Channel D Mac the Scope Spectrum Analyzer

Being a Mac user has its disadvantages; most audio analysis software is for the PC platform. But Robert Robinson, proprietor of Channel D Corp., and a fellow Mac person, created a useful audio analyzer for the Mac - Mac the Scope.
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Being a Mac user has its disadvantages; most audio analysis software is for the PC platform. But Robert Robinson, proprietor of Channel D Corp., and a fellow Mac person, created a useful audio analyzer for the Mac - Mac the Scope.

Features

The $89 program is a full-color audio analysis application, for Apple Macintosh users. The Mac the Scope reviewed here is the basic program. Additional options can be added in a mix or match fashion later. The documentation has a list of the available options (also found at the Web site). The Complete package ($449) includes all options.

Mac the Scope is an extensive analyzer/EQ snapshot/tone generator application. The EQ and spectrogram sections can be viewed continuously and can also be stored and printed. The color spectrum analyzer can be viewed in either vector (solid lines) or dot formats (an array of attractive and hypnotizing floating little dots).

There are a variety of weighting scales, voltage ranges (displayed in dBV) and colors to view signal analysis. The input menu has many means of delivering signal to your computer program, including on-board/internal microphones and the use of outboard mic preamps and external mixers, allowing for signal measurement by any microphone you choose. Channel D has qualified the Earthworks TC40 and the Audix TR40. Whichever mic you use, make sure it is an actual flat, test microphone.

In addition to the wonderful displays, Mac the Scope offers quite a few waveform shapes and frequency arrangements/filters to pass through your sound system, guaranteeing a proper measurement for any system.

Channel D offers Mac the Scope downloadable as a free 30-day trial, but each use of Mac the Scope is limited to 15 minutes, with no data storage available while in evaluation mode.

In use/Summary

I have a Macintosh G3/233 laptop, with a 2 GB hard disk and 192 MB of SDRAM and the Mac 8.6 operating system (the Wall Street edition G3). The application installed easily and I got right to work. I decided for the first use to employ the Mac's onboard microphones. The internal mics worked surprisingly well, making for a very easy to use scenario.

The customizable spectrograph was clear and easy to read; default colors are blue and gold to represent signal left and signal right.

I made some cables that adapted 1/8-inch to XLR, enabling me to use the direct outputs of my Soundcraft Series 5 console, which would use the mic pres of the Series 5 to drive outboard mic signal from a pair of TC40 Earthworks. By scrolling to the appropriate input selection on the computer, I could quickly change the input source from internal to external.

I successfully employed the tone generator section of Mac the Scope on several occasions, and found the many types of filters and tones to be most helpful in determining the spectral shape of some very tough venues.

I used Mac the Scope for more than 50 shows in the last two months. I now find the application an absolute necessity for identifying the frequency of stray signals as well as getting a quick picture of a given venue's acoustic signature/problems.

Interested Mac users should download a sample version of Mac the Scope and try it out. For more details of what this program can do, give Channel D Software a call - its customer service is extremely helpful.

Contact:Channel D Corp. at 609-393-3600; www.channld.com/mts.html