Some thoughts about the spectrum analyser

Now I know this is mostly for visual display so probably of least importance, but I’ve been very fond of Sound Forge’s analyser over the years and have always found Renoise’s analyser almost useless. So here are my suggestions for improving it:

  • Block size: Anything below 8,192 is useless for monitoring the bass range, so I suggest for it to be 8,192 samples by default. Why you would ever want to go lower than that I simply don’t know.
  • Minimum frequency: When the minimum frequency is 0 Hz, the resolution of the bass range is significantly improved, especially that centred around 50 Hz, which currently looks like a rounded blur and impossible to monitor accurately. 50 Hz will move to about a third of the way along in logarithmic mode, and the loss of resolution in the mid range is only minimal. In addition, monitoring frequencies below 10 Hz allows for detection of any DC offsets.
  • Peak fall: At first I was wondering why the spectrum seemed so unresponsive, then I realised the peak fall was simply too slow set to ‘normal’. Though I prefer the ‘instant’ setting, some may prefer the more averaging option. In any case, I think it should be faster, or closer to ‘instant’ by default.
  • Peak hold: In addition, maintaining a display of the peaks is my preferred alternative to a slower peak fall setting. A setting around 10 seconds seems to work well, but various options could be provided (1, 10, 20, 30 or even 60 s).
  • Floor: Currently the floor is around -96 dB (-100 dB I think). I have Sound Forge’s floor set to -150 dB (maximum). This provides a more accurate display when the volume is low (as is often the case when working with pre-masters). In fact, currently it may even be impossible to tell whether a sound being displayed is MP3 or not, as -96 dB is simply not low enough for this and other purposes. Perhaps an additional option of -144 dB could be provided to match 24 bit’s noise floor, and allow for switching between that and -96 dB.
  • Why the display applies such a severe rounding to neighbouring frequencies is beyond me. This especially makes it almost impossible to monitor frequencies in the bass range, and the mid range just doesn’t show accurate representations of the notes being played. If you ask me this ‘rounding’ should be turned off. I don’t know exactly about using different smoothing windows, but Sound Forge uses Blackman-Harris by default, without the overly-grossed rounding effect Renoise has.

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. :)

Well I can answer for this one; some of us are running renoise on really old laptops :P

I can see his mind adding an extra suggestion point to his list:
“Minimum hardware gear: 3Ghz quad core and 8GB ram, why you would ever try to run Renoise on crappy old hardware?”