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Help! I've been looking for days for a moderatly price rackmount spectrum analyzer. Minimum 10 band 20hz-20khz if possible with two channel input preferably, so I don't have to purchase two of them.

I've seen the Alto RSA-27, but never used their equipment, and it only has one channel input and 40hz -16khz. Concerned that 40hz isn't low enough...

Any ideas? I'd prefer a HARDWARE solution as opposed to a software solution, but open to software solutions if that's all I can find. I'm running a 16ch Soundcraft board into M-Powered Pro Tools via Delta 1010's.

Needless to say, hoping to train my ears to hear the frequencies easily, and thought this the easist way to have a visual "cheat sheet"

Thanks in advance for your help :D


TeddyG Mon, 11/13/2006 - 14:36

You're gong to buy an expensive hardware spectrum analyzer to what? Train your ears??? What? I laugh and cry at the same time...

40 hz isn't low enough for what?

First, what do you REALLY want this gadget for? Wavelab, among many other pieces of fine recording software, I'm sure, has a spectrum analyzer, built-in, and it includes an entire mastering software facilty around it! Would something like this do???

The folks at "Real Traps" use a software device for designing their traps and tuning rooms that they think is pretty nifty, and as I recall it's reasonably priced - few hundred bucks, with a few more for a decent(Not perfect, that would be a few thousand!) omni-directional mic to go with it. Look on their website for the name, I forget.

Train your ears? Now I'm just crying...... I'm going back to vacuuming the stairs.


anonymous Mon, 11/13/2006 - 15:51

Thanks for the replies. The humor makes the pain go away Teddy :lol:
Ok so maybe "train" isn't the right word. But here's the deal. I want to SEE what I'm adjusting, I don't only want to hear it. And by no means am I planning on spending 10k for a "true to the discipline" unit. :lol:

But IMHO, I think a basic spectrum analyzer is a useful visual to backup (or refute) what somebody may THINK they are hearing. It would allow me to easily solve problems without oversight.

Hope this helps.

anonymous Mon, 11/13/2006 - 23:24

I bet you will learn as much from what you can't see on an RTA, as from what you can see...

In other words, there are many, many details of the audible signal that will be difficult, or impossible, to visualize on the RTA. Still, it can be a useful tool around a studio.

See if you can pick up a second hand Behringer 8024 "UltraCurve Pro". Shop carefully, since some of those units have a display that can fade out over time. But, if you can get one in good condition, its a powerful tool for very little money. In addition to an analyzer, it includes graphic and parametric EQ, signal generators, mic in, etc.

RemyRAD Mon, 11/13/2006 - 23:37

Groovemonster911, here is a rather practical suggestion, similar to the other posters. The cost of hardware real-time analyzers for what you want is as much as a modest new laptop with a reasonable external stereo USB audio device. As mentioned, Wave Lab, Sound Forge both have built-in spectrum analyzers but my favorite has been Adobe Audition 1.5. I don't like the 2.0 version as much as I like the 1.5 version. Here is the advantage. Not only do you get a stereo real-time spectrum analyzer that will function when just "monitoring input", without even having to write to a hard drive. You can fill the entire screen with it for improved visual resolution! It's great! I use it constantly. You also have numerous visual settings, such as lines, bars, full area, left over right, right over last, log or linear views. Just wait until you see all of the 15,750 hertz television horizontal sync in yours and other people's recordings. You will be shocked! Coupled with that is a "phase scope" that displays an oscilloscope style lisajue diagonal pattern, MS (middle side) or spin display. An important stereo monitor when mixing. Your mastering engineer will be happier. Your friends will be much more impressed by this as well. It will be more versatile and easier to travel with. You can monitor your line outputs from your console or, connect any reasonable small diaphragm condenser Omnidirectional microphone, like a Sony ECM 50 lavalier to an DPA or Earthworks for speaker/room analysis. It's not calibrated but you won't need calibrated as those are what are generally used.

We all know what you want. This is what you need.

Registered original Cool Edit and Audition user since 1996
Ms. Remy Ann David

TeddyG Tue, 11/14/2006 - 00:01

Seriously, we'd ALL like to have a nice, hardware spectrum analyzer - much like we'd all like to drive a Porsche(Except for RR, she already has one for each day of the week, labeled Monday, Tuesday, etc., just like her.... Oh! Let's not go there...). Anyway, I know her cars are all equipped with spectrum analyzers!)...

DO check-out Wavelab 6, as well, if you haven't, as it has some astounding ways to "look at" the sound(And it "hears nice", too!), truly amazing! Much better than any hardware SA, I've seen(OK, I haven't actually SEEN any hardware SA, for years, but..? You know what I mean -- I hope somebody does and will explain me to me...)...

I'm sorry, "training my ears". It WAS funny(Thankx! I needed that! - Believe me, not much giggling around here, lately...)...... No mean at all to be actually mean, I got what you meant - it was just funny - ahh, I chuckle...


mark_van_j Tue, 11/14/2006 - 01:07

The problem that arises here is that you will be adjusting frequencies while looking at the screen and "thinking" you are doing A, when in fact you are doing D.

Ever twist the knob of an eq for a longer time than average, until you get the sound you're happy with? Only to later find out it was bypassed?

Psychoacoustics. You were turning the knob, and you saw you were turning it, and your mind "created" the illusion of a difference being made. That's why when I mix or edit, I try not to look at the screen at all. I try to use knob eq's as opposed to graphic ones. I know that I used to limit my eq-ing because the curve just "didn't look right". Did I use my ears? No. I used my ears to confirm what I was seeing. Doing it the other way around is actually harder than it sounds.

RemyRAD Tue, 11/14/2006 - 01:35

My curves don't look right either. Probably because I'm fat? I wish I was in Montréal right now because Mark looks very sexy. And he sounds good too when I put my ear up to my computer screen.

Mark, I have used that "fake knob" adjustment with clients in the past and it works great! They always like the results. When I get back from my schizophrenia, can I play with me too??

I'm not sure why I've been up for 42 hours? I guess I just can't get enough of Can you please pass the vodka? Wait a minute, I don't like vodka. Maybe Captain crunch instead?

Really just an audio addict
Ms. Remy Ann "Whooops" David

anonymous Tue, 11/14/2006 - 10:43

Many thanks for all your insight... Remy I dig the laptop idea... I never considered that approach, and I just so happen to have an old laptop laying around which I could dedicate for that purpose. I'm very much leaning that way, and dare I say excited about it... even before I have my Captain Crunch!

My friends say I get too analytical and idealistic about these matters, so it may be better for me to have a drink or two before I do any eq'ing ...or anything for that matter!

Thanks everyone again. Teddy, you're a gas.. thanks for laughs.. and I knew you were just being humorous about that whole "training" thing. I never take myself too seriously!