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Old 16th March 2012, 11:02 PM   #1
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Default Spectrum Analyzers

Hey guys, sorry if this topic of conversation has been tackled before but I couldn't really find any current, relevant strings. I'm looking for a simple, mid-grade digital spectrum analyzer capable of measuring frequency outputs of amplifiers as well as loud speakers and recording them onto my computer. I found this product that attaches to speaker leads and sounds extremely cool/useful I just have no idea if it's going to be a piece of crap (seems a little on the cheap side) or what. If there are other types of hardware/software bundles out there that people have had good experience with I'm all ears. Thanks!

Here's the link:

Dayton Audio DATS Dayton Audio Test System 390-806
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Old 17th March 2012, 07:12 AM   #2
Frex is offline Frex  France
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Hi howe0168,

Probably, you don't have read the product description.It's not a spectrum analyzer,
it's an impedance tracer (mainly for loudspeaker characterization).
If you want a spectrum analyzer that work in audio band, you just need a good sound card (internal or external) if possible that support 192k sampling rate, and an analysis software like Arta or any other(many are available, free or not).
Regards.

Frex
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Old 17th March 2012, 12:17 PM   #3
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That makes sense. Unfortunately I have a mac so I'm thinking FuzzMeasure is the way to go. I'm really green when it comes to analyzing audio through software (other than recording) - what hardware is required in between the amplifier (or hopefully speaker terminals as well) and computer in order to capture the data? Thanks.
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Old 17th March 2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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I use the E-MU 0204 (24bits at 192kHz) with USB. You will need to pad the speaker signal down to line level. This sound interface is inexpensive and good but lacks a 48V phantom power for a good mic (there is enough space in the box to add that)
Are there programs available for the mac that emulate the PC? I know there are some for the PC to emulate the mac. This would give you a much greater joice on programs
E
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Old 19th March 2012, 02:01 AM   #5
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I found some freeware (AudioXPlorer) that works very well for analyzing wav files on a mac. The thing I'm looking for if is there any way I can measure and record the voltage/frequencies from an amplifier (not through a microphone or something) and convert it to a wav file? I can do all the analysis I'd like once I have the wav file but I'm trying to find a way to get around recording the output through a microphone. To me recording through a microphone will have to take into consideration the speakers/cabinet/room acoustics/microphone performance/recording capability which seems like too many outside variables. If I could get the isolated signal right from the source (the amplifiers output into a dummy load let's say) I would be very happy. It seems like all I need is an A/D converter but I just don't quite know which one is right for what I'm looking for. Thanks.
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Old 19th March 2012, 05:27 AM   #6
Frex is offline Frex  France
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Hi howe0168,

As say mickeymoose , the AD converter that you have need is only a soundcard.
Internal or external as you want.Probably an external type allow more easy connexion and better insulation between your DUT(device under test) and the computer.

About the software, you seem to be limited by your OS.I can recommend you a very powerful software that can work on Linux and MAC, it's BAUDLINE.
Regards.

Frex
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Old 19th March 2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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Ahhh, OK - sorry, it's finally settling in...the idea of a soundcard being paralelled to 200 watts just seemed crazy, I didn't consider bringing down the voltage via a resistor or however. So OK, I actually think I have everything I need. I currently have an Apogee One and solid recording software (Logic) so I should at least be able to get things started. And yeah, Mr. Moose, your E-MU sounds good - if I can get some decent data with the Apogee's 44.1/48Khz setup I will definitely look into upgrading.

So here's my last question (hopefully)...MickeyMoose said you have to pad down the speaker's signal down to line level. Looks like line level is ~1.2V RMS. Would the "ideal" setup for testing an amplifier's frequency output be to have the amplifier plugged into a dummy load and then paralell a 1/4" jack with a potentiometer in between to take the amplifier's output down to 1.2V and then have that jack connected to my external A/D converter? Should I be worried at all that a grid blocking resistor might roll off the high end? If this setup is actually ideal I assume that I could do the same setup with the amplifier plugged into a speaker cabinet and then run a sine sweep to measure cabinet's output over the frequency spectrum and identify the cabinets' resonant frequency??? Thanks again for your help/patience.
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Old 19th March 2012, 01:57 PM   #8
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howe:
I would use a dummy load to suit the amp , than pad it down. The easiest way (unbalanced) would be to use a 5W/10k 10-turn pot. Start at the minimum out-setting of the pot. Do not use a standard pot as these often are carbon film, also do not use carbon-film resistors in any measurement, as these are very noisy. Use metal-film (or better). Protect the input of your soundcard by placing a resistor (value depends on the input impedance of the card) from the wiper of the pot to the hot of the input. Maybe add some clampinng diodes for extra protection.
Good luck! E
PS: and don't call me Mr. Moose, Mr. was my father!
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Old 19th March 2012, 04:54 PM   #9
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Ha, sounds good - thanks!
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