SoundMeter 2.0 is on the App Store

As in recent updates to SignalScope and SignalScope Pro, SoundMeter now runs natively on iPad, as well as iPhone and iPod touch.

SoundMeter now supports 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.

SoundMeter also supports saving the sound level display to PDF files, which can be accessed via iTunes File Sharing on a Mac or PC. The same black, blue, and white color schemes as found in SignalScope Pro 2 are also supported in SoundMeter 2.

Download SoundMeter 2

SoundMeter 2.0 Screenshot

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 Pro 3.0 is in the Mac App Store

SignalScope Pro 3.0 for Mac OS 10.6 is now available for download on the Mac App Store.

Faber Acoustical has announced the release of SignalScope Pro 3.0. The latest release of Faber Acoustical’s most popular acoustical test and measurement toolset for Mac is now available for purchase in the Mac App Store. Version 3 of SignalScope Pro features an enhanced user interface, better control over audio device configurations, and more comprehensive user preferences.

SignalScope Pro offers a suite of tools on the Mac for dynamic and real-time signal analysis, data acquisition, and automated testing. SignalScope Pro was designed for researchers, educators, consultants, and advanced hobbyists. Despite its power and flexibility, SignalScope Pro provides an intuitive user interface that enables even complex measurements to be configured within a few minutes. Those measurement configurations can then be saved and reloaded when the need arises.

 

New functionality in SignalScope Pro 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 in 3D with a logarithmic frequency scale. Two of each type of analysis tool can be opened and operated simultaneously.

Minimum Requirements:
* Intel-based Mac
* Requires Mac OS 10.6 or later

Pricing and Availability:
SignalScope Pro 3.0 is now available for download on the Mac App Store for $199.99 (USD) in the Utilities category. Those who wish to try SignalScope Pro before they buy are welcome to download a free 30-day trial. SignalScope Pro 2 users can upgrade to version 3 for $99 at our online store.

Learn more about SignalScope Pro 3.0

Download SignalScope Pro from the Mac App Store

Download SignalScope Pro 3 trial

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.

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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 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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