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9 Tips For Selecting Audio Test Equipment

by Kevin Bellah

Quality control is one way of determining how appliances and equipment perform. For audio devices, the market offers a wide array of audio test equipment. Each tester has features used in specific test requirements. In addition, the audio test equipment has different functionalities and capabilities.  

If you’re using an audio device, such as a speaker, sound consoles, and microphones, you may want to know more about the tips in selecting an audio tester. In that case, here’s an article that could help you. Keep reading to discover which piece of equipment suits your needs. 

How Audio Test Equipment Works 

Audio test equipment has different types. This device assesses whether or not a particular product meets specific standards. This device also comes in various forms, such as audio analyzers and sound testing tools. In many cases, audio testing is conducted in the industries of audio device manufacturing and sound engineering to ensure top quality and performance. 

Primarily, audio test equipment is grouped into three types according to their usability and features, including the following: 

  • Analog: equipment using electrical impulses, wave signals, and filters to evaluate the sound. 
  • Digital: equipment using binary bit and digital signal processing (DSP) 
  • Converter-Based: uses generated signals in a digital platform and uses conversion for analog input and output. 

Tips In Choosing Audio Equipment 

Before you buy an audio tester, you must consider your reason why you want to buy one. Perhaps, you’d use it to check the sound quality of an arranged music composition. Or, you want to check the sounds off new audio devices, such as speakers and radio. These immediate needs will assist you in finding the proper equipment as to suitability and usability. 

Apart from it, you could also check the following points. Here are the common tips that audio tester buyers follow to help them pick what’s best for them: 

1. Assess Accuracy, Resolution, And Measurement Range 

With an efficient audio tester, you could evaluate sound quality objectively and subjectively. Objectively, you could use audio analyzers and similar testing tools. This way, you could gauge the following properties as to accuracy and resolution: 

  • Frequency Or Pitch: It’s the number of times a sound wave repeats itself. It’s typically classified as high or low. High pitches sound like chirping birds, while low pitches sound is like the noise produced by thunder. 
  • Dynamics: It refers to how loud or soft an audio is. 
  • Tone: It refers to the regularity of vibration. 

In contrast, subjective sound evaluation makes use of audio testing tools and human responses. In many cases, the latter plays a bigger role in checking the sound quality and collective listeners’ response. Combining the two assessments provide a more realistic approach to sound measurement.  

You may check the device’s accuracy, resolution, and other capabilities in choosing the audio tester. You may use a couple of testers to see the consistency of a particular product. If the sound quality evaluations appear to be similar, you may choose it over the other.  

Yet, you should also look into the equipment’s resolution or sound quality. Lastly, you should look into the measurement range. In layman’s terms, it refers to the ability to assess the extreme points in frequency, sound quality, and other measurements. 

2. Check Input Sensitivity 

Basically, it refers to the maximum voltage the audio test equipment can handle. In addition, you may search for the device’s input sensitivity controls, so you know how to adjust the sensitivity. It’s suggested to set the source’s volume or output sound to 75% to have an elbow room for a voltage spike that varies between sources and equipment.  

You may also check the equipment’s overvoltage protection by measuring its voltage output. Overvoltage may melt components down and trigger malfunction. This feature could help safeguard input and output devices from fluctuating electrical discharge. Hence, devices with reliable overvoltage protection have a longer lifespan than those that have none.  

3. Evaluate Ease Of Use 

Ease of use simply tells how user-friendly an audio tester is. For this trip, you may look into how simple the buttons and controls are. Do they just need basic or long presses?  Is there a manual to explain each feature and function?  Moreover, you may ask how other audio men use a particular audio tester. Could they easily connect the inputs and outputs?   

If you want to know more about the general specs, here are the most common features of audio testers: 

  • sine frequency range 
  • amplitude accuracy 
  • frequency accuracy 
  • digital output rate 
  • intermodulation distortion (IMD) test-signal type 
  • maximum bandwidth 
  • fast Fourier transform (FFT) quality 
  • voltage threshold 

Apart from them, you may also consider the cables and attachments to be connected to and from the audio sources. They should be tangle-free and could be easily linked to the different audio systems. They may include broadcast facilities and audio laboratories. 

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A control panel in a radio studio

4. Research Cleaning And Maintenance Needs 

Maintaining audio test equipment may require a set of tools, skills, and patience. But, before you dwell on those things, assess first if the audio tester you’re looking to buy is maintenance-friendly. For that purpose, you may read the warning and care instructions of the device.  

After confirming that you could simply clean the tester, you may consider crafting a cleaning and maintenance plan. To contribute to that plan, here are the common tools you may need: 

  • microfiber towel 
  • isopropyl alcohol 
  • soft cotton towel 
  • vacuum with soft cleaning attachment 
  • sponges 
  • lubricant 

With the cleaning tools and materials, you could follow the steps below to make each audio tester spotless: 

  • Start with vacuuming the hard surfaces.  
  • Then, wipe the cleaned areas with an alcohol-soaked cleanser or alcohol.  
  • For delicate spaces, such as lenses and the like, use a microfiber towel.  
  • For a rougher space, you may use a cotton towel. 
  • Oil rust-prone components with the lubricant. 

5. Must Be Reasonably Priced 

Before you pay for an audio tester, seek the comparative prices of the pieces of audio testing equipment you’re choosing from. You may want to check if the prices are suitable for the features and functionality the device offers. In addition, you may fit into its warranty and other offers, such as a moneyback guarantee.  

More so, apart from the general price of the product, you may consider the prices of the spare parts. Generally, they’d add up to your budget for repairs and procurement. You may visit different stores and websites offering audio testing devices to study more about their pricing and features. 

6. Look For Certification And Calibration 

Another way to find the capability of the equipment is by way of its certification marks. In many cases, quality control labels a product when it passes some standards. In addition, you should see if the product undergoes regular calibration. In a nutshell, calibration is the main foundation of an equipment’s quality, functions, longevity, and safe use.  

You may identify if the process is done every after use, every month, or every quarter. Moreover, calibration maintains accuracy and performance. You could check the audio quality in the best way. It also ensures the capacity to measure what’s within proper range. For best results, you may choose products with published certifications and specifications. 

7. Check The Troubleshooting And Repair Needs 

Aside from the costs, you may also look into the availability of the equipment’s replaceable parts. This affects the difficulty of repairing a device should it encounter a problem. In addition, you may research and learn about basic troubleshooting. The installation and replacement of new screws or fuses shouldn’t be too complicated. These tasks also require essential tools. 

8. Look For Technological Adaptability And Software Applicability  

You may also check whether or not your tester could use the latest software and applications. These features could help in giving a more precise sound analysis. You may also assess if it’s capable of software testing and other tech functions to see if it could fit new computer processes. Moreover, you may need to evaluate the overall capability of the audio testing equipment when it comes to computer use and functions. 

9. Consider Versatility And Connectivity 

You may choose audio testers with analog, digital, and acoustic capability measurements. This allows you to use only a single piece of audio testing equipment covering different audio devices. In addition, you may look for various forms of connectivity, such as Bluetooth, HDMI, and Digital Serial. This way, you could measure a great range of audio sources.  

Wrapping Up 

Before you jump into that buying decision, you may need to think clearly about what you need. If it’s just for personal use, you may want a tester with limited capability and requires limited spaces. Yet, you may still consider the high-end products for better usability and more options. You could read fora and suggestions to know more about real people’s take on a particular product to have an honest assessment. 

Also, you may want to get back to the insights in this article if you’re planning to work on sound engineering or a music studio. You may use the tips mentioned above in this article as a guide in buying the tester that’d help you. They may be instrumental in narrowing down your choices. Above all, choose the one that could cater to your needs.

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