A visit to Reviewed.com

Headphone Test using SoundCheckAbout Reviewed.com

Reviewed.com, part of the USA Today network, carries out quantitative reviews on a wide range of products including appliances, headphones, cameras, televisions and more. Since the beginning, their reviews have been built on the principle of using standardized scientific testing procedures to examine the performance of products, and a proprietary scoring method to ensure a level playing field amongst all manufacturers. Recently, I met with senior scientist Julia MacDougall, and received a tour of the facility and some insight into their headphone test methods, as well as a demonstration of their recently upgraded SoundCheck system.

The large brick building in Central Square, Cambridge, is in a part of town renowned for its young start up culture and unconventional work environments, so it’s no surprise to see a ping pong table next to the large, glass-walled conference room. However, once you get beyond the main lobby it is a labyrinth of test labs, each designed for testing a specific product. A room dedicated to camera testing features various test pictures on the walls, as well as 3d models with many moving and rotating parts to evaluate the camera’s capture of movement. Another lab was filled with massive flat screen televisions that were being tested for display performance, color measurement, luminance, contrast and more. Perhaps the most impressive was the appliance lab, where staff get to do their laundry while they work (in the interests of testing the washers), as well as working their way through many loads of white towels and stain strips that are marked with red wine, chocolate, sweat and more to scientifically evaluate the performance of the washing machines. Dishwashers, dryers, microwaves and ovens are also tested here, and a dedicated temperature and humidity controlled room contains many refrigerators filled with ‘dummy food’, the temperature of which is continuously monitored. The floor above the test labs is where their testers retreat to write up product reviews for their website, away from the whirr of tumble driers, swishing of dishwashers and stepped sine waves from the audio test lab.

 

The Audio Test Lab

The area that interested me the most was the smallest test area – the audio lab. Headphones are small and the test equipment is also compact, so a large room is unnecessary. Reviewed.com has been using Listen’s SoundCheck software since they first started looking for an objective way to test audio products back in 2007. Back then SoundCheck was being used for measuring mobile phones – smartphones were in their infancy, the next ‘hot product’, and Reviewed.com was the first review website to measure sound quality of a wide range of phones.

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RTW represents Listen in Germany

RTW_team_and_Steve

Steve Temme (left) with Andreas Krause (center) and Andreas Tweitmann (right)

Listen is excited to announce the appointment of RTW as its German distributor, effective Jan 1st 2016. RTW has been in business for 50 years and is based in Cologne. The company offers its own range of audio monitoring products and software, and has extensive prior experience distributing test and measurement equipment.

The team selling and supporting Listen products at RTW includes Technical Sales and Support Engineer Andreas Krause, who has extensive experience with audio and noise and vibration measurement in field of pro audio, automotive and aviation, and Sabine Weihert who is responsible for orders and support handling.

Steve Temme, Listen’s president explains, “We are thrilled to have RTW on board. They have extensive experience in our marketplace and can offer excellent technical support as well as a local sales presence.”

Andreas Tweitmann, owner of RTW added, “We are excited to start the distribution of Listen products in Germany. RTW has a long history in selling and supporting audio measurement products and was the former distributor of Audio Precision in Germany.”

RTW web site

Complete list of Listen Distributors

Mark Latshaw Joins Listen

Mark_LatshawListen has strengthened its support team with the addition of Mark Latshaw as Technical Support Engineer. Mark will work alongside Steve Tatarunis and Mark Dailey offering assistance and training to our customers worldwide. With a Bachelor’s degree in music and sound recording from UMass Lowell and previous experience in audio post-production, IT and file management, Mark brings a wealth of relevant experience to the team. Like his colleagues in the support team, Mark is a keen musician – in his spare time he enjoys playing bass.

Les Quindipan Joins Listen

les_quindipanListen is excited to strengthen its sales team with the addition of Les Quindipan. Les comes to Listen with over 20 years’ experience in professional audio, having worked at MOTU in various management positions including sales, operations, software and support. He has worked with and supported many high profile artists, producers and touring acts. Les holds degrees covering music, business and recording, and is also a keen guitar player. Les will be working alongside Neil Rubado (our North America sales manager) to support our East, Central and Mid-West customers. Please extend him a warm welcome, and stop by our booth at AES in New York to meet him in person.

Al Flint Joins Listen, Inc.

Al_FlintAudio test and measurement specialist, Listen, Inc.  has strengthened its engineering team with the appointment of Al Flint as Engineering Manager.

Al has spent the majority of his professional career in the audio industry, designing award-winning products and managing product development teams. Al’s career began at Sony Professional Products, where his designs included mic preamps and equalizers for the MXP-3000 mixing console. He then spent many years at Lexicon, where his technical contributions can be found in several effects processors. When Lexicon entered the consumer marketplace with digital surround sound processors, Al not only made design contributions to these products, but also established the development team and helped round out the Lexicon product line with multi-channel amplifiers and DVD players. After their acquisition by Harman, Al led a highly skilled team that designed Mark Levinson products, including several critically acclaimed amplifiers. After spending four years in the solar industry, where he managed development of high-power inverters, Al is returning to his audio roots and passion, and is excited about leading the development of cutting-edge audio and electroacoustic test and measurement products at Listen, Inc.

Listen Celebrates 20 years of Innovation

Listen Inc is proud to announce its 20th year as a leading provider of audio test and measurement systems and expertise. Two decades of innovation and steady growth have made Listen’s flagship product, SoundCheck, an industry-standard audio test system in the consumer electronics industry.

The company is commemorating the occasion with updated branding – a new, more modern, logo and a new website, www.listeninc.com.

Listen began operations in 1995 when a consulting client of Steve Temme, company founder and president, challenged him to build a computer-based system with the same capabilities as the hardware system that they currently owned. This challenge came with a promise that if Steve could produce the system within 6 months he would buy it. Steve met the challenge, the product was named ‘SoundCheck’, and the customer purchased 12 systems. Steve then began to further develop the product to meet the test requirements of a wider audience.

Although the first generation of SoundCheck was designed specifically for testing military headsets, the next version was designed with a very open architecture which allowed virtually any audio device to be tested. It is this open architecture which has, in part, led to Listen’s success as the system has inherently been able to adapt to the changing test requirements of the audio industry over the past 2 decades. For example, in the 1990’s, SoundCheck was primarily used for testing loudspeaker and microphones, but today its most common applications are testing headphones, microspeakers, smartphones, tablets and Bluetooth devices.

Although Listen has its roots firmly in software, today Listen also offers turnkey systems with a complete line of audio test hardware. Designed from the ground up, Listen’s hardware products are engineered to specifically meet the needs of the audio test industry, thus making them reliable, simple to use and cost effective, as well as tightly integrated with Listen’s software.

Listen is still owned and managed by Steve Temme, and is headquartered in an 8000 square foot facility in the South End of Boston, within a mile of where the company started 20 years ago. Listen also has sales and application engineers on the West Coast, and a worldwide sales and support network. Listen is still growing steadily, and has several open positions in both engineering and sales.

“We at Listen, Inc. are thankful to our many customers for making this anniversary possible,” said Steve Temme, president of Listen, Inc. “Their feedback has driven product development and helped us evolve as a company. We look forward to continuing to innovate with our products and test methods, and to serving our valued customers for many years to come.”

You can learn more about Listen’s ’20 years of Innovation’ by viewing our timeline.

 

New International Sales Manager – Mac Liu

Mac_LiuWe welcome on board Mac Liu as our International Sales Manager.

Mac holds a BS/BA in mechanical engineering and physics from Rutgers University and has almost 20 years’ technical sales experience in a variety of industries.

Mac is based in San Francisco, CA, and will manage our international reps as well as handle direct international sales. He will also work closely with our US sales engineers to help customers with overseas vendors or contract manufacturers manage their acoustic testing needs on a global basis.

Rep Profile: Comtree Inc., Canada

Comtree teamComtree Inc. has distributed Listen’s products Canada for just over a year. The company is headquartered in the Toronto Area with a field sales office in Montreal.  “We are excited to offer Listen products in the Canadian market. Canada has a healthy acoustic industry and a long history of developing talented audio engineers. Over the past year, it has been our pleasure in working with these individuals,” said Graham Gibson of Comtree. In addition to Listen’s products, Comtree also distributes electronic test and manufacturing equipment such as soldering stations, solders, ESD protection, hand tools,  and inspection microscopes. Graham Gibson, Ernesto Provenzano, and Benoit Giroux are the key sales engineers in the team.

Comtree Web Site

All Listen Distributors