Notes from the Test Bench
By Bruce Hofer, Chairman & Co-Founder, Audio Precision
I’m headed back from AES Europe—as usual some excellent papers—and it’s always good to see familiar faces. While I was there, I had the honor of being invited to serve as keynote speaker at an upcoming AES UK conference in June: “The Ins and Outs of Audio.” Needless to say, I will be there!
Actually, the timing couldn’t be better. Today, Audio Precision is announcing a new “in and out” of its own: The APx Bluetooth option.
This new hardware module has a built-in Bluetooth radio, and all the controls are integrated into the existing APx500 user interface, making what I believe will stand out as the easiest to use, most comprehensive audio test system for Bluetooth audio in the world.
As a test and measurement manufacturer, deciding which interfaces to support is always a challenge. We believe that our Bluetooth module will be popular for the same reasons that our HDMI module has been a success: the interface has widespread adoption in the consumer electronics industry, and there is a lack of existing tools to assess audio quality.
There is a lot of work to be done to get the audio quality of Bluetooth devices up to what customers are expecting. Informal listening tests will only get you so far. At a certain point—and we believe for Bluetooth that point is now—there needs to be rigorous, systematic, comprehensive testing. The new APx Bluetooth option fills that need.
Output: AP Announces APx Bluetooth Option
This month’s Audio.TST doesn’t include the usual technical articles, so that we can focus on the major new product announcement below. Technical articles will return in next month’s issue.
Audio Precision introduces today a new Bluetooth I/O hardware module for its APx500 Series audio analyzers. The module features a built-in Bluetooth radio, allowing comprehensive audio test over Bluetooth wireless technology. Its major advantage is that it lets engineers measure their Bluetooth devices directly from within APx's user-friendly software, eliminating the uncertainty and inconvenience of adapters, and making Bluetooth audio test faster, easier, and more reliable.
Once the new hardware module is installed in an APx audio analyzer, all the Bluetooth settings are available from within the APx500 measurement software. APx supports A2DP, HFP, HSP, and AVRCP profiles, and SBC and CVSD codecs, allowing over 30 one-click acoustic and electronic tests to be carried out in seconds on Bluetooth-connected headsets, hands-free devices, automotive head units, A/V receivers, and smartphones.
Using the new module's Bluetooth radio, combined with the other connectivity options of APx (including high performance analog, AES3 digital, S/PDIF, HDMI, and I2S), every part of a device's audio chain can be comprehensively and systematically measured with one analyzer.
"We're very proud to bring AP performance to the wireless world," says Tom Williams, VP of Marketing for Audio Precision. "Now engineers can test their Bluetooth devices with the world's most advanced audio analyzer, confident that their results will be trusted everywhere."
The Bluetooth option for APx will ship at the end of June, priced at $4500 in the USA. Prices may vary in other countries.
For more information, contact Audio Precision or your local AP sales representative, or go to http://ap.com/bluetooth.
Sound Advice: AP2700 64-bit Driver Released
AP2700 v3.30 SP1 has been released, adding the compatibility to control our 2700 Series instruments from PCs running 64-bit Windows 7 (we also expect that it will work properly with 64-bit Vista and XP). Many customers have asked for this capability, as many new PCs are purchased with 64-bit Windows 7 (APx500 already supports 64-bit Windows).
The AP2700 64-bit driver only supports AP's APIB-USB adapter, and is not compatible with APIB add-in cards (ISA, PCI, PCIe, and PCMCIA buses). Additionally, the OPT-2711 (Dolby Digital generator option) is not supported. Instruments with OPT-2711 installed will function correctly on a 64-bit PC, but the Dolby Digital generator will not be available.
AP2700 v3.30 SP1 also corrects some issues with the supplied macros and support files. Otherwise, it is identical to AP2700 v3.30, and continues to support OPT-2711 and all APIB adapters when installed with 32-bit versions of Windows.
The AP2700 & ATS-2 Resources Disc has also been updated to v102, with minor changes to some of the files, as well as the latest AP2700 and ATS Performance Checks.
Test Results: AP News & Events
©2011 Audio Precision, Inc.