The audio industry should test its products to a higher standard and publish the results in its sales material, according to a white paper released by loudspeaker manufacturer Flare Audio this month. The paper, welcomed by the Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers (ISCE), argues that a test currently used extensively by audio professionals to measure the sensitivity of loudspeakers does not tell the whole story about loudspeaker sound quality. It claims that a less well-known test, Waveform integrity (Wi), allows artists, audio professionals and the listener to compare the sound reproduction of different products much more effectively.
Flare Audio believes that loudspeakers should provide ‘as pure a sound as possible’, to enable an unaltered reproduction of the sound created by the musician. In its white paper, the company defines a sound as ‘pure’ if it loses none of its detail in the transmission from artist to listener in the process of audio reproduction.
The paper explains how most loudspeaker designs damage sound through resonance and internal reflection within the cabinet. It also describes how manufacturers have traditionally compensated for this, particularly in the last two decades, by the use of digital correction techniques using DSP.
A Waveform integrity test measures a sound wave at its point of origin and also as it emerges from the loudspeaker. The more closely the two waves resemble each other, the better the quality of sound reproduction. A Wi test is carried out with a dual channel oscilloscope (ideally, high resolution) and an RTA microphone. By adopting this test, purchasers will be able to initially judge the quality of a loudspeaker simply by comparing Wi measurements in marketing material, prior to hearing a product first hand.
“The Waveform integrity test is not intended to replace other testing methods,” says Davies Roberts, Flare founder and author of the white paper. “It is designed to provide further information to the user in order to better evaluate the sound quality of a loudspeaker.”
The paper concludes with the recommendation, “We believe that both the user and the industry will benefit from the application and disclosure of Waveform integrity tests. This white paper puts forward the case for European and International standards boards to raise the standard of disclosure to users by requiring that Waveform integrity test results be included in user information for every loudspeaker sold.”
ISCEs’ Ros Wigmore commented: “ISCE welcomes this further understanding of this possible new testing,”
The principles of Wi are the basis for Flare Audio’s new product line, Space, details of which can be found on the company’s website from November 28th 2012.
The white paper: Flare Audio: Waveform Integrity Testing is available for download in full from: www.flareaudio.com/news/waveform-integrity.html?c=2
Contact Flare on +44 (0)1903 761000 or [email protected]