Test and Measurement News
dScope Series III makes Bluetooth and USB testing easy for Chord ElectronicsCambridge, UK: With a reputation for top quality audio performance to maintain, Chord Electronics Ltd has invested in a Prism Sound dScope Series III audio analyzer to test its latest range of Hi-Fi, home theatre and professional products.
dScope Series III at Chord Electronics
The UK-based company, which was founded in 1989 by John Franks, specialises in the manufacture of high-end Hi-Fi components that combine cutting edge technology with innovative cosmetic design. Chord Electronics Ltd's customers include Skywalker Sound (California), Abbey Road Studios (London), Sony Music Studios (New York), the Royal Opera House (London) and many more locations where reliability and superb sound quality are important.
In recent months Chord Electronics has introduced a new range of products, all of which feature USB and Bluetooth audio inputs. It was the need to test the audio performance of these products that led the company to invest in a dScope Series III, which was supplied by the company's UK distributor Thurlby Thandar Instrument Distribution (TTid).
Production manager Matthew Bartlett, who is responsible for overseeing product build, component purchasing, test and production planning, says: "In the past we have always used Audio Precision test equipment, so changing to a new type of test equipment was a slightly nervous proposition. However, the software provided with the dScope Series III is very easy and intuitive to use and I have found no problems switching to the new system. I also find the size of the dScope tiny for the functionality offered. It is easily small enough to put in a bag with a laptop and take off-site for field testing of products."
As a chartered electronics engineer, Bartlett is heavily involved in the R&D side of Chord Electronics, and in helping to explore new technologies with a view to turning them into real world products.
"Our product range includes audio power amplifiers, digital to analogue converters, preamplifiers and headphone amplifiers, all of which require testing using functions like frequency response, THD+N and digital output testing to check performance," he explains. "But it was definitely the dScope's ability to test our new Bluetooth and USB audio inputs that led us to invest in a unit."
Since the beginning of this year, Prism Sound's dScope Series III audio analyzer has supported audio streaming directly between test system and Bluetooth device, enabling real-time, closed-loop testing of Bluetooth audio systems. Prior to the introduction of this innovation, audio engineers had to test Bluetooth devices using a range of analogue, digital, electronic and electroacoustic audio test equipment, plus software-based signal generation and analysis tools. This was both time-consuming and cumbersome, and did not easily translate to automated manufacturing or verification testing environments.
The dScope Series III test system integrates analogue, digital (S/PDIF and I2S), electronic, electroacoustic and Bluetooth measurement capabilities in a single instrument, eliminating the need for time-consuming signal generation and analysis in external software. With dScope Series III, Bluetooth audio development, compliance testing and manufacturing is now faster and easier than ever before.
"We're really happy with our dScope Series III and especially like the soundcard function allowing the testing of USB and Bluetooth audio devices connected to the computer running the dScope," Bartlett adds. "The support for 192KHz/24bit digital input/output is also very useful and finally the real time FFT and output measurements make it very easy to see what is happening during testing. dScope has certainly solved the problem of testing USB and Bluetooth audio and made this process much quicker and more reliable than before."
Prism Sound's highly-acclaimed dScope Series III instrument includes precision, automatic gain-ranging which allows high resolution analogue measurements over a massive range, from a few micro-volts to more than 150 volts RMS, and from less than 1 Hz to over 90kHz. Its dedicated hardware interface uses DSP to provide a wide range of real time measurements, while its software exploits the host PC for almost unlimited number crunching and analysis options such as Fast Fourier Transforms, unique 'Smart FFT' soft instruments, swept sine and multi-tone testing. Designed to be highly programmable, the dScope Series III can be automated from a wide range of third-party software applications using ActiveX controls, or internally using VBScript.
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