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Shazam/SoundHound vs testing, song suggestions?


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  1. Dark Reality

    Dark Reality Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Not your typical "which is better" thread. I have a gift card for the Android market and I'm going to buy one. Opinions are welcome but I'm going to base my decision on the results of a test.

    Since each offers a demo with a limit of 5 identifications, I will play a random selection from each of five songs for each app and note the successes and fails. I will publish that data here for anyone interested.

    I am thinking of what kinds of songs to use and that is what I'm looking for input on. All of the songs should be very different from one another. Here are my ideas:

    1. A faithful cover of a popular American song. I'm thinking Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" as performed by The Ataris. The sample would include the changed lyric "Dead head sticker" becomes "Black Flag sticker" to be fair.

    2. An unreleased song by a popular American band. I'm thinking "Lies" by Evanescence.

    3. A semi-popular song by a famous European band with little American exposure. Nightwish might be too easy but Within Temptation should be a good challenge.

    Any suggestions?

    (Posted from my Acclaim)
     

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  2. Fisz

    Fisz Member

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    All of those are easy, Shazam (haven't used the other one) will nail them without difficulty. I've gotten good results with Shazam from pretty obscure foreign music that isn't even well-known in its country of origin. Try browsing YouTube for some random and obscure songs. Now that's a real test.
     
  3. Eckyx

    Eckyx Well-Known Member

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    Golden Smog did a cover of Bowie's Starman recently, that's rather obscure.

    Might also want to try some classical music, Philip Glass comes to mind, maybe symphony no. 8 (it's an opera).
     
  4. bjones6416

    bjones6416 Active Member

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    I've got both, but I sat yesterday and played with SoundHound with my 90 year old mother. It was kind of fun because with SH you can sing or hum part of the song to get an ID, or speak the name or the artist. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff it knows! It will also play a clip, if available, show lyrics, and link to youtube. I didn't do a head-to-head comparison on any song identification, though, so I'll be interested in your results.
     
  5. Dark Reality

    Dark Reality Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I'll take that into consideration, but how obscure is "obscure"? Like the songs you hear in various TV shows from people I've never heard of? Dollhouse is the show I'm thinking of -- it's sampled "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga in a club scene, but everything else is moody emo pop weirdness that fits with the scene but is otherwise unknown (though, a Google search of the lyrics reveals it). And that's probably not even a fair description of what it is.

    Classical/Opera is a good idea, and contrary to the topic title, I don't have to have the songs handy on my PC if it's on YouTube. (Hurr durr... LOL)

    I hear that a lot about SoundHound but never about Shazam. So would you agree that SH might be more hit-and-miss with some popular stuff, because its search methods are, I don't know what would be the right term... wider? More... forgiving/lenient? As opposed to Shazam being more specific? Would that be accurate?

    I'm guessing both of these apps record a sample of what you play for it, and then upload it for analysis somewhere, and then beam the results back to you, so I guess it's got some algorithm, and I guess they're both written differently.

    So while it would be cute to show off at parties, hum/vocalize the synth part for "The Final Countdown" (da da-da da, da da dut da duh...:eek:) at it, I mainly want [whichever one I choose] for more practical usage. Like hearing a song in a TV show/movie or something.
     
  6. bjones6416

    bjones6416 Active Member

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    I don't know -- I've taken Shazam off of my home screen and have just been using SoundHound. In Publix this afternoon I was sitting by the front door so it was opening and shutting, letting in traffic noise. People were rolling carts directly in front of me and that was pretty noisy, too. There was a song playing faintly on the loudspeaker and just for a lark I tried SoundHound on it to see if it could weed out all the ambient noise and give me an ID. Yep, it did: House of Love by Catherine MacLellan. I was pretty impressed.
     
  7. Dark Reality

    Dark Reality Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I'm gonna do the test Friday night. I'm gonna put the songs I use on my portable hard drive and do it at work. I have spotty network access here, and I'd hate for that to skew the results -- particularly if a network error costs me one of my five credits, I'd have to mark that as a No Contest and hold that ID against the app (since they limit you to 5, there's no do-over).

    Another idea for a song ID test is an episode of a TV show. One that has a song playing in the background. I guess for licensing cost reasons, they use some pretty obscure stuff.

    How do these damn apps work, anyway? Does anybody know that? Seems pretty amazing. Even the lesser of the two (whichever it is) seems pretty special. I'm surprised Google hasn't bought one and integrated the features into Android (via the music player maybe... or maybe the upcoming Google Music Store, if that's more than just a rumor). Seems like it would be a good selling point.
     
  8. Dark Reality

    Dark Reality Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Well, Friday night didn't work out -- I forgot my charget and was on low battery. But I did the test Sunday night -- sorry I didn't get to post the results sooner.

    SHAZAM vs. SOUNDHOUND


    Purpose:

    Song ID software for Android devices, head-to-head competition. Both programs allow five IDs a month for free, and cost $4-5 for the full version with unlimited IDs thereafter. (Shazam came with a 7-day trial of the unlimited tagging version, actually.) Both programs will be tested with the same five songs, the same section of each song played for as long as the program requires for identification.

    The Android device used will be a Samsung Acclaim, on US Cellular's EVDO (3G speed) network. Voice signal strength is good, 4-5 bars, and the data signal should be good. The Acclaim is running Android 2.1, and is plugged in on its charger for optimal power.

    The songs will be played on a generic Dell office computer, the kind that has just one speaker... somewhere in there... this will simulate the poor listening conditions of being in the car or the supermarket or some other awkward situation where identifying a song can be challenging. (The quality of the sound isn't really all that terrible, it's just far from optimal.) The computer runs a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 1GB of RAM, Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3, and Windows Media Player 11. Volume all the way up.


    The songs:

    GOODNIGHT TECHNOLOGIST by The Main Drag. The drummer for this independent Boston rock band works for Harmonix, who make the Rockband games. "A Jagged Gorgeous Winter," featured in Rock Band 2, might have been too easy. This is the last track on the album "Yours As Fast As Mine". Identification will begin 2:40 into the song.

    JUPITER by Holst from The Planets. I decided to include a classical piece, and this was the first I came to that didn't make me think "a-ha! I know that one!". I don't believe that this is necessarily obscure, but it's not really common, either, at least not in the sense that Beethoven's Fifth (or even Ninth) are. Or "1812 Overture", or "Ride of the Valkyries" or any of that cool stuff. Identification will begin 5:20 into the song.

    LOVE ME OR HATE ME by Lady Sovereign. This is a remix featuring Missy Elliot, and I'm going to play her part of the song. I like Lady Sovereign, mostly for her accent, I think, but her songs are fun... her album's pretty easy to hate, and I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it, and I can only listen to a couple songs. I don't think her album or singles were ever very popular, but I expect this should be the least challenging for the software to ID. Identification will begin 0:33 into the song.

    MELODY (SALVA NOS VERSION) by Yuki Kajiura. This song was on one of the Noir soundtracks, and is one of the five studio versions of her song "Salva Nos". A song sang in Latin, from Japan, should provide quite a challenge. Identification will begin 1:20 into the song.

    STILL ALIVE by Jonathan Coulton from the Portal game, only this is a .mid of that song that somebody played on a MIDI keyboard. This promises to be challenging because its similarity to the original varies. (This is the equivalent of the "hum-it challenge" that people say I should do for SoundHound. I was gonna hum the synth part of Europe's "The Final Countdown" but changed my mind.) Identification will begin at the very start of the song.


    The test:

    Song: Goodnight Technologist
    Shazam ID: No match
    Notes: none
    SoundHound ID: No match
    Notes: none

    Song: Jupiter
    Shazam ID: No match
    Notes: Gave up several times immediately after the song started, but it let me retry until it actually did its "Listening... Sending... Matching..." gig.
    SoundHound ID: No match
    Notes: none

    Song: Love Me or Hate Me (Missy Elliot Remix)
    Shazam ID: Love Me or Hate Me
    Notes: It didn't react at all to Missy Elliot's singing, and only tagged the song after Lady Sovereign came on with the chorus. Also, it tags it as the original, not the remix, and it got the album wrong.
    SoundHound ID: Love Me or Hate Me
    Notes: Also tags it as the original, but it didn't wait until Lady Sovereign came on to make the tag, so it actually recognized Missy Elliot's singing as the Lady Sovereign song, so technically, it did tag the remix.

    Song: Melody
    Shazam ID: No match
    Notes: It came to the conclusion that it didn't recognize this song a lot faster than the first three tests.
    SoundHound ID: Salva Nos
    Notes: It tagged the third or fourth version of Yuki Kajiura's epic as the fifth version, I assume based on the lyrics.

    Song: Still Alive (MIDI)
    Shazam ID: No match
    Notes: Refused several times to try this song -- must have told it to retry a dozen times.
    SoundHound ID: No match
    Notes: None

    Shazam final thoughts: This thing is a real piece of work. Half the time it doesn't even attempt to tag the song, it just says no. But at least it doesn't force close or anything, one click makes it try again... and again... and again. Since I have unlimited use of this thing, I'm going to throw some more popular tunes at it. This is not officially part of the test, I just want to find its limits... because I can. Played Europe's "The Final Countdown", and after refusing a dozen times, it showed me the correct artist and title, but it got the album (and album cover) wrong. OK, "Crazy B***h" by Buckcherry, it didn't refuse, and got all the facts right, so far as I can tell. It similarily got "Prayer of the Refugee" by Rise Against. And it recognized what is probably Yuki Kajiura's most popular song, "Key of the Twilight", but did not know the album name (of the version I have, or the soundtrack the original comes from -- .hack//SIGN). This app is kinda pretty, but it likes to vibrate a lot. (Ringer is on full.) It vibrates randomly as it listens, and it vibrates when it's got something (or nothing) for you.

    SoundHound final thoughts: SH is a little nicer than Shazam in presentation; my only gripe is that I like Shazam's blue theme better than SH's yellow. SH's pie chart is nicer as well, as it starts from the 12 o'clock position rather than the 1 o'clock (WTF's up with that?) and it finishes its test before the pie chart fills, as opposed to well after. And SH never flat-out refused to make a match. Lastly, it shows a volume meter that shows how well it can hear the source, so you can adjust your positioning if you can. SH doesn't give an unlimited trial, but it doesn't count its failures against the user, so I have 3 more IDs left before I have to wait 30 days (or until October, however it does it), so I'm going to throw some songs at it. I'm going to be harder on it, because it has already proven itself to be more resourceful than Shazam. It recognized "Cry Little Sister" by Seasons After almost immediately, a song I haven't heard of, but my wife got. It recognized "Sing Along" by the Blue Man Group featuring Dave Matthews (though it didn't identify Dave Matthews as being involved). It failed to recognize an early demo by Evanescence called "You" that was the subject of some controversey when some fans built a hoax around it, saying the band didn't want people to hear the song, or some such mess (which was later proven false). But that was a cheap shot at the program, I would have had to have been very impressed if it identified that. Lastly, it identified "Atonement" by Parabelle, an independent lite rock group fronted by former Evans Blue vocalist Kevin Matisyn. Also, after the fifth successful tag, it prompted me to pay for the full version, or continue using the lite version, which would be reloaded with five more credits "next month" (in four days? Or 30? 31?), but until then, could be manually searched for lyrics.

    Conclusion: Shazam can identify popular songs, but it utterly fails to recognize anything remotely obscure. It does give you seven days of unlimited tagging for free, so you have plenty of time to play around with it and see if it's worth your money. SoundHound is a little more resourceful, and has a nicer interface, although Shazam gives you more things to do once you've ID'd a song. Emailing, Tweeting, or Facebook'ing the information, there's a whole list. SoundHound pretty much links to the lyrics, if they're in its database, and YouTube, though the rest may have been buried in the menus. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend either app, and would go so far as to say that many of the posts on the Android market in the comments for these apps in support of the other one are false, and possibly planted by people with something to gain from the other one being purchased. Neither of these apps are nearly as good as people say they are. Then again, their phone's mic could have better noise cancellation, or perhaps other conditions were different. But mine were more than fair considering the magic some will say these apps can work. Based on what I have seen, if someone told me they were walking down the streets of Manhattan, and saw a guy whistling a tune across the street, and they held up their phone, and either Shazam or SoundHound identified it as Frank Sinatra, I wouldn't believe them even if their tongue were made of solid gold and notarized. If I buy one, it's going to be SoundHound, just because it's more resourceful. But it's not going to be because I think it's worth the money; Googling the lyrics has always worked for me. It's going to be because US Cellular gives customers who buy Android phones, $20 gift cards for the Android Market. They don't work for anything else -- I tried. If, by November, when my gift card expires, I may buy SoundHound. No promises though.
     
  9. praveen6585

    praveen6585 Well-Known Member

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    i dunno why but i seem to have unlimited tagging and not the 7 day trial period in the free version of Shazam.. ive been using it since quite sometime now.. is it the same for anyone else?
     
  10. BigD562

    BigD562 Well-Known Member

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    After the 7 day trail they limit how many songs you can tag per month so if you don't use it that much to tags song you're good to go.
     
  11. DigDoug

    DigDoug New Member

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    Shazam used to be totally free and unlimited....they changed it 2 or 3 months ago. If you got it before then and didn't upgrade, then you have unlimited. DO NOT upgrade!!!! Once you do you will have the 5 song limit. That's all the "upgrade" does. I didn't read and upgraded, then it quit working...did my research and found out what the deal was. I read before I upgrade now.
     
  12. praveen6585

    praveen6585 Well-Known Member

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    my current version is v2.1.0-B70006... I upgraded it sometime back.. but the payment status in the menu still says 'You have paid for Shazam and have unlimited tagging and full features'.. :)

    and yes i agree with your point of reading before upgrading.. I got the full version of Blow up and Shoot u! for free during some promotion phase.. and now its asking me to 'upgrade' to the lite version which has limited levels!
     
  13. irocz350

    irocz350 New Member

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    SLAYER---WORLD PAINTED BLOOD!! Thats a GO FAST song either on the bike or my 1986 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z. CHECK IT OUT!!
     

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