Listen Releases SoundCheck 14 - Now Also Available for Mac OS X

August 20 2015, 05:00

The SoundCheck system from Listen includes everything needed to perform audio measurements on a wide range of devices – the software, the audio interface, other test interfaces and accessories, and test sequences.
SoundCheck 14 includes many features to simplify user setup.

The system is centered around the SoundCheck software. This powerful package controls and communicates with the measurement hardware, and includes all the stimuli, algorithms and analysis functionality needed to develop and run virtually any electroacoustic or audio electronic test. It is paired with hardware ranging from a simple, all-in one audio test box to sophisticated discrete components for a complete test system.

In addition to Listen hardware, a range of 3rd party products and test accessories are fully supported within SoundCheck. The modular software and many hardware options enable a customized solution to be configured for your specific test requirements and budget. Annual software updates ensure that the system evolves to keep pace with evolving test methods and requirements, and both software and hardware can be expanded at any time to meet future testing needs.

With the newly released SoundCheck 14, Listen hardware is now more tightly integrated, and SoundCheck automatically detects and populates system values when it is connected to AmpConnect, SoundConnect 2, AudioConnect, and DC Connect. A redesigned hardware editor makes it easy to view, understand, and modify settings through a tabular interface. A new autoranging feature enables continuous monitoring of microphone input gain to determine if adjustments are needed to optimize the dynamic range. If so, adjustments are automatically made and the test is re-run. 

SoundCheck 14 provides seamless integration with Listen’s expanding line of hardware products including AmpConnect, DC Connect, SoundConnect 2, and AudioConnect. Simply connect one of these devices to the system via USB, and SoundCheck automatically detects it and configures all the necessary settings. This makes the initial system setup quick and easy, even for novice users and non-technical personnel. All Listen hardware products, as well as the Portland Tool & Die BTC-4148 Bluetooth interface can now be directly controlled from within the software, enabling them to be changed as part of a sequence.

The hardware editor has been completely overhauled to make it simpler to use. A clear table-structure view makes it easy to see and understand all configured devices at a glance. A new “Auto” mode enables SoundCheck to detect and maintain any Listen audio interfaces so that most users will never have to open the hardware editor or modify hardware settings.
Figure 1: The new SoundCheck 14 auto-range menu.

Calibration input sensitivity has now been divided into two parts: sensitivity of the transducer and preamplifier gain. This enables the user to change the gain of the preamp to optimize the system’s dynamic range without needing to re-calibrate the microphone. Additionally, this gain value can be automatically read and updated from Listen hardware such as AmpConnect, SoundConnect 2, and AudioConnect. This automatic mode enables the user to modify preamplifier gains as necessary for different applications while maintaining a fully calibrated signal path.

The new auto-ranging feature enables customers using Listen hardware to automatically adjust the microphone preamplifier gain to optimize the dynamic range of the test (see Figure 1). When auto-ranging is enabled in an acquisition step, SoundCheck will monitor the digital headroom of the audio interface and, if necessary, increase or decrease the preamp gain, selecting the optimal setting for maximum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). If a change to the gain is made, the acquisition step runs again with the new settings.
Figure 2: The new SoundCheck 14 search range editor.

Many post-processing operations in SoundCheck have a search range that enables the user to select discrete points or ranges along the x-axis over which to perform the desired calculation. Examples include scalar functions such as average, maximum, and minimum, as well as windowing intersection, and more. The SoundCheck 14 version of the search range has been completely updated, and now uses a simple table control. For the first time, it also allows users to select memory list values (see Figure 2). This means that search range parameters can be variables that are dynamically calculated by the sequence.

The Setup Wizard, first introduced in SoundCheck 12 to help users configure new systems and upgrade from existing versions, received significant changes and improvements in SoundCheck 14. Users are now presented with a menu of choices as to which section of the wizard they would like to run (e.g., load status.dat, import settings, update sequences, or setup new hardware). The new format gives users the flexibility to run only portions of the wizard as well as to re-run the utilities. Current SoundCheck customers will benefit from the more powerful capabilities the new wizard offers for updating existing sequences.
Figure 3: An example of the new SoundCheck 14 screen for Mac computers.
SoundCheck for OS X
SoundCheck 14 is the first software version available for use on the Macintosh OS (see Figure 3). Mac users with Mavericks or Yosemite versions of OS X are now able to run SoundCheck as a native 64-bit application. Sequences, steps, and data files are cross compatible between the Windows and Mac versions, providing versatility when collaborating with other SoundCheck users. Core audio driver support is included, enabling the same hardware to be used on both operating systems.

Apart from the SoundCheck Software, which is the core of the system, enabling data acquisition, measurement, analysis and reporting, Listen offers a range of audio interfaces to communicate the test signals to the computer. This includes the AmpConnect all-in-one hardware box, AudioConnect (2 in, 2 out) and AudioConnect 4×4 (4-in, 4-out), as well as devices with up to 16 channels from 3rd party suppliers. Listen also supplies other components to complete a test system including SCM measurement microphones, the SCAmp Audio Amplifier, SoundConnect and SoundConnect 2 microphone power supplies, various electronic test interfaces and more. The system can also be complemented with 3rd party hardware such as head and torso simulators, ear couplers, artificial mouths etc. from Bruel and Kjaer and G.R.A.S.
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