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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Easy calibrated vibration measurements on Mac or iOS

digiducer_04_CE_mediumAlthough Faber Mac and iOS apps have offered excellent sound and vibration analysis tools from the start, the introduction of the Digiducer 333D01 USB Digital Accelerometer makes vibration measurement easier and more portable. When the 333D01 is connected to a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, it will be immediately recognized by our apps and ready for calibrated measurements.

For example, SignalScope Pro will recognize the connected 333D01 as an accelerometer and set the measurement units accordingly. SignalScope Pro will also automatically read calibration information from the 333D01 and establish the appropriate sensitivity so calibrated measurements can be made immediately. This works with both the Mac and iOS versions of SignalScope Pro.

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The 333D01 communicates with Mac OS or iOS via the standard USB Audio Class driver. Connecting to a Mac is as simple as plugging the 333D01’s cable into an available USB port. For iOS, Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter is required.* When connecting to iOS, no additional power source is required, which makes Faber apps and the 333D01 part of an ultraportable vibration measurement system.

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Auto-calibrated measurements with the 333D01 are supported in Electroacoustics Toolbox, SignalScope and SignalScope Pro for Mac, and in IOScopeSignalScope and SignalScope Pro for iOS.

 

Buy the 333D01 USB Digital Accelerometer

Download Electroacoustics Toolbox (Mac)

Download SignalScope Pro (Mac)

Download IOScope (iOS)

Download SignalScope Pro (iOS)

 

*Older iOS devices may require a 30-pin to USB adapter, such as the one available in Apple’s original iPad Camera Connection Kit.

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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Real-time 3D Spectrogram now available in SignalScope for iOS

Faber Acoustical is pleased to announce that a live Spectrogram tool is now available for purchase within SignalScope and SignalScope Pro. The Spectrogram tool is offered in both 2D and 3D versions. The 3D Spectrogram includes all the functionality of the 2D version and adds powerful hardware-accelerated 3D plotting capabilities including a live 3D surface plot. A 3D upgrade is available to those who opt to purchase the 2D version.

3D Spectrogram

The real-time Spectrogram plots FFT-based spectral data versus time in a colorful surface plot. Signal magnitude at each time and frequency is represented by color. Use single-finger tap and drag to place a data cursor within the plot. When the cursor is visible, details regarding time, frequency, and magnitude will be displayed above the plot.

Main Features (available in both versions of the Spectrogram tool:

  • Frequency resolutions between 1 Hz and 50 Hz, depending on sample rate, may be specified for audio input (between 1 Hz and 10 Hz for the built-in accelerometer).
  • Input data can be windowed with one of 7 different FFT data window types.
  • Spectrogram data can be captured over time periods ranging from 2 to 20 seconds.
  • Lin, log, and dB magnitude scales with Up, Down, or Full auto-scaling.
  • Lin and log frequency scales.
  • Fractional-octave band frequency smoothing in 1/6, 1/12, and 1/24-octave bands.
  • Cursor peak track can track peaks in time, frequency, or both.
  • Color scale bar graph enables manual adjustment of magnitude scale and offset. The color scale can also be hidden.
  • Data may be exported to CVS, MAT, or TXT files for post processing or plotting. Optionally, include GPS location information with exported data. (The data export option is included in SignalScope Pro. It requires the Data Acquisition upgrade, sold separately, in the standard version of SignalScope.)
  • Optionally save a high-resolution PDF file of the spectrogram plot, or save an image to your Photos library.

3D Spectrogram Features:

  • Choose between 2D and 3D surface plots. Each plot can be drawn live (in real time).
  • Trackball-style 3D rotation of the 3D surface plot, just by dragging a single finger across the plot.
  • Tap with a single finger to place a cursor within the 3D plot.
  • In 3D, the cursor outlines the time and frequency slice associated with its current location.
  • Optional grid planes for each axis (magnitude vs. frequency, magnitude vs. time, and frequency vs. time) are drawn at the bounds of the 3D plotting region.
  • By default, the 3D spectrogram is drawn as a surface and magnitude values are represented by both position and color. The surface can be turned off, which allows data to be drawn only as a mesh.
  • The 3D spectrogram data can be seen as a solid-colored mesh (the mesh draws nothing between its lines or points). The mesh can be overlaid on the surface or drawn alone.
  • The mesh can be drawn as lines in time, lines in frequency, or lines across both time and frequency. It can alternatively be drawn as a series of dots, each one representing a single spectrogram data point.
  • When only viewing the 3D spectrogram data as a mesh, the time and frequency slices outlined by the cursor show through the mesh, making it very easy to see them in the midst of the rest of the data.

Also new in SignalScope and SignalScope Pro:

  • GPS coordinates, altitude, and accuracy may now optionally be saved with FFT, Spectrogram, or Oscope data when exporting to a data file (Data Acquisition Upgrade required in SignalScope).
  • Downloaded frequency response data for connected microphones will automatically be saved in a file in the Frequency_Response_Data folder to make it easier to access at a later time.
  • Smarter selection of the maximum frequency when FFT data smoothing is enabled.
  • Fixed an issue with Full Autoscale in the FFT analyzer.
  • Other minor cosmetic improvements and bug fixes.

Download SignalScope Pro 6.0

Download SignalScope 7.0

 

SoundMeter Pro adds NC, RNC, NR reference curves and Octave data overlays

SoundMeter Pro 3 now offers the option to overlay noise criteria (NC), room noise criteria (RNC), or noise rating (NR) references curves over the live Octave analyzer bar graph. When NC or NR references curves are visible, SoundMeter Pro also calculates the NC or NR value, respectively. Speech interference level (SIL) is also calculated.

As in the recent update to SignalScope Pro, SoundMeter Pro’s Octave analyzer tool now offers the option to load whole or 1/3-octave spectrum data from exported Octave data files. Up to six sound spectrum curves can be overlaid on the live bar graph. It is possible to select the individual channels from which to load data when multiple channels of data exist within a single file. Also of note is the ability to overlay 1/3-octave data on a whole-octave bar graph and vice versa.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 7.16.14 PM

SoundMeter Pro 3 also features the following improvements:

  • The Octave tool now calculates Lp, Leq, and Lx values, regardless of which is currently being displayed.
  • The Octave tool calculates the noise criterion (NC) and speech interference level (SIL) as defined in ANSI S12.2-2008, as well as the noise rating (NR) level.
  • SoundMeter Pro 3 employs a new plotting framework for real-time data graphs and high resolution image export.
  • GPS coordinates, altitude, and accuracy may now optionally be saved with Octave analyzer data. Retrieving location information now works on iOS 8 for the Meter and Dosimeter tools, which can also export more detailed location information.
  • When viewing details for data files saved within the app, the Open In button now works properly on both iOS 7 and iOS 8. Depending on the file type and the apps installed and/or configured on your iOS device, options may be presented for emailing, previewing, printing or copying the file, in addition to opening the file in another app.

SoundMeter 7 offers the same enhancements as SoundMeter Pro 3, although some of the new features require upgrades which are available in SoundMeter via in-app purchase. These upgrades include the Octave Analyzer RTA Tool, Percentile-Exceeded Sound Levels, and Data Acquisition Support.

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SoundMeter was the first sound level meter app ever available for iPhone and has been recognized as one of the most accurate and most reliable.

Download SoundMeter Pro 3

Download SoundMeter 7

 

SignalScope Pro 5 adds FFT and Octave data overlays, new hardware support

SignalScope Pro 5.0 and SignalScope 6.0*, both now available for download on the App Store, add support for up to 7 FFT spectrum curves to be loaded from existing data files (CSV, MAT, or tab-delimited text files previously saved from the FFT analyzer tool). Live FFT data can be overlaid on these curves. When loaded data files include multiple channels of FFT data, one or more of those channels can be selected for display in the current FFT plot. The addition of controls for adjusting the line thickness and opacity of loaded data makes it easy to visually distinguish between live and static FFT data. The FFT analyzer also now supports fractional-octave band smoothing of curves displayed in the plot. (It is important to note this is simply smoothing of the FFT curve—it does not simulate the behavior of true fractional octave band filtering, such as that offered by the Octave analyzer tool, which is included in SignalScope Pro.)

The Octave analyzer tool** also now offers the option to load whole or 1/3-octave spectrum data from data files. Up to six curves can be overlaid on the live bar graph. Again, it is possible to select the individual channels from which to load data when multiple channels of data exist within a single file.

Another significant addition to SignalScope and SignalScope Pro is direct support for iTestMic and iAudioInterface2 hardware from Studio Six Digital, as well as the Dayton UMM-6 USB measurement microphone. The new hardware support is consistent with the additions made to SoundMeter Pro 2.3.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.56.20 AM

Also new in SignalScope Pro:

  • SignalScope Pro 5 employs a new plotting framework for real-time data graphs and high resolution image export.
  • The black color scheme now uses black status bar, toolbar, and tab bar backgrounds.
  • Support for drawing directly to an external screen (from iPad) has been removed in favor of screen mirroring, which is handled by iOS.
  • Audio hardware input and output options are now presented from a separate toolbar button, which looks like a microphone, on iPad, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
  • It is possible to adjust the line thickness of live and loaded frequency response data. The opacity of loaded data can also be adjusted in order to make the live data stand out in the graph.
  • The oscilloscope time scale can now be set from the oscilloscope options menu.
  • Saving an audio file no longer causes a crash when working with large oscilloscope time scales.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 11.59.04 AM

Download SignalScope Pro 5.0

Download SignalScope 6.0

* Data file export and import in SignalScope requires the Data Acquisition Upgrade, available via in-app purchase.

** The Octave analyzer tool is available in SignalScope via in-app purchase. It is included in SignalScope Pro.

RoomScope 4 with additional hardware support is now available for download

RoomScope 4.0 is now available for download on the App Store.

As with the recent update to IOScope, RoomScope now supports fractional octave band smoothing of 2Ch FR magnitude and coherence data (1/6, 1/12, and 1/24 octave bandwidths). RoomScope also adds built in support for iTestMic and iAudioInterface2 from Studio Six Digital and support for automatic downloading of sensitivity and frequency response data for the Dayton UMM-6 USB measurement microphone.

Other improvements to RoomScope include the following:

– RoomScope 4 employs a new plotting framework for real-time data graphs and high resolution image export.

– A bar graph is now used to display room acoustics parameters across octave or 1/3-octave frequency bands.

– Support for drawing directly to an external screen (from iPad) has been removed in favor of screen mirroring, which is handled by iOS.

– Audio hardware input and output options are now presented from a separate toolbar button, which looks like a microphone, on iPad, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

– It is possible to adjust the line thickness of plotted data.

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Download RoomScope 4.0

 

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