One of my readers, Jake from Boston, sent me the following note that might someday make it to an Ask Paul video, but for now, it’s certainly worthy of a post.
Hi Paul, I have been doing some reading about measurement tools such as those produced by audio precision, and I was wondering how accurate these tools can be considering they produce their own noise, etc. It doesn’t make sense to measure it because the tool you would use has the same issue. Are these tools good enough to the point where their own inherent problems are truly negligible?
The simple answer to Jake’s question is yes, the measuring equipment we rely upon for our designs is certainly quiet and low distortion enough to measure beyond the point of audibility. And that’s what’s important.
Our mainstay of measuring equipment is, as Jake suggests, made by an Oregon-based company called Audio Precision. (For those who are observers of URLs you might notice that Audio Precision has one of the rarest URLs known, a two letter URL AP.Com).
From their website on the equipment we use: “With a typical residual THD+N of -120 dB and over 1 MHz bandwidth, the analyzer surpasses the analog performance of all other audio analyzers, including a 5 dB improvement compared to our 2700 Series analyzer. Add to this FFTs of 1.2 million points and full 24-bit resolution, and you have performance unmatched by any other instrument.”
So two comments about this. First, from even years ago, the measurement equipment we rely upon to design our products have specs that outperform the human hearing mechanism by a major magnitude. Second, measurements are critical to the design process. From a time standpoint, 80% of all our design efforts are spent at the measurement bench getting the product to do and perform as we wish.
Lastly, as folks who read this blog know, the last 20% is spent with our equally important measurement tool, the listening room.
To make a world class product it takes the best measurement equipment for the job—both on the test bench and in the listening room.