SonicScoop.com has posted a list of useful metering and frequency analyzer plugins. From comprehensive suites to minimalist freeware, there is something for every designer on this list. Check it out here.
A good analyzer is a little bit like a calculator. In the interest of exercise, I’d rather not rely on one too much, but they do help make awkward problems easy, and in extreme cases, make the impossible graspable.
If a mix is sounding a little boxy in the midrange and I’m having trouble deciding exactly where, an analyzer can point me in the right direction. If I’m having trouble getting great results out of a deesser on a particularly tricky vocal passage, I can figure out what exact areas are causing me grief. If I’m trying to match a punched-in tone and have only managed to get 95% of the way there with my naked ears, a frequency analyzer can help save time. And perhaps where they can be of the most help is in sorting out the low-end.