I've seen it mentioned a lot on this board that some of you patch in an RTA across a channel to see what you should address in EQ.

Do any of you swear by using RTAs?

With some people, it's considered "cheating" and they say not to rely on this type of equipment.

Is it beneficial for mixing voices, for instance?

Also, what are some of the most accurate ones you use and work well for mixing purposes?

Any free ones I can demo?

  • I've never used one, so I can't really comment, but this was the first thing that popped up when searching for a free one: bluecataudio.com/Products/Product_FreqAnalyst I've used Blue CatAudio plug-ins before, and I like them. Aug 11, 2010 at 18:05
  • I take it RTA means Real Time Analyzer? Aug 11, 2010 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


I often to reference an analyzer to see what I need to address. It often shows me what frequencies I can scoop out without losing to much of the impact of the sound. Say (for instance) that a certain sound was amazing, but once it was in the mix, it was drowning out a bunch of other sounds. You can use the RTA to find where the fundamental sound is and trim away a lot of excess. It can really help you tighten your mix without too much trouble

I often use it to show me where my trouble spots are. If I have a hum or ring I can't quite find, I'll jump to my RTA.

There's one built into Logic (if you have it). I also have a few others here and there, but most came packed with some bundle. Nothing that is absolutely free off the top of my head, but then again, I'm not really up on free plugins.

Yeah, some people say it's cheating, but who cares? It's a tool that I find very useful, so I use it. There are no rules in Sound Design except that "if it sounds good, use it". So if using an RTA makes your work better, use one!

  • I'd be interested in how much you use it Colin. If I need to identify a particular frequency (say a flourescent light) I use izotopeRX's spectral analyzer. Otherwise I just use my ears. I will confess I've never heard of an RTA until today, are there any plugins that are free/cheap/part of Waves bundle?
    – ianjpalmer
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:33
  • @ianjpalmer I think that we rather use "spectrum analyzer" instead of RTA but that there are the same thing. Well, I don't picture a "spectrum analyzer" not being in real time... Aug 11, 2010 at 22:10
  • @Justin iZotope's Spectral Analyzer is not realtime, but it shows you the analyzer as a linear image, so you can see the whole song at a time, instead of just one instance. With an RTA, you see a spectrum analyses as it happens. Different tools for the same job, but equally as useful!
    – Colin Hart
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:26
  • @ianjpalmer I use it for smaller problems. When I'm in Logic or PT, I can just pop it in and find my problem. If I have a bigger problem, I'll pop the sound into RX. I usually don't use RX in AU or RTAS mode, but usually just standalone, since my computer doesn't like exerting that much force...
    – Colin Hart
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:28
  • @ianjpalmer which brings up another point about using RX across a network. One of my favorite things to do is keep RX in standalone mode up on one computer while my session on the same network is up on another computer. You can actually edit a file in RX that is in your session on the other computer. Cool stuff. Just won't update until you save. You also have to refresh your waveforms in your DAW. Very useful though
    – Colin Hart
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:30

I use the Waves PAZ all the time...works great. But I rely on it more for checking out phase and imaging. I'll also use it to check subharmonic info and keep it in control, as that stuff really pops out more in a theater than a small cutting room.

But at the end of the day, if it sounds good, then it is good.

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