An update regarding the iPad microphone with iOS 9.3+

The Faber app updates released this week address the issue with the built-in iPad microphone input gain. In short, with the release of iOS 9.3.1, Apple chose to change the input gain range for the built-in microphone on iPad, which meant that apps such as SoundMeter needed to either adjust input gain or input sensitivity in order to continue to allow for reasonably accurate sound level measurements. Unfortunately, iOS versions 9.3.1 through 9.3.4 contain a bug that causes the previous input gain range to be applied after a microphone is connected to the headset jack and then removed.

The following Faber apps have been updated with a built-in workaround to properly apply the appropriate input gain on each version of iOS:

Each app has also been updated to support iOS 10 when it is released later this year.

A caution regarding the iPad microphone with iOS 9.3+

Some of you may have already discovered that if you use one of our apps on an iPad running iOS 9.3.1, the built-in microphone does not work as expected. For example, if you run SoundMeter and press start, you see a reading of “-inf” rather than something more reasonable, like “52.5 dB”.

You may have also noticed that if you set the mic input gain to Mid, rather than Low, that you get a reading, but it is very low, like “-22.0 dB”. If you keep the input gain set at High, then you should see similar results to what you saw before the recent updates to iOS.

We have recently discovered that, while running SoundMeter, if you then connect a headset microphone and disconnect it, the built-in microphone readings will behave just as they have since the introduction of iOS 8.0. In other words, connecting and disconnecting a headset microphone returns things to normal for the built-in mic.

If you rely on SoundMeter, or one of our other apps, for regular sound level measurements, you might want to consider holding off on updating iOS until a solution is available. For those who have already updated, the workaround of connecting and disconnecting a headset microphone offers a solution for continuing to work with the built-in microphone as before.

Because of the change in input signal level that occurs with the built-in microphone with the connection and subsequent disconnection of a headset microphone, this is a problem that we cannot fix with an update to our apps. It must be corrected by Apple (we have already filed a detailed bug report with Apple). It does not just affect our apps, but potentially any audio app that uses the built-in microphone with the input gain set to anything less than the maximum value. (We have verified that measurement apps from other developers that rely on the iPad’s built-in microphone can also be affected by this.)

We have recently verified this issue, and the workaround, with 5 different iPad models and believe it to be of general concern for all iPad models that support iOS 9.3. We are not aware of any similar issues with iPhone or iPod touch.

SoundMeter updated for iPhone 6S and iOS 9

SoundMeterProIcon76@2xSoundMeter 8.2 and SoundMeter Pro 4.2 are now available for download on the App Store. Each new version includes proper handling of the built-in microphone on iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices and minor changes in iOS 9.

Unfortunately, the new iPhones do not support analog input gain selection for the built-in microphones as previous iPhone models did. The fixed input gain of the iPhone 6S/Plus matches the “Mid” input gain setting in the iPhone 5C, 5S, and 6 models. This means that the peak sound level that can be measured using the built-in microphone of the new iPhones is nominally 116.5 dB. Previous iPhones, on their lowest input gain setting, could measure nominal peak levels of 136 dB.Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 2.56.19 PM

The SoundMeter apps now allow mixing audio with other apps. This means that it is possible to play music from the Music app while performing measurements with SoundMeter or SoundMeter Pro. It is also possible to mix the output of the signal generator with the audio output from another app.

Also new in each app, when using an iPhone or iPad that has multiple built-in microphones, the unique name of the selected microphone is displayed (e.g. “Bottom Microphone” or “Right Microphone”).

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SoundMeter now offers Octave data logging on iPhone and iPad

For some time, SoundMeter has offered an optional in-app upgrade that would allow users to log sound level and noise dose measurements for up to two weeks. Version 8.1 adds an upgrade to allow whole and 1/3 octave sound levels to be logged for similar durations. The Octave Data Logging Upgrade will be made available within SoundMeter to users who have already purchased the Octave Analyzer Upgrade.

OctaveSurf

When Octave data logging is enabled, logged levels are displayed in a 2D color surface plot below the standard Octave spectrum graph. The color scale is defined by the vertical scale of the spectrum graph. A data cursor may be placed within the log plot to identify specific levels associated with date,  time, and frequency band.

Octave data can be logged as often as every 0.1 seconds for up to 1 hour, every second for up to 10 hours, or every 10 seconds for up to two weeks. Larger intervals can also be specified in each case.

When data logging is enabled, logged levels will also be included when saving data to a CSV, TXT, or MAT
file. (Saving data in SoundMeter requires the Data Acquisition Upgrade, sold separately.)

SoundMeter Pro includes all the functionality of SoundMeter plus that of SoundMeter’s in-app upgrades. Current SoundMeter Pro users get the additional Octave data logging functionality for free.

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OctaveLog

iOS Audio Hardware: Stereo input via USB

If you’re looking for a way to acquire stereo input signals in apps like SignalScope Pro or IOScope, you’ll be pleased to know that you can connect a USB audio device to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. Built-in USB audio support in iOS opens up a vast array of options for getting audio signals into, and out of, your iOS device. (USB audio support on iPhone and iPod touch requires iOS 7 or later.)

Compatibility

The trick is to find a device that conforms to the USB Audio Device Class specification, which essentially means that no special drivers are required when connecting the device to a host, like a Mac or an iPhone. Some device manufacturers clearly state that their product works with iOS and some do not. In general, if you find a USB audio device that does not require special drivers to work with Mac OS, then it will work with iOS as well.

Power

One thing to consider when selecting a USB audio device to connect to your iPhone or iPad is power. Some USB audio devices require an external power source, which means portability will be somewhat limited due to the need to have an A/C power outlet nearby. Other devices support USB bus power, which means they’ll draw their power from the host device (e.g. the iPhone). For portability, this would be the ideal situation since the iPhone and input device could be completely portable and operate for the life of the iPhone’s battery. However, only low-power devices can be directly powered by an iPhone or iPad, which means that a lot of otherwise compatible USB audio devices cannot be connected to iOS without some other source of power. For bus-powered USB devices that require more power, it is possible to maintain some portability with a USB battery power supply and an additional adapter cable.

A Few Examples (portable and inexpensive)

Stereo USB Audio Devices
Behringer UCA202
The UCA202 from Behringer offers very inexpensive and portable stereo input for iOS.

It features:

  • 16-bit/48 kHz sampling
  • 2 inputs and 2 outputs with RCA jacks
  • Headphone output with volume control (1/8″ jack)
  • Low power operation so it can be powered directly by an iPhone or iPad
  • S/PDIF optical digital output
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Behringer UFO202
The Behringer UFO202 is similar to the UCA202. Instead of a digital output, it offers the option to select between line-level and phono preamp input.
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ART USB Dual Pre
Another inexpensive option, which also adds mic preamps with switchable 48V phantom power, is the USB Dual Pre from ART.

It features:

  • 16-bit/48 kHz sampling
  • 2 inputs with XLR / 1/4″ combo jacks for mic preamp or line-level input
  • 2 outputs with 1/4″ jacks
  • Headphone output with volume control
  • Low power operation so it can be powered directly by an iPhone or iPad
  • Switchable 48V phantom power, powered from a 9V battery
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Adapters
Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
This adapter is all that’s needed to connect a compatible USB audio device to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with a Lightning connector. As indicated above, if your USB device needs additional power, additional components will be needed. That will be discussed in a separate article.
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Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit
If you have an older iPhone or iPad with a 30-pin dock connector, you can connect a USB audio device with the USB adapter included in this kit. Remember that iOS 7 is required for USB audio on iPhone.
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SignalScope Pro 4 for iOS uniquely identifies USB audio devices

SignalScope Pro version 4 can uniquely identify USB audio devices attached to iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and remember user settings for each device the next time it is connected. Direct support has been added for The Modal Shop’s model 333D01 USB digital accelerometer and miniDSP’s UMIK-1 USB measurement microphone. With the 333D01, SignalScope Pro automatically loads serial number and sensitivity calibration information directly from the device as soon as it is connected. When the UMIK-1 is connected, SignalScope Pro recognizes it and prompts the user for its serial number. Sensitivity calibration and frequency response data for the UMIK-1 can then be downloaded automatically, just by entering the UMIK-1’s serial number.

Another major new feature in version 4 is SignalScope Pro’s ability to load microphone frequency response data (FRD) and apply frequency response correction (FRC) to FFT spectrum measurements. FRD can be loaded for any input channel, for any kind of transducer (i.e. it’s not just for microphones). Sophisticated interpolation techniques are employed to generate a smooth frequency response
correction curve that matches the loaded data. This correction curve can then be applied to an FFT spectrum
of arbitrary length or frequency resolution.

SSP4 Accel and Mic

Also new in version 4:

– SignalScope Pro directly supports The Modal Shop’s model 333D01 USB digital accelerometer, and can automatically load serial number and sensitivity calibration information directly from the device. Making calibrated acceleration measurements is as easy as plugging in the 333D01. Factory calibration information is embedded in exported audio files (from the Oscope tool) when data is acquired with the 333D01.

– SignalScope Pro directly supports the miniDSP UMIK-1 USB measurement microphone. Sensitivity calibration and frequency response data for the UMIK-1 can be downloaded automatically, just by entering the UMIK-1’s serial number. Making calibrated sound level measurements is as easy as plugging in the UMIK-1 and typing in its serial number (the serial number only needs to be entered once, after which SignalScope Pro will remember the microphone sensitivity).

– Additional dB scales of 3, 6, 12, 15, and 18 dB per div are now supported by the FFT analyzer. Also, when adjusting the dB scale manually, the dB offset will always be set as a multiple of the scale so that 0 dB is always available in the vertical axis labels.

– Minor bug fixes and cosmetic enhancements.

– Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or iPad Camera Connection Kit is required for connecting USB Audio devices to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

– SignalScope Pro 4 requires iOS 7 or later.

Similar features have been added to SignalScope 5.0, although select in-app upgrades may be required (available via in-app purchase).

Download SignalScope Pro

Faber Acoustical announces SoundMeter Pro for iOS

Building on the success of SoundMeter, which debuted on the iPhone App Store in August of 2008, Faber Acoustical has announced the release of SoundMeter Pro. SoundMeter Pro turns your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a handheld data-logging sound level meter (SLM), data-logging noise dosimeter, and real-time analyzer (RTA).

SoundMeter Pro works with built-in or external measurement microphones to deliver reliable sound level measurements, including time-weighted and equivalent sound levels in addition to percentile-exceeded sound levels and noise dose. Measured levels can be logged at intervals as small as 0.1 seconds for durations of up to two weeks (longer measurement durations may require larger logging intervals). The built-in Octave tool performs sound level measurements in whole or 1/3-octave frequency bands.

In a recent article published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, NIOSH researchers found that, out of over 130 sound measurement apps for iOS, “SoundMeter is the app best suited for occupational and general purpose noise measurements.” SoundMeter Pro builds on everything SoundMeter has to offer.

With the built-in or headset microphone, SoundMeter Pro can measure peak sound levels of up to approximately 130 dB. Results may vary between iOS devices and headset microphones. External microphones may enable the measurement of much higher sound levels.

SoundMeter Pro also includes various features that users have come to expect from Faber apps, including the ability to save measurement data to CSV, TXT, or MAT files, save measurement displays to high resolution PDF files, switch between three different color schemes, and calibrate microphone input sensitivity. Exported data files may be retrieved from the iOS device via iTunes File Sharing or by enabling the app’s built-in file server and downloading the files to another device or computer via a standard web browser. The built-in signal generator tool further extends SoundMeter Pro’s utility by producing any of various test signals, including white noise, pink noise, frequency sweeps, and periodic waveforms.

Faber Acoustical has simultaneously announced the availability of SoundMeter 5.0. The new version of SoundMeter adds support for a new Data Logging Upgrade, which is available via in-app purchase. SoundMeter Pro includes all the functionality of SoundMeter 5 with all its available in-app purchase upgrades. Although both apps run on iOS 6, each also features a user interface tailored for iOS 7.

NOTE: Although it has been designed to do so, SoundMeter Pro is not guaranteed to meet ANSI or IEC standards for sound level meters. These standards require conformance of the entire measurement system, including software, hardware and microphones.

The built-in and headset microphones are suitable for certain, basic sound level measurements, but high precision external microphones may also be used with appropriate audio accessory hardware. Even though default sensitivity values are included for the built-in and headset microphones, for best results, SoundMeter Pro should be calibrated before use. Sound levels may be off by a few dB when using the default microphone sensitivity.

   SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 1 SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 2

   SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 3 SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 4

 

Minimum Requirements:
* iOS 6.0 or later
* iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
* 4.12 MB

Pricing and Availability:
SoundMeter Pro is now available for download on the App Store for $99.99 (USD). External hardware may be required for analog input capability. More information on SoundMeter Pro can be found at Faber Acoustical online. More information regarding suitable input devices for specific iOS devices can be found on the Faber Acoustical blog.

Download SoundMeter Pro

Download SoundMeter 5.0

SoundMeter and dB support new iPads

Nominal microphone sensitivities for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display have been added to SoundMeter 4.0.1 and dB 3.0.1.

Both apps also display dark blue toolbars in the black color scheme to make it easier to view the screen in dark environments.

SoundMeter additionally corrects the HTTP file server configuration screen, which now scrolls to reveal the web URL on 3.5-inch iPhone screens (the file server is available for in-app purchase as part of the data acquisition upgrade).

SoundMeter Screenshot iPhone 5

 

SoundMeter 4.0.1 and dB 3.0.1 are both available for download on the App Store.

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SignalScope Pro and SignalScope for iOS updated for iPad Air and new iPad mini

SignalScope Pro 3.0.1 and SignalScope 4.0.1 for iOS include updated nominal input sensitivities for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

Also new in SignalScope Pro:

  • Toolbars are now a dark blue in the black color scheme to make it easier to view the app in dark environments.
  • The HTTP file server configuration screen now scrolls to reveal the web URL on 3.5-inch iPhone screens (in SignalScope, the file server is available for in-app purchase as part of the data acquisition upgrade).

 

SignalScope Pro Screenshot iPhone 6

 

SignalScope Pro 3.0.1 and SignalScope 4.0.1 are now available for download on the App Store.

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Download SignalScope

 

IOScope 3.0 Updated for iOS 7

As in recent updates to SignalScope Pro and SoundMeter, IOScope’s appearance has been completely revamped for iOS 7. IOScope supports both iOS 6 and iOS 7, but looks largely the same on iOS 6 as the previous version.

Also new in version 3:

– Audio data handling is more efficient.

– For devices that support input gain adjustment on the built-in or headset microphone, the input gain is stored with exported data.

– When entering a preferred sample rate, “48k” can be entered in the text box, as an alternative to typing out “48000.”

– Default input sensitivities have been updated, based on measurements of the iPhone 5S and 5C microphones and headset inputs.

– Cursor info text now uses a larger font.

 

IOScope Screenshot iPhone 1 IOScope Screenshot iPhone 2 IOScope Screenshot iPhone 3

IOScope Screenshot iPhone 4 IOScope Screenshot iPhone 5

 

Download IOScope 3.0

 

 

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