When I started with Max for Live (‘M4L’) one of the first patches I created was a ‘scope’ device; the so called M4LScope. Its a relatively simple patch; a Max sound effect (so that it can sit on all channels) which displays a spectrum analyser showing the waveforms of both your audio channels. And in the middle of the patch sits the harmonics window; this shows you how both channels interact with each other.
For some time now I’ve been messing with sonograms (official name being spectrogram or spectographic) thanks to a VST I once found on the net (“Sonogram SG-1”). But this week it left me wondering; surely M4L should be able to do this as well? It does.
As you can see this is a relatively simple device; it displays the waveform for both audio channels and allows you a little bit of control of the way the signals are being displayed. You can increase the buffer size (thus showing more waveform samples), select the amount of samples (this can help you display a more stable waveform), the delay and finally the overall size of the waveforms (in both the channels as well as the harmonics part).
Version 1.8 adds a sonogram window. You can control the window display by clicking the button as seen above or by using device control 5 of your APC40.
A sonogram (or spectrogram) can help you with getting a better view of the harmonics of your sound. It shows the sound signal in a two dimensional display, captured per time frame.
First is the frequency range; this is displayed using the y-axis of the diagram. The higher a peak the higher the used frequency is. Next is the amplitude or intensity of the sound. This is displayed using a specific colour. The brighter the displayed colour is; the higher the intensity (or amplitude) of the sound is.
It may take getting used to but I’ve become very fond of using a sonogram in addition to regular spectrum analyzers.
Just like its parent the sonogram is relatively easy to control. The first option determines the scroll speed, or better put; how much samples per second the analyser should take. Right now it goes from ‘normal’ to slower, sort off, I’m still experimenting with more proper settings for this. This option can be controlled using device control 6 on the APC40.
Next is the graph size, this determines how big the several aspects of the diagram are displayed. By default it displays small nuances; raising this value will make those easier to see, but sometimes also harder depending on the kind of signal you’re working with. This is controlled using device control 7 on the APC40.
The frequency display selects the kind of scale you want to use to display the frequency ranges; you can chose between a linear display (the default) or a logarithmic display. Note that if you change this setting it will automatically set the graphics display to the most optimal default format.
The freeze button does just that; if you click this option then the analyser stops scrolling so that you can easier study your signal. Clicking the option again (which by then will be named “Resume”) resumes the updates.
And finally you can select if the analyser should monitor 1 (the left) or both (left & right) channels. Selecting only 1 audio channel prevents the analyser from becoming over saturated. However; this is another option which I’m still experimenting with.
Where to download
Hope you can enjoy the new features as much as I do!