SignalScope 3.0 for iOS Goes Universal

Following in the footsteps of SignalScope Pro, SignalScope has now been enhanced for iPad users with native iPad support. SignalScope’s FFT analyzer and oscilloscope now support drawing on an external screen with a compatible video output adapter. The original iPad supports external screen resolutions up to 720p and the iPad 2 supports resolutions as high as 1080p and even 1920×1200 with compatible hardware. Video output support is not supported on iPhone or iPod touch.

SignalScope can be upgraded, via in-app purchase, to the full functionality of SignalScope Pro. Alternatively, additional tool upgrades, such as the octave-band spectrum analyzer or signal generator, may be purchased individually.

Like the Pro version, SignalScope now supports PDF file creation, in-app file previews, iTunes File Sharing, and three different color schemes.

Download SignalScope 3.0 for iOS

SignalScope 3 and SignalSuite 4 Complete Mac App Store Transition

Both SignalScope 3.0 and SignalSuite 4.0 became available for download on the Mac App Store, today. The availability of these two apps marks the successful transition of all of Faber Acoustical’s Mac apps to the new App Store. Both apps feature an improved user interface and require Mac OS X, version 10.6. Use of the Mac App Store requires at least Mac OS 10.6.6.

SignalScope 3 builds on SignalScope’s tradition of award-winning design and precision measurement capabilities by building on advanced technology developed for Faber Acoustical’s flagship product, Electroacoustics Toolbox.

SignalScope is a modularized, multi-channel dynamic signal analyzer and data acquisition platform for Mac. It brings powerful tools to the Macintosh platform for multi-channel, audio-band data acquisition and real-time analysis of electrical, acoustical, and electroacoustic signals and systems. The software is designed to work with any Mac-compatible audio hardware and supports multiple channels of 8, 16, 24, or 32-bit data with sample rates as high as the hardware will support.

New functionality in SignalScope includes the option to perform arithmetic operations, such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication, on two arbitrary input channels of an audio input device. Users can also specify arbitrary FFT lengths and view live spectrogram data with a logarithmic frequency scale. Two of each type of analysis tool can be opened and operated simultaneously.

Learn more about SignalScope 3.0

Download SignalScope from the Mac App Store

Download SignalScope Trial from FaberAcoustical.com

Version 4 continues SignalSuite’s tradition of offering tremendous flexibility in an audio test signal generator. The new version adds support for up to two stereo signal generators to be operated simultaneously.

Audio Unit generator support opens up endless possibilities for additional signal types. This includes signals stored in standard audio files, which can be now played within SignalSuite by using the AUAudioFilePlayer plug-in included with Mac OS X. It also opens up the option to play back signals sent across a network from another computer, via the AUNetSend/AUNetReceive plug-ins, which are also included with Mac OS X.

Learn more about SignalSuite 4.0

Download SignalSuite from the Mac App Store

Download SignalSuite Trial from FaberAcoustical.com

 

GuitarJack Rocks 3rd Gen iPhone and iPod touch

While the GuitarJack, from Sonoma Wire Works, was obviously designed with music recording in mind, it also works well as an I/O interface for test and measurement apps, like SignalScope Pro and IOScope. The GuitarJack, and the iAudioInterface from Studio Six Digital, are the only two iPod accessories I’m aware of that properly support both line level input and output via the 30-pin dock connector of iPhone and iPod touch devices. (The Alesis ProTrack supports line-level input and output, but not both simultaneously.)

GuitarJack and iPod touch 3G

GuitarJack In Brief

  • Simultaneous stereo line-level input and output
  • Compatible with 2nd and 3rd generation iPhone and iPod touch devices (Sonoma recommends using Airplane mode when using GuitarJack with an iPhone. Also, I had success using GuitarJack with the 1st generation iPhone and the 1st generation iPod touch, although I noticed that the GuitarJack’s low frequency rolloff was worse with those devices.)
  • High-impedance input available
  • Software-programmable input gain (Currently, gain settings are only accessible from within Sonoma’s FourTrack iPhone app.)
  • Reasonably flat frequency response over the audio band
  • Built to last (Its case is metal instead of flimsy plastic, like so many other iPod accessories.)

GuitarJack Frequency Response

The following plots of GuitarJack’s frequency response were produced with IOScope running on an iPod touch 3G. It’s important to note that these measurements include the response of both the output and input circuitry.

1/4

1/4

1/4

1/8

1/8

The frequency response magnitude is down by 2.6 dB at 20 Hz, relative to 1 kHz, when working with the 1/8″ input or the 1/4″ input in Lo-Z mode. As can be seen in the plots, the Hi-Z mode produces more low-frequency rolloff than the Lo-Z mode (its response is down by about 3 dB at 40 Hz). The GuitarJack rolls off the low end more than I would like, but it’s response is still pretty good for an iPod accessory.

GuitarJack is not compatible with iPhone 4, iPad, or iPod touch 4G. Fortunately, Sonoma appears to be working on a solution for the new iOS devices with model 2.

GuitarJack is available now for $199.

iPhone 4 Audio and Frequency Response Limitations

The iPad’s lack of line level audio input support via the dock connector certainly raised the question of what would be in store for the iPhone 4. Now that I have my hands on the new iPhone, I thought I would go ahead and report on the state of audio I/O on the new device.

Here’s what seems pretty clear, based on my initial tests of the iPhone 4:

  • The iPhone 4 does not accept standard iPod accessories with line level input
  • Unfortunately, the new iPhone doesn’t work with the USB connector of the iPad camera connection kit, either, so there really isn’t a two-channel audio input option at the present time.
  • The frequency response of the iPhone 4’s headset mic input is virtually identical to that of the iPhone 3GS.
  • The built-in microphone’s frequency response also closely matches that of the 3GS.

iPhone 4 Headset Input Frequency Response

iPhone 4 Built-in Microphone Frequency Response

It really is unfortunate that there is currently no way to get stereo signals into the new iPhone 4, although I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before an acceptable solution presents itself. Beyond this glaring limitation, the iPhone 4 is essentially the same as the iPhone 3GS (and iPad) in terms of its audio performance. It will be interesting to see, though, what new possibilities open up with the A4 processor, the increased memory, and the high-resolution display (which is quite amazing, by the way).

USB Audio Devices that work with iPad

The discussion of issues surrounding the iPad’s USB audio support in the previous post certainly begs the question, “Which devices work properly with the iPad?” In the table below, I list the devices I have tested with the iPad, along with some observations.

iPad USB Audio Device Compatibility

Please keep in mind that the iPad Camera Connection Kit is required to connect USB audio devices to the iPad (see the previous post).

Input Output Bus Power Notes
ART USB Dual Pre Data Loss (1) Works (2) Yes The USB Dual Pre runs on bus power, even with phantom power on. It can also run on a 9V battery.
Behringer UFO202 Data Loss (1) Works (2) Yes
Blue Icicle No N/A N/A The iPad completely rejects the Icicle with the message: “The attached USB devices is not supported.”
Griffin iMic Works Works Yes I tested an older model, but others have confirmed that the newer model also works.
MXL Mic Mate Classic Data Loss (1) N/A Yes (3) Phantom power is always on. No output channels.
MXL Mic Mate Pro Data Loss (1) Works (2) No Phantom power is always on. A self-powered USB hub is required to use the Mic Mate Pro with the iPad.
Nady UIM-2X Works Works Yes (3) Unfortunately, the UIM-2X rolls off low frequencies, below 200 Hz, which makes it undesirable as a measurement device.
  1. Input data reaches the iPad, but it gets corrupted, apparently because of improper clock synchronization.
  2. Audio output works fine, as long as the iPad app does not also retrieve input data. For example, the ART USB Dual Pre works fine with SignalSuite, which only uses audio output. The same device produces audible glitches in its output when used with SignalScope Pro, which uses the device’s input and output channels.
  3. If the input device draws too much current, the iPad will refuse to work with it, even if the iPad had already been working with the device. For example, even though the Nady UIM-2X presents itself as a high power device (one that requires more than 100 mA of current from the USB bus), the iPad will work with it until you turn the UIM-2X’s phantom power on. At that point, the iPad will indicate that it draws too much power and switch audio back to the internal mic and speaker.

In summary, of the devices mentioned above, only the Griffin iMic and Nady UIM-2X work properly for both audio input and output with the iPad. Audio output generally works on output-capable devices, although some devices produce audible glitches when both input and output are used by an iPad app. Unfortunately, there still isn’t a simple, bus powered solution for connecting a phantom-powered measurement microphone to the iPad.

Feel free to share your iPad USB audio experience in the comments.

USB Audio on iPad

As I mentioned in a previous post, the iPad does not support audio line level input through its 30-pin dock connector. This would seem to be a major limitation of the iPad, as far as audio-band test and measurement is concerned, if it weren’t for the fact that the iPad can function as a USB host for USB audio input/output devices. Unfortunately, however, connecting a USB audio device is not as straightforward as it might seem. The goal, here, is to enumerate some of the current issues with USB audio on the iPad.

Add a USB port to your iPad with the Camera Connection Kit

USB audio support on the iPad — issues to be aware of:

  • USB devices currently must be connected to the iPad via the USB port of the iPad Camera Connection Kit. It’s the USB-dock adapter in the camera connection kit that switches the iPad into USB host mode.
  • The iPad can only provide bus power to low-power USB devices (those which draw 100 mA, or less, of current). Devices that require more power can still be used with the iPad, but they will either need to be self-powered (typically via a battery or AC adapter), or they will need to be connected via a powered USB hub.
  • The iPad supports full-speed, 16-bit, USB audio class compliant audio devices. High speed and 24-bit devices are not supported. Devices which to not conform to the USB audio class are also not supported. If a device supports both 24-bit and 16-bit operation, it should be switched to 16-bit mode before it is connected to the iPad.
  • Only sample rates up to 48 kHz are supported.
  • When a USB audio device is used for input, neither the iPad’s headphone jack nor its built-in speaker can be used for output. Both input and output are routed through the USB port, by the OS.
  • Asynchronous USB audio devices experience periodic data loss when used with the iPad. (Hopefully, Apple will move to properly support asynchronous USB audio devices, soon, since this essentially renders useless a significant number of otherwise capable devices. I’ll indicate which devices I have found that fall into this category in a future post.)

iPad Audio Input Options

It turns out that in some ways, getting audio signals into the iPad is similar to getting audio signals into the iPhone 3GS, and in some ways it’s not. Like the iPhone, the iPad includes a built-in microphone as well as support for a headset microphone through its headset jack. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad does not support audio line level input via the 30-pin dock connector, so you won’t be able to use existing iPod mic/line accessories with your iPad.

The iPad’s lack of audio line input support would appear to be a major limitation of the device, particularly for audio test and measurement apps. However, it turns out that the iPad can act as a USB host with support for 16-bit, 48 kHz USB Audio Class compliant devices. All you need to do is plug a compatible USB audio device into the USB port of the iPad Camera Connection Kit and you’re good to go. (I’ll spend more time explaining what “compatible” means in a future post.)

Frequency Response

So how does the frequency response of the built-in microphone and the headset input compare? I measured both and offer comparisons with the iPhone 3GS. It turns out that the two devices have very similar characteristics for their mic inputs.

The iPad's built-in microphone frequency response is nearly identical to that of the iPhone 3GS.

The iPad headset input seems to begin it's low-end rolloff above where the iPhone 3GS does, but again, their responses are similar.

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