Test and Measurement News
dScope Series III audio analyzer helps Martin Audio push the limits of analogue and digital technologyCambridge, UK, July 2008: Loudspeaker manufacturer Martin Audio has invested in two Prism Sound dScope Series III audio analyzers, which are being used to develop new products and test the audio performance of existing products as they pass through the production process.
Originally founded in 1971 to supply world-class touring systems to super groups such as Pink Floyd and Supertramp, Martin Audio is now internationally renowned as a company that designs leading edge live performance systems across a spectrum of sound reinforcement applications. It is particularly noted for the integrity of its technical excellence and longevity of its products, all designed by Martin Audio with in-built sound qualities that artists can rely on to faithfully reproduce their performance to every corner of the auditorium.
Recently, Martin Audio has been pushing the limits of what is achievable with analogue and digital electronics and to do this it needed an accurate, repeatable and reliable way of confirming and optimising its designs.
Prism Sound's powerful dScope Series III proved the perfect solution because it provides a comprehensive suite of analogue and digital electronic analysis tools including new enhancements to its acoustic measurement capabilities. These enable it to measure acoustic transducers and offer impulse response analysis; Quasi-anechoic frequency response; loudspeaker rub and buzz detection; loudspeaker loose particle detection; impedance analysis; time domain averaging to attenuate the effects of background noise and complete automation support including limit checking and pass / fail results, for QC / verification testing.
Francis Prime, Martin Audio's Electronics Design Engineer, says: "Currently we are using our dScope Series III to optimise noise and distortion levels, as well as the frequency response of our mixed signal designs. We have found it especially useful for optimising the analogue circuitry around A to D and D to A converters. As audio electronics and acoustic engineers, listening is primarily how we will make decisions on new circuit designs or alternative IC choices. However the dScope Series III enables us to get the design to a respectable performance level before we start listening. It gives us accurate and reliable measurements, which can be useful to identify any parallels between what we are listening to and what we are measuring."
Prime adds that Martin Audio's R&D staff are also using dScope Series III as a flexible analogue and digital signal generator, particularly as a source for power testing amplifiers and for product EMC pre-compliance testing.
Martin Audio now plans to extend the use of its dScope Series III to the production line, using the unit's multi-tone tools for confirmation of frequency response, THD+N and level.
"I am currently writing a production test routine that will allow us to achieve this," Prime says. "The multi-tone test will allow a near instant result. We will also use the dS-NET I/O switcher, which allows testing of multiple of ins and outs, digital or analogue with ease. We can place pass fail limits so the systems can be tested and results logged with minimal input from the test technician. This will help save time and money which is always good justification for investing in a piece of equipment."
Prism Sound's dScope Series III comprises a Windows PC software application (XP® and Vista® compatible) coupled with an external high-precision audio I/O processor for equipment-under-test (EUT) connections. The unit takes full advantage of the processing power of the host PC, enabling multiple simultaneous measurements to be made and highly flexible customizable generation and analysis tools to be supported, whilst keeping hardware costs to a minimum.
"Since installing dScope Series III we have been very pleased with its performance," Prime adds. "It is doing everything we need and is helping us develop our latest products, benchmark competitor's product and speed up our production processes."
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