Tag Archive for: in-car measurements

100 Things #42: Measuring Max SPL of a Vehicle Infotainment System

SoundCheck is ideal for making in-car measurements such as Max SPL, frequency response and distortion. In fact, SoundCheck is the only full-featured audio test system that offers true nth octave real-time multichannel analysis of 6 microphones simultaneously, that we need for some in-car measurements.  In this short video we demonstrate how we can make Max SPL measurements using a 6 microphone array with SoundCheck and an AmpConnect 621 audio interface. You could make these measurements as part of an end-of-line QC test, in the R&D lab, or to compare various car infotainment systems.

In-Car Max SPL Measurement

Learn More About Automotive Measurements

Watch our Automotive Measurement Seminar in which we make in-car measurements of Max SPL, Frequency response and Buzz, Squeak & Rattle.

Read a short article about the work that the AES Technical Committee on Automotive Audio is doing on Max SPL measurements.

A free pre-written SoundCheck test sequence is available to measure both the Max SPL Spectrum and a single, power averaged value for Max SPL in line with the AES TC-AA working group’s proposed guidelines.

A comprehensive resource on in-car Max SPL measurements is the Audio Engineering Society Technical Committee on Automotive Audio (TC-AA). Their in-vehicle measurements white paper (draft) aims to define repeatable and defined car audio system measurements and in addition to the measurement methods, contains information on standardized test configuration, for example microphone and seat positioning.

Main webpage on SoundCheck for Automotive Measurements.

 

Video Script: Measuring Max SPL of a Vehicle Infotainment System

Did you know SoundCheck can make in-car measurements such as Max SPL, frequency response and distortion? In fact, SoundCheck is the only full-featured audio test system that offers true nth octave real-time multichannel analysis of 6 microphones simultaneously, that we need for some in-car measurements.  In this short video I’m going to demonstrate how we can make Max SPL measurements using a 6 microphone array with SoundCheck and an AmpConnect 621 audio interface. You could make these measurements as part of an end-of-line QC test, in the R&D lab, or to compare various car infotainment systems.

In this test, we use a 6 microphone array to represent the driver’s head. We mount it on a tripod so that it’s easily adjusted to the position where the head would be.

This is placed in the driver’s seat of the car, with the tripod legs as far back on the seat as they’ll go, right against the backrest. The height and angle of the seat are set to the minimum or lowest position. The AES is working on a proposed standard for this type of measurement that defines some very specific dimensions between the pedal and backrest, the height of the stand, and the inclination of the back rest. For this demo, I’m not going to be that precise, but as you can see, I am making sure that I have recorded the dimensions I am using, and the mic array is in a fairly typical driver head position.

Now let’s measure Max SPL. We’ll use broadband monophonic pink noise and we’re going to crank the volume to the max   – even outside of the car this is going to be loud!

It’s hitting 110 dB and we’re going to play it for 30 seconds and take the linear average or Leq. Here you can see the readings on the six microphones, and the black line representing the spatial power average. The test sequence is calculating the overall Max SPL as 111 dB C weighted, and also displays the Max SPL spectrum from 20Hz to 20 kHz.

If you’d like to learn more about in-car measurements, check out our automotive measurement seminar, in which we also demonstrate frequency response and distortion measurements. You can find this in the audio measurements playlist on our Youtube channel! This test sequence that I just used for measuring Max SPL is also available for download, free of charge, from our website.

 

Testing Voice-Controlled & Smartphone Integrated Infotainment Systems

A tutorial and accompanying paper on testing infotainment systems that was presented at the AES Automotive Conference, Sept 11-13, 2019, Neuburg an der Donau, Germany.

Voice-controlled and smartphone integrated vehicle infotainment systems are notoriously complex to test. They have numerous connections from wired to wireless and contain much signal processing, both on the record and on the playback side. This means that their characteristics change according to ‘real world’ conditions of the vehicle’s environment, including cabin acoustics and background noises from road, wind and motors. Furthermore, their multifunctional nature means that there are many aspects of the device that may need to be tested, ranging from voice recognition to music playback and operation as a hands-free telephone. Due to their complex non-linear use cases, these devices often need to be tested at different levels and different environmental conditions.

This tutorial offers practical hands-on advice on how to test such devices, including test configurations, what to measure, the challenges of making open-loop measurements, and how to select a test system.

Download presentation (slides)

Download accompanying paper

 

Paper Introduction

Audio Tests for Infotainment Systems

Infotainment systems have become increasingly challenging to test. They have many possible interfaces; hard-wired or auxiliary input, radio, CD, memory card, hard drive, USB, Bluetooth, smartphone (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and even voice. They contain much signal processing, both on the record side (e.g. beamforming, background noise filtering, voice activity detection, and on the playback side (e.g.loudness, compression, equalization, and active noise cancellation). Some even have wake word detection, e.g. “Hey Siri”, “OK Google”, and “Alexa”. Due to their complex non-linear use cases, these devices often need to be tested at different levels and in different environmental conditions, for example with different background noises and different test signals. To further complicate matters, the test signal may need to be in the cloud to enable playback for testing voice recognition systems. Each manufacturer’s ecosystem is different in how it plays and records.

Smartphone integrated infotainment systems usually require an internet connection with voice services in order to process commands. On the playback side, some enable you to upload your own recordings such as iTunes (although bear in mind that these will probably be compressed). Others require them to be on a media streaming platform such as Spotify. For microphone testing, some systems such as Alexa allow access to recordings made; others do not for security and privacy reasons, which makes microphone testing challenging. Although the actual physical testing setup is very similar from vehicle to vehicle, for each it is necessary to understand how to wirelessly route the signal. Furthermore, each device needs activating with a different wake word, needs different delay compensation, and records for a different amount of time after it hears the wake word. This needs figuring out (largely by trial and error) for each infotainment system that you need to test.

Infotainment System Testing Standards

Although, there are currently no standards for testing infotainment systems with smartphone integration, principles and test configurations can be borrowed from many other audio devices and use existing standards such as IEC for loudspeakers, IEEE/TIA/ITU for speakerphones, and ETSI for background noise. Flexibility of the test system and experience with testing a wide range of acoustic devices is critical to enable a device to be completely characterized. This paper focuses on how to implement basic acoustic tests and some of the more complex real-world tests along with the techniques and standards that may be used.

The rest of the paper covers:

Basic Acoustic Tests
Advanced or ‘Real World’ Testing of Infotainment Systems
Speech Recognition
Background Noise
Voice Quality
Measurement System Requirements

Full Paper

 

More about testing infotainment systems.