Sound Quality Testing of Consumer Audio and Electronics
The ever-increasing demand from consumers for new features, better quality and lower prices puts a constant strain on audio and electronics manufacturers to differentiate on cost efficiency, shorter time to market and reliable performance. As such, it is always a challenge to push the boundaries of what is possible within precision measurement microphones.
Consumer audio electronics that require sound testing are products like speakers, smart speakers, house appliances, mobile devices, laptops and tablets. Such products require proper acoustic testing to make sure that they are intelligible and pleasant to the ear.
In acoustic testing, standards are everything. There are four types of acoustic testing in general. Standard Test, Low-Noise Tests, High-Frequency Tests and Hi-Res Tests.
Standard Testing is simply testing according to IEC 60268, IEC 60318-1, IEC 60318-4 and ITU-T Rec P.57, etc standards. They do not allow for testing above 10 kHz. For decades, these tried and tested standards have defined how testing should be done.
However, as companies seek to improve their products, improving testing methods are a must. Acoustic testing companies like GRAS have developed several improved test solutions, including a number of improved IEC 60318-4 compliant or compatible ear simulators for low-noise, high-frequency and Hi-Res testing.
A low-noise system allows for testing down to or close to the threshold of human hearing. This is to test for noise from the electronics of ANC and Bluetooth-enabled headphones.
Have you ever heard a hiss noise from your headphones? Low-noise testing is typically done to reduce unwanted hiss noise from the electronics which otherwise can only be identified by subjective listening. This is typically done in the early stage of the product development, the R&D phase.
High-frequency testing is testing up to 20 kHz and is typically used with ear simulators. This can be done using microphone-based solutions or solutions with the improved 60318-4-compliant high-frequency ear simulator. It is fully compliant with the standard but extends the frequency range to 20 kHz. This is a popular choice among ear simulator solutions as it is full IEC 60318-4 compliance, extended frequency range, improved distortion measurements, and improved repeatability.
Hi-Res Testing is testing up to 40 kHz and beyond. It is typically done when testing Hi-Res audio capable headphones.
If you are looking for audio test devices for sound quality testing, it is essential to go with a company who has years of experience, and provides a wide selection of products in this field. Their audio test devices should also be known for high precision, accuracy and reliability.
One such company is GRAS Sound & Vibration, they have been a leader in the sound and vibration market for over 25 years and they design and produce state-of-the-art microphones for industries in which acoustic measuring precision and repeatability are of vital importance in R&D, QA and development.
GRAS is known for its world-class measurement microphones. To make sure that their microphones can perform under real life conditions – and beyond – GRAS has created the testing standard called HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Testing).
Acoustic Testing for the Human Ear
The human ear is an advanced and sensitive instrument of the body and gives us the ability to hear. Accurately simulating how sound would sound like with a human ear takes years of research as it is an acoustically complicated structure. Fortunately, a number of international standards have defined some “ideal” or average ears. These standards can be achieved by mechanical and acoustic devices specifically built for such simulation of the human ear.
By stress testing the products to the limits where they break down, GRAS is able to learn and develop the microphone design to give robust and stable solutions without compromising the microphone measuring performance.
So now we have established that GRAS produces quality test measurement microphones. But many sound acoustic testing applications require more than just measurement microphones – they require ear simulators and acoustic test fixtures for the various audio related measurement requirements. For example, to simulate the actual human ear acoustic impedance by combining measurement microphones with the relevant ear couplers.
The IEC 60318-1 & 2 (60318) coupler is an example of a standardized human ear, having the same acoustic input impedance as an average human ear. Another example is IEC 60318-4 (former 60711) Occluded-ear simulator for the measurement of earphones coupled to the ear by ear inserts.
Acoustic Test Fixtures
45CA’s robust design makes it ideally suited for binaural testing of active and passive earplugs, as well as circumaural hearing protectors. It is primarily intended for testing the performance of hearing-protection devices but has also seen increasing use in testing earphones and headphones lately. It is fitted with either microphones or ear simulators, depending on the device to test and the standard to comply with.
Compliance with ISO 4869-3, IEC 60318-1 and IEC 60318-4 assures technicians, decision makers, and authorities of repeatability and transparent data when developing and verifying hearing protectors.
So if you are doing Sound Quality Testing of Consumer Audio and Electronics, do consider GRAS as it is reliable, accurate, etc. If you would like to know more about Sound Quality Testing test equipment, you may contact us below.