With rising demand, competition, and evolution of technology in the audio devices industry, the need for quality user experience for immersive and high quality sound output is increasing significantly. Also, the time to market for a new, improved product cycle has reduced drastically because of increasing technical competency of the industry and race to be first and best in its class.
Why Do We Need Audio Certification?
The primary purpose of any device related to audio output is to provide a high quality audio. Making it smart and feature-loaded is icing on the cake to compete within the market. However, a smart audio device with poor sound quality would render itself worthless. Looking at the evolution of multipurpose digital platforms, including TVs and setup boxes, the electronic design and manufacturing companies must embrace a wide variety of audio codes to provide the seamless entertainment to end user.
However, the measure of quality for a device is unique for each person. In order to eliminate this discrimination, there has to be a universal benchmark/set of protocols, which decides the quality of audio output of the device against it.
To get the benchmark audio performance of the device to be officially available, the device has to be certified by the authority validating the quality of the audio output against the set of protocols to achieve and globally acceptable standard. This is where audio certification is required.
What is Audio Certification?
Audio Certification is the process to certify the audio output device to be compliant with a set of standards as per the tests for the certification authority benchmark specified. All the tests for the intended certification benchmark should pass.
Who Defines the Tests?
The certification authority defines the set of tests as per the Audio Device compatibility or the output capacity of the device. One of the most popular certification authority is Dolby.
What do these Tests Contain?
The tests contain a set of signals intended for a specific channel(s) of the device to verify the correct behavior of a decoder including features such as bass management, dialog normalization, and bit exactness, as well as fundamental audio performance characteristics. For each licensed technology, the certification authority defines the compliance requirements any licensee's device must satisfy.
What are the Potential Devices Under Test?
Potential Devices Under Test (DUTs) Include:
• Set-top boxes / DVRs
• Smart TVs
• Game consoles
• Media streamers / streaming platforms
Tested Outputs Include:
How to Execute the Tests
The tests are available as a part of the Dolby SDK License at a cost.
The equipment and software used to execute the certification tests is called an Audio Analyzer. One of the most popular audio analyzers available in market is made by Audio Precision with different configuration to support various number of channels.
Audio Precision also comes with an APx4.0 Project Controller software running on Windows platform to import the test, setup the different channels of the equipment connected to DUT, execute tests and generate result.
Test Automation with Audio Analyzer
Audio certification test automation with the Audio Precision device is possible with the command line APIs provided by Audio Precision. The Audio Precision also has a Windows application to configure the DUT, execute tests and report test results.
Audio Precision also provides comprehensive set of APIs/Commands, which can be executed via Serial Connection to the test system. Most frameworks supporting serial interface automation can perform automation of the Audio Precision device to execute audio certification tests.
The automated test to run audio certification provides a solution to execute the tests for different types of OEMs and manufacturer DUTs with minimum manual intervention. eInfochips, an Arrow company, is a leading global provider of product engineering and semiconductor design services. Contact eInfochips for obtaining the audio certification for audio devices.
About the Author
Pavankumar Barot is working as a Technical Lead at eInfochips. He has more than 9 years of experience in Product Engineering Services (PES) such as QA Automation and Development.