Tag Archive for: new release

SoundCheck 20 Released: ePRB, Features for communications testing, POLQA, Multichannel enhancements and more

SoundCheck 20, Listen’s flagship audio analysis software, introduces a new state-of-the-art perceptual distortion algorithm for end-of-line testing – Enhanced Perceptual Rub & Buzz. It also includes a host of new features for multichannel and communications testing, increasing its capabilities for audio measurement of smart speakers, infotainment systems, headphones and hearables, and other voice-activated and multichannel devices.

The new enhanced Rub & Buzz algorithm is a reliable and repeatable perceptual method for detecting audible Rub & Buzz faults on the production line. This offers manufactures the option to increase yield by rejecting only those devices with audible distortion defects. Based on the sound psychoacoustic principles used in Listen’s industry-standard 2011 perceptual algorithm, new research offers refinements that improve listener correlation and new, patent-pending, noise reduction technology offers unrivaled repeatability and reliability for end-of-line use. In fact,this algorithm performs like a human ear under normal listening conditions with the background noise of a manufacturing environment! SoundCheck measures perceptual Rub & Buzz using the same stepped sine wave, simultaneously with other end-of-line measurements, enabling this valuable analysis to be added to production line tests with no extension in test time.

Two of SoundCheck’s virtual instruments, the multichannel RTA and the Signal Generator, have been significantly upgraded. The multichannel Real Time Analyzer now includes expanded functionality for real time observation of audio signals. It displays multiple channels simultaneously, and offers real time calculation and display of channel, subtraction, maximum, minimum and power average. Applications for this new feature include real-time observation of active noise cancellation, automotive industry standard 6-microphone array infotainment measurements, validating headphone seal on a test head prior to measurement by comparing left and right earphone response, and more. RTA curves are now seamlessly integrated with SoundCheck’s standard graphs and can be dragged and dropped into any graph for easy comparison to limits and reference curves. This is useful for quick comparisons to reference standards or golden units, tuning automotive infotainment systems, and more.

An overhauled signal generator brings additional functionality and simplified operation, particularly when using wav files. In addition to standard audio stimuli (sine, white noise, pink noise, etc.) with user-selected sampling rates and resolution, it can play any wav file, any memory list file, and any complex waveform created by the stimulus editor. The level can be referenced to Peak, dB or RMS. The signal can be equalized in real time, and custom EQ curves applied, which is useful when using a non-flat source such as a mouth simulator. A specific portion of a waveform can be selected to play, either by selecting a start and stop time in seconds, or by examining the waveform, and signals can play for a fixed duration, a fixed number of times, or in a continuous loop. Outputs from 2 or more signal generators can be mixed on the same channel, and waveforms from multiple signal generators can be synchronized, or delayed for phase control during playback.

The optional POLQA (Perceptual Objective Listening Quality Analysis) module brings Opticom’s POLQA 3 algorithm, implementing the ITU-T P.863 standard, right into SoundCheck, where it can be used for perceptual measurements of speech degradation in communications applications ranging from telephones to smart devices. Used just like any other analysis step in a sequence, this is a fast and cost-effective alternative to a panel of human listeners. In addition to speech degradation measurements, it may also be used to assess the impact of noise reduction algorithms, evaluate bluetooth degradation due to packet loss, or to analyze distortions introduced into the audio path.

Several new features expand the software’s post-processing capabilities for testing communications devices. These include batch processing of external files, a silence stimulus step, and RMS level versus time and histogram post-processing steps. A pre-written test sequence for categorizing Doubletalk performance to two international standards, ITU-T P.502 and ETSI TS 126 132 (part #3114), from communications expert John Bareham, is also available. Other enhancements include a stimulus editor upgrade, the ability to export multiple SoundCheck recorded waveforms to a single multichannel wav file and a hardware reset option for quickly changing audio interfaces or restoring hardware to a known configuration.

SoundCheck 18 Released: New Features for Large-scale Integration and Multi-channel / Voice-activated Device Testing

SoundCheck 18, the latest release of Listen, Inc.’s flagship audio test and measurement system, contains many new features focused on automation and simplicity. Some of these are specifically designed for large-scale integration in factory environments, while others are designed to accelerate R&D testing, particularly where multiple channels are required and/or voice-activated devices are being tested.

Test configuration data, such as limits, test levels, and test signals, can now be passed into SoundCheck from external programs using TCP/IP commands. By externally storing parameters, a single sequence can be used for multiple products, simplifying the number of sequences that a large organi­zation needs to maintain, and reducing test configuration time. This functionality is also useful for applications where a sequence needs to be run many times with different parameters, for example, testing voice recognition with a range of voices or test levels, or where SoundCheck tests are run as part of a larger automated test framework controlled using Python, C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW, etc.

Setup time is reduced with true plug’n’play hardware configuration. Listen and Portland Tool & Die interfaces are simply connected via the USB cable, and the software automatically creates input and output signal paths and populates parameters such as sampling rate and calibration values. Furthermore, when substituting devices of the same type, SoundCheck will re-use the configuration pre­viously set up, either manually or during a sequence, so that signal paths and sequence configurations do not need to be updated. This offers significant time-savings when deploying a sequence over multiple stations accelerating set-up time for large-scale operations. New TEDS Support (with compatible Listen hardware) enables automatic identification, configuration and calibration of TEDS microphones and accelerometers, also saving time on initial hardware setup or whenever hardware is changed.

The development and optimization of test sequences has been simplified with improvements to gain control selection. Similarly, sampling rate management has been streamlined with automatic latency rate adjustment for devices where latency varies with sampling rate, and the ability to set sampling rate in the stimulus editor. Sampling rate when using WAV files is also now automatically adjusted, making it simpler to make measurement with wave file signals such as speech or music.

For MEMS microphone tests, the Portland Tool & Die MEMS interfaces can now be controlled from within SoundCheck for faster setup as well as greater measurement reliability as the device settings can be built into the test sequence. Se­quences using the R&D grade DCC-1448 interface will also work seamlessly with the production-grade PQC-1448, making it much simpler to transition sequences from the R&D lab to the produc­tion line.

Additional new features include WASAPI driver support for improved multichannel capabilities, and enhanced digital I/O control for easy conversion of sequences between hardware options.

Watch the New Features Video   

Listen Releases SoundCheck 17: New Features for Multichannel and Voice-Controlled Testing

Save to MATLAB

Listen is excited to announce the release of SoundCheck Version 17. This new Windows/Mac release offers many features to simplify multi-channel and voice controlled testing, such as a new level and cross-correlation trigger, average curve/waveform post-processing functionality, the ability to easily read and work with multichannel wavefiles, multiple DC Connect control, and enhanced database options. On the usability side, SoundCheck 17 offers increased flexibility in color palettes, save to MATLAB option, and the ability to recall CSV formatted text files.

Today’s modern audio devices have two important testing requirements: the ability to test a voice activated device with no analog input, and the ability to control and test multiple channels simultaneously, for example, microphone or speaker arrays. SoundCheck 17 contains a host of new features to facilitate this. For voice-activated measurements on devices with no analog input, such as smart speakers, wearables, hearables and smart home devices, the new level & cross-correlation ‘smart trigger’ offers improved performance. By using a chirp-based conditioning tone and searching for the exact log sweep frequency, it is more robust and less susceptible to false triggers than simpler level and frequency triggers.

To save time when testing smart devices where it is necessary to test microphone or speaker arrays, SoundCheck 17 can now directly read multichannel WAV files from the memory list, signal generator and stimulus steps. Also for testing multi-channel arrays, multiple DC Connects can now be controlled, independently configured, and used for data acquisition within SoundCheck. The new Average Curve/WFM post processing function which allows the average curve (or waveform) of a selected group of data in the memory list to be obtained, is particularly useful for power averaging selected curves, averaging curves from different spatial positions (e.g. microphone arrays), and complex averaging of multiple measurements with background noise. Finally, the database module has been enhanced and is now it 4x faster and 3x more space-efficient than previous versions. This is particularly important for testing modern audio products with multiple transducers (microphone arrays, multiple speakers, etc.), as these often generate large volumes of data.

New Level and Cross-Correlation Trigger

Usability enhancements include improved color pallets which offer ultimate flexibility in defining colors for backgrounds, grids, cursors and graph lines. New default color palettes are included, and user-defined palettes can be saved as pre-set files which will be applied to any new display created. Multiple palettes can be saved, for example allowing different color sets for different applications. In addition, SoundCheck can now save any data (including memory list curves and Soundmap (time frequency analysis) data ) to  MATLAB for additional processing. Data is saved as a standard MAT file and can be manually or automatically saved in this format.

Additional new features include support for the new APTX HD codec for high resolution Bluetooth testing, a 64 bit Demo / Data Viewer which enables measured data to be recalled and viewed without the need to own a separate license, and the ability to recall CSV files as well as TXT files.

 

More Information: https://www.listeninc.com/products/soundcheck-software/specs/