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pinebox

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Mar 10 17 7:29 PM

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What are you using for audio analyzers? We have a Neutrik A2 at the shop but I would like to purchase my own for home and field, but I am not up to date with what is out there right now, anyone have any suggestions?

Alfredo Oresto


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gold

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,514 Member Since:27/01/2011

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Mar 10 17 8:45 PM

Buying new or used? How good (budget)? Standalone or a PC interface?

There are the Neutrik or AP Portable One standalone units. Most new and modern test sets are interface and PC.

For field (and bench) work the Lindos does probably 80-99% of what you need. The price is right too.  http://www.lindos.co.uk

Last Edited By: gold Mar 10 17 8:49 PM. Edited 2 times.

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Mike Rivers

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,528 Member Since:13/10/2012

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Mar 11 17 7:21 AM

Room EQ Wizard is pretty capable, and is as accurate as your audio interface, but what's good for you depends on what you want to analyze and why . . and where. A computer, an outboard interface, and a bunch of cables is often too much haywire for me unless I'm checking out something that's normally connected to a computer (like an interface, for example). If I'm checking out a recorder or an amplifier, I prefer to use my NTI Minirator MR2 and Minilyzer. They take up very little bench space and run off batteries so there are no ground loops or unintended antennas to interfere with a measurement.

And, sometimes, really, I use an HP 200CD generator and 400 AC voltmeter. The 200CD doesn't have nearly as low distortion as the NTI or a decent computer interface, but if I want to check out the headroom on something that advertises input level up to +28 dBu, I need more than modestly priced solid state test equipment.



For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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seth

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Posts: 5,634 Member Since:26/01/2011

#8 [url]

Mar 11 17 7:31 AM

AP's have dropped in price substantially on eBay lately, particularly the ATS-1 which is similar to the Portable One with built-in screen. It's definitely worth a look.

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gold

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Mar 11 17 2:05 PM

mikerivers wrote:

And, sometimes, really, I use an HP 200CD generator and 400 AC voltmeter. The 200CD doesn't have nearly as low distortion as the NTI or a decent computer interface, but if I want to check out the headroom on something that advertises input level up to +28 dBu, I need more than modestly priced solid state test equipment.

 
If you put them in the same case you can call it a Transmission Line Test Set. Sounds better. Waveforms made an Oscilator and AC Volt Meter in the same case and called it that. There is a lot to be said for the old stuff when working with analog equipment. 

My metors first job out of college  was woring for Waveforms making test equipment. I have an AC Voltmeter which I want a friend to restore for me. It's very compact. Much smaller than an HP400. I also have a giant waveforms oscillator that will put out +36dBm. Holy crap.

Last Edited By: gold Mar 11 17 2:09 PM. Edited 1 time.

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gold

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Mar 11 17 2:23 PM

seth wrote:
AP's have dropped in price substantially on eBay lately, particularly the ATS-1 which is similar to the Portable One with built-in screen. It's definitely worth a look.

I think the ATS-1 is a rackmount version of the Portable One. The front panels look the same. Prices are really low now. I payed 8k for my Portable One new. It was a lot but I needed to know the test equipment worked as advertised. I still love it. Button per function.

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Mike Rivers

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,528 Member Since:13/10/2012

#11 [url]

Mar 11 17 5:18 PM

gold wrote:

mikerivers wrote:
And, sometimes, really, I use an HP 200CD generator and 400 AC voltmeter.
 

 
If you put them in the same case you can call it a Transmission Line Test Set. Sounds better. Waveforms made an Oscilator and AC Volt Meter in the same case and called it that. There is a lot to be said for the old stuff when working with analog equipment. 

I have an AC Voltmeter which I want a friend to restore for me. It's very compact. Much smaller than an HP400. I also have a giant waveforms oscillator that will put out +36dBm. Holy crap.
 


I have what H-P called a Transmission Line Test Set, a three-module wide case with a 204C oscillator and 403B meter with a patch panel in the middle so you could read gozinta and gozouta levels without swapping cables. Problem with that rig is that it was designed to work on top of a telephone pole and both the meter and oscillator are powered by rechargeable batteries. AC didn't power anything other than the battery chargers. But by the time I got it, I think for $20 at a hamfest a few years back, the batteries that had been left in there for probably 35 years had leaked and were of a type that no longer had a replacement. I modified them for AC power and left the case and patch gizmo in the garage. The oscillator is in the studio and the meter is in the workshop.

Your big brute oscillator has my 200CD beat. I can only get it up to +31 dBu (28 v rms). The only thing I have that can measure THD and take that much level in is an H-P 334 distortion analyzer, and on that, the 200CD measures about 0.15%. Not bad for something about 60 years old, probably with the original tubes and capacitors.



For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,634 Member Since:26/01/2011

#12 [url]

Apr 9 17 12:34 PM

I bought an AP Portable One on ebay today for $900.00. there's another one available, but I can't get the link to display properly.

Last Edited By: seth Apr 9 17 12:42 PM. Edited 2 times.

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ssltech

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Posts: 4,058 Member Since:22/01/2011

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Apr 9 17 9:18 PM

While I do like to use an AP, Neutrik or similar to get hard, reliable data, I'd like to point out that for some tasks for which people would commonly wish they had an analyzer (like dialing down for minimum THD) most of us nowadays have access to all the tools needed to achieve this without spending any more money.

Let's follow the example of adjusting THD to a minimum.

Once you know HOW an analyzer does its measuring, you can think about how to "build your own".
In the days of analog signal paths and soldering components, this would be far too daunting. Nowadays however, we all have access to DAWs with previously unimaginable processing power.

A distortion analyzer first generates a clean tone at a steady frequency and sends it to an output. -This is a trivial task for a DAW.
Then it reads the return and notches out the frequency which was generated. If we generated a 1kHz tone, we insert a 1kHz notch.
Then you take the residual signal, which is all the noise and harmonics, and you have THD+N. Insert a bunch of make up gain and meter it. Listen to it too,

Using that approach, you can -for example- do a VCA symmetry trim on a DIY VCA-based compressor, and get right about as close as you could using a Neutrik or AP, but save the cost of the analyzer.

Of course, plotting graphs, measuring amplitude curves, phase curves or distortion curves would be a tedious time consuming nightmare... but for many people the ability to occasionally trim distortion or noise may be all they need.

Just musing. -A week ago I helped a friend calibrate his first ever DIY build (an 1176). When I told him how he could check THD using his Pro-Tools rig, he seemed pretty surprised.

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seth

Ruby Baby

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#16 [url]

Apr 9 17 9:33 PM

I don't doubt it Keith. One of my issues is logistical - I want the AP for my bench which is in the cellar, while my Pro Tools rig is upstairs. I could possibly use a laptop downstairs but there's not much room to set it up in an efficient way. A Portable One, on the other hand, is perfect for the space where I want to use it. I also had one on loan for a few years and I know how they work reasonably well.

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gold

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Posts: 1,514 Member Since:27/01/2011

#17 [url]

Apr 10 17 12:33 AM

I think the reason to have an dedicated test set is for the front end integration. When you plug something in you can be reasonablly sure of the results. Impedance changes at the touch of a button make real world interfacing easier. If you are testing and building things on a regular basis you have a good chance of frying an interface or soundcard in an oops moment. The AP front end is what put them on the map. Having to test and calibrate the test setup is beyond the capability most trying to avoid buying a test setup.

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,634 Member Since:26/01/2011

#18 [url]

Apr 10 17 8:16 AM

The AP user interface couldn't be simpler as well. I have an older Amber 3500 test set that has an analog meter, you have to add a value from the range of one switch to the reading on the meter while making sure another switch is in a particular position in order to deduce one value, subtract something else from yet another switch and add it to the meter to get something else. And it's nice to have stereo to compare the performance of two things at once, crosstalk, phase relationships. It's definitely a convenience rather than a necessity for me, but after having had one for a while and then living without it I'd rather have one.

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