Complete End-of-Line Speaker Test (includes ePRB)

This sequence is an example of the many types of tests that can be performed quickly and simultaneously on a loudspeaker production line. It includes perceptual distortion measurement with the new enhanced Perceptual Rub & Buzz algorithm. A stepped sine sweep (StweepTM) from 20 kHz to 50 Hz is played through the speaker and measured via two channels of the audio interface. A calibrated reference microphone is connected to one of the channels and an impedance reference built into the SC Amp or AmpConnect is connected to the other. A HarmonicTrak™ Analysis step analyzes the recorded waveform from the reference microphone, and outputs Frequency Response, THD, Normalized Rub & Buzz, Perceptual Rub & Buzz, Loose Particle Envelope and Polarity. A Post-Processing step calculates the Ave. Sensitivity from 100 – 10kHz. A second analysis step analyzes the waveform from the impedance reference and outputs a curve of impedance versus frequency. Another Post-Processing step performs a curve fit of the impedance curve and calculates the max impedance (Zmax), precise resonance frequency (f0), and the quality factor (Q) of the resonance peak. All measurements and parameter are tested against limits in Limit steps. All these test parameters can be adjusted accordingly.


Anechoic Response of a Loudspeaker Without an Anechoic Chamber: Splice Sequence

This sequence measures the anechoic response of a loudspeaker in an ordinary room using both a near field and time-windowed far field measurement “spliced” together to cover the full bandwidth of the loudspeaker’s response from 20 Hz to 40 kHz. First, the microphone is placed very close to the low frequency driver (less than an inch from the woofer), and the near field frequency response measured using a 1/12th octave stepped sine). Next, the microphone is placed in the far field and the frequency response is measured using a continuous log sweep with the Time Selective Response analysis algorithm. An option is available for measuring a ported loudspeaker. The sequence displays both measurements on a graph, showing the overlap range where the measurements are equal. From this, the user selects the precise frequency at which to splice the two halves of the measurements together to obtain the full range free field response of the loudspeaker.


Measuring Max SPL versus Frequency

This sequence measures the Max SPL of a transducer versus frequency that a device can play back with acceptable distortion. It is particularly valuable for designers using DSP algorithms to optimize the performance of their speakers.

It characterizes the Max SPL of a transducer by setting limits on specific metrics (THD, Rub & Buzz, Perceptual Rub & Buzz, Input Voltage and Compression) and then driving the transducer at a series of standard ISO frequencies, increasing the stimulus level until the one of the limits is surpassed. The sequence begins by measuring the frequency response and impedance of the DUT. The user is asked if they wish to use the -3dB from resonance frequency as the test Start Frequency or manually enter another value. The user is then prompted to enter a Stop Frequency, initial test level and limit values for the metrics of interest. The sequence then plays the stimulus Start Frequency in a loop, increasing the level +3dB with each loop iteration until one of the limits is exceeded.  The stimulus level is then adjusted -3dB and the sequence continues to a second loop which increases the stimulus level +0.5 dB with each loop iteration until the limit is exceeded. At this point, the limit results are saved to an Excel file, the stimulus frequency is incremented by a constant multiplication step and the process is repeated until the Stop Frequency is achieved. Every time the main loop is completed, the individual SPL and Stimulus Level x-y pairs are concatenated to master curves. At the end of the sequence, the Max SPL and Stimulus Level curves are autosaved in .dat format.


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.


Smart Speaker – Embedded Loudspeaker Test Sequence

smart_speaker_final_displayThis sequence demonstrates a method by which SoundCheck can measure the performance of a loudspeaker 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 audio file (“Alexa, play Test Signal One”) with one specific to the desired make and model.

The sequence begins by playing the voice activation phrase out of a source speaker, prompting the DUT to playback the mp3 stimulus file from the cloud, followed by a pause step to account for any activation latency. Following the pause, a triggered record step is used to capture the playback from the DUT. The Recorded Time Waveform is then frequency shifted prior to analysis and the results (Frequency Response, THD and Perceptual Rub & Buzz) are shown on the final display step.

We recommend reading our AES paper on this subject prior to continuing as it contains additional details on the test methods devised for this sequence.


Comparison of Wired and Wireless (Bluetooth) Speaker Response

This test sequence performs frequency response and distortion measurements of a Bluetooth speaker using both a wireless Bluetooth and wired stimuli; then compares the results. This sequence is configured for use with a Portland Tool & Die BTC-4149/4148 or BQC-4149/4148 Bluetooth interface.

Initially, the sequence prompts the operator to turn on the Bluetooth device under test and set it to pairing mode. BTC message steps will connect the Bluetooth device (operator selects the device from a list of detected Bluetooth devices) and connects Bluetooth audio. A 1 kHz test tone is transmitted, and if detected, the test sequence proceeds. A stepped sine sweep from 20 kHz to 100 Hz is played wirelessly to the Bluetooth speaker and measured via a calibrated reference mic.

Two post-processing steps convert the sampling rate and alignment of the response, then an analysis step calculates the frequency response and THD. The Bluetooth is disconnected, and the Bluetooth frequency response and THD curves are displayed on graphs. The operator is then prompted to connect the wired analog input into the Bluetooth speaker, and the same measurements are performed using the analog connection. Analog frequency response and THD curves are temporarily displayed on graphs, followed by graphs containing both Bluetooth and analog curves for comparison.


Triggered Record Using WAV File (Version 16.0 and earlier)

triggered_record_screenshotThis sequence allows you to test devices without an analog input such as tablets, cellphones and MP3 players. A stimulus WAV file is created in SoundCheck, and copied to the device under test, where it is played and the response recorded in SoundCheck as if the stimulus were played directly from SoundCheck. The stimulus WAV file to be used on the device under test (DUT) may be customized in the stimulus step.

Note that this sequence uses the level-based trigger available in SoundCheck 16.0 and earlier. If you are using version 16.1 or later, please see the frequency-trigger based sequence which takes advantage of new functionality to offer more robust triggering.


Thiele-Small Parameters

Loudspeaker system performance can be quantitatively related to a set of electro-mechanical parameters. These parameters are known in the industry as Thiele-Small parameters. They were first introduced by A.N.Thiele and Richard H.Small in a series of famous articles published in the 1971-72 Journal of AES (Audio Engineering Society).  Over the years these parameters have become standards in the industry, and are used by loudspeaker designers worldwide. This package contains SoundCheck sequences for measuring measuring Thiele-Small Parameters by Added Mass, Known Volume, Known Driver Mass methods.


Impedance Measurement – Dual Channel Method Using Math Post-Processing

This sequence demonstrates an alternative to the traditional SoundCheck single channel impedance measurement method. A stepped sine sweep from 20 Hz to 20 kHz is played through the speaker while the signal across the loudspeaker terminals is recorded by Direct In 1 and the signal across the sense resistor (impedance box) is recorded by Direct In 2. A heterodyne analysis step is then applied to calculate the fundamental response from both inputs and a math post-processing step divides Fundamental A (speaker terminal voltage) by Fundamental B (voltage across sense resistor). A post-processing step corrects for the value of the reference resistor before displaying the final impedance curve. The curve is then post-processed to calculate resonance frequency, maximum impedance and Q of the resonance peak. A set of arbitrary limits steps are also provided to generate pass/fail results.


Perceptual Rub & Buzz

Perceptual Rub & Buzz ScreenshotThis sequence uses the CLEAR algorithm for perceptual Rub & Buzz measurement to detect AUDIBLE Rub & Buzz. It uses a simplified auditory perceptual model to measure the loudness of Rub & Buzz distor­tion in phons rather than the more traditional dB SPL and % distortion units. These better identify whether distortion due to manufacturing defects can be heard by the listener than conventional measurements. In addition to a result which corresponds more accurately to the human ear, this new test method also offers two significant advantages for use on the production line. It is less sensitive to transient background noises than traditional methods, therefore is reliable in noisy environments, and it is much simpler to set limits than when us­ing conventional distortion measurements. The sequence includes saved data that can be loaded from disk, so even if you don’t have a speaker handy you can still listen to the wav. file and see how SoundCheck displays the data.