100 Things #88: SoundCheck Support Audio Over IP

SoundCheck supports testing audio over IP using Dante. Dante allows a connection between testing computers and devices over long distances, up to 100 meters. Audio over IP also supports large channel counts, which is perfect for multichannel testing across multiple rooms in a facility. SoundCheck flexible hardware compatibility means networked audio devices can be configured just like any other audio interfaces. In an R&D lab, multiple test labs can have data transmitted to a central SoundCheck system.

SoundCheck Support Audio Over IP

Learn more about Listen audio interfaces

Read on for more information and technical specifications of the AmpConnect 621AudioConnect 2. Audio interfaces can be used with a variety of test hardware including Bluetooth interfaces, turntables, accelerometers, and more. Check out all of SoundCheck’s compatibility with audio testing hardware.

Video Script:

SoundCheck is known for its flexibility to work with any soundcard or audio interface, but did you know it also supports Audio over IP using Dante?

Dante by Audinate allows audio to be transmitted over a standard local IP network. This offers simplified connections where your audio interface is located a long way from your SoundCheck computer, for example if it’s in a test lab or anechoic chamber. Connecting via a Dante interface and CAT 5E or 6 ethernet cable allows data to be transmitted up to 100 meters or more using your existing ethernet infrastructure – something that would be impractical and expensive with standard audio cables. It also offers high channel counts, and the network can be expanded with a high-speed network switch. 

The Dante Interface, for example the RME Digiface Dante,  is connected to the SoundCheck computer via USB and it routes the audio to and from any Dante device connected to the network, such as this Lynx Aurora. It also tracks latency over the Dante network. SoundCheck’s hardware editor displays all devices routed through the Dante Controller as Dante Channels in the SoundCheck Hardware Editor, where they can be treated exactly the same as any other input or output channels to enable a full range of audio tests.

Let’s take a look at how this might work for a speaker test. The Dante equipped Aurora interface is our test hardware, providing the output signal to the speaker, the microphone power, and receiving the signal from the microphone. It’s connected to the network via its ethernet connection.  At the other end, the networked Dante interface is connected to the USB port of the SoundCheck computer where it acts as a hub for any Dante-equipped devices – in this case the Aurora. These devices then appear as a single ASIO audio interface with a USB 3 connection to the SoundCheck computer. From this point, you can configure your audio test exactly the same way as usual, and the Dante controller will handle the signal routing and synchronization of all Dante devices, even if they are different.

Multiple Dante Audio Interfaces can be connected to increase channel count. This setup, for example,  allows for 32 balanced line inputs and outputs through the Lynx Aurora(n) with an additional 12 balanced microphone inputs with phantom power through the RME 12Mic-D. 

Audio over IP has many applications in both R&D and production environments. In the R&D lab, it’s a simple and cost effective way of transmitting data from a remote test lab to a central computer, or to enable a fully mobile audio setup that can be moved around the facility. In production applications it enables centralized data collection from many different production lines. Contact your sales engineer to learn more.

External Control of SoundCheck via TCP/IP

TCP/IP control of SoundCheck provides a powerful and expandable command format for controlling and interacting with SoundCheck via any programming language (C#, C++, MATLAB,, LabVIEW, Python, etc.), on any operating system, either locally or through a network. This is valuable for anyone wishing to control SoundCheck from an external program, e.g. as part of an overall test plan or for factory automation. Using this feature, a single computer can control multiple SoundCheck systems, simplifying production line measurements.

The ability to connect to, and control SoundCheck via TCP/IP first appeared in SoundCheck over 3 years ago, but for version 18, it has been enhanced with the ability to pass test configuration data into the memory list from external programs. This means, for example, that by externally storing parameters such as limits, test levels, and test signals, a single sequence can be used for multiple products, or testing the same product multiple times, simplifying sequence maintenance, and reducing test configuration time.

This application note and accompanying demo scripts walk you through how to use Python to:

  • Control a simple loudspeaker test setup, launching SoundCheck and running a sequence
  • Run a simple frequency response sequence from a command line interface, creating placeholder curves, values, results and waveforms in the MemoryList and pass values into the placeholders via external control.
  • Read a WAV file and use it as a stimulus for performing an FFT Spectrum measurement in SoundCheck