Will shelling out for The Snail change the way you tune and analyse audio?

Ircam Lab thinks that it's raised the bar as far as instrument tuning and analysis goes with the launch of The Snail, its new plugin.

So called because of its spiral interface, which represents every note of each scale, rolled up from the highest to the lowest audible frequencies, this is billed as "a very high-precision frequency-domain analyser that delivers an easy to understand representation of sounds based on the scales and notes aligned in spectrally active zones."

Ircam Lab says that, while most standard spectrum analysers are based on Fourier-type analysis, the Snail's frequency accuracy is enhanced by a process based on the demodulated phase. When used as a tuning tool, the software promises to display all additional harmonics; so, for example, you'll be able to identify an old guitar string as you'll be able to detect that its resonance is out of tune.

Although the technology behind The Snail seems pretty complex - and, it has to be said, a little difficult to get your head around - Ircam Lab believes that its interface is simple and intuitive and that the software has the potential to improve your listening skills.

Find out more on the Ircam Lab website. The Snail is currently available for the introductory price of $49, but this will rise to $99 at the beginning of March. It's being offered for the Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats at the moment, but Windows compatibility will be announced shortly.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.