The Well-Accessorized DAW

Aug 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By George Petersen

50 COOL ADD-ONS THAT TAKE YOUR WORKSTATION TO THE NEXT STEP

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METERING, METERING, METERING

The Waves (www.waves.com) Dorrough Meter Collection brings precision models of these industry-standard meters to your DAW screen, with average and peak levels, “overs” count and phase correlation at a glance with a choice of horizontal, vertical and arc shapes — in three sizes. It's native Mac/Win, and lists for $500 (stereo) or $800 (5.1).

Still a classic, Metric Halo's (www.mhlabs.com) Spectrafoo Standard ($400) is a stand-alone Mac app offering versatile signal metering, high-speed/high-res spectral analysis, the unique Phase Torch, correlation metering, triggerable waveform display and more. A deluxe Complete edition adds even more features and flexibility.

The LM5 Loudness Radar Meter plug-in for Pro Tools HD from TC Electronic derives statistical information from the ITU-R BS.1770 standard to visualize instant loudness and loudness history. The $1,245 software helps engineers monitor the dynamic range at their disposal during production and the dynamic range restrictions needed for distribution to various platforms.

AND THERE'S STILL MORE

The Analysis Pack ($299) from Blue Cat Audio (www.bluecataudio.com) has six new audio analysis plug-ins for Mac and PC, offering an audio level meter, spectrum and stereo-field analyzers, multitrack oscilloscope and more, including some slick sidechaining tricks. The DirectX and Mac/PC VST versions are also updated with numerous improvements.

The Sonalksis (www.sonalksis.com) FreeG (free) provides mono or stereo master channel control in the insert chain of the Mac/PC VST/RTAS/Audio Units host program, offering high-res metering, master fader, pan, trim, phase reverse, mute, bypass and more. You can't beat the price of freeware.

Last, but far from least, your hearing is priceless and the $44.99 Radio Shack (www.radioshack.com) analog SPL meter is a cheap, simple way of monitoring listening levels. Or go the deluxe route and kick in the extra $5 for the newer version with digital display. Someday, your ears will thank you.


George Petersen is the executive editor of Mix and runs a small record label at www.jenpet.com.

Have suggestions for other DAW studio essentials? E-mail your ideas to mixeditorial@mixonline.com and let us know!






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