDA will announce number of tracks followed by total length of the selected tracks. Analysis can be performed even if you select tracks backwards (that is, if you wish to count total length of the tracks prior to the marked track).
Note: You can assign a custom command for time analysis (SPL Assistant, F10). Track time analysis will not work properly outside of playlist viewer.
While planning a show, it is sometimes helpful to get a glimpse of your currently loaded playlist to find out the current longest track, number of hour markers and so on. If you have a long playlist that spans hours, it becomes tedious to write down information for each track and calculate various statistics such as average duration of all tracks.
NVDA can do this task when you tell it to do so. Pressing SPL Assistant, F8 while focused on any track in the playlist will allow NVDA to "take a snapshot" of your current playlist and present various statistics on a window. Alternatively, if you wish to take a partial playlist snapshot, move to the starting track and mark it as analysis marker, then move to the last track and the press SPL Assistant, F8.
By default, the following playlist information will be shown:
- Number of items (including tracks, hour markers, break notes and so on) in the playlist.
- Total duration of the playlist.
- Name and duration of the longest and shortest tracks.
- Average duration of all tracks in the playlist.
- Top categories.
- Top artists by track count.
- Music genres represented.)
- Top albums in the playlist.
You can configure snapshot information from add-on settings via playlist snapshots dialog. This dialog houses checkboxes and several number edit fields to specify what information will be gathered when taking a playlist snapshot.
Note: For category, artist, genre and album count, you can ask NVDA to show you up to top ten results, or show all results by setting show count setting to zero (0). After reviewing snapshot information, press escape to close the snapshots window.
If you wish to view playlist data in a variety of formats (such as an HTML table) or store this information to a file, you can do so with playlist transcripts. In this context, a "transcript" is record of the loaded playlist - either a part of it or the entire playlist.
To request a playlist transcript, press SPL Assistant, Shift+F8. NVDA will then ask for playlist range, transcript format, as well as other options for specific formats, including copying data to the clipboard. After selecting a transcript range and format, select OK, and NVDA will generate a playlist transcript so you can either view it (on a separate screen), paste it somewhere (if copied to the clipboard), or open the transcript file.
The available transcript ranges include:
- Entire playlist.
- To and from current track: from start of the playlist to the current track, or from current track to the end.
- Current hour.
The available transcript formats include:
- Plain text: a record of the playlist in a form announced by NVDA.
- HTML table: the playlist is shown as a table.
- HTML list: similar to plain text option except each track is a list item.
- Markdown table: each column data is surrounded by vertical bars (|) and is formatted for viewing or converting to other formats.
All formats listed above will let you view transcripts in a browse mode window or save it to a file. In addition, transcripts in plain text and Markdown table formats can be copied to the clipboard.
In addition to viewing transcripts in a variety of formats, you can customize which columns are included and in which order. This can be done via Playlist Transcripts item found in add-on settings. From there, select "manage columns", and then select columns to be included by checking various checkbox and/or rearrange the presentation order. By default, all columns are included (except status column) and is shown according to default column presentation order as seen by NVDA.
Sometimes, you might find that NVDA might be too verbose when announcing status information such as toggling automation from the main playlist window. You can ask NVDA to play beeps instead of announcing status for these options while toggling them.
To change this (which will become permanent), open SPL add-on settings, go to General Add-on Settings dialog, then select Beep for status announcements checkbox. When you change status announcements to beeps, NvDA will play beeps to indicate events such as toggling microphone, end of track announcements and so on. These settings will also work if you are using SPL Controller to toggle Studio options (see below).
When status such as automation changes, you may not wish to hear the complete announcement. If you would like to hear just enough information, you can change message verbosity from add-on settings dialog under General Add-on Settings.
There are two verbosity levels to choose from:
- Beginner: Gives you more verbose information such as which status has changed. For example, when you press A from playlist viewer, you will hear "Automation On/Automation Off".
- Advanced: Announces just enough information to let you know something has changed. For example, press A from playlist viewer to hear NvDA say "On" or "Off". In this case, you'll know that you've changed automation status.
Note: If you set status announcement to beeps, you'll hear a longer tone when verbosity is set to beginner, and a short tone will be played otherwise (exceptions include microphone alarm). Also, cart edit/insert mode toggle isn't affected.
Track time alarms
You can ask NVDA to either play a beep, announce a warning or do both when end of track (outro) or intro is approaching. By default, NVDA will play a beep when five seconds are left on the outro and intro.
To adjust the alarm value or to disable them, press Alt+NVDA+1 or Alt+NVDA+2 to open end of track or song intro alarm dialogs, respectively. From here you can adjust:
- Alarm value: adjust the alarm value by using the arrow keys or entering the new value. Depending on the alarm type, you can adjust the value between 1 and maximum (59 for end of track, 9 for song intro).
- Enable/disable alarms: check the box to have NVDA notify you when end of track or song intro are approaching (check to enable).
Note: these options can be found in add-on settings dialog under Alarms Center. Values entered into the alarm dialogs and/or add-on settings dialog/Alarms Center will be saved to the currently active broadcast profile (see broadcast profiles section for more details about this).
If you are using a braille display, you can ask NVDA to display remaining time for the track and/or its intro on a braille display. Press Control+Shift+X to step through braille timer options. Alternatively, select the desired option from the add-on configuration's braille timer combo box. You can choose from braille timer off (default), braille track endings, braille intro times or braille both track endings and intro times. Note that you need to be in Studio window in order to see time on a braille display, and NVDA will remember this setting even when it restarts.
Time range finder
If you need to fill an hour slot with a track, you can find one by using time range finder. To use this, first assign a command to open this dialog, which consists of two groups of edit spin boxes (minimum and maximum duration, respectively), with each group composed of two spin controls for minute and second. Once you define the duration range, press ENTER and NVDA will either place you on a track or tell you if there aren't any tracks with duration within the just defined range.
If you are focused on the track list and wish to find a track (by artist name or by song title), you can use track finder to locate the desired track. To find tracks, press Control+NVDA+F (or SPL Assistant, F), then type the part of the name of the track into the editable combo box that appears. NvDA will locate the track with the given name, or if it cannot find it, will alert you that it cannot do so.
If you have searched for a track before, press NvDA+F3 to find forward or NVDA+Shift+F3 to find backward. You can also choose to search a previously entered term from Track Finder dialog's text entry combo box.
Note: Track search terms are case-sensitive.
Track Finder is not limited to searching for artist or title. You can ask NVDA to find certain information from columns. To activate this, first assign a command to open column search, then press the newly assigned command to open Column Search dialog.
This dialog includes the following:
- Search field: enter the information you wish to find in a column or choose a term you've searched before.
- Columns: This combo box allows you to specify which column you wish to search for the entered information.
Note: Pressing NVDA+F3 or NVDA+Shift+F3 will continue to search artist and title.
Place marker track
There are times when you need to mark a track to return to after editing a playlist. NVDA allows you to define a track as a place marker track so you can return to it later.
To define a place marker track, press SPL Assistant, Control+K. NVDA will say, "place marker set". To return to the marked track, press SPL Assistant, K.
Note: You cannot set a breaknote or hour marker as place marker track, and if you delete the place marker track, place marker will be gone. Place marker commands will not work outside of playlist viewer.
SPL Studio allows you to assign up to 96 carts, or jingle machines. When the cart command is pressed, Studio plays the assigned jingle. You can also edit jingle assignments while cart edit mode is active.
The cart commands are:
- F1 through F12 either by themselves, or in combination with Shift, Control or Alt (e.g. F2, Shift+F11, Control+F5, Alt+F12).
- Number row from 1 through 9, 0, hyphen (-) and equals (=) either by themselves or in combination with Shift, Control or Alt (e.g. 5, Shift+-, Control+=, Alt+0). This set is unavailable in Studio Standard.
Hint: because Alt+F4 is a cart command, press Control+Alt+X to quit SPL Studio.
Note: The modifier assigns carts to "banks". There are four cart banks that comes with SPL Studio: main (without modifier), and one each for shift, control (CTRL) and alt. You can access each cart bank from the menu bar.
To help you learn what jingle will play when a given cart key is pressed, NVDA allows you to explore cart assignments. Press Alt+NVDA+3 to enter Cart Explorer. When you press the cart key once, NVDA will tell you which jingle is assigned to that cart key. When pressed twice, the jingle associated with the cart command will be played. Once you've explored the cart assignments, press Alt+NVDA+3 to leave Cart Explorer.
Hint: If you toggle cart edit mode or use cart insert mode, NVDA will remind you that Cart Explorer is active if this is such a case. Also, if you are using Studio Standard and press number row keys (with or without modifiers) while cart explorer is active, NVDA will alert you that the cart command is unavailable.
Note: Cart explorer will not operate properly if:
- Either you have custom names for your carts or saved your cart with a different name, or loaded other cart banks besides your own. Cart explorer will not pick up cart names for additional cart banks you insert into a cart bank (main, shift, control, alt). For example, if you have cart assignments for main cart bank and add cart entries from another user's main cart bank, cart explorer will not announce cart assignments from the added cart bank. For best results, do not load another cart bank apart from your own, or if you are the only user, do not add any other banks besides default user's cart banks.
- If one or more cart banks doesn't exist or your user name starts or ends with whitespace (" "). If this is the case, NvDA will report that some cart banks were not found and will not enter cart explorer.
Music Library scan
As your music collection grows, you might wish to teach Studio where it can find tracks for your shows. To help you with this, Studio has an option to remember where you've stored your music files. This can be access from Studio's options dialog under folder name section. Then, you can start a library scan right away or open insert tracks dialog to start a scan.
If using Options dialog method, once you've selected your music directory, Studio will scan the folder location for available tracks once you close the Options dialog. If using Insert Tracks dialog (Control+I) method, once the dialog opens, press Control+Shift+R to start a fresh library scan. You can then close insert tracks dialog so Studio can scan the library in the background. In either case, depending on library scan announcement setting (see below), NVDA will be silent while Studio is scanning the library, or NVDA may announce scan progress periodically.
To toggle library scan announcement options while scanning the library from inser tracks window or in the background, press Alt+NVDA+R (R for rescan) from Studio window. This command will cycle through the options listed below. Alternatively, from the add-on configuration dialog, open general add-on settings, then select an option from the library scan announcement combo box.
The available options are:
- Do not announce ("off"): by default, NVDA will not announce that a library scan is happening.
- Announce start and end of a scan ("start and end only"): NVDA will notify you when a library scan starts and ends.
- Announce progress of a scan ("scan progress"): In addition to start and end announcement, NVDA will say "scanning" periodically to tell you that a library scan is in progress.
- Announce progress and number of items scanned ("scan count"): NVDA will announce number of items scanned so far as the scan takes place.
Note: words in parentheses are the options from the scan announcement combo box.
Hint: If you set status announcement to beeps, NVDA will play a high and low tone when the scan starts and completes, respectivley. Also, NvDA will play a middle tone during a scan to alert you that a scan is happening.
Note: to monitor the progress of a library scan from insert tracks window, do not move away from Insert Tracks dialog until the scan is complete. This does not apply if you start library scan monitoring via Studio Options dialog method, as NVDA will announce scan progress from any program including from within Studio. Also, if library scan progress is set to scan count, you may hear repeats. Don't worry - this is the case when it takes a long time to perform library scans.
When you are interviewing someone or talk during your show, you may forget that you have your microphone turned on and find out that you are speaking while the next song is playing. Just in case you forget to turn off your microphone, NVDA will let you know via a sound that your microphone has been active for a while. To configure the microphone alarm (often shortened to mic alarm), press Alt+NVDA+4, then type how many seconds should NVDA wait before alerting you about your microphone status. To turn this off, enter value of zero (0). This setting is permanent and is turned off by default.
You can also ask NVDA to give you periodic notifications about microphone being on. This can be configured from microphone alarm dialog (between 0 and 60 seconds, with 0 being announce once). See add-on settings section for details.
Weather and temperature
You can ask Studio to show you temperature and weather information for your local area. Once this is configured, from SPL Assistant, press W. Alternatively, assign a command to announce weather and temperature without invoking SPL Assistant.
You can ask Studio to use up to five streams to stream track metadata. These include the DSP encoder address and up to four additional URL's, and NvDA can be told to announce if metadata streaming is enabled and connect to predefined servers if any.
To configure when NVDA should announce metadata streaming status and connect to these servers, open add-on settings and select an option from metadata streaming notification and connection combo box. You can choose between off (not announced and connected), startup (connected and announced when Studio starts) and when switching to an instant switch profile (see instant switch profile section for more details).
To configure which streams should be enabled, go to manage metadata streaming, then check the boxes for streams you wish to connect.
To quickly enable or disable metadata streaming on the fly, press the command you assigned to open metadata streaming options dialog. Check the stream box to enable or uncheck to disable metadata streaming and click OK.
Note: When toggling metadata streaming on the fly, you can check "Apply to selected profile" checkbox to let NVDA store toggle values to the selected profile to be used next time Studio starts.
Using touchscreen commands
If you have NVDA 2012.3 or later and add-on 5.0 or later installed on a touchscreen computer, you can use touchscreen gestures to perform some add-on commands. These commands are grouped under a touch mode called "SPL mode". While Studio is focused, perform three finger single tap until you switch to SPL mode.
The commands in SPL mode are as follows:
- Two finger flick right: open end of track alarm dialog.
- Two finger flick left: open intro alarm dialog.
- Two finger flick up: announces broadcaster time.
- Two finger flick down: announces remaining time for the currently playing track.
Note: When you switch away from Studio, you'll be placed in object touch mode.
Track Tool and StationPlaylist Creator
In addition to StationPlaylist Studio, SPL suite includes Track Tool and Creator. Track Tool is typically used to set intros, define cue positions and so on for a track. Creator is useful if you wish to create advanced playlists such as rotations and more interesting track categories.
To use Track Tool, highlight a track from within Studio's track list, then press Control+K. Alternatively, press Control+K without selecting any track, then from within Track Tool window, press Control+O to load a track into Track Tool. As you move through the tracks list, you'll hear a beep if intro has been set on a track. NVDA will also tell you the values for cue, overlap and so on if they are set.
From within Track Tool, press Control+NVDA+number to hear various information about the selected track. For example, press Control+NVDA+3 to obtain track duration. Alternatively, press Control+Alt+left or right arrow keys to review various columns, and Control+Alt+Home and End keys to announce first and last columns.
Following are the information you can query regarding a track in Track Tool:
- Control+NVDA+1: Artist.
- Control+NVDA+2: Track title.
- Control+NVDA+3: Duration of the selected track.
- Control+NVDA+4: Cue time.
- Control+NVDA+5: Overlap duration.
- Control+NVDA+6: Length of the intro.
- Control+NVDA+7: Segue.
- Control+NVDA+8: Path to the file.
- Control+NVDA+9: Album
- Control+NVDA+0: CD code for this track.
Similar to Track Tool, after loading a playlist or tracks with a given category, you can use table navigation commands (Control+Alt+left/right arrow/Home/End keys) to review items in a track, or use Columns Explorer to review data from a specific column.
Following are the information you can query regarding a track in SPL Creator:
- Control+NVDA+1: Artist.
- Control+NVDA+2: Track title.
- Control+NVDA+3: Track position.
- Control+NVDA+4: Cue time.
- Control+NVDA+5: Length of the intro.
- Control+NVDA+6: Segue.
- Control+NVDA+7: Duration of the selected track.
- Control+NVDA+8: Last scheduled date and time.
- Control+NVDA+9: How many times the track was played in the last 7 days.
- Control+NVDA+0: Date restriction.
Studio add-on preferences
One of the strengths of NVDA is that it contains gateways for configuring various settings, such as voice, browse mode and so on, all housed in preferences menu, or in NVDA 2018.2, the multi-page Settings screen. Just like any other settings, SPL add-on comes with its own settings dialog. As long as you are running Studio, you can open this dialog by going to NVDA's preferences menu and selecting "SPL Studio Settings" item or pressing Alt+NVDA+0 (zero) from Studio window.
Most of the settings in this dialog were discussed throughout the add-on guide. Here is a complete list of available settings and their options:
- Broadcast profiles and associated controls (unless disabled via command-line switches): See next section on profiles.
- General add-on settings: home to a number of general options, including:
- Beep for status announcements (unchecked by default): See status announcement section. Status messages can be announced as beeps or words when this option is checked or unchecked, respectively.
- Message verbosity (beginner by default): See message verbosity section for more details and an entry in frequently asked questions for a complete list of messages that'll be affected by this setting.
- Braille timer (off by default): select the desired braille timer option from this combo box. See braille timer section for more details.
- Library scan announcement (off by default): select the announcement option from this combo box. See library scan section for more details.
- Announce hour values when announcing track or playlist duration (on by default): If duration of the track or a playlist exceeds one hour, NVDA will announce minutes and seconds or hours, minutes and seconds when this option is disabled or enabled, respectively.
- Vertical column navigation announcement (currently reviewing column by default): When you move through columns vertically, you can ask NVDA to keep you on the column you are currently reviewing or announce a specific column. Choose the option or the column you want from this combo box.
- Beep for different track categories (disabled by default): Enabling this option allows NVDA to play different beeps for different track categories when moving between tracks in playlist viewer. See playlist viewer section for details.
- Track comment announcement (off by default): Select how NVDA will notify you of track comments if it exists. You can choose from off, message, beep or both. See track comments section for details.
- Notify when located at top or bottom of playlist viewer (enabled by default): If this is turned on, a beep will be heard when you are at the top or bottom of the playlist.
- Play a sound when listener requests arrive (enabled by default): if checked, NVDA will play a beep to indicate request arrival. See listener requests section for details.
- Alarms Center: This dialog allows you to configure track outro, intro alarms and notification toggle, microphone alarm and interval. See track alarms and microphone alarm section for details.
- Alarm notification (beep by default): Selects alarm notification type. You can select from beep only, message only or both. See alarms section for more details.
- Playlist snapshots: use playlist snapshots dialog to configure information to be gathered when you issue playlist snapshots command. See playlist snapshots section for details.
- Metadata streaming: The metadata streaming combo box and manage metadata streaming button and the subsequent dialog controls when Studio will connect to metadata streams and to announce streaming status. See metadata streaming section for details.
- Column order controls: The next two controls (Use screen order checkbox and Manage column announcements button) controls column announcement order. See column announcement section for details.
- Include column headers when announcing track information (enabled by default): if turned on, column header text will be announced along with column content. see column announcement section for details.
- Columns explorer: The next three buttons opens dialogs where you can configure columns explorer slots when you use Studio, Track Tool, or SPL Creator. See Columns Explorer section for details.
- Playlist Transcripts: you can configure various settings related to Playlist Transcripts feature, including default format, which columns to include and column order. See Playlist Transcripts section for details.
- Announcing various status messages: Select "status announcement" button to open a dialog containing four checkboxes and a combo box to configure announcement of certain status information. These include announcing scheduled time for the selected track, listener count, name of the currently playing cart and position of the player used for playing the current and the next track. It also includes a combo box to configure announcement of name of the playing track (default is automatic; select between automatic (announced at all times), while using other programs and off (not announced)).
- Advanced settings: This dialog allows you to configure various advanced options. These include:
- Automatically check for add-on updates (enabled by default): Check this box if you'd like NVDA to check for updated version of the Studio add-on (requires you to use Studio while checking for updates).
- Update check interval (monthly or 30 days by default): If automatic update check is turned on, this option will let you choose the update check frequency between 0 days and six months (180 days). If set to 0 (zero) days, NVDA will check for add-on updates when Studio starts.
- Update channel (channel list varies): This combo box allows you to select the update channel. See update channel entry in FAQ's below for details.
- Use SPl Controller to invoke SPL Assistant (disabled by default): If you check this box after assigning a command to invoke SPL Controller layer (see below), you can use SPl Controller command you assigned to invoke SPl Assistant layer. This is useful for people used to other screen readers where a single layer is used to access functions normally performed by both Controller and Assistant layers in NVDA.
- Assistant layer layout (NVDA by default): By default, NVDA will use the Assistant layer commands described throughout this user guide. You can choose between this default command set, JAWS for Windows or Window-Eyes, with layer commands used by these screen reader scripts replacing commands in the SPL Assistant layer. For example, with JAWS for Windows layout active, pressing SPL Assistant, R will announce playlist duration (default is SPL Assistant, D). See the list below for SPL Assistant command changes between layouts.
After configuring the above settings, select OK from main settings dialog to save your changes, Cancel to discard them, or Apply to apply changes without closing the settings dialog.
- You can use this dialog to reset add-on settings and other data to default values (applied to all profiles). To do this, select Reset settings button, check the checkboxes for various data items (instant switch flag, time-based profiles, encoder settings and track comments), then answer yes when prompted. If no checkboxes are checked, only add-on settings will be returned to defaults. The add-on configuration dialog will close automatically once default settings are applied.
- If you select Apply and NVDA notices that the selected broadcast profile is not the active one, NVDA will ask if you wish to apply current settings to the profile currently selected from broadcast profiles list.
Classic versus multi-page add-on settings
NVDA 2018.2 comes with a redesigned settings screen where you can browse and change settings in one sitting. Visually, it consists of settings categories on the left, and options for the chosen category on the right. You can move between categories by selecting the category from the left-side list, or pressing Control+Tab or Control+Shift+Tab to move among categories.
SPL Studio add-on 18.08 adopts the new behavior by displaying settings in a multi-page dialog. It also comes with the old add-on settings interface (called "classic") so people can switch between the old and the new interfaces. In add-on 18.09, only the new interface will be provided.
Following are differences between the old and the new add-on settings interfaces:
- All add-on settings are organized into categories.
- when broadcast profiles are not shown, the new add-on interface will show a message indicating this.
- Alarm notification settings is part of Alarms category.
- Column announcement and order are grouped under Column Announcements category.
- Metadata streaming notification and connection combo box is now part of Metadata Streaming category.
You can use Advanced dialog/category to switch between interfaces. After changing the interface, you must restart NVDA for the chosen interface to show up.
Note: the following section isn't applicable if broadcast profiles are disabled via command-line switches (see FAQ's).
In a recent version of NVDA, a feature was added to let you customize NvDA settings to be applied while using a program or during say all. This is called "configuration profiles". By default, you would use normal configuration, and you can create new profiles to be used anywhere or when using an app. Consult NVDA's user guide on configuration profiles.
StationPlaylist add-on takes this one step further. If you host multiple shows, you can ask NVDA to honor your Studio add-on preferences for the duration of a particular show. This is achieved via broadcast profiles, a collection of settings to be applied in a given moment upon request.
So far, we've dealt with only one profile: normal profile. By default, NVDA uses default broadcast profile when adjusting settings. You can then use this profile to create new profiles based on this profile, or create a new profile with default settings applied.
As of add-on 18.04, the following settings can be stored in profiles:
- End of track notification toggle.
- End of track alarm.
- Intro notification toggle.
- Intro alarm.
- Microphone alarm.
- Microphone alarm interval.
- Use screen order when announcing columns.
- Column announcement order and included columns.
- Include column headers when announcing track information.
- Metadata streaming URL's.
Broadcast profiles are managed from Studio add-on settings dialog. Profile-related controls are as follows:
- Broadcast profile: Lists currently loaded profiles. By default, normal profile is in use (top of the list), with the active profile selected by default. For each profile, a flag will be shown alongside the profile name denoting current profile status, such as whether this profile is the currently active profile. See the next list for more information.
- New: Allows you to create a brand new broadcast profile with default profile-specific settings applied. Profiles are saved into a folder in the add-on folder.
- Copy: Allows you to create a new profile using settings from an existing profile.
- Rename: Lets you rename a profile (not availible for normal profile).
- Delete: Deletes a profile (say "yes" when prompted; you cannot delete the normal profile).
- Triggers: Configure profile activation and other settings. See the triggers dialog section for details.
- Countdown timer until switching profiles (15 seconds by default): This is used to let NVDA announce seconds until a time-based profile is activated (see time-based profile switching section for more information).
The possible profile flags are:
- Active: The selected profile is the active profile. This is set regardless of whether this profile became active when instant profile switching was invoked (see below).
- Instant switch: The selected profile is set as the instant switch profile (see instant switch profile for details).
- Time-based: At a specific date and time, NVDA will switch to the selected profile automatically. Just before this happens, NVDA will run a countdown timer to let you know that profile switching will take place.
Note: Multiple flags can be set on certain profiles.
Creating a broadcast profile
There are two ways of creating a broadcast profile: brand new or as a copy. Select the desired option and answer the following questions when the new/copy profile dialog appears:
- Profile name: Enter the profile name, such as the name of a show you are hosting. You cannot enter a name that is already in use.
- Base profile (when copying a profile): Select the profile that'll become basis for the new profile. Settings from the selected base profile will be copied to the new profile. For brand new profiles, settings from normal configuration minus profile-specific settings will be applied.
Renaming and deleting broadcast profiles
To rename a profile, select "rename" button, then enter the new name for the profile. Just like new profiles, you cannot enter a name that is already used.
To delete a profile, select "delete" button, then say "yes" when prompted. You'll be returned to add-on settings with the normal profile activated.
Note: You cannot rename or delete the normal profile.
The triggers dialog is used to configure profile switching settings. The following controls are available:
- This is an instant switch profile (checked if this is the case): If you need to use a profile during a show (especially when you don't know the duration of this show), it is best to define the show profile as instant switch profile. Once defined, you can press SPL Assistant, F12 to switch between current and show profile.
- This is a time-based switch profile (checked if this is the case): If you would like a profile to become active at a certain date and time, you can define a profile as a time-based profile. After checking this box, select the switch day(s) and specify when this profile should become active with an optional duration in minutes.
- If you rename the switch profile, the switch profile setting will carry over to the just renamed profile. If you delete the selected profile, instant switch and time-based switching setting will become undefined.
- After specifying switch date and time, NVDA will present an error dialog if another profile is occupying the time slot you've just specified (time slot refers to switch hour and minute plus duration in minutes). For example, if you tell NVDA to switch to an hour-long show profile at 12 noon every day and if another profile has taken this time slot (say, a 12:30 show on Mondays), NVDA will present an error dialog and will let you specify a different switch date and time.
- When you start or restart NVDA while Studio is active, NVDA may switch to a time-based profile automatically if current day is the switch day and current time falls within the switch time slot.
The SPL Controller is a set of commands used everywhere (except Studio itself) to control various aspects of Studio's functionality. For example, you can use this to start playing the next track right after a Skype call, or disable automation for the time being while conducting a live interview or tweeting.
To use these commands, enter SPL Controller layer. NvDA says, "SPL Controller." Then press the keys for the desired function from the list below.
SPL Controller commands
after entering SPL Controller, press one of the following commands:
- A: Turn automation on.
- Shift+A: Turn automation off.
- M: Turn on microphone.
- Shift+M: Turn off microphone.
- N: Turn on microphone without fade.
- L: Turn on line-in.
- Shift+L: Turn off line-in.
- P: Play the next track.
- U: Pause or continue playing.
- S: Stop with fade out.
- T: Instant stop.
- Function keys and number row keys (with or without modifiers): play assigned carts.
Notice that the commands are same as SPL control commands available while SPL Studio is used. Also, the toggle commands by themselves enables a particular option, while pressing shift with the toggle key disables it (except when playing carts via SPL Controller).
Additional SPL Controller commands include:
- R: Announce remaining time for the currently playing track in seconds.
- Shift+R: announce number of tracks in the library or library scan progress (if this is happening) along with number of items scanned.)
- E: Announce number of encoders being monitored along with stream labels for them if defined.
- I: Announce listener count.
- Q: Announce various Studio status info. These include track playback status, automation, microphone, line-in, record to file, and cart edit/insert mode toggle. The first two items are announced for Studio 5.10 and later, with 5.20 and later adding other items.
- C: Name and duration of the currently playing track (if any).
- Shift+C: Name and duration of the upcoming track (if any).
- Cart keys (function keys and number row keys with or without modifiers): carts without borders.
- H: Shows a dialog listing available Controller commands.
Note: SPL Controller, Q can be assigned to a different command from Input Gestures dialog.
###Carts without borders
In addition to playing carts when focused on Studio and learning about their assignments (see Cart Explorer section for details), you can play cart keys after entering SPL Controller. To do this, enter SPL Controller layer, then press the cart key.
Quickly switch to SPL Studio
There are times when you might wish to switch quickly to SPL Studio from other programs (for example, if you wish to search a song from the playlist). To switch to SPL Studio from another program, press the command you assigned for this command (for 2.0 and above; for 1.2 and earlier, press NvDA+Shift+grave accent).
Broadcasting with SAM and StationPlaylist Encoders
Now that you know about how to use Studio, it's time to make your presence known on the internet. You can broadcast your show online using Studio, a stream encoder and a streaming server.
The SPL Studio add-on supports SAM Encoder from Spatial Audio. In addition, if you are using Studio 5.00 or later, you can use SPL Encoders which ships with Studio. SAM Encoder is a Winamp plug-in that encodes your show to a format ready for broadcasting. A popular streaming protocol/server is SHOUTcast, and you can use SHOUTcast servers from various websites to stream your show (you can try it out by installing SHOUTcast server on your local computer). Consult the documentation for Studio, SAM Encoders and other websites to learn more about how to stream your show online.
When you use SAM or SPL Encoder with NVDA, the following commands can be used from the encoder window:
- F9: Connect to a streaming server (for example, SHOUTcast). NVDA announces "connecting", followed by either a beep when connected or error messages (if any). If you tell NvDA to switch to Studio or play the first selected track after connecting, NvDA will switch to Studio window or play the first track when connected to the streaming server, respectively.
- F10 from SAM encoder, not available in SPL encoder: Disconnect from a streaming server (NVDA will announce, "disconnecting"). If you are using SPL encoder, from the encoders list, press Shift+TAB until you reach "disconnect" button and press ENTER.
- Control+F9/Control+F10 (SAM encoder only): Connect or disconnect all encoders, respectively.
- F11: Sets whether NVDA will switch to Studio window when the selected encoder is connected.
- Shift+F11: Sets whether Studio will play the first selected track when the selected encoder is connected.
- Control+F11: allows you to monitor the selected encoder in the background for connection changes. To disable background monitoring of all encoders (of any type), press Control+F11 twice quickly.
- F12: Opens a dialog to give custom labels for the selected encoder. NVDA will remember your labels and will announce them as you move between encoders.
- Control+F12: Select the encoder position you have deleted and let NVDA realign stream labels and encoder settings.
- Alt+NVDA+0: Opens encoder settings dialog. See encoder settings section for details.
Note: there might be a delay when a connection is established; during this time, NVDA may appear to freeze (but it isn't; NVDA is keeping an eye on status changes). During this time, you can still perform NVDA commands such as announcing current time; if you are using add-on version prior to 3.3, do not move away from the encoder window until connection is established. Also, settings such as focusing to Studio is saved across sessions.
Encoder status columns
You can use Control+NVDA+number commands to review encoder status. The following columns can be reviewed:
- Control+NVDA+1: Encoder position.
- Control+NVDA+2: Stream label.
For SAM Encoders:
- Control+NVDA+3: Encoder format.
- Control+NVDA+4: Encoder status.
- Control+NVDA+5: Status description.
For SPL Encoders:
- Control+NVDA+3: Encoder settings.
- Control+NVDA+4: Connection status/transfer rate.
The encoder settings dialog is used to centralize various commands used to configure encoder preferences. The available settings are as follows:
- Stream label: Enter the label for this encoder.
- Focus to Studio when connected (off by default).
- Play first track when connected (off by default).
- Background monitor (off by default).
- Play connection tone (on by default).
These settings will be saved across sessions.
Frequently asked questions
Here is a list of frequently asked questions when using NVDA with SPL Studio:
Q. Is Studio accessible without using the add-on?
Yes. The benefits of using the add-on are for announcing status information and to make broadcasting more efficient through status messages, alarms and so forth.
Q. In SPL add-on 1.2, when I press NVDA+Grave or NvDA+shift+Grave, NvDA says, "SPL Studio is not running."
You need to run SPL Studio in order for these commands to work.
Q. After installing SPL add-on 2.0 or later, I cannot switch to SPL Studio, run SPL Controller, etc.
In version 2.0 and later, some commands were removed. You can get them back by assigning your own commands to the following commands from Input Gestures dialog (see NVDA User Guide for details on Input Gestures dialog):
- Entering SPL Controller layer.
- Entering SPL Assistant layer.
- Switching to SPL Studio from any program.
- Obtaining Studio status information from any program.
- Announcing time in hours, minutes and seconds.
- Column Search.
- Time range finder.
- Announcing weather and temperature information.
- Announcing title and duration of the next track if any.
- Announcing title and length of the currently playing track.
- Announcing metadata streaming status.
- Opening a dialog to quickly toggle metadata streaming.
- Obtaining playlist snapshots.
Q. Can I use SPL Assistant commands from Studio windows other than playlist viewer?
Yes with one exception: you can use various SPL Assistant layer commands outside of playlist viewer (say, from within insert tracks window) except jumping to place marker track (K). Also, when pressing SPL Assistant, D (remaining time for the entire playlist), sometimes you'll be asked to move back to playlist viewer, and from then on, this command will work regardless of where you are in Studio.
Q. How can I tell NVDA to use a different sound card from the card used for streaming radio shows?
To change sound cards for NVDA, Open NvDA menu, go to Preferences then open Synthesizer dialog. Alternatively, press Control+NVDA+S to open this dialog from anywhere. Press TAB to go to output device combo box, select the desired sound card for NVDA, then press ENTER. To switch back to the original sound card, repeat these steps, then choose the original sound card from output device combo box.
Q. When a track is playing, I don't hear the artist and title of the currently playing track.
Due to an issue with Studio itself, you need to install add-on 5.6 or later to let NVDA announce name of the currently playing track automatically.
Q. How can I view latest cart assignments?
Prior to 2017: after you edit cart assignments via cart edit mode, reenter cart explorer to view updated cart assignments.
2017 and later: when you exit cart edit mode, cart explorer will reflect latest cart assignments.
Q. When I try to switch to Studio, NVDA says, "SPL minimized."
You can ask Studio to run from system tray. If this is the case, NvDA will announce that Studio is minimized to system tray. To open Studio, go to system tray, select Studio icon and open pop-up menu. Select "restore" from the menu that appears.
Q. When I arrow through tracks, NvDA only announces artist name and the status of the check box.
You need to have "report object descriptions" turned on. Go to NVDA menu, preferences, then Object presentation. Enable reporting of descriptions. Also, You can ask NVDA to announce track descriptions only in Studio via Configuration Profiles dialog under app-based triggers (to do this, open Configuration Profiles while Studio is focused; when creating a profile, select SPLStudio, then while Studio is active, change the desired settings).
Q. Which status announcements are affected by different verbosity levels?
The following toggle announcements are affected by verbosity levels, particularly advanced level where either a shortened text or a short beep will be heard:
- Record to file.
- cart edit/insert (prior to December 2016).)
Note: Starting with add-on 16.12/15.4-LTS, cart edit/insert mode toggle will be announced regardless of verbosity level and status announcement type (beep or speech) as cart edit status text also displays cart insert mode status.
Q. How can I monitor a lengthy library scan?
Open Insert Tracks dialog (Control+I). If you've selected progress announcement from library scan announcement options (see above), NVDA will announce the progress of a scan. Don't move away from this window until the scan is complete. Alternativley, you can monitor a lengthy scan from anywhere by using the SPL Assistant method described above.
Q. During a library scan, NVDA repeats current scan count.
This is expected if it takes a long time to perform library scans, particularly if scanning an entire drive. Don't worry if you hear repeats.
Q. Is there a way to migrate stream labels from add-on 3.x to 4.x?
No. Due to incompatible formats used when storing stream labels, NVDA will not migrate stream labels from add-on versions earlier than 4.0. If you are using add-on version 4.0 and later, your stream labels and settings will be preserved across add-on upgrades.
Q. I did something and NVDA no longer remembers stream labels and end of track alarm setting.
Your configuration files have been deleted from your NVDA user configuration folder, or there was a problem with the configuration file. You can get them back by reentering stream labels and entering the desired setting for end of track alarm.
Q. When I start Studio, I get an error saying add-on configuration has been reset to defaults.
If NVDA determines that there were serious problems with your configuration file, some or all settings will be returned to defaults. Please configure the add-on settings to your liking, and barring further problems with the configuration information, the error dialog will go away next time you restart NVDA or Studio.
Q. When I start Studio, NVDA says, "cannot find instant switch profile".
You might have deleted or renamed the file associated with a previously defined instant switch profile. Please assign another profile as an instant switch profile.
Q. When announcing tracks, which columns can NVDA suppress and reorder?
You can customize announcement and/or order of announcement for the following columns:
- Artist (reorder only)
- Title (reorder only)
- Time scheduled
Notice that these are the columns visible when using Studio 5.1x and later.
Q. When I perform various add-on commands from Studio 4.33, I get the message, "information not available".
This could be due to following issues:
- You are using Studio 4.33 with add-on 4.0 or later. Add-on 4.0 does not support Studio versions earlier than 5.00.
- Certain commands, especially time commands require that you're focused on the main playlist window. If you open another window such as Options dialog and try to perform some time-related commands, NVDA will announce the message above. This is the case for add-on versions prior to 7.0.
Q. When trying to switch profiles by pressing SPL Assistant, F12, NVDA says, "no instant switch profile is defined".
Before switching profiles instantly, you need to define an instant profile. See instant switch profile section for more details.
Q. When I try to switch to another profile, NVDA says, "you are already in the instant switch profile".
You need to be using a profile different from that of the instant switch profile before you can switch profiles.
Q. I created several broadcast profiles. They loaded fine until recently, but are not showing up, although the profile files still exist.
This is likely a result of add-on using only the normal profile via command-line switches. See an entry on command-line switches.
Q. Can I monitor connection attempts from somewhere other than encoder window?
If you are using add-on version 3.3 and later, you can press F9 or Control+F9 from an encoder window to connect to a streaming server, then move to another program. NVDA will monitor for connection attempt status (connected or an error message).
Q. How can I monitor all encoders when connecting all of them at once by pressing Control+F9 from SAM encoder window?
Prior to 2016: move through the encoders and press F9. Note that you should not set any encoder to trigger NVDA to focus to Studio when connected. Instead, please set one of the encoders to trigger Studio to play the first track when connected.
2016 and later: press Control+F9. Note that one of the streams should be set so Studio can start playback once connected.
Q. Playback volume is lowered in Studio whenever NVDA speaks.
You need to disable audio ducking (NVDA+Shift+D).
Q. NVDA responds slowly when I press V from playlist viewer and Studio opens SPL Recorder.
This is one of the limitations of Studio and/or the add-on. One owrkaround is to use a dummy encoder for recording a show.
Q. When I press SPL Controller, then number row key to play carts, NVDA just plays beeps.
SPL Studio Standard will not let you assign carts to number row keys (1 through 9, 0, hyphen, equals), thus SPL Controller will honor which Studio edition you're using by preventing you from playing number row carts when using Studio Standard.
Q. What is the best way to suggest new features, send bug reports or connect with other add-on users?
There is a dedicated mailing list for users of NVDA and SPL, which can be found at https://groups.io/g/nvda-spl.
Q. Can I test the absolute latest version of the add-on for testing purposes?
Yes (called Studio Add-on Test Drive program). Anyone can test latest version for free. First, subscribe to NvDA SPL list, then look for messages regarding Test Drive builds (sometimes called development snapshots). Note that some snapshots (particularly ones designated as Test Drive Fast) are bleeding-edge code (equivalent to NVDA's next snapshots), so don't try them in a production environment.
Q. I keep hearing about LTS releases. What are they?
LTS stands for long-term support. This is a special version of a software that will be supported for a very long time for stability reasons.
Usually a version of the StationPlaylist Studio add-on for NVDA receives support until the next version is released (typically several weeks to months). However, because there are broadcasters who would like to use a stable version of the add-on for a long time (either because they have to or they cannot upgrade to the latest version of Studio), a long-term support version of the add-on is released every few years to give people time to upgrade to a future stable version of Studio. In addition to longer support period (at least a year), a LTS version of the add-on is the last version to support the oldest stable Studio version.
As of 2018, add-on versions 3.x (September 2014-June 2015) and 7.x/15.x (April 2016- April 2018; 15.x since October 2016) were designated as LTS releases, supporting Studio 4.33 and 5.01, respectively. The next LTS release is scheduled for mid-2018 or when the next major version of Studio is released, whichever happens later.
Q. Which versions of Studio are supported by which add-on releases?
- Studio versions prior to 5.x: add-on 1.0 to 3.9 (January 2014-June 2015).
- Studio 5.0x: Add-on 1.0 to 7.5, 15.0 to 15.14 (January 2014-April 2018).
- Studio 5.10: Add-on 3.2 to 18.09.x (November 2014-December 2019.
- Studio 5.11 and 5.20: Add-on 16.11 to a future LTS (November 2016-December 2020 at the earliest).
- Studio 5.30: Add-on 17.11 to a future LTS (November 2017 to December 2022 at the earliest).
Note: the schedule above is subject to change.
Q. After 2017, can I use the add-on on Windows versions prior to Windows 7 Service Pack 1?
In August 2017, NV Access announced that NVDA 2017.3 is the last version to support Windows releases prior to Windows 7 Service Pack 1. To cater to needs of broadcasters who might be using earlier Windows releases such as Windows XP, add-on 15.x was maintained until April 2018.
Q. What are update channels?
With the introduction of Test Drive Program (see above), it became possible for you to choose the frequency of updates and where to get updates from. As of 2018, there are four regular and three limited time channels:
- Canary (or source code level): This includes development branches other than the ones below and is meant for add-on developers (currently one).
- Try builds: sometimes called "offline try builds", meant to troubleshoot issues with one or more broadcasters.
- Bleeding-edge (Test Drive Fast): This is for those who want to test latest and greatest features and provide early feedback, or in some cases, for the add-on developer to work with one or more users in testing features and troubleshooting bugs. Prior to spring 2017, only those on Test Drive program can switch to this channel, relaxed since then to allow anyone to test builds from this channel.
- Live beta (Test Drive Slow): This designates "master" branch in the source code repository and includes features tested by Test Drive Fast channel users and will show up in the next stable version.
- Stable: Designates stable releases ("stable" branch in the source code repository).
In addition, prior to and during LTS maintenance, "LTS Prep" and "Longterm" channels are created.
Q. Can I switch between all available update channels?
Different release types will support different update channels. The possible channels for each release type are:
- Canary and offline try builds: update to respective channels only (canary is source code only). For these releases, update channel combo box will not appear. The offline try builds are testing builds meant to troubleshoot an issue with one or more broadcasters, and as such, most of these builds will disable add-on update feature altogether.
- Snapshots (Test Drive Fast or slow): to other snapshot builds or stable builds. Test Drive Fast is equivalent to NVDA next snapshots (alpha-level), whereas Slow is beta quality channel, equivalent to NVDA master snapshots.
- Beta (prior to 2018): Only beta builds (several snapshot updates, then to the stable build in the end). Test Drive Slow replaced this channel in 2018.
- Stable: Stable build or a snapshot branch, or to beta or long-term if there is an active beta testing cycle going on or if an LTS version is being maintained, respectively.
- Longterm: Stable or LTS.
Q. Are there command-line switches unique to this add-on?
Starting with add-on 17.10, it became possible to specify behavior of the add-on via command-line switches. You would pass in these switches when you start NVDA from Run dialog (Windows+R).
The switches for this add-on are:
- --spl-configvolatile: makes broadcast profiles read-only (changes will not be saved to disk).
- --spl-normalprofileonly: only loads normal profile.
- --spl-configinmemory: not only this will use normal profile only, but settings will not be loaded from disk nor saved to it.
If using the latter two switches, broadcast profiles list and profile controls will not appear in add-on settings dialog.
Credits and contact information
If you have suggestions, bug reports or just want to drop by and say hi, you can contact the author using the following contact information:
- Email: email@example.com
- Twitter: joslee
- Facebook: josephsl
There is a dedicated forum for people using StationPlaylist suite, and you can subscribe by sending an email to stationPlaylistfirstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, there is a dedicated mailing list for people using NVDA and Studio, which can be found at https://groups.io/g/nvda-spl.
Lastly, if you'd like to take part in shaping the future of the Studio add-on and help test new features, you can join the Studio Add-on Test Drive program available to NVDA SPL list members. Whenever new features are available, you'll be a part of the first group of users to experiment with a new feature and provide feedback.
Credits: I (Joseph) would like to thank the following people for giving me and others inspirations behind the SPL studio add-on for NvDA:
- Geoff Shang: For coding the initial version of the add-on and making it available.
- Jamie Teh from NV access: For providing a workaround for track listings.
- Brian Hartgen: For JAWS for Windows scripts for SPL Studio and the idea behind SPL Controller and Assistant layer commands.
- Jeff Bishop: For Window-Eyes scripts and commands used in SPL Controller and Assistant commands.
- Tyler Spivey: For the actual layer command facility.
- Ross Levis: The head developer of SPL Studio for continued support for screen readers in SPL Studio.
- Roger Stewart: For suggesting this add-on and for continued testing and reports.
- Duyahn Walker: For useful suggestions and bug reports.
- Shaun Oliver: For continued suggestions on encoder support.
- Jerry Mader: For useful suggestions and feature testing.
- Jerry Jicha: For useful feedback and feature testing.
- And many other supporters and testers.
End of SPL Studio Add-on Guide