Spectral Analysis of the Master Bus Mix

Hi Ardonauts!

I tried really hard to figure this out (even used the internet) before posting, but I’m out of ideas. So I turn to Community!

I use the Spectral Analysis panel all the time on regions. However, I don’t see a way to use this tool on the final mix. In other words, I have four tracks, mixed and eq’ed how I like them, but I want to see the spectrum of the output left-right mix. I can only find ways to analyze the 4 individual tracks.

Thanks for the help!

Arduour 6.9.0, 64-bit
Windows 10

Region Analysis analyses the raw content. that is easy: Ardour can read the file from disk as-is and analyze it in the background.

The problem here is that that for the master-bus the whole session has to play and process audio. All plugins have to run etc. This cannot be done in the background.

There are two options to analyze it:

  • Export the session and enable “Analyze Exported Audio” in the Export dialog
  • use LAN (Loudness Analysis & Normalization) - enable Preferences > Signal Flow > Master-bus output gain control. Then use the “LAN” feature on the master bus. That also offers an “Analysis Report”

However in those cases the spectrum is not displayed as time-independent 2D graph, but as as 3D plot with the time on the x-axis and color for the level.

Another option is to simply add a spectrum analyzer to the maser-bus.

Thanks for the info, Robin. Super helpful, as always.
I figured something like that that was the case. I tried Analyze Exported Audio, but that didn’t give me comparable plots. I’ll check out the LAN feature - didn’t know about that.

If LAN doesn’t work, then I imagine my workflow for this would be:
export master → import the export → analyze the import.
Clunky, but that gets me apples to apples for seeing the mix versus the source content.


Fresh update to the manual : the LAN page.

1 Like

This is great. Thank you!

I suggest that you mention there that this is a rather advanced mode. When using the LAN, one has to make sure than normalization is disabled when exporting.

In general we recommend to just use automatic export normalization. This can also produce results for multiple targets at the same time – see Ardour export LUFS normalization - #4 by x42

Being able to normalise to LUFS and dBTP makes everything super-easy. I just tick Analyze Exported Audio in the Export dialog. For my most recent piece I simply decided that I wanted the quieter / ambient pieces 2LU quieter. As this is quite a dynamic piece of film music I imagined I’d need to do something more complex, but it ain’t necessarily so. x42-plugins contain a whole range of useful meters if you need them

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