What are your favorite software tools for spectral analysis/manipulation? And what do you use them for?
I use iZotpe RX. It's great for sound restoration and useful to clean unwanted noises in general. For creative uses give a look to Spear, it does interesting things.
- Adobe Audition (commercial) - Spectral Frequency Display produces a spectrogram for existing waveforms and Frequency Analysis can show a real-time spectrum
- Sonic Visualiser (open source) - spectrum or spectrogram for pre-existing waveforms
- Visual Analyser (freeware) - can show a realtime spectrum, too, though I don't trust the THD measurement.
As an engineer, I use them to see distortion, glitches or errors in sinusoidal waveforms (which may not be obvious on a waveform view, but show up as a bright vertical line in a spectrogram), aliasing in ADCs, estimate frequency, etc.
The latest version of Audition is really powerful, letting you draw lassos around parts of a spectrogram and then applying filters, gain, etc to only that portion of the time-frequency space. You can even import and export as image files, so that you can edit your recordings in Photoshop. :)
The detail of the sonogram and spectrogram displays, the restoration tools and algorithms are unparallelled in my opinion. Add to that a clear interface, in-depth settings and ease of use. I use it all the time when surgical spectral editing is needed.
Another +1 for Izotope RX. I use it on a ton of my outdoor recordings to remove general ambience, etc... I'll often use it with my hydrophone as well to remove machine hiss from the times I have to crank the pre-amps way up. I've also successfully removed audience coughs from a live music performance (that took a while, but it sounded awesome!).
Fantastically easy to use and fairly inexpensive. Love it.
I really want to play with Kyma X a lot more. I used to work with an engineer that had a copybara that I played with a bit, but I want one of my own. Gotta save up my pennies...
+1 for iZoptope RX.
We do a huge amount of restoration work for major studios and wouldn't be able to get the amount of 'fine-tuned', detailed cleaning without it. Nothing compares in simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use with it's spectral analysis.