Apr 222010

This is what fills my heart with warm fuzzies. When those that are part of the Reason and Record community come together to Analyze and tackle some of the more difficult aspects of the software and fill in the gaps that may be left by incomplete specifications. Ed did it previously with his Thor Sine Wave Shaper tutorial, using it to cross-fade between 4 different devices. And now Allen Day (“rogerraa”), Wendy of Wendy Dunham Music fame and Giles Reaves (Selig) from the Selig B3-Leslie refill fame have teamed up to provide the penultimate BV512  Spectrum Analyzer. Selig provided the charts, and Wendy provided the Combinator with a backdrop that cleverly shows the frequency bands.

Download the charts along with the Combinators here:  spectrum-analyzer-project-files. This zip file contains the two charts outlined below, and Wendy’s 2 Combinators: 1. A 16-band Spectrum Analyzer and 2. A 32-band Spectrum Analyzer. They both use the BV512 Vocoder/Equilizer in Reason. You can, however, use this in Reason or Reason+Record.

So how do you use this? Well, let’s let Wendy explain:

Note: This excerpt is taken from her site. There is also a video you can watch about how it works here: http://www.galxygirl.com/videos/music-making/spectrum-combinators.html. She has graciously allowed me to present it here on my blog (thanks Wendy, you are indeed amazing for sharing this with us :-) )

BV512 Spectrum Analyzer with Frequency Band labeled Backdrop

BV512 Spectrum Analyzer with Frequency Band labeled Backdrop

These are convenient Spectrum Analyzer Combinators to see your song’s frequency spectra. Each one has an accurate Scale with Band and Hz labels. I prefer the Spectrum Analyzer 32 band version, but in case you don’t want that much resolution, I also created a Spectrum Analyzer 16 band version.

  • Band Select: 4, 8, 16, 32, FFT (512)
  • Decay: Lower = faster display; higher = overall averaging.
  • Display Scale: Roll this back to see the peaks.
  • Display Hold: Take a snapshot in time.

Place before final output. It’s a great aid for balancing your mix!

You can leave this on without adversely affecting your output. The main signal passes straight through the combinator via an Audio Spider, so it’s monitoring the frequency safely.
Vocoder Band Frequencies

Vocoder Band Frequencies

These reference charts for all band frequencies are printed on each combinator. The frequencies were measured accurately by Giles Reaves (“selig”) and Allen Day (“rogerraa”) on the Propellerhead User Forum.

Here’s another tip:

If you have an MClass EQ somewhere in your song, temporarily sweep one filter back & forth (with max Q, max Gain), and you should be able to see that peak on the analyzer and identify the frequency.

For those interested, Selig did a great job putting together the frequency charts for the 16- and 512 (FFT) -band modes of the Vocoder. Here are the screenshots:

BV512 Vocoder - 16-Band mode Frequency Chart

BV512 Vocoder – 16-Band mode Frequency Chart

BV512 Vocoder - 32-Band mode Frequency Chart

BV512 Vocoder – 512 (FFT) Band mode Frequency Chart

There you have it. Thanks so much to Wendy, Giles, and Allen for these great resources. Your important work does not go unnoticed.

  47 Responses to “BV512 Spectrum Analyzer”

  1. merci pour toutes ces informoations

    thank you for these informations


  2. Laplie,
    de rien.
    pas de probleme.

    je suis tres content que vous aimez les lectures.

  3. Thanks so much for this stuff, umm…
    merci beucoup (pardon mon francais)

  4. Very informative. Respect to those whom have analyzed it :D

  5. just added this to my default song, awesome possum

  6. Huge amount of respect to those who have worked this out. Wendy and Giles are two awesome Reason/Record gurus. We could all learn a lot from them. So what should I jump into next for another article or how-to?
    Cheers to all.

  7. Please Correct me if I’m wrong, but this connection only see the spectrum in mono, not better to have two BV512 (left and right) to view in stereo

  8. Now I did some tests and if he was wrong, the spectrum analyzer if it is stereo, but even so, as to them with two can see the spectrum BV512 Left and Right separately, and so have better control. I appreciate the opinions…

  9. Ruben,
    There’s nothing to prevent you from using the BV512 as a spectrum analyzer for both left and right analysis. Personally, I think this is overkill and if you are going to do that, you may as well invest in a top quality analyzer. For quick monitoring of your frequencies, I personally like using a single BV512 to monitor the entire signal. It’s still monitoring the stereo signal, not the mono signal. But what you see is a sum of both the left and right channels. So this might be confusing. Splitting them to left and right would allow you to see them separately as you suggest. And as I said, there’s nothing wrong with setting things up this way.


  10. Wendy was having some problems posting to my forum here. Not sure why exactly. But I’ll have to check it out. In the meantime, this comment is directed at Ruben Erre:

    “My design actually merges left and right channels using an audio
    spider, so one display can be used. I felt that was easier for the
    user than using two displays for left and right.”

    Direct from Wendy. Visit her website or get in touch with her here:

  11. much respect to those who have taken the time for this!

  12. This is awesome! Thank you so much for your innovations!!

  13. No problem. But this spectrum analyzer was not put together by me. It was the hard work of 3 other people who were mentioned in the post. They deserve all the credit for this extraordinary patch. It’s great to have people such as them willing to share their work with the rest of us. We all are the better for it. So Thanks to them for the innovations!

  14. how do i hook this up to one of my synths? i have a synth in a combi. i routed the output of my synth combi into the input of the analyzer combi. then the output of the analyzer combi into my main mixer. no sound or analysis. what am i doing wrong??

    sorry for the very beginner questions. but if i were a pro i probably would not need to use a spectrum analyzer, id be using my ears :P. also thank you for this nice little device.

    oh and one last thing. is there anyway to set it up to see the lower frequencies like down to 20-30hz? i make a lot of bass heavy music so it would be helpful to see all the way down there.

  15. Steve,
    You have set up the device properly. You probably haven’t clicked the “Show Devices” button on the Combinator. When you do that, you will see the “BV512 Vocoder” device inside. Now when you play the synth, you’ll see the frequency bands responding, which is an analysis of your audio. That’s all there is to it.

    For your other question, you can’t use the BV512 to show frequencies that low. You can only show approximately 60 Hz and above. That’s just the way the Vocoder device is built in Reason. If you need to see frequencies lower than this, you’ll have to use a 3rd party frequency analysis tool outside Reason and Record.

    Does that help?

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