Making a Case for Sound
The company's work with Dolby has been on-going, as it has been a standard format for surround sound receivers for several years, though Miksch acknowledged that the relationship is not exclusive. "[Working with Dolby] is really a function of what our customers are asking for. We are in conversations with DTS, and would welcome conversations with SRS Labs," he said.
The company's work in testing switching amplifiers is important. This relatively new kind of amplifier is small, highly efficient and needs less power to drive sound, therefore making it ideal for portable devices. But standard tests do not work with these amps. "[This technology] can generate significant ultrasonic artifacts," said Hofer. "And by significant, I mean that in some cases, the power contained in out-of-band signals can be 10 or 100 times the power of the actual audio signal that you are looking at, especially at at low levels. This hits the test equipment very hard."
This and other challenges led the company to embark on developing better testing methods, which in turn has led to a program of hosting training seminars, as well as expert panel discussions, conducted throughout the year in North America, Asia and Europe. The seminars began in June of 2001. The information that the company shared at the outset was centered around digital audio, and an application note that was written by Audio Precision and the late Julian Dunn, later articulated in a book, Application Note #5: Measurement Techniques for Digital Audio.