Janus Lynggaard Thorborg has released the alpha version of Signalizer, a forthcoming free (open source) signal analyzer utility in 32-bit and 64-bit VST/VST3/AU plugin formats for PC and Mac.
Just as I begin to think that we have seen everything there is to see in the freeware VST/AU plugin world, something like this happens. The alpha version of Janus Thorborg’s brand new Signalizer plugin looks jawdroppingly good to say the least, and is a rather unexpected contender to Voxengo’s legendary SPAN analyzer for the title of the best signal analyzer plugin on the freeware market.
Signalizer is impressive in almost every regard, but let’s start this brief review by taking a closer look at the user interface. The GUI is fully customizable in terms of colors and the graphics are 100% vector based, meaning that Signalizer will look sharp and slick across all sorts of different screen resolutions. The controls are simple and pretty much as user friendly as possible. You can zoom, pan, freeze and drag the display using nothing but the two mouse buttons and the scrolling wheel. Zooming in using the mouse wheel and panning across the display using click + drag feels very intuitive and I’m honestly wondering why developers still tend to implement those awkward +/- buttons and scrollbars in modern day user interfaces.
Apart from the stuff mentioned above, Signalizer offers quite a few more UX tricks, such as the geniously simple “right click anywhere to freeze the display” shortcut and the fullscreen mode which looks nothing short of amazing. People with dual monitor setups can now use one of the monitors as a dedicated spectrum analyzer / oscilloscope if they wish to do so.
The final version of Signalizer will feature VectorScope, Spectrum Analyzer, Oscilloscope and a Statistics modes. The current alpha version only features the Vectorscope and the Spectrum analyzer. Clicking the gear icon in the upper-left corner of the GUI opens the advanced settings for each display mode, as well as the color scheme options and the preset manager. Weirdly enough, one of the presets in the VectorScope module turns it into a rather simple oscilloscope. I’m sure that the dedicated Oscilloscope module in the final version of Signalizer will be far more impressive, though.
So, being just the alpha version of a forthcoming plugin, Signalizer looks very promising. The plugin was fully stable on my test machine and the only clue that this is an alpha release was the fact that the Oscilloscope and Statistics mode aren’t functional. The user interface is one of the best I’ve seen in awhile (not so much in terms of graphics as in terms of usability) and the flexibility on offer is rather astounding. I’m hoping that we won’t have to wait for too long for the 1.0 release!
Signalizer is available for free download via Janus Lynggaard Thorborg’s website (28.6 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU plugin formants for Windows & Mac OS).