Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook

LIS 2014

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2014 Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook 24 INDUSTRY REPORTS T he demand for products that combine electronics and electroacoustical elements into a single integrated package is a trend that is accelerating as the audio industry continues to focus on key attributes that are driving sales (e.g., user convenience, consistent audio quality, and reasonable cost). Common integrated audio products include smartphones and tablets, stand-alone Bluetooth and network-connected speaker systems, and powered pro audio and consumer loudspeakers (including subwoofers). The tools and goals of those who design, build, and test integrated audio devices are more varied than they were for earlier component systems. It no longer suffices to isolate products and engineering teams during analog, digital, and acoustic design and testing. To address this challenge, Audio Precision has developed the APx series of analyzers, using a platform-based approach that we call "converged audio test" (see Photo 1). This article examines the audio test difficulties integrated products create when manufacturers and designers use disparate test systems, and proposes a converged approach to provide better more cost-effective results. Integrated Audio Products With advancements in DSP, acoustics, power amplifier design, and materials science, a new generation of devices has hit the market with outstanding success. These devices leverage integrated design and manufacturing to provide a well-controlled experience, from operation to sound quality and appearance. Attributes can be completely customized to accommodate desired size, low-frequency extension, and maximum sound level produced, pushing these devices much closer to the boundaries of physical limitations. For the audio industry, the result has been an explosion of popular products and a redefinition of what it means to deliver high-quality pro and consumer audio systems. Converged Audio Test By Bradley Price Audio Precision Photo 1: Audio Precision's APx525 is a two-channel audio analyzer for R&D engineers and production technicians who want fast and easy audio testing capabilities.

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