New year – new cool features!

We start this year with a beta version of Helium 12.3 which contains major new features and multiple improvements.

Since the last release of Helium 12.2 we ran a survey in our user forum which features from Helium 11 they missed the most. From those results we decided to focus on three main topics:

  • Gapless playback
  • Crossfading
  • My Computer view with support for browsing files that are not neccesarily yet added to the library

For Helium 12.3 we have implemented the above functions, below follows some details about them:

Gapless playback and crossfade

When it comes to playback, Helium 12 fully supports Windows Audio Session API, WASAPI and DirectSound. Helium 11 and older versions only supported DirectSound.
One of the main benefits of WASAPI is that it provides applications with exclusive access to audio devices, bypassing the system mixer, default settings, and any typically any effects provided by the audio driver.
WASAPI is the recommended audio output mode for Windows. It effectively replaces all legacy output modes including kernel streaming and DirectSound.
DirectSound is still supported but won’t be use hardware mixing and therefore consume more CPU and may not use your audio device full power.
Beacuse of the WASAPI support we have revised the playback engine to use a hardware drivern mixer for perfect gapless playback as well as a crossfader.
If you are using DirectSound playback all of these functions will still be available, but please note that it may affect CPU consumption and playback quality.

Gapless playback is always applies, crossfading can be toggled on/off from the player pane.
crossfade

My Computer view

Support for tag-cleanup, renaming and analysing of files before they are added to your library is also something that has been highly requested.
Helium 12.3 comes with an entirely new view for this, to make it easy for you to work distinctly with files that are not added to your library.
Still even if you select to work with files that are not in your library together with files that are in your library, you will be able to see this easily. If you perform tagging operations, tags will always be updated on files and in your library where appliciable.
The new view lets you select a folder to scan (optionally) recursively for files which will be presented in a track list with full support for customizable columns, custom columns and all nice features for the standard track list.
You will of course be able to use all tools that does not depend on database only data, which means that the tag editors, the rename tool, converting of files and even scripting functions!
For correction of misspellings and similar changes, the view supports in-place editing of tag information.
With just one click you will also be able to add a selection of files to your library.
mycomputer.png

Quick Editor

Another entirely new thing that has been introduced in Helium 12.3 as you can see in the screenshot above is the Quick Editor.
The Quick Editor has also existed in earlier Helium version, but this is something special;
It will allow you to very quickly change one or more values for the selected file/files. Simply select the files you would like to update and then select which contents to change in each respective control.
Choose to either keep the original value (useful to avoid to updating mixed content for example titles), clear the value or set it to a completely new value.
When you are done, simply click Save changes to apply the changes to tags and your library.
There are even some more cool things with this new editor:

  • You can edit the template which controls which editing controls that are shown. You can even choose if an editing element shall span over the entire width or if you would like to have two elements next to each other, similar to how the Advanced Tag Editor works in Helium 12.
  • The Quick Editor is available from the most views which contains a track list, ranging from the My Computer view to search results!
    It is of course possible to assign a global hotkey to quickly be able to hide/show the Quick Editor.

Hey wait, there’s even more features and improvements coming up!
It is now possible to multi-select releases in the Releases view.
multiselectreleases.png
Simply select the releases you for example would like to change tags for, rename or download picures for and then start the tool as normal, and all tracks from the selected items will be loaded to the tool.
Multi-selecting releases is something that can help you to speed up your work!

Quickly toggle multi-selection of releases from the context menu, Select > Enable multi select or from the View menu.

Apart from the above major features we have also improved the album handling, added new tracklist columns and improved many minor things.

New beta system

From now on you can have a beta version of Helium 12 and Helium Streamer 3 installed parallel to an official version. The beta version will have its own settings. This allows you to test our beta versions without necessarily disturbing your daily Helium work.
If you like to use the same settings, you can easily copy them from the official release folder into the beta versions folder.

So, go ahead and click here download Helium 12.3 now and try out all the new features!

Helium Streamer 3.0.2 beta

Helium Streamer 3 also has a new beta version out. The main new feature in this release is a Folders view where you can browse your music using their folder structure as they are located on your hard drive. There are also improvements made to the adding of music and a new settings page which shows the version of Streamer and the database in use.

Click here to download Helium Streamer 3.0.2 beta.

 

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6 thoughts on “New year – new cool features!

  1. Nice new features. I’d rather not be bothered to copy settings back and forth from beta to releases (I’d rather take my chances and just use a single installation). Is there an option to overwrite or will the betas always go to a new installation?

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    1. We’re testing this new beta approach to see how it turns out. We have previously had the opposite requests, that users wanted to have one stable release and use the betas with test data so that they always had one version that just worked. It’s not the meaning that beta periods should be very extensive in time, so a stable release is never far away.

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      1. I am with Walt Wright. If I want a stable release, then I won’t install beta. If I decide to install it, the I would like it to install over my stable installation. Probably we can get opposite opinions about it. Them the best would be to give the choice for the user.

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      2. Aha! So it’s not just me 🙂

        I’ve always liked leaving feedback on betas, but I’ll pass if I have to maintain two installations of Helium to do so. I do think in the future it would be nice to offer the choice to update an existing installation or make a separate beta installation. I’ve never had any catastrophic issues playing with betas… as long as it doesn’t destroy my id3 tags I’m happy.

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