Tag Archive for: soundcheck

SoundCheck Online Basic Training, May 2023

Registration is now open for our Online SoundCheck Basic Training class from May 9th-18th.

The course will again consist of 6 x 2-hour sessions over a 2 week time period, and will cover all the same content as our standard in-person basic training course. Each session is led by a live trainer and will include instruction, demos, quizzes, breakout sessions and discussion. Hands-on exercises will be provided to be completed between sessions and reviewed in subsequent classes.

We are restricting attendance to 30 attendees to better facilitate breakout sessions, so sign up early to secure your spot. Registration closes on May 1st, and a 10% early booking discount will apply to all registrations received by April 17th.

Dates: May 9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 18th

Time: 6 x 2hr sessions from 11.00am-1.00pm Eastern US Time (8.00am-10.00am Western US Time)

Attendees must attend all 6 sessions to complete the course.

Cost: $295 ($195 for support contract holders). Additional discounts for multiple people from the same company signing up together (2-3 people: 10%; 4 people: 15%; 5+ people: 25%). Additional 5% early bird discount when signing up prior to April 17th.

Instructors: Mark Latshaw and Pranav Swaroop

Course Outline

Session 1: Hardware & Calibration – Configuring audio interfaces and external equipment; certified audio interfaces; Calibration of different DUT types (telephones, speakers, etc.)

Session 2: Memory list, Data management, Virtual Instruments (Spectrum Analyzer, RTA, Multi-meter, Signal Generator, Oscilloscope), Sequence Editor Basics

Session 3: Sequence Writing Part 1 – Introduction to the sequence editor; stimulus; acquisition; basic analysis

Session 4: Sequence Writing Part 2 – Limits; Displays; Autosave; Recall; Printing

Session 5: Sequence Writing Part 3 – Messages & sequence logic; Post Processing; Statistics

Session 6: Sequence Writing Part 4 – Sequence Writing Examples

 

Group discounts are available for multiple attendees from the same company:

2-3 attendees: 10% discount

4 attendees: 15% discount

5+ attendees: 25% discount

 

Early bird discount: 10% until April 17th.

Register Now

 

Note about late signups: As training starts imminently, we do not have time to ship demo keys. This means that in order to participate fully, you must have a relatively up-to-date (version 20 or 21) hardware key available to use. If you do not, you can still follow along with the training in demo mode, but you will be unable to complete some of the hands-on exercises.

100 Things #58: Getting the Most From Your SoundCheck Graphs

Zooming, point selection, plot movement, autoscaling, showing / hiding legends, changing graph colors… There are endless options hidden between the right click function on a SoundCheck graph. Check out this short video for a quick demonstration!

Getting the Most from your SoundCheck Graphs

Learn more about SoundCheck Graph Controls

Check out the SoundCheck Manual – the section on common graph controls (section 20.15 in the SoundCheck 21 manual).

 

Video Script: Getting the Most from your SoundCheck Graphs

Did you know that SoundCheck offers a lot of cool ways to look at data in XY graphs? There are endless possibilities for viewing graph data hidden behind a simple right click.

You can zoom into a particular area, select a point, move the plot freely, and zoom the X, Y axes separately or together. You can also auto-scale a graph.

Using the ‘Drop cursor’ feature you can drop up to two cursors at user-defined points, or automatically at the maxima or minima of the plot. When two cursors are dropped, the lower part of the graph window automatically shows the delta between the two points making it easier to calculate the relative differences in X and Y values.

There are many other options such as view or hide legend on graphs, save the displayed graph to an image file, open or print reports, and randomize and reset plot colors.

This one’s one of my favorites. If you need to copy the image from a graph onto a Google docs sheet or Slack to share with your team, you can do this very quickly with the ‘Copy image’ option, without saving it to an image file first.

You can also use the right click menu to access overall graph preferences so that you can change X and Y attributes, line styles, colors etc.

What’s your favorite graph trick? Let us know in the comments! For more information on all things SoundCheck, head to Listen Inc . Com.

 

 

 

100 Things #54: TEDS Microphone Support for Fast Calibration

TEDS microphone support (with appropriate hardware) in SoundCheck makes your audio measurement system setup and calibration fast and simple. Listen’s portable and budget-friendly AudioConnect 2  audio test interface, and the AmpConnect 621 multi-channel, high resolution test interface both support TEDS.

SoundCheck Supports TEDS Microphones for Fast Calibration

Learn more about Listen’s hardware with TEDS Microphone Support

Check out the new features video for Listen’s AudioConnect 2 and AmpConnect 621, which both support TEDS microphones.

 

Video Script: TEDS Microphones Support in SoundCheck for Fast Calibration

A TEDS, or Transducer Electronic Data Sheet, compatible microphone, is a measurement microphone with a programmed data chip. The data chip stores a wide variety of calibration data including the microphone’s serial number, sensitivity, and date calibrated information. This makes setup and calibration with a TEDS microphone fast and easy, particularly in a multichannel system.

Did you know that SoundCheck includes direct support for TEDs microphones with supported hardware? This capability is available in SoundCheck 18 and later. When this is combined with Listen’s AmpConnect 621 multi-channel, high resolution test interface, setup and calibration could not be easier. Let’s take a look.

Here’s my SoundCheck Calibration Window with 6 separate measurement microphones with 6 signal paths and calibration files. This 6 mic array might be used for in-vehicle audio testing, for example. When a TEDS compatible test interface like Listen’s AmpConnect 621 is detected, the “Read TEDS” button in the Calibration window is available. When depressed, SoundCheck can retrieve the microphone’s serial number, mic sensitivity and calibration date directly from a TEDS mic. The process can be repeated for each connected TEDS mic. Setup could not be easier.

Now we want to hear from you. Do you use TEDS microphones for audio measurements? Let us know in the comments.  For more information, visit ListenInc.com.

 

 

 

 

100 Things #53: Make ITU-T-P.63 Compliant POLQA Measurements With SoundCheck

Opticom’s POLQA algorithm is available as an option in SoundCheck, where it can be used in a test sequence to automate measurements, or for stand-alone analysis. POLQA is an alternative to a panel of human listeners for quantifiable measurement of speech degradation.

POLQA Analysis within SoundCheck

Learn more about POLQA Analysis Using SoundCheck

Read about POLQA for SoundCheck, or check out our more detailed video demonstrating POLQA measurements.

 

Video Script: Make ITU-T-P.63 Compliant POLQA Measurements With SoundCheck

Did you know that Opticom’s POLQA algorithm is now integrated into SoundCheck? You can access all the functionality of this algorithm through the familiar SoundCheck interface, and it can be integrated into test sequences for rapid, automated measurement.

POLQA Analysis is a fast and cost-effective alternative to a panel of human listeners for perceptual measurements of speech degradation in communications applications. It compares a reference and response waveform and returns a mean opinion score, or MOS, on a scale of 1 to 5.

This SoundCheck add-on module operates just like any other post-processing step. You configure the reference and response waveforms, set test parameters, and define outputs through the familiar soundcheck interface, and SoundCheck returns results as graphs and tables like any other analysis. It can naturally be used within sequences to accelerate and simplify test procedures, and can also be used to process imported data using Batch File Processing. This means that you can quickly calculate scores for hundreds or even thousands of waveforms captured offline, as well as those that you have measured in SoundCheck.

SoundCheck uses Version 3 of the algorithm which implements the ITU-T P.863 standard, but it also includes the option to analyze data using the older Version 2.4 for correlation with measurements made on older systems.

This algorithm is applicable to many communications devices from traditional phones to smart devices. For example, you can assess the impact of a noise reduction algorithm on an audio communication system, evaluate the perceived audio degradation in a Bluetooth connection due to packet loss, or quantify the impact of various speech codecs on perceived speech quality.

If you want to learn more, check out our YouTube channel for a more complete demonstration of this capability.

 

 

 

 

 

100 Things #52: SoundCheck Includes Visual Overload Protection Warnings

SoundCheck includes visual overload protection warnings in all instruments, both hardware and virtual instruments. This triggers when the amplitude of the input signal exceeds the range of the hardware, indicating that the measurement data is not reliable since it is beyond the intended range of the hardware’s input. This simple indicator can be the difference between safe, accurate measurements and  bad data that gets caught too late.

SoundCheck’s Visual Overload Protection Warnings

Learn more about SoundCheck

SoundCheck is designed by audio experts and includes many features like this to ensure your data integrity. Learn more about SoundCheck.

 

Video Script: SoundCheck Includes Visual Overload Protection Warnings

Did you know that SoundCheck includes visual overload protection warnings? This simple indicator can be the difference between safe, accurate measurements and  bad data that gets caught too late.

An overload indicator is included in all Instruments; both hardware and virtual instruments. This appears when the amplitude of the input signal exceeds the range of the hardware. When it’s beyond this range, the measurement data is not reliable since it is beyond the intended range of your hardware’s input. Prolonged exposure to overload signals can also result in damaged hardware, so these warnings add an extra level of protection.

SoundCheck determines the input channel’s Max Full Scale Deflection using the peak voltage level value in the hardware table.  The Vp value defines the maximum peak voltage that hardware’s A to D and D to A converter can handle. It’s different for all interfaces, and varies depending on the signal conditioning built-into the interface, like Line In versus Mic In. Since SoundCheck works with almost any interface, this clear overload indicator is very useful.

Using the visual overload warning within a virtual instrument is easy, since it’s automatically enabled. When a signal is within the Max FSD tolerances, the reading is white. This reading turns orange when the input signal is within 3dB of the Max FSD level. If the signal overloads the hardware, the overload indicator becomes visible and flashes red. After this overload event, the reading remains yellow to show that an overload has occurred during measurement.

This feature is not limited to your local machine. For external control applications, an overload “yes” or “no” status is included in the JSON data provided by SoundCheck. If you’re monitoring signals remotely, this visibility is essential.

Now, we want to hear from you. Is there a time when overload protection would have saved your data or equipment?  Let us know in the comments below!. And for more information on all things SoundCheck, head to our website at ListenInc.com.

 

 

100 Things #51: Flexible Options for Scaling WAV Files

SoundCheck offers multiple ways to work with WAV files; normalize to peak, scale to sound card values, and user defined scaling. Normalizing to peak ensures the waveforms take advantage of as much headroom as is available. Scaling to sound card values is perfect for working with multiple WAV files, making multi-channel measurements and data manipulation easy and reliable. For increased functionality with external programs like MATLAB, WAV files can be scaled to a user defined level, all from within SoundCheck.

Scaling WAV files in SoundCheck

Learn more about Scaling WAV files in SoundCheck

The most comprehensive information on this subject can be found in the SoundCheck Manual (Page 367 in the SoundCheck 21 manual)

 

Video Script: Flexible Options for Scaling WAV files

It’s often necessary to use multiple audio processing software programs in test and measurement applications. SoundCheck’s scaling options make it easy to manipulate audio files between packages while retaining maximum data integrity. For example, you might acquire audio files using another device and need to process them in SoundCheck. Or conversely, you may want to take SoundCheck-acquired data and import it into MatLab for additional analysis.

SoundCheck uses a proprietary binary file format for handling audio files, .wfm, which is a digital amplitude vs time representation of analog audio. This format is advantageous as it saves the metadata, such as units, scaling factors etc, along with the data. However, SoundCheck also supports the widely used .wav format, including multichannel wav files, for easy data transfer between programs.

It’s important when transferring files between systems to ensure that they are correctly scaled and to understand how they are scaled. SoundCheck offers a variety of options.

Normalizing a WAV to peak (FSD) saves the waveform so that the peak value of the waveform is 100% full scale, regardless of the actual level of the waveform. This ensures that when you’re saving recordings to be played back out of a different system, you’re using as much head-room as possible, therefore maximizing signal-to-noise ratio. However, the absolute calibration in physical units, for example, V or Pa are lost.

If you’re working with multiple files and need to retain the differences in level between them you can scale them to the sound card Vp value. This lets you save them as wav files, but retains the relative difference in level between them and will play the wav files back at the same level when using the same sound card.

You can also save the waveform relative to a user defined maximum level of physical units which can be useful if you are exporting data to be used in other tools such as MATLAB.

You have similar options when you’re importing a WAV file into SoundCheck.  SoundCheck prompts you to select either the units of Full Scale  where the max amplitude of digital sine wave is -3dB or the AES 17 Full Scale option,  where the max amplitude is 0dBFS.

So, as you can see, there are various options for both saving and opening wav files, giving you the flexibility you need for exchanging soundCheck files with other programs while maintaining data integrity. More detailed information is available in the SoundCheck manual.

 

100 Things #50: Soundcheck Supports Multiple Interfaces for Ultimate Flexibility

SoundCheck is built on flexibility, and it’s hardware compatibility is no exception. SoundCheck supports multiple audio interfaces and devices, all simultaneously. Freely combine and measure with analog and digital interfaces together. Use a Listen interface like AmpConnect 621, and pair it with an A2B, I2S, or Bluetooth interface for highly customizable tests.

Audio Interface Options in SoundCheck

Learn more about SoundCheck’s Interface & Device Options

Listen’s Audio Interfaces.

Why did we design our own hardware: A look into why our in-house designed and manufactured audio interfaces offer advantages over off-the-shelf products.

Audio over IP with Dante interfaces.

Testing Automotive Audio Via A2B Interfaces.

Testing MEMS Devices with a MEMS Interface.

Using Bluetooth Interfaces with SoundCheck.

 

Video Script: Soundcheck Supports Multiple Interfaces for Ultimate Flexibility

Since 1995, SoundCheck has supported the use of external sound cards and audio interfaces. But did you know that SoundCheck can support multiple audio interfaces and other audio devices simultaneously giving you ultimate flexibility for a wide range of audio test applications?

Here are some examples of test applications that take advantage of this flexibility:

Add additional audio interfaces to expand your channel input and output count, for up to 64 channels of input and output

For example, add Bluetooth, Digital MEMS, I2S, A2B interfaces and even Dante to test these devices

Directly connect a USB audio device like a USB headset, microphone or speaker to test these devices

On Windows OS, SoundCheck supports a wide range of audio drivers including WDM/MME, ASIO, WASAPI, NiDAQ (if using National Instruments hardware) and even Dante. On MacOS, SoundCheck supports CoreAudio. As long as your audio device has an input or output path through a compatible audio driver in SoundCheck, it can be used as an audio source or destination for testing in SoundCheck. Furthermore, SoundCheck can easily support mixed analog and digital signals simultaneously as well as  hardware with different sampling rates.

Let’s look at a hardware setup window in SoundCheck fully exploiting this capability. In my hardware setup you can see a Listen multi channel AmpConnect 621, a BQC-4149 Bluetooth interface, an A2B interface and a USB headset all peacefully coexisting. Note: these devices use different audio drivers, mixed analog and digital signals and even different sampling rates.

With SoundCheck’s auto-delay algorithm, we can even account for latency differences outputting from one hardware device and inputting from another. For example, delays from transmitting a test stimulus to a Bluetooth device like a speaker or headphone.

SoundCheck also has resample and frequency shift post-processing steps to correct for sample rate mismatch and/or hardware clock phase differences as a result of inputting and outputting from different hardware interfaces. This means we can resample and phase align the test stimulus and response prior to analysis to assure accurate measurements.

If you’d like to verify if your device can be used with SoundCheck,  please give us a shout and we’ll check it out!

 

100 Things #48: SoundCheck Supports Unlimited Virtual Instruments

SoundCheck introduced the concept of virtual audio analysis instruments to the world in 1997, and has continued to expand and develop their functionality since then. It supports an unlimited number of virtual instruments, including signal generators, multimeters, multi-channel RTAs and spectrum analyzers, and more. The use of multiple instruments simultaneously is demonstrated in this short video.

Unlimited Virtual Instruments in SoundCheck

Learn More About SoundCheck’s VIs

Check out our easy-to-follow tutorials on virtual instruments. (in the Acquisition section)

Watch our video on how to save time with virtual instrument configuration.

More information is also available in the SoundCheck Manual.

 

Video Script: SoundCheck Supports Unlimited Virtual Instruments

Since 1997, SoundCheck has supported the use of software virtual instruments, also known as VI’s. VI’s are software versions of hardware bench tools like signal generators, multimeters, spectrum analyzers, etc. They’re used for taking a quick measurement in SoundCheck, or in combination with SoundCheck’s sequence editor in a virtual instrument acquisition step. Most importantly, VIs can replace the need for dedicated hardware instruments which can be bulky and expensive. This is particularly useful if you need to travel with your audio test setup.

For  quick measurements or signal tests in SoundCheck, you may only need to open 1 or 2 VIs at a time. However, did you know that SoundCheck supports unlimited VIs? This is useful if you need  to perform multichannel or complex test applications.  For example, in this  setup, I’m  using multiple signal generators to playback noise to a multi-speaker simulated background noise environment. I can open as many signal generators as needed. I can also simultaneously monitor input as well.

Here’s I’m using multiple reference mics in a 6 mic array for making automotive measurements. I have 6 separate multimeters averaging input from each mic source, but I can also monitor the same input via the multi-RTA and even power sum the sources. Multichannel virtual instruments, such as the RTA, let  you view multiple sources in a single VI graph, saving screen real estate and allowing additional graph operations to be implemented in real time.

With unlimited VIs in SoundCheck, there’s no limit to what you can do. Try it for yourself.