Review: Open Sound Meter – A truly free audio analyzer?

I’ve talked to
you before about free audio analyzers that you can get so you don’t have to
immediately drop five hundred or a thousand dollars on your software to get
started you can get started with free things that I’ve already talked about
before like room EQ wizard or Rita from educasound there’s a new piece of
software though that I’m just testing out for the first time open sound meter
and the reason why I want to demo it for you today is that I really like its
minimalist approach and it also is really attempting to look like your
other audio analyzers like you’re Smaart and your SATlive it has all the kind of
modules you expect we’re looking at the RTA it also has magnitude phase and
impulse you’ll notice there’s very few controls here so no menus on the top to
get access to anything you have to click on something first and then you can
change it so right now we’re looking at the RTA display and I could change this
to bars so this probably looks familiar to you after playing with it for just
thirty minutes today my conclusion is that I think it is a great entry-level
piece of software especially for the price of free now it has a handful of
limitations that I want to expose you to so you understand it and I think if you
just know about the limitations you can use it and actually get some good work
out of it first limitation is that the minimum here with this y offset scale is
negative 90 now if we were looking at this in smart I’d be able to scroll down
even farther and if I change this back to line this will make more sense so see
we can’t even see this information down here just good to know that I could
adjust the levels here coming in and probably change that offset and be able
to see the entire graph let’s take a look at the transfer function so I
switch this to double and if you want to know this is what triple looks like and
then I can set these to whatever I want so here is the auto set delay as you
would expect and here I’m just measuring an EQ this is kind of what you expect right
you’ve got magnitude up here in the top phase down here in the bottom you may
notice that there’s some jumping around down here this is probably the biggest
problem I have with this audio analyzer software so far you just this bothers me
I don’t know why you can never get this stable I’ll show you what happens when I
try to get it stable but you could never quite get this stable even when I’m
measuring something so stable as just any Q over here if I turn up the
averages let’s say I turn them up to 50 okay it gets a little bit more stable
but still jumping around a little bit so if you want to use the software just be
aware this little limitation and you know you’re gonna have to kind of look
at the trend here and not these little things jumping around it might be a good
idea to you know store a couple of things and then you can see you know do
some optical averaging here just with your eye okay let me make these go away
and let me turn this up to maximum averages now so even at a hundred
averages the maximum setting actually it’s gotten a lot better now okay see
that’s still changing a little bit but notice where we only have a problem down
here like around 50 Hertz so if you’re measuring doing a lot of measuring of
subwoofers this may be a problem for you but for the vast majority of the
frequency spectrum here it’s really stable so let me show you what happens
though when I try to get even more definition here instability so if I
change this they FFT size to its maximum setting Wow look at that it starts
freaking out these these meters here go way off so I have to turn this down or
it’s going to crash so I’ll set this back to 10 this back to 14 the meters go
back to normal everything’s okay let me show you what’s
happening here okay grant it ScreenFlow is taking a lot of the CPU right now but
watch the open sound meter as I turn this stuff up
so if I go from 10 to 100 averages then go from 14 well let’s just watch
the open centimeter for a second but it’s really this FFT size that’s making
a huge change and I guess how much processing it has to do and my my
computer just can’t handle it look at that open sound meter goes up to
88% okay so then I have to turn it back down so
that is the reason for I guess some of these limitations it also doesn’t have
ntw which i think would help with some of this in MTW is an option for the FFT
size in your audio and others analyzers like smart and Sat live probably will be
incorporated into open sound meter in the future
I assume let me show you what was one more thing I was gonna do oh yeah I was
gonna change these inputs to instead of just measuring an EQ now I’m measuring a
real speaker but really close just like a meter away from the speaker’s a
recording so this has gone all crazy so obviously I need to auto apply estimated
delay here’s the last problem I’ll tell you about I don’t know what’s going on
with these lines jumping around here okay so this bothers me and if I set
this averaging up to something higher and if I change the resolution here to
maybe even higher higher than I really need it to be
and if I change the FFT size to something slightly higher it’s not so
bad but they’re still there just notice that you can still use this you’ll just
kind of have to look at the trend here of the face and kind of ignore whatever
these things are jumping around I’ll hit store and then turn off the
live measurement now I’m not looking at those things jumping around okay so
that’s probably a safer way to use this software so I’ll turn that back on the
live trace I’ll store a couple more now I’ll just look at these all together now
I can kind of look at the trend going on here and kind of ignore this extraneous
stuff right open sound meter I’ll put a link to it
below this video you’re not gonna find it if you google it you will find it if
you search for it in Facebook it is right now a free piece of software so I
recommend you test it out and the guy was making it is just taking donations
through PayPal so you might throw him a few bucks he’s got a link on the webpage
there but let me know what you guys think maybe you see something I’m not
doing maybe I’m using it improperly and that’s why I’m getting these strange
artifacts in the graph anyway I think this is one of now several great options
we have for free audio analyzers to get you started

5 thoughts on “Review: Open Sound Meter – A truly free audio analyzer?

  1. Hi Nathan,
    Just want to complement you with your excellent video’s. I like the layout, large screen with a small Nathan in the corner 😉 and of course the content has enough depth AND is easy to follow. Thanks!

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