AudioTools update – Andrew Smith’s audio testing utility app new features

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Audio Tools logo 1If you subscribe to the Music App Blog’s weekly email newsletter, then you will know that around 12 months ago I completed a personal project studio build for my own music production work. To cut a long story short, this is a ‘room within a room’ built within a barn and, while on the inside, it looks like any 4x5m domestic room/office, it is pretty well sound isolated (yay! no noise gets in or out).

Of course, like any room used for audio production, sound proofing (if required) doesn’t mean that the quality of the acoustics inside the room – which is the important bit in terms of just how easy the space is to work in for tracking and mixing – are actually any good. That requires some acoustic treatment….

You can plot the frequency response of your room and, with a little trial and error, work out what difference your speaker placement and acoustic treatment make as you work on the room's acoustics....

You can plot the frequency response of your room and, with a little trial and error, work out what difference your speaker placement and acoustic treatment make as you work on the room’s acoustics….

This is always a bit of a mission impossible in a small(ish) space as the room dimensions – and the laws of physics – can not really be beaten into submission. However, it is easier to come up with useful improvements if you actually know what you are dealing with and my favourite iOS app for that kind of thing is AudioTools from Andrew Smith.

This is a universal iOS app that will run on iOS6.1 or later, is a 210MB download and priced at UK£19.99/US$19.99. The app provides a number of audio and acoustics measurement options including an SPL meter (great for getting a general idea of whether you are listening to your mixes too loud and in danger of making yourself deaf) and a test signal generator/recorder (great for finding the frequency lumps and bumps your room creates at your mixing position).

The app can generate a number of standard acoustic test signals so you can assess the frequency response behaviour of your studio space.

The app can generate a number of standard acoustic test signals so you can assess the frequency response behaviour of your studio space.

These tools – which are the only ones I used in testing my own room – are, along with a few others, included in the base price of the app. There are, however, a comprehensive suite of further options you can add via IAPs if you get the audio testing bug.

Andrew regularly updates the app and a further update – v.9.9 – appeared on the App Store at the start of the week. This brings a few minor tweaks under the hood but there are also some new features added that will appeal to the more serious user. As before, the app delivers an impressive set of audio testing tools….. If you are serious about getting the best out of your acoustic space, AudioTools is a very useful utility to have around.

AudioTools

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    Comments

    1. ConfusedKitten says:

      Hi John, I recently mentioned (elsewhere) about how it could be useful to have audio analysis tools (or general analysis tools) in iOS that report on system wide performance as currently there is no such utility available (and neither does iOS report any useful information as part of the OS other than drive space). I was thinking in terms of CPU/GPU, RAM, latency etc as a means to increase transparency of how pushing your system affects performance (both on an individual App scale and also a global basis).

      We’re increasingly seeing the use of CPU meters (and sometimes RAM) but audio latency is guessed (or appreciated experientially as Raphael mentions in the ‘Caustic’ post here). I just figured for power users pushing their systems to the max with multiple instances of AU, IAA, and AudioBus nodes, that a system wide overview of how everything is affecting its performance could be useful for planning live music arrangements etc (or just keeping tabs on system stability as you increasingly add more nodes, be them sound generators, FX or otherwise). I just wondered what others thought about this?

      The idea came about as I was recently talking to a developer about an iOS GFX app which doesn’t have a limit on the amount of system RAM it can use, thus you can keep on adding design elements until the system folds basically as a means to get the most out of your iDevice(s). This made me wonder about how many audio apps on iOS have a similar feature, because by its very nature, making music on iOS is as demanding as it gets (yet we have little indication other than when things crash that the systems has become unstable) so when I saw your post about external audio tools (which look great by the way) it made me think about how equally useful they’d be on an internal iOS basis!

      Naturally it’s down to how much access iOS actually provides developers as to whether a utility such as this is even possible because I’m aware that everything is ‘sandboxed’ on iOS for security reasons (other apps have limited access) so you’d imagine the depth of information required might be inhibited by the nature of iOS, in which case it might be like Audiobus in that 3rd party developers have to add a bit of the utilities code to allow it to report useful information etc. Anyway it’s just food for thought, but it seems logical that considering resources are so limited on iOS; such tools could be helpful in allowing users to get the most out of their systems, but it would be interesting to hear what you think regardless!

      • Agreed…. some sort of system monitoring built in to iOS would be useful. I use an app called Status on my iPad – a generic system performance tool – and, while it is interesting and helpful, as with all such tools, I’m not 100% sure I really know what is being measured and how accurate it might be….. Best wishes, John

        • ConfusedKitten says:

          Thanks for your reply John, I’ll be sure to have a look at the app you mentioned as I’d be interested to know what it does regardless; but it sure would be great to have a dedicated bespoke music utility tool with industry backing across iOS etc (we can only hope)! :)

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