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Old 12th November 2011, 04:40 AM   #1
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Default free frequency measurement software?

This is for a friend teaching physics. The students are to make a musical instrument. To calculate wavelength, they will need to measure the frequency.

Since the class does have some little netbooks available to borrow, the thought is that perhaps there is a little program which can do this.

Rather like an app which no doubt exists for the iPhone, which would be interesting to hear about as well. But, there aren't iPhones available to loan to the students, especially as many groups would be working at once, hence the interest in something that will run under Windows XP. Still, it might be possible to borrow an iPod touch and go group-to-group.

Doesn't need to be great, just so somebody can blow a homemade pan flute or strum a harp and get a rough frequency reading. Actually for that stage of the class, simpler is better; ideally something that just says "432 Hz" or whatever without students needing to interpret an FFT. Almost more like guitar tuning software or something?

This will be a prelude to the AP class and/or MESA club building speakers, at which time we'd probably borrow a MLSSA or such...

Last edited by head_unit; 12th November 2011 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 12th November 2011, 04:53 AM   #2
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sounds like an RTA might do the trick. You could look at trueRTA the free version is probably all you need.

TrueRTA Audio Spectrum Analyzer Download Page

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Old 12th November 2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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I'd second an RTA as good for showing approximate frequency. It won't say "432 Hz" though, so some interpretation will be needed. It will teach a lot about sound, with students whistling, yelling, and hissing into it to see what the spectrum looks like.

Take a look for cell phone apps. Here were some guitar tuner apps:

Guitar Tuners: iPad/iPhone Apps AppGuide

Most have a scale readout (cents flat or sharp) rather than absolute frequency, but there might be something there.

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Old 12th November 2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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There is always ARTA. This is over the top for what you want, but it is simple to use in it's spectrum analyser mode, comes with an almost fully functional free version and it will show you the fundamental tone + it's harmonics visually on the screen. You can then pause the capturing of sound and it will freeze frame allowing the students to analyse it greater detail.
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Old 12th November 2011, 03:03 PM   #5
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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You could just record using "Audacity" and do a spectrum analysis, it will tell you what frequency and even what musical note.

EDIT:
I just googled 'frequency counter program' and came up with this as the first hit:
http://www.techmind.org/audio/
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Last edited by Ron E; 12th November 2011 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12th November 2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for the good suggestions, keep 'em coming.

I hadn't thought to Google "frequency counter"-nice one. Sometimes it's all about the search terms.

I also like the idea that students can play around and blow into the mic and see what happens. A spectrum or RTA could let students see the harmonic series from strings or a pipe, which could help cement the idea that all these vibrations are happening simultaneously.

The teacher would have to weight that against the more complicated nature of these programs. But I would think the students could guess a frequency off the bottom scale, if told "don't worry if you're not exact"
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Old 12th November 2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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http://www.tolvan.com/rtsect/

http://www.tolvan.com/products/

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Old 12th November 2011, 06:22 PM   #8
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This one does what you are looking for: n-Track Studio Multitrack Recording Audio Software

Love that tuner!

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Old 12th November 2011, 06:39 PM   #9
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I'd also vote for ARTA in FFT mode. Good electronic tuners show the fundamental and the harmonics, which is what ARTA will do. The scale can be expanded to see just the range you're looking at.
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Old 12th November 2011, 08:36 PM   #10
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The simplicity of the iPhone app makes it a winner for this one IMO. Fast and furious, free and accurate.

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