Using a Spectrum Analyzer

Using a spectrum analyzer can be a helpful tool for mastering engineers. A spectrum analyzer displays the frequency content of an audio signal in real-time, which can help a mastering engineer identify the specific frequencies causing harshness or imbalance in the mix.

By looking at the frequency spectrum, a mastering engineer can identify which frequencies are too prominent and use EQ or other processing techniques to reduce or boost them. The spectrum analyzer can also help to identify any frequency masking, which is when one frequency range covers another frequency range, causing it to be less audible.

Additionally, a mastering engineer can use the spectrogram view to identify transient issues, such as sibilance or harshness on percussive sounds, which can be addressed with dynamic processing, such as de-essing or transient shaper.

In summary, using a spectrum analyzer can be a valuable tool for mastering engineers as it can help them to identify specific frequency ranges that need to be adjusted to achieve a balanced high-frequency response in a mix. It can also identify any other issues in the audio signal that may be causing harshness or imbalance.

Several techniques can be used to maximize the use of a spectrum analyzer when mastering audio:

1. Use the analyzer to identify and fix frequency masking issues, which occur when specific frequencies in one track are obscured by other frequencies in another track.

2. Use the analyzer to identify and fix issues with stereo imaging, such as phase problems or imbalances in the left and right channels.

3. Use the analyzer to identify and fix issues with dynamic range, such as clipping or low-level noise.

4. Use the analyzer to identify and fix issues with the overall tonal balance of the mix, such as too much bass or treble.

5. Use the analyzer to identify and fix issues with the mix’s loudness, such as ensuring that the mix is consistent across different playback systems.

It is important to note that a spectrum analyzer is just one tool among many that can be used in audio mastering and should be used in conjunction with other tools such as equalizers, compressors, and metering tools.

Earle Holder