Using Exact Audio Copy for Frequency and Spectral Analysis

Frequency Analysis
It’s very easy to use Exact Audio Copy to generate frequency analysis. (The hard part is interpreting it!)

1. To use the analysis tools in EAC, you need a wav file. One way to get a wav file is to rip it to your hard drive from a CDR, using any program. (Rip is jargon for digitally extracting audio. Files on a CD are stored in cda, a format which is like wav in that it is not compressed; but it is not an identical file format. wav files have more headers and error correction information.) Another way to create a wav file is to decode an mp3 file into wav. Lots of jukebox, burner, and utility software will do this. Be sure it is using a good decoder, not just the one that comes with Windows.
2. In EAC, choose Tools, Process wav, then select a file. It will take a minute to load, as the files are large.
3. A new screen comes up, which shows you the waveform in each channel vs. time.
4. Choose Display, Frequency Analysis. A new window with a graph will pop up. Note that you may have to adjust the FFT size upward to get anything on the display. But if you can, use the same FFT size in any comparisons you do across files. Don’t worry about Hanning, etc. options.
Spectral Analysis
To see a spectral analysis, close the Frequency Analysis window and choose Display, Spectral View. This is a rather hard to read plot of frequencies (in each channel) vs. time. The colors indicate the intensity of sound at the various frequency levels.

Note that the level of sound will affect the graph, so keep an eye on the Peak Level number to get a feel for how that affects the display. Be careful with interpreting the colors. It’s not about whether a region is orange or blue, necessarily, but whether a region is empty or has an unnatural look to it.

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