The Word Of The Day is Spectroanalysis

Posted on March 2, 2012 by


Don’t let the Word Of The Day scare you.

Lets talk about a tool that is essentially “Photoshop” for audio. After all, its technology that only Adobe uses in their sound recording and editing platforms; Soundbooth, Adobe Audition and their offspring, the very powerful Adobe Audition CS5. You can search around for some Plug-ins, but I haven’t tried them.

If you are using AACS5 and haven’t discovered this tool or are totally intimidated by it, this article is a brief primer.

As opposed to our friend the Waveform, which is a graphic representation of modulation over time, the Spectrograph is a graphic representation of the relative volume of your audios frequencies over time. Paired with the waveform, and good studio monitors, you get perfect picture of all sorts of things. If you look at this screenshot you’ll see what it looks like. On the right is the scale of frequencies from 0 Hertz (Hz) (Lower frequencies) to 20,000Hz (20k), The actual graph is color coded from black to purple to red to orange to Yellow. (And shades in between) The brighter the color, or the closer to yellow, the louder the frequency. You’re actually looking at a spectrographic voice print.

What its for? The Spectrograph is the best way to find, identify and eliminate noise. It is perfect for removing mouth clicks. These and various other noises appear as anomalies outside the prevailing pattern; pink blotches like what you see below. To remove the click, you highlight it and hit Auto- Heal.”

Gone…..Without interrupting the timeline.

And for identifying and isolating your noise floor(below), it is much easier. You can’t see or identify background noise unless it’s fairly loud and visible in a waveform. A spectrogram brings it out of the shadows. Once you isolate it and identify its frequency signature, you have strategies to remove it more seamlessly.I have found myself using it for more to edit my material and using the waveform merely as a reference point. It’s a great way to very precisely edit audio. I know Audacity has a spectrograph view, but it’s not nearly as sophisticated as the one in AACS5. There are other details to a spectrograph that help you edit and process, and those are a little harder to explain. Check it out.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

About the Home Studio Master

Dan Lenard Dan is a Voice123 talent and owner of