Chapter 3. Quickstart Tutorial

 

This guide will show you how to record and visualize your voice or instrument with Overtone Analyzer. If you have no idea what to do with Overtone Analyzer, this is the place to start. It will also show you how to use the main user interface elements of the program. This quickstart guide is intended to be a short introduction. You can find more detailed explanations of everything in the Reference Guide .

[Important] Important

Some of the features shown in this guide are only available in Overtone Analyzer Live and Premium, but not in the Free Edition. While you can follow some of it in the Free Edition, we recommend that you use the Live or Premium Edition to follow all steps in this tutorial. You can download a free 30-day trial version of the Live or Premium editions at www.sygyt.com .

[Note] Note

This guide is available in various formats:

Online

You can find an online version which you can view in your webbrowser at www.sygyt.com/en/quickstart .

PDF

You can download a PDF version of the entire manual at www.sygyt.com/en/support .

Video

A video version of this tutorial is available at www.sygyt.com/en/videos/quickstart-tutorial .

3.1. Prerequisites

  • You have installed Overtone Analyzer on your computer.

  • You have a working microphone connected to your computer.

If you have not completed the above two steps, see System Requirements for more information about what you need.

3.2. Configuration

3.2.1. Apply Settings Profile

To prepare the program to make a recording, click on the profile list on the toolbar (the box that says Select Profile ) and select the Quickstart profile:

Selecting the Quickstart profile

Figure 3.1. Selecting the Quickstart profile

 

Selecting a profile is a shortcut for applying all the settings stored in the profile. There is no difference between applying a profile and going through the program options and manually selecting the corresponding settings. Now the program should look like this:

Program with Quickstart profile applied

Figure 3.2. Program with Quickstart profile applied

 

Here you can see the empty Timeline on the bottom, the Staff View and Piano on the left and the empty Analyzer View in the main section.

Here is a closer look at the Toolbar:

Toolbar buttons

Figure 3.3. Toolbar buttons

 

3.2.2. Select Recording Source

Now we will check that you are recording from the correct microphone. Right-click on the Input Volume control on the Toolbar and make sure the correct microphone is selected. Here is an example (although this may look different on your computer due to the variety of audio devices available):

Right-click on Input Volume to select mic

Figure 3.4. Right-click on Input Volume to select mic

 

3.2.3. Set Input Level

Right-click again on the Input Volume control and make sure that the last entry called Enable monitoring is checked. This will show the current input level even when you are not recording.

The Input Volume control also allows you to monitor and adjust the volume of the recorded sound. The slider that you can move sets the input volume of the microphone. The colored stripes in the background show the strength of the current signal. If you make a noise into your microphone, you should see some activity there. It is very important to adjust the recording volume correctly to prevent clipping. If the input volume reaches the the red area, reduce the input level, or increase the distance to your microphone. You should aim to keep the maximum volume of the recorded sound just at the upper end of the yellow area:

Recording Volume too low: Analyzer Display will lack detail.
Recording Volume too high: Analyzer will show clipping artefacts (this is worse than the volume being too low!).
Recording Volume optimal: Signal uses most of the available dynamic range without clipping. Analyzer will show best amount of detail.

Make some test sounds into your microphone and adjust the recording level until it is getting a strong signal without clipping.

If there is no signal from the microphone, make sure it is connected correctly and that you have selected the right one. Also, some devices can only record in mono, while others can only record in stereo. You may have to click on the Options button and open the Device Options dialog and experiment with different settings.

3.3. Recording

Now you are ready to record some sound. Click the Record button on the toolbar, or press Ctrl-Space to start a recording. During the recording keep an eye on the Input Volume control and make adjustments if the input level is too quiet or too loud.

Make some sounds. For example, sing the vowel 'A' for one breath on the same pitch. You could also click on a key of the piano keyboard, listen to it, and then try to sing the same pitch. Fill up half a screen and then press Space or click the Stop button to stop recording. This should look something like this:

 

Singing a tone on the same pitch for one breath

Figure 3.5. Singing a tone on the same pitch for one breath

 

The Timeline at the bottom shows the intensity (or volume) of your sound. The horizontal blue line in the middle is the pitch of your voice. The vertical green line is the Time Cursor. The Piano highlights the key that best matches the pitch of the recording at the time where the Time Cursor is, and the Staff View shows the same key as a musical note.

3.4. Loading sample file

To make this tutorial easier to follow, you can load the same audio file that was used to make the screenshots shown here, so that you will see exactly the same screens. Click on Help Open sample file and select the file vibrato_female.ogg .

After you have opened the file, click on the profile list and select the profile Standard Time Zoom to ensure your view matches the following screenshots.

3.5. Zooming frequency range

Notice how the blue line is not straight, but is slightly moving up and down. This is due to the vibrato of the singing voice. Let's examine this a bit more closely. Move the mouse over the Frequency Scale (as shown in Figure 3.6 ) and rotate the scroll wheel of your mouse, or experiment with pressing the 1 and 2 buttons on your keyboard. This will zoom the frequency range in or out. Once you have zoomed in a bit, click on the Frequency Scale and drag it up or down with your mouse. This will scroll it. Zoom and scroll the frequency range until you see much more detail of the pitch line.

 

Using the mouse on the scales for scrolling and zooming

Figure 3.6. Using the mouse on the scales for scrolling and zooming

 

Now use your mouse on the Time Scale (also shown in Figure 3.6 ) and zoom into time a bit. So now you have zoomed the frequency range, and the time range, to show more detail on both scales. Your screen should now look similar to this:

Zoomed-in detail of pitch

Figure 3.7. Zoomed-in detail of pitch

 

Notice how the Time Range Slider in Figure 3.7 is now much smaller than in the previous image, because the time range has been zoomed-in. You can drag the Time Range Slider with the mouse when you grab it in its middle, where the mouse cursor will change into a hand. Try this now. Or you can simply click anywhere on the Timeline to bring the Time Range Slider to that position.

3.6. Short-term view

We have already observed that the pitch line moves up and down. Now, with the detailed close-up, let's analyze the range of this pitch movement. Click on the Show Spectrum button (as shown on Figure 3.8 ) to bring up the Short-Term view:

Click “Spectrum” button to bring up secondary view

Figure 3.8. Click Spectrum button to bring up secondary view

 

Now the Analyzer View is split into two parts. On the left side is the long-term view, and on the right is the short-term view:

Long-term and short-term view

Figure 3.9. Long-term and short-term view

 

The two views are linked. If you move the mouse cursor over the long-term view on the left side, the short-term view on the right side will show a detailed close-up for the time at which you point. Right now we are displaying only pitch, so the short-term view shows a blue line with the exact pitch of the cursor location, and it displays the note name of this pitch in large letters.

Trace the pitch line on the left with the mouse cursor, and notice how the pitch display on the right changes. If the mouse cursor leaves the Long-term view, the short-term view will display details for the time location of the green Time Cursor line.

3.7. Play selection

In this recording, the singer is singing the note C#. Press the black C# key on the piano (highlighted in red in Figure 3.10 ), to hear the note from the piano. Now press the Play button on the toolbar, or press Space on your keyboard, to play back the recording. Listen to it and hear for yourself if the singer is singing in tune with the piano key.

Now let's select a part of the recording. Stop playback by pressing Space or by clicking on the Stop button on the toolbar. Now click on View Zoom out fully to show the entire recording. Now click into the Analyzer View at the time position of 1.0 seconds and drag the mouse towards the time position of 3.0 seconds. Clicking and dragging in the Analyzer View will make a new selection which is marked by a white frame and a different background color. You can click and drag the borders of the selection to change its start and end position. Do this until you have selected the time range 1.0 to 3.0 seconds. This should look like this:

Select time range 1.0 to 3.0 seconds

Figure 3.10. Select time range 1.0 to 3.0 seconds

 

Now start playback again. Notice how the selected time range is now played in a loop. You can switch looping on or off by clicking on Tools Loop playback . If looping is turned off, pressing Space will play the selection just once, until you press it again.

If you click anywhere on the Timeline or the Analyzer View, the selection will disappear. If you want to keep a selection and be able to click into it during playback to hear specific parts, you can lock the selection by clicking on Edit Lock selection or by clicking on the Lock selection button on the toolbar. Try this now. Make a selection, lock it, start playback, and then click at various points it time. Don't forget to unlock the selection when you are done with it.

3.8. Spectrogram

So far we've only looked at the pitch line, which shows the fundamental pitch of the recording. Now let's look at the Spectrogram, which shows how loud the recording is at each point of the frequency range. Click on Tools Options or press the Options button on the toolbar to bring up the Options Dialog. On there, click on Analyzer View on the left side to select the Analyzer View dialog :

 

Analyzer View Settings

Figure 3.11. Analyzer View Settings

 

Check the Spectrogram and Spectrum options on the dialog so that it looks exactly like Figure 3.11 . Then press on the OK button to close the dialog.

Now you should already see the Spectrogram and the Spectrum, but the screen might still be zoomed in very far from the previous step. On the toolbar, click on the Select Profile button and select the Standard Frequency Range profile. Then click on View Zoom out fully . Now your screen should look similar to this:

Displaying Spectrogram and Spectrum

Figure 3.12. Displaying Spectrogram and Spectrum

 

Figure 3.12 once again shows the long-term and short-term views, but now they contain not only the pitch line, but also the Spectrogram (in the long-term view) and the Spectrum (in the short-term view). You can adjust the amount of detail of Spectrogram and Spectrum by changing the brightness and contrast sliders on the toolbar (as shown on Figure 3.3 ).

The Spectrum and Spectrogram show the intensity (or volume) of the individual frequency components of a sound. To better understand what this means, let's use another feature of Overtone Analyzer: the Frequency Filter.

3.9. Frequency Filter

If you still have the selection from the previous steps, great. Otherwise, once again select the time range from 1 to 3 seconds, and lock the selection by clicking on Edit Lock selection or by pressing the Lock selection toolbar button. Position the Time Cursor line in the middle by clicking into the Analyzer View at 2.0 seconds.

Now click on Filters Add new frequency filter . Your screen should now look like this:

Adding a Frequency Filter

Figure 3.13. Adding a Frequency Filter

 

The grey frame between 200 and 400 Hertz is the Frequency Filter. It will remove all frequencies outside of its range. Start playback again and hear the effect of the filter. Then, while playback is running, move the filter up and down by dragging it with the mouse. The Spectrum on the right will show a white outline of the filtered parts, while the unfiltered (and therefore audible) part is shown in color. You can change the width of the filter by dragging the red handles in its middle.

Now click on Filters Mute filtered frequencies to invert the filter. Instead of keeping only the frequencies inside of it, it now punches a hole in the spectrum by filtering out the frequencies inside of it. To see this more clearly, set the brightness slider on the toolbar to -10 dB, and set the contrast slider to 40 dB. Drag the Frequency Filter to cover the range from 400 to 700 Hz, so that it removes the second harmonic in the recording:

Subtractive Frequency Filter

Figure 3.14. Subtractive Frequency Filter

 

Notice in Figure 3.14 how the Spectrum shows an outline of the second harmonic, while the other harmonics are in color. Once again, start playback, and move the filter up and down to hear its effect.

To remove the filter, click on the box on its top right corner.

3.10. Overtone Slider

The Frequency Filter enables you to listen to the individual harmonics (or overtones) in a recording, and the Overtone Slider is a tool that allows you to easily count the overtones and to see which note or frequency they correspond to. Make sure that you still have a selection. Then click on Sliders Insert slider at selection . A slider will appear at the fundamental pitch of the selected range.

Use the mouse to point at the slider, and drag up the red upwards-pointing triangle to expand the number of overtones shown:

Adjusting the number of harmonics shown by the Overtone Slider

Figure 3.15. Adjusting the number of harmonics shown by the Overtone Slider

 

You can scroll down the Frequency Scale and zoom it slightly until you see enough detail of the Overtone Slider. The slider gives you a theoretical view of the overtones that belong to a particular sound. The labels of the slider lines show the number of the harmonic, its music note, and its frequency. The underlying Spectrogram shows the harmonics that are actually present in the recording. Click on the labels of the Overtone Slider and move the mouse up and down to hear the overtone scale belonging to the current fundamental pitch. Compare this to the actual overtones in the sound that you could hear with the Frequency Filter.

3.11. Summary

This concludes this quickstart guide. You have learned the basics of how to record and visualize sounds with Overtone Analyzer and had an introduction to the basic features and interface elements of the program. The main steps to remember are:

  • Select the microphone to be used by right-clicking on the Input Volume control on the toolbar.

  • Ctrl-Space starts the recording. Space will start playback or stop the current recording or playback.

  • Always monitor the input volume during recording to prevent clipping.

  • Use the mouse on the Frequency Scale and Time Scale for scrolling and zooming. Click & drag to scroll; use the mouse wheel or the 1 and 2 keys for zooming.

  • The Long-term view shows a time range with the Spectrogram and/or fundamental pitch. The Short-term view shows a detailed close-up of the time where the cursor is in the Long-term view.

  • Make a time selection by clicking and dragging on the Spectrogram. The selection will be played in a loop if looping is enabled. You can lock the selection to be able to click into it to position the playback cursor.

  • The Spectrum shows the intensity (or volume) of the individual frequency components of a sound. The Spectrogram shows how the Spectrum changes over time.

  • Adjust the brightness and contrast sliders on the toolbar to show the desired amount of detail in the Spectrogram and Spectrum.

  • The Frequency Filter can filter out individual harmonics or frequency ranges and allows to listen to them individually, or to remove them.

  • Use the Overtone Slider to count and hear the theoretical harmonics that belong to a particular tone.

Next Steps

For a more detailed description of the interface elements introduced here, have a look at the chapter called User Interface in the Reference Guide.

The chapter Sample Uses has tutorials for specific tasks and workflows.