As I downloaded the installer for demoing MSpectralDelay I decided to take a look at other plugins too. Especially the ones that were hardly inspired by existing plugins since they often get attention and split opinions. I demoed MAutoAlign back then before there was a bigger update so I thought I'll give it a try again, especially because it's in sale right now. Its competitor is SoundRadix Auto Align.
Aligning recordings made with multiple mics is essential for true stereo experience and to minimize comb filter distortion. Unfortunately the smaller the delay is between 2 signals the more audible the effect gets. This means it's better to leave signals unaligned than to align them nearly. Both AA plugins offer a readout to see the results of the delay compensation. This made comparison between the two more easy.
Like many other users I experienced MAA to not work reliable on real projects. For example: I even got different results for the same audio signals depending on where I pressed play in the timeline or which DAW (FL Studio, Reaper, Studio One) I used. While SRAA compensated constant delay times every time, MAA jumped between multiples of the actual delay.
The worse the input material was the better were the results of the SoundRadix plugin in comparison to MAA. In this case worse means for example: different mics for overhead left & right or snare, noisy signals, mics containing more room, recordings with more bleeding.
Compensating artificial delays (test cases with clean signals like impulses manually delayed) got processed correct by both plugins. There were few inputs where MAA only nearly estimated the right delay resulting in the effect described above. But I will not take this into account for the rating since this is not a use case these plugins were made for.
MAA's spectral phase compensation is a nice idea but with a few exceptions made the sound worse here. It added an unwanted phasey character most of the time. I don't know if this was a try to merge the functionality of SoundRadix PI into it.
A pro of MAA I found was the routing.
In conclusion: SoundRadix Auto Align can cover the majority of audio signals with satisfied processing while MAutoAlign may or may not work. In most projects it unfortunately didn't work like it should. MAA only costs a third of the SRAA's price but that doesn't mean it should only work on one third of the material (little joke at the end) :-D.
It's hard to rate in my opinion but there aren't much aspects to consider. It's not a creative plugin but one that has to solve a problem. It quite often didn't. So 2 stars because SRAA (would give it 4 stars) shows what it possible.Read Review