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XA1 / XA1p App Review – Spectrum Analyzer – iPhone and iPad

This week I had a chance to get knee deep with the XA1 Spectrum Analyzer by Mark’s . Apple really should take the term, “There’s an App for that” seriously. This application proves that even professionals have a place in the app world. I would save this is about as close as you can come to professional audio monitoring and analyzing. I am personally used to using PAZ Analyzer for most of my day-to-day frequency analyzing needs, but for the most part I know exactly how my room reacts and I understand my Yamaha HS80’s. But what happens when you’re out of your element? If you’re ever ANYWHERE other than your studio, sometimes it is hard to get an accurate feeling of how your SHOULD be hearing things. Our ears are great tools but they must be trained in certain environments…
XA1 takes the worry out of the equation. Honestly you will never know and understand how useful a pocket sized frequency analyzer is until you have one. Unfortunately most software and mobile hardware solutions are way out of “Average Joes” price range costing anywhere between $800 and 8,000 dollars… The XA1 Spectrum Analyzer’s features include:

  • 1/3, 1/6, 1/12 octave filters.
  • 30 or 60 bands.
  • Very low latency.
  • Key mode, 5 octave keyboard, filters tuned to musical intervals.
  • Listen to selected band.
  • RMS/Peak mode
  • Peak hold on/off
  • Filter bandwidth adjustment.
  • Gain 0-50db in 10db steps.
  • Range 15, 30, 45, 60db
  • Variable release time.

Thanks to Mark’s, your iPhone has transformed into a power on-the-go spectrum analyzer. The response on this is AMAZING. I was able to test XA1 with a few sessions completely out of my comfort zone. Now this isn’t a bash on Apple AT ALL, but I did proceed with mixing a session in Pro Tools using the MacBook Pro speakers… I’m sure that says it all. There is really no sense of reality in the sound that comes from under my 13” MBP keyboard, but I knew it was the perfect test. I began my mixing using nothing but my ears. Adjusting my master mix according to what I heard response wise from my MBP. After about an hour of fussing and fiddling with certain things I exported my mix to listen on something I was familiar with. I can’t say I was surprised that there were quite a few undesirable traits about my mix, but nevertheless I knew exactly why it turned out that way.

After discovering first hand how horrible I could make something sound without the right environment I pulled out my iPhone and launched me some XA1 sweet goodness. I connected my iPhone to my computers headphone jack with the correct 3-ring adapter, and I was ready to RE-mix… Now you may be wondering how I attempted this without being able to hear the audio. Well it wasn’t easy but it was a good test and QA of the XA1. Using only my eyes and the levels from the XA1 Analyzer, I was able to decipher where the good and bad resided within my mix. I monitored the mix here and there and ultimately cam out with ten times of a better mix!

Overall I found the XA1 to be very close to accurate. Quite impressive actually for what you would just think is “an iPhone app.” The price on this one may be high and will set you back $179.99USD but honestly for the performance and mobile ability, it’s really not expensive in comparison to industry standards. Mark’s did an exceptional job on the XA1 Spectrum Analyzer.  This app is definitely directed towards professionals, and if you are just starting out I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this just yet. But everyone else… This app is SWEET! Thanks Mark’s. Check out the Photo Gallery Below!

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