V2.0 Firmware: RTA and EQ Functions
With the introduction of the new V2.0 firmware for the X32, we are very proud to introduce the new RTA and EQ functionality that can be used within the X32 consoles. The new RTA feature can be found not only on the RTA tab of the METERS menu but can be displayed on each input and output signal.
NEW 100-BAND RTA AND EQ FUNCTIONS
- New high-resolution 100-band Real Time Analyzer, RTA, with Bar and Spectrograph views
- A large RTA view can be used as a separate meter with any signal available
- The RTA can also be blended above every one of the channel and bus EQ curves, allowing to see the results of filtering in the audio spectrum directly
- Additionally, the RTA can be displayed on top of the 31-band graphic EQs in the FX rack—identifying problematic frequencies has never been easier…
- The analyzer can be assigned to a fixed channel, or depending on Select Channel or Solo status
- The RTA Spectrograph mode displays the audio energy distribution on 100 frequency bands over time—capturing a sonogram window of 10 s length
- The channel EQ display editing controls have been rearranged improving the workflow, synchronized with the channel strip controls, and allowing per-band bypass
Many tools for measuring and visualizing the spectral energy distribution have become familiar to audio engineers meanwhile, but the real time analyzer, RTA, is definitely the most commonly used. RTAs often split the audio signal into 31-bands (1/3 octave bandwidth), corresponding to the popular 31-band graphic EQs, and display the signal levels per band. They offer a very intuitive view on the momentary signal levels in the frequency bands, which correlates well with our constant relative bandwidth hearing perception.
Often, however, the momentary RTA view is too volatile for resolving specific analysis problems, while on the other hand the fairly accurate level metering resolution is not always required. In those cases a spectrogram or sonogram can provide a very different viewing angle on the same audio. The spectrograph function records and displays the frequency distribution over time, which results in a two-dimensional intensity (or color) chart of signal levels. Characteristic structures in the slowly moving sonogram chart allow identifying static sound components (feedbacks) or interferences (phase issues) within the music program.
Much has changed since the first 31-band RTA (real time analyzers) with LED meters emerged on the market in the 80’ies. In the beginning hardware RTAs were highly engineered specialist tools, out of budget for the majority of (semi/pro) audio engineers. But with the proliferation of integrated electronics components prices dropped and RTAs became relevant to every self-respected studio and live audio engineer. Mid-90ies another ‘measurement tool’ started to threaten the classic hardware RTA—the personal computer and especially the laptops. All of a sudden the comparatively huge PC processing power was employed for performing all sorts of audio data analysis, including the RTA function, but also the more scientific FFT (fast Fourier transformation) and waterfall analysis. Since then powerful software based analysis tools emerged on all platforms, even on mobile phones and in home media players. Even though there is a multitude of different analysis models for specific purposes, nothing has reached the same level of acceptance, especially among non-technical users, than the RTA. The real time analyzer still is the one intuitive and obvious instrument for visualizing the components of any audio signal in real time.
RTA and Spectrograph functions in V2.0
With these new functions integrated to the X32 firmware, there is no more need for expensive external analyzer hardware or laptop computers running dedicated measurement applications. The X32 V2.0 firmware features both, RTA Bargraph and Spectrograph with 10s window, that are displayed on the console’s color TFT display and can be used in a variety of applications. The frequency resolution of both analyzers is 100 bands, with constant relative bandwidth from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Hence they are 3-times more detailed than typical 1/3rd-octave RTAs. Both graphs can be visualized in a separate Meter screen, on top of each channel parametric EQ and on the FX rack graphic EQ screens.
RTA SOURCE - Depending on the application the analyzer input signal can be taken from the selected channel itself, any other pre-defined channel or dynamically depending on monitor source signals (i.e. Main/Solo). When equalizing a main PA system for example, the Graphic EQ may be inserted in Main LR, while the analyzer signal may come from a dedicated measuring mic input channel.
SOLO PRIORITY - When switched on, the selected RTA source signals will be replaced with the monitor solo bus whenever a channel solo is active. TIP: This option might be useful, if you wish to analyze a group of channels concurrently, or if you have a fixed signal on the RTA that needs to be replaced only temporarily with some other channel's signal.
PRE / POST - The analyzers can tap their input signals from pre or post the respective channel EQ, allowing you to see the impact of your equalization in that channel.
GAIN - When engaged, the Auto-Gain function simplifies adjusting the analyzer views and ensuring meaningful readings. In most cases it should be switched on. When switched off, the RTA gain can be set manually using the rotary control, which may be necessary for comparing absolute frequency band levels between different channels.
EQ OVERLAY - When using the analyzers on top of the channel EQ plot or over the graphic EQ screens, the meter’s opacity can be adjusted to your likes. Something around 50% is typically a good starting point. Turn it down to 0% if you don't need to see the RTA on top of the channel EQ or graphic EQ screens.
RTA ON CHANNEL EQ VIEW - The channel EQ RTA function will always display the respective channel's frequency distribution, independent from the RTA Source definition. Use the EQ Overlay control for adjusting the amount of RTA on top of the EQ plot. Default preferences when opening any channel EQ view can be set to 'Pre EQ' (off is post EQ) and 'Spectrograph' (off is bar graph). They can however be overruled on the respective EQ page.
RTA ON GRAPHIC EQ VIEW - The Graphic EQ RTA function will always display the respective FX slot's frequency distribution, independent from the RTA Source definition, unless the 'Use RTA Source' mark is ticked. Use the EQ Overlay control for adjusting the amount of RTA on top of the GEQ sliders. Default preferences when opening any GEQ view can be set to 'Post GEQ' (off is pre graphic EQ) and 'Spectrograph' (off is bar graph). They can however be overruled on the respective GEQ page.