Microphone Polar Plot: Substitution Method Using Outline ET250-3D

Microsoft Word - Mic_Polar_Plot-Substitution_Method-LinearX_LT36This sequence measures the directional response of a microphone and graphs the result as a polar plot.   A log sweep stimulus is played from 100 Hz to 10 kHz at each angular increment, and the acquired waveform is analyzed using the Time Selective Response algorithm.  This method allows the test to be performed in a non-anechoic environment by placing a window around the direct signal, eliminating the influence of reflections.  Commands are sent automatically to the Outline turntable via an RS-232 connection, instructing it to move in 10 degree increments after each measurement.  The sequence measures the response every 10 degrees from 0 to 180 and mirrors the polar image, which simulates a full 360 degree polar and saves test time.   The response at each angular increment is compared against the on-axis response to create a normalized curve.  This removes the influence of the device’s frequency response and sensitivity, such that the polar plot only shows the directional response.  The final display also contains a graph of the directivity index in decibels versus frequency.

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Microphone Polar Plot: Substitution Method Using LinearX LT360 Turntable

Microsoft Word - Mic_Polar_Plot-Substitution_Method-LinearX_LT36This sequence measures the directional response of a microphone and graphs the result as a polar plot.   A log sweep stimulus is played from 100 Hz to 10 kHz at each angular increment, and the acquired waveform is analyzed using the Time Selective Response algorithm.  This method allows the test to be performed in a non-anechoic environment by placing a window around the direct signal, eliminating the influence of reflections.  Commands are sent automatically to the LT360 turntable via an RS-232 connection, instructing it to move in 10 degree increments after each measurement.  The sequence measures the response every 10 degrees from 0 to 180 and mirrors the polar image, which simulates a full 360 degree polar and saves test time.   The response at each angular increment is compared against the on-axis response to create a normalized curve.  This removes the influence of the device’s frequency response and sensitivity, such that the polar plot only shows the directional response.  The final display also contains a graph of the directivity index in decibels versus frequency.

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Smart Speaker – Embedded Microphone Test Sequence

smart_speaker_final_display_micThis sequence demonstrates a method by which SoundCheck can measure the performance of a microphone embedded in a so-called “smart speaker”. This example assumes that the DUT is an Amazon Echo but it can be adapted for use with virtually any other type of smart speaker by substituting the Echo’s voice activation phrase WAV file (“Alexa”) with one specific to the desired make and model.

The sequence begins by playing a voice activation phrase out of a source speaker, prompting the DUT to record both the voice command and the ensuing stepped sine sweep stimulus. A message step then prompts the operator to retrieve this recording from the DUT’s cloud storage system. This is accomplished by playing back the recording from the cloud and capturing it with a Triggered Record step in the SoundCheck test sequence.  The Recorded Time Waveform is then windowed (to remove the voice command) and frequency shifted prior to analysis and the result (Frequency Response) is shown on the final display step.

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Open Loop Microphone Testing – Updated

open_loop_mic_sc15v3_final_displayThis sequence demonstrates the two most common microphone measurements, frequency response and sensitivity, on a microphone embedded in a recording device. Typically when measuring a microphone the response of the device can be captured simultaneously with the stimulus. However, with devices such as voice recorders and wireless telephones forming a closed loop can be cumbersome or impossible. This sequence demonstrates how to measure such a device by recording the signal on the device under test, transferring that recording to the computer running SoundCheck and then using a Recall step to import the recorded waveform and analyze it.

Note that this specific sequence, v3, is an improvement on the prior versions. The v1 release required that the audio file containing the recorded response waveform be manually windowed outside of SoundCheck before being analyzed. The v2 release utilized a new feature in SoundCheck 14, using values from the memory list to semi-automatically trim the waveform before analysis. This v3 release completely automates waveform editing.

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Measuring Digital MEMS Microphones

Measuring Digital MEMS Microphones – Frequency, Sensitivity and Power Supply Rejection (PSR) Performance

seq_dig_mic_final_display_substitution_methodThis test suite contains 3 sequences to enable comprehensive testing of digital MEMS microphones.

The first measures the frequency and sensitivity and displays two graphs: absolute level in dBFS, and the same response curve but normalized to 0 dB at 1 kHz.

The second sequence uses the substitution method to test a digital MEMS microphone frequency response with a source speaker that is not or cannot be equalized. The MEMS microphone is simultaneously measuring with a reference microphone , and by subtracting the response of the reference microphone from the DUT microphone the response and sensitivity of the device under test is revealed.

Measuring Digital Microphone PSR (Power Supply Rejection)
The third sequence demonstrates a method for measuring a digital MEMS microphone’s power supply rejection performance (PSR). This sequence measures PSR at 217 Hz (the 217 Hz GSM TDM pulse often of concern) but is easy to modify to test at any frequency. A DC supply with a calibrated AC signal, simulating electrical interference is applied to the MEMS microphone. SoundCheck then records the audio from the DUT, analyzes it with a spectrum analyzer and extracts the RMS energy at the specific frequency of the simulated electrical interference and returns the PSR value. The setting of frequency, waveform type and amplitude of the simulated electrical interference is controlled entirely from within SoundCheck.

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Microphone Polar Plot Sequence

mic_polar_plot_screenshotThis sequence measures the directional response of a microphone and graphs the result as a polar plot. A log sweep stimulus is played from 100 Hz to 10 kHz at each angular increment, and the acquired waveform is analyzed using the Time Selective Response algorithm. This method allows the test to be performed in a non-anechoic environment by placing a window around the direct signal, eliminating the influence of reflections. Commands are sent automatically to the LT360 turntable via an RS-232 connection, instructing it to move in 10 degree increments after each measurement. The sequence measures the response every 10 degrees from 0 to 180 and mirrors the polar image, simulating a full 360 degree test while saving time. The response at each angular increment is compared against the on-axis response to create a normalized curve. This removes the influence of the device’s frequency response and sensitivity, such that the polar plot only shows the directional response. The final display also contains a graph of the directivity index in decibels versus frequency.

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Microphone Self Noise Test

microphone self noise test screenshotThis sequence measures the self noise of a condenser microphone, using a spectrum analysis step and a power sum calculation to derive an RMS rating for the unit under test.
The sequence has several parts (some optional). The sequence intitally determines  whether or not you have a high enough signal (signal being your microphone’s self noise) to noise ratio to accurately measure your microphone. It then takes a measurement from your microphone, creates a spectrum, accounts for the preamp gain, applies an A-weighting, and finally calculates the power sum.  You are then prompted to enter the sensitivity of the microphone if it is known.  The resulting display provides you with the equivalent input noise of your preamp, the self noise of your microphone in dBV, and also a result in dB(A) after factoring in the microphone’s sensitivity.  You’re also provided with the waveform, a maximum voltage level, and the crest factor to check for sharp transients.

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