Posted by Stuart Bowen on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Forty years ago, I made extensive use of spectrum analyzers in connection with microwave radio communications system engineering work. Large, heavy units costing $50,000 or $100,000 were the norm back then. but now, audio band spectrum analyzer software applications are available for laptop computers, ipads, and even iphones for less than $50 and some are available free.
Since I have an iPhone 3G and keep it with me most of the time, I started experimenting with iPhone applications looking to find one reliably useful as an aid in banjo set-up. The first criteria is to reliably and consistently report the "tap note" frequency related to tap tuning the pot assembly, head, etc. The first one I've found that appears to be useful for this is called FFT from Studio Six Digital, available from Apple's iTunes store. Current version 2.5 has settings for up to 16384 FFT points, also an equal points per octave setting, making for a usable resolution at the lower audio frequencies.
Product and technical information is available at the Studio Six Digital Web Site
You Tube demonstrations are available as follows
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'Chuck-a-Luck' 3 hrs
'Help identify banjo' 4 hrs
'Ralph Roberts - Update' 4 hrs
'Wooden Armrest' 4 hrs