Which Audio Analyser?

This is where we talk about testing, measuring and repairing things. Sometimes we have to repair the equipment we use to test, measure and repair other things. It's an endless cycle of fixing the broken things we need to fix other broken things.
toneworks
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Which Audio Analyser?

Post by toneworks » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:37 pm

Hi,

I'm about to buy my first audio analyser and could use some advice.

I'm trying to move from DIY into (very) small scale manufacturing (batches of 10-25 units) of pro audio gear. I'm currently working on a 48 channel summing mixer and an 8 channel EQ. I need an analyser to test my designs and prototypes as well as QA of finished units. I don't have a lot of experience with audio measurements and I would prefer a well documented and complete solution that just works out of the box without too much tinkering.

So far I have been looking at the following solutions:
  • dScope M1
  • FLEXUS FX100
  • Audiotester
  • Spectrafoo
So far, I like the dScope M1 which seems to be a fairly complete solution at an attractive price point. The scripting engine looks pretty powerful and I really like the idea of being able to automate testing of finished units (to some degree) with scripts. I also like that it's possible to add a 16 channel switcher if it becomes too cumbersome to test the multi channel devices I produce at some point - although that would probably take a while. I'm slightly concerned about the software being rather old though (ActiveX and VBScript doesn't really belong in this millenium) but a least it should be properly field tested and stable by now :-)

The Flexus FX100 looks nice too and has newer software but (even factoring in the 25% discount I was offered by a reseller) it's almost twice the price of the M1. If I thought it was significantly better than the M1 I might consider it, but I don't really see why that should be the case.

Audiotester looks really nice (for what it is) and if I was a Windows user I'd probably just start here since the price is so low. However, I use a Mac and it seems I would need a to buy a Windows PC and a separate audio interface to make it work (or do some more tinkering with the Parallels virtual machine I use to run Windows). However, I have a feeling I might not stick with this solution for long anyway so I'm reluctant to spend too much time and/or money to make it work.

Spectrafoo runs on my Mac and can address all inputs and outputs on my 48 channel audio interface, which is supercool. It's a bit lightweight in the (electrical/hardware) analysis department though and at roughly 550 USD it's not exactly cheep. I think I would be better off spending my money on a more comprehensive solution that would work in the long term.

Does anyone have experience with the dScope M1, and if so would you recommend it? Are there any worthy alternatives I have missed?

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mediatechnology
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by mediatechnology » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:52 pm

Thanks for joining us and the post!

The dScope M1 looks to be a really good value.
It will also require a Windows machine.
If it were me I'd start out with AudioTester with a FocusRite 2i2 gen3 until you start generating revenue then move to the dScope M1.

Your combined cost for an AudioTester license and the 2i2 is around $200 US.

Have a look here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1168

I have AudioTester, YMEC and Visual Analyzer.
I mostly use AudioTester.
https://ka-electronics.com

Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

CDC: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covi ... /index.htm

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mediatechnology
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by mediatechnology » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:59 pm

BTW I've never liked the Quantasylum.
Lots of reports of bugs and it doesn't do swept sine response measurements.
Sometimes you just want to generate a tone...

https://quantasylum.com/collections/fro ... o-analyzer
https://ka-electronics.com

Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

CDC: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covi ... /index.htm

terkio
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by terkio » Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:56 am

mediatechnology wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:52 pm

If it were me I'd start out with AudioTester with a FocusRite 2i2 gen3.
Hello,
How does this compares whith using
PCM4222EVM with Audio Tester as you did to measure your "balanced moving coil preamplifier".

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mediatechnology
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by mediatechnology » Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:06 am

The PCM4222 EVM has a lower noise floor and higher DR but it is only an A/D.
It's drawback as an A/D is that it only has SPDIF and AES interfaces which are increasingly hard to find on a PC.
Some PCs do have SPDIF outs but almost none have SPDIF In.
(There is also an I2S interface.)

Given that the preamp will have a higher noise floor than the Focusrite, using the Focusrite is not a limitation for preamp testing.
I would still use the PCM4222 EVM for line-level testing where I needed a full 124 dB DR.
https://ka-electronics.com

Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

CDC: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covi ... /index.htm

terkio
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by terkio » Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:23 am

mediatechnology wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:06 am
It's drawback as an A/D is that it only has SPDIF and AES interfaces which are increasingly hard to find on a PC.
Some PCs do have SPDIF outs but almost none have SPDIF In.
Indeed, I looked all over. This makes the Forcusite very interesting.

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mediatechnology
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by mediatechnology » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am

The other thing that's odd about the PCM4222 EVM is that it has DC on the inputs and is low impedance.
It's also not a true differential/balanced input: The CMRR is poor.

I've wanted to redesign the input/modulator driver for some time.
https://ka-electronics.com

Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

CDC: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covi ... /index.htm

AnalogJoe
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:11 pm

Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by AnalogJoe » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:54 pm

mediatechnology wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:59 pm
BTW I've never liked the Quantasylum.
Lots of reports of bugs and it doesn't do swept sine response measurements.
Sometimes you just want to generate a tone...

https://quantasylum.com/collections/fro ... o-analyzer
AFAIK the latest updates from QuantAsylum allow the QA401 to make swept sine response measurements.

You may also want to check out ARTA software for measurments, I've been using it with my 2i2 and it works great! plus it is essentially free unless you want to save measurements, no time limited like AudioTester

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mediatechnology
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by mediatechnology » Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:07 pm

It seems like a good work-around for the free version of ARTA not being able to save files would be to do a screen capture of the plots.

I need to try ARTA its on my list: https://proaudiodesignforum.com/forum/p ... =16&t=1168

AudioTester and YMEC are $39.95 so they're both a good value.
https://ka-electronics.com

Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://proaudiodesignforum.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

CDC: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covi ... /index.htm

AnalogJoe
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Re: Which Audio Analyser?

Post by AnalogJoe » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:17 pm

The $39.95 price tag does seem quite attractive. Another option that people seem to love is REW, I dont know, I always felt like it was sub-par, may have something to do with the fact that REW was initially a tool for audio enthusiasts to measure their room response and later it was upgraded to a full blown audio test suite, but it does have a lot of positive reviews.
Last edited by AnalogJoe on Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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