Review – MMultiAnalyzer from MeldaProduction

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MeldaProduction’s MMultiAnalyzer is an easy-to-use and handy tool for … surprise … analyzing multiple tracks in a variety of ways.  We take a quick look at what it can do in this review.

 

by David Baer, Mar. 2015

 

This is a review of MMultiAnalyzer from MeldaProduction, and it will be a brief one.  Regular readers of SoundByte’s coverage of MeldaProduction products can be forgiven for thinking “Short review … I thought you said this was something from MeldaProduction”.  Granted, our reviews of software from this company tend to be on the long side due to the fact that Melda plug-ins are normally extremely deep and filled with an abundance of user-tunable options.  But not so in the case of MMultiAnalyzer, which is eminently straightforward.

MMultiAnalyzer (hereafter “MMA” for brevity) has four panels respectively showing

  • A two-dimensional frequency spectrum
  • A three-dimensional frequency sonogram
  • A frequency “collision” display
  • A combination waveform and loudness view

What makes it truly useful is that it can perform its analysis on multiple tracks and show the results in a composite view.  Setting it up to do so could hardly be easier.  Let’s start there in fact. 

If you insert instances of MMA on multiple tracks, they automatically find each other, and that’s all you need to do, other than appropriately naming each instance so you know what’s what.  Supply the name in the upper portion of the panel shown right.  Each MMA instance will display all the available peer instances in the lower portion of the panel.  Select the tracks you wish to view in the current instance and optionally select the colors.

The longer you have this dandy little tool at hand, the more you will probably find yourselves inserting it in all sorts of situations.  So, don’t just think of using it to compare multiple tracks.  MMA turns out to be of considerably utility when inserting multiple instances on single tracks, comparing signals before and after effects chain processing.

 

 

 

Along the top of the UI are seven control parameters, not all of which are applicable to all four display modes.


These govern various aspects of the display function.  They are all quite easy to understand.  I’ll point out a few specifics as we go along, but that’s enough said for now.

The first mode of analysis shows a conventional frequency spectrum display.  You may be thinking “big deal, I’ve already got something similar in my DAW”.  But of course, the usefulness of this one comes from overlaying the spectrum of multiple tracks in one display.


In the screen-shot above, we see three tracks being shown.  If Normalize is enabled, the display height is individually and independently maximized for each track, so this is probably something the user may wish to avoid in many situations.  It will probably be better to keep Normalize out of the picture and use the Gain parameter to adjust the displayed spectrums in such cases.

To view the same information over time, the sonogram is just the ticket.


Shown above are the same three tracks used in the spectrum screen shot.  The images rolls up with time and you can view a continuous stretch, and you may elongate the window if you wish to increase the viewing duration.  Here the Resolution control can come in handy.  Use it to make the sonogram more saturated or less saturated – whatever works best to illuminate what you’re trying to discover.

Any Mixing 101 course will cover early on the techniques of promoting mix clarity using EQ.  If we have a bass and kick drum, for example, they are going to compete for lower portions of the frequency spectrum and make a mix sound muddy if nothing is done to alleviate this situation.  One part of a solution is to use EQ to reduce contention by selective frequency attenuation on one of the other instrument.  But which frequencies are in contention?

While either the spectrum or sonogram mode of viewing will be adequate for this purpose, some users may prefer the collisions display (which, of course, only makes sense to use when we are in fact currently viewing more than one track).  Personally, my current preference would be to first rely on the spectrum or the sonogram and only resort to the collision display if that first approach didn’t bear fruit.  But your mileage may vary.  Once again, the Resolution control may efficiently be employed to alter the density of the displayed information for more accurate interpretation.


Lastly, we get to the loudness and waveform display mode.  While this can be used to display information from multiple tracks, I suspect that most users will find it to be of best use when viewing just a single track.  What we see in this view is a waveform picture (scrolling left over time) and a concurrent display of loudness using EBU R128 and ITU-R BS 1770-1 compliant loudness measurement.  The display of either the loudness readout or the waveform can be turned off.  If you want something to just view waveforms, you’ve got it right here.  Although that’s not promoted as a feature of MMA, I find it to be an occasionally useful feature.

 

There is more, of course.  A variety of channel modes is supported, including Mid/Side options and surround configurations.  If you want presets, you can create them, although of any Melda plug-in, this one hardly needs that capability given how quickly one can dial in the desired performance characteristics.

MMA is available as VST, VST3, AU and AAX interfaces on Windows and Mac in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.  As with all Melda gear, activation is painless and dongle-free and you get free updates for life.

The list price for MMA is $66 USD, but if history is any indication, you will find it available for half that amount if you’re just a little patient by waiting for a 50% off sale.  If this is of interest, I suggest signing up for the MeldaProduction mailing list so that you’ll be informed of sales – they are brief but frequent.

For more information or to purchase or download a demo version (or to sign up for the Melda mailing list), go here:

http://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/product.php?id=MMultiAnalyzer

There you will also find the user manual and an information video tutorial on MMA.  This is a handy little piece of gear, one that is definitely worth checking out.

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