New Production Line Bluetooth Interface

BQC-4148_smallThe new BQC-4148 Bluetooth interface is designed for high volume production line testing of Bluetooth sink devices such as headsets, speakers and car kits. It offers control over the CODEC choice, sample rate, and transmitter power, enabling devices to be specifically tested under the conditions that they need to operate

The unit is rugged and compact, measuring just 30 x 64 x 136mm. With only one connector – a USB for connection to the computer for power and control – it is simple to use and offers minimal potential for incorrect operation. It can be controlled via the USB virtual com port using a command line utility, or from within SoundCheck using the control utility via a system step for simple integration with your test sequences. Although it is less full-featured than its R&D counterpart, the BTC-4148, it is approximately half the cost.

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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.

 

Active Noise-Cancelling Headphone Battery Life Test

ANC battery life sequence screenshotThis SoundCheck test sequence measures the performance characteristics of Active Noise Cancelling headphones (ANC headphones) while monitoring the DC voltage and current provided to the headphone by its batteries. The sequence first measures the passive attenuation of the headphone before moving into a loop. The loop plays a 2 minute pink noise stimulus at high output level to accelerate battery drain. During this stimulus period, a current measurement is made by Listen’s DC Connect. Immediately following the stimulus, battery voltage is measured followed by acquisition and analysis of audio parameters (response, THD and THD Normalized). The active attenuation of the headphone is then measured followed by a series of post processing and Autosave steps. The looping continues until no output is detected from the headphone, when the device shuts down due to insufficient battery capacity.

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Headphone Active Noise Cancellation Test Sequence

Screenshot of the final test result for active noise cancellation headphone test, showing active, passive and total attenuation.This SoundCheck test sequence measures headphone active noise cancellation (ANC). It measures both the active and passive noise cancellation and calculates total attenuation over the operating frequency range of the headphones. Passive Attenuation is the amount of noise that is reduced at the ear simply by the headphones being worn. Active Attenuation is the amount of noise that is further reduced by turning on the device’s active cancellation circuits. Lastly, Total Attenuation is the combined reduction in noise from passive and active sources and is what the end user of the product will experience.

To calculate these metrics this SoundCheck test sequence performs three separate measurements using a Head and Torso Simulator and a small speaker which serves as a noise source. This is a simple, low-cost alternative to using a diffuse background noise environment with multiple speakers playing uncorrelated noise, although the sequence could be user-modified to support this.

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New Bluetooth Interface

BTC-4148 Bluettoth Interface

The New BTC-4148 enables Bluetooth devices to be accurately tested in SoundCheck® by offering full control over the Bluetooth connection.

Accurately measuring Bluetooth devices is challenging. The Bluetooth protocol is a dynamic and adaptive system that provides devices with many options and parameters that are normally negotiated and set in an invisible manner. Using typical PC Bluetooth interface devices as an audio bridge in test applications is not ideal as the compression codec, sample rate etc. cannot be controlled and the engineer is left guessing as to what values are actually used.

The BTC4148 overcomes this by offering full control over all Bluetooth protocol settings and explicit control over all the CODEC, sample rate transmitter power etc. This enables devices to be specifically tested under the conditions that they need to operate.

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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

EN50332 Sequence Update

A revised version of our sequence for Max SPL of headphones to EN-50332 is now available. This incorporates all the changes made in the 2013 revision of the standard. This includes a new sequence for testing Bluetooth and USB headphones to meet the standard’s additional stipulations for testing digital devices.

More: EN-50332 Part 1
More: EN-50332 Part 2

SoundCheck ONE Updated and Expanded

SoundCheck ONE, our budget SoundCheck system has been updated and expanded for its release with SoundCheck 13. SoundCheck ONE is essentially a lower cost, simplified, version of SoundCheck coupled with the AmpConnect ISC hardware. SoundCheck ONE offers the capability to test loudspeakers, microphones and headphones within predetermined sequence templates.

Although the user interface is the same as in the full version of SoundCheck, rather than using the Sequence Editor, SoundCheck ONE users are supplied with sequence templates. These templates serve as the starting point for all SoundCheck ONE tests and can be used to generate as many product-specific sequences as desired by selecting parameters such as the stimulus signal, characteristics to be measured, frequency range, level and limits.

SoundCheck ONE is designed for customers who do not own a full version of SoundCheck and need a low cost and easy to set up system for basic production line tests of loudspeakers, microphones or headphones. While it offers the same accuracy, advanced algorithms and speed as the regular version of SoundCheck, its flexibility and test customization capabilities are restricted. It is a good entry point for a company testing their products for the first time or moving up from a more rudimentary test system as it can be upgraded to the full version at any time for an additional fee.

Production Line Smartphone & Tablet Test

Smartphone testWe are excited to announce a complete system for testing of smartphones, tablets, and Bluetooth speakers on the production line.

Soundcheck, combined with the new GRAS production line acoustic test chamber offers the acoustic isolation needed for these tests combined with the speed, flexibility and performance of SoundCheck. The test chamber is robust and user friendly, and is designed to offer fast, accurate and repeatable results in automated production environments. It is very flexible – easy fixture adjustment to accommodate a variety of different devices and positions, and ensures that the test chamber can be re-used for different projects. Naturally it will integrate seamlessly with SoundCheck.

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