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Final Cut Pro X
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 05:03 PM   #1
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audio spectrum analyzer

Has anybody seen any tools compatible with FCPX that provide an audio spectrum analyzer? Doing a little Googling only turned up hits related to Soundtrack Pro, which - I assume at this point - is a dead product that will never integrate with FCPX. It seems like such a simple thing that I can't believe nobody has put a spectrum analyzer out yet. Is there something I'm missing?
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Does FCP support audio VST plugins? There are quite a few of these that provide spectrum analysis.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 06:01 PM   #3
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Ooh, good idea. It does (supposedly) support VST plugins, though I haven't actually used that capability yet. Do you have a particular spectrum analyzer VST plugin that you recommend?
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Sorry for my ignorance if its not what you're looking for, but is Izotope RX the sort if plugin you're looking for? It does work in FCPX as well as stand alone and can be used for noise reduction and EQ among other things.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 12:24 AM   #5
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Well, RX 2 is like the whole $1299 Sears automotive tool chest, when all I need is a tape measure. I'm just looking for a plugin to show me a spectrogram of an audio clip, not modify the clip in a million ways.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 04:16 PM   #6
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Ah, well I've learned a little more. First, FCP X supports Audio Units plugins, but apparently not VST plugins. Second, I found a very nice spectrum analyzer called Voxengo Span that comes as an AU plugin and is free:

Real-time audio spectrum analyzer plugin (AU, VST) - Voxengo SPAN - Voxengo

It seems to do exactly what I was asking for.

But of course now that it's working, it begs the question of why Final Cut doesn't have a "bus" approach to audio. The ideal workflow would be for all audio to be routed to a virtual bus, and then apply an effect to the whole bus instead of to individual clips. But that's a whole other issue.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 05:29 PM   #7
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Sorry the VST route didn't pan out, but great you found an alternative.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Bradley View Post
Ah, well I've learned a little more. First, FCP X supports Audio Units plugins, but apparently not VST plugins. Second, I found a very nice spectrum analyzer called Voxengo Span that comes as an AU plugin and is free:

Real-time audio spectrum analyzer plugin (AU, VST) - Voxengo SPAN - Voxengo

It seems to do exactly what I was asking for.

But of course now that it's working, it begs the question of why Final Cut doesn't have a "bus" approach to audio. The ideal workflow would be for all audio to be routed to a virtual bus, and then apply an effect to the whole bus instead of to individual clips. But that's a whole other issue.

One thing you'll learn as you use X more and more was that the overall design concept wasn't as focused on re-creating the tools we had in the past, but rather looking at fresh approaches that were attuned to where the industry is going. In color management, for instance, that gave us the color board instead of traditional color wheels. Most people grumbled about losing the tradition they were accustomed to - but as we got to undertand how the color board worked, some of us found ourselves enjoying how fast and how accurately it let us do basic color adjustments "on the fly."

The traditional "bus" approach of legacy mixers is another area that seems to be under re-imagining by the X team. Some audio patching functions have already been expressed in the new Roles concept. But most people who watch X expect the entire area or audio processing and control to get a lot more attention in future releases - possibly via an expansion of Roles - but just as possibly by new tools. Nobody knows. But it's fair to say that the things that the X development team has already looked at, from basic timeline editing to multicam to much more modern work export modes - all indicate that they have little interest in just putting things back into the program in a way exactly like they used to be done by every other NLE. They seem to be spending a LOT of time looking deeply at what might be superior ways to do things - even at the risk of confusing or even alienating folks with long time editing habits.

I think its cool. Some folks hate it. But since the production world is changing so fast (from tape to file and studio cameras to cameras in everyone's pockets and purses, etc, etc, etc!) it's kinda fun to imagine what they'll come up with next!
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Old March 26th, 2013, 07:55 PM   #9
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Re: audio spectrum analyzer

I've been using FCP X for about a year now, so I've already taken the plunge into the new "paradigm". And I like almost everything about this version. Most important of all (to me) is that I can do basic video editing much faster. But as someone who believes what all the senior editors say - that sound is as least as important as picture - I've been disappointed in Apple's lack of attention to audio. But like I said, that's a whole other topic.

Back on our original topic, after doing a little reading online, I found that there is - in fact - a spectrum analyzer built right into the product. Apparently it's buried so deep that none of us were aware of it. To get to it, you have to apply the Logic equalizer effect to a clip, and then open the visual interface for that effect plugin. In addition to a parametric EQ there is also a pretty spectrum analyzer. But of course that only works for as long as you're playing that one clip. You can't have the spectrum analyzer stay up and show you the audio spectrum of your whole project like you'd do with video scopes.

The natural thing to do would be to say "OK, so apply this effect to ALL the audio in my project" but now we've circled right back to the there's-no-audio-bus-concept issue. You could nestle every single clip in your project into a single compound clip and then apply the effect to that compound clip. But that seems kinda awkward to me. Is that how other people solve this type of problem, whether it's with video effects or audio effects?
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