Speaker design/test software

Subjects that don't have their own home
Post Reply
chris661
Shed dweller
Posts: 2256
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:29 am
Location: Sheffield

Speaker design/test software

Post by chris661 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:46 am

There was a bit of interest at Owston, so I thought I'd post up about the software I use to design and test speakers. The software is all free, and the hardware required can be bought for less than £100. I spent more on my mic as the cheap ones aren't always perfectly flat. If anyone wants a calibration curve for their mic, I'm happy to produce those for free for longer-standing members of this forum.

As I explained to Nick (briefly), my workflow goes like this:

- Buy some suitable drivers (after reading lots of reviews/tests, and running some simulations in Hornresp)
- Measure T/S parameters of the actual drive units
- Design the cabinet for those T/S parameters, with sensible baffle positioning to avoid excess diffraction etc
- Measure the drivers in those cabinets (impedance and frequency response). Export the measurements to XSim.
- Simulate a passive crossover
- Build the passive crossover, and measure the result to make sure it lines up with the simulations (that last step is just as an overall check that everything has worked correctly).


The software I use for that lot is:
- REW - all the measurement stuff. You'll need a USB soundcard, measurement mic, and a particular cable to measure impedance. You get frequency/phase response, impulse, distortion (by component) vs frequency, waterfalls, and a load of other stuff.
- XSim - crossovers.

The hardware I use is:
- Behringer UMC202HD
- Beyerdynamic MM1
- Some cables and a mic stand

You could substitute the MM1 for a Behringer ECM8000, which are about £20.

Happy to answer any questions and provide general support for that lot. I think Owston helped demonstrate that measurements can be useful for helping to get things lined up, and then it's a case of tweaking to get the sound right for the listener's own tastes.

Cheers, all.
Chris

User avatar
IslandPink
No idea why I do this anymore
Posts: 6959
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 7:01 pm
Location: Denbigh, N.Wales

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by IslandPink » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:23 am

I need to digest this, I could do with getting things going again. I'll check what microphone I have ( the one Nick has lent me ) . I now have a decent-spec laptop. Might need to upgrade the soundcard , let me check in more detail what you've written.
"The bass is the king of the instruments - it has no known natural predator" (Wobble)

User avatar
Nick
Site Admin
Posts: 11886
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 10:20 am
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by Nick » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:37 am

The mic is a ECM8000
Resistance isn't futile it's V / I.

User avatar
Nick
Site Admin
Posts: 11886
Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 10:20 am
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by Nick » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:41 am

This is a easy way of connecting a laptop to a mic

https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_u_p ... c202hd.htm
Resistance isn't futile it's V / I.

User avatar
ed
retired
Posts: 3887
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 pm
Location: yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by ed » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:57 pm

IslandPink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:23 am
I need to digest this, I could do with getting things going again. I'll check what microphone I have ( the one Nick has lent me ) . I now have a decent-spec laptop. Might need to upgrade the soundcard , let me check in more detail what you've written.
Did you dismiss the idea of the clio setup Mark?
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

User avatar
IslandPink
No idea why I do this anymore
Posts: 6959
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 7:01 pm
Location: Denbigh, N.Wales

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by IslandPink » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:21 pm

No, but from your last comment on my thread, I thought you'd got cold feet about seliing it ?
I think I need to have a look at what's involved in both, though. Chris's may be enough for what I need and is obviously very quick to use. I need a bit of time to look at this - which is in short supply for a week or two. I'll keep you posted.
"The bass is the king of the instruments - it has no known natural predator" (Wobble)

User avatar
ed
retired
Posts: 3887
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 pm
Location: yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by ed » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:41 pm

ok, no worries. let me know if you're interested.
I think I'm looking for £100ish for the whole kit and caboodle, which is:
the pc
the s/w
the interface card
the interface switch/preamp box/phantom power
the manual and all wires
the mic(audiomatica mic01- normally 250 euros)
the output/calibration amp and power supply
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

User avatar
IslandPink
No idea why I do this anymore
Posts: 6959
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 7:01 pm
Location: Denbigh, N.Wales

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by IslandPink » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:36 pm

Well I got the Behringer UMC202HD today. Seems like a rather clever box of tricks and quite nicely made for the money.
Sorry Ed - looks like this is going to be a bit easier to use and less stuff to store.
If, however, you wanted to sell your microphone separately, I would give you some decent cash for it. It ought to be better than the ECM8000, given the price, and I can give Nick's back to him.

I had a bit of a chat with a friend at work who gigs, and he cleared up a few details about what the UMC202HD can do, and what connectors I need.
I could ask a couple of questions now though -

If I have REW on the computer/laptop, is it REW that generates the test audio sweep ? - and does this come down the USB to the Behringer, ie. is the USB a 2-way thing, sending the audio signal out and receiving the test data back from the microphone/Behringer ?

I see the output sockets on the back are a larger jack connector, presumably I just buy one with an RCA on the other end, of a suitable length ?

I bought an ACER laptop recently, not bang up to date, but recent model. Will this likely be OK as regards the soundcard, without mods ? I can look up the model number when I get time or any hardware info via the control panel.
"The bass is the king of the instruments - it has no known natural predator" (Wobble)

User avatar
ed
retired
Posts: 3887
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 pm
Location: yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by ed » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:26 am

looks the bizz Mark, you should be good to go with something like audiotester v3.0.

it's very similar to my other system which I used with an acer I5 laptop for outside measurements:
ls measure1.jpg
it's a steinberg UR22 with a presonus PRM1. This also will be on ebay shortly.

The UR22 setup is good but unfortunately doesn't compare to Clio in the calibration area. Also can't compare with all the hardware supported electrical measurements, but you don't need all that for loudspeaker testing....


edit:
If, however, you wanted to sell your microphone separately, I would give you some decent cash for it. It ought to be better than the ECM8000, given the price, and I can give Nick's back to him.
unfortunately the Audiomatica mic has non standard phantom power so wouldn't be any good to you as I'm pretty sure it won't be compatible with your interface.
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

chris661
Shed dweller
Posts: 2256
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:29 am
Location: Sheffield

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by chris661 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:09 am

IslandPink wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:36 pm
Well I got the Behringer UMC202HD today. Seems like a rather clever box of tricks and quite nicely made for the money.
Sorry Ed - looks like this is going to be a bit easier to use and less stuff to store.
If, however, you wanted to sell your microphone separately, I would give you some decent cash for it. It ought to be better than the ECM8000, given the price, and I can give Nick's back to him.

I had a bit of a chat with a friend at work who gigs, and he cleared up a few details about what the UMC202HD can do, and what connectors I need.
I could ask a couple of questions now though -

If I have REW on the computer/laptop, is it REW that generates the test audio sweep ? - and does this come down the USB to the Behringer, ie. is the USB a 2-way thing, sending the audio signal out and receiving the test data back from the microphone/Behringer ?

I see the output sockets on the back are a larger jack connector, presumably I just buy one with an RCA on the other end, of a suitable length ?

I bought an ACER laptop recently, not bang up to date, but recent model. Will this likely be OK as regards the soundcard, without mods ? I can look up the model number when I get time or any hardware info via the control panel.
To answer your questions...

- Yep, REW generates the test sweep. You can shove a lot of data through a USB cable - have a quick look at the UMC1820.
- Grab a "bullet" adapter which makes 1/4" jack into a phono female, and then you can use your usual phono cables.
- The Acer laptop should do just fine. Make sure you download and install the UMC drivers from the Behringer website before connecting the interface.

Other hints and tips:
- Make sure the UMC202 is connected to the laptop before opening REW. It checks which audio devices are available when it opens, so connecting it afterwards will mean REW won't see it.
- You need phantom power (+48v) switched on to use a measurement mic. There's a red light indicator on the UMC box, and the switch is on the back.
- A standard XLR cable will work for going between the mic and the UMC box. If you've got an account with CPC, cables by Pulse with the black connectors are pretty decent. Their mic stands also work fine, although you might want to borrow one of those since it's an additional (bulky) item to store.
- Make sure you've got "direct monitor" or whatever it's called turned OFF. That feature feeds the XLR inputs straight to the headphone and line-level outputs, with two effects. First, it'll screw up your measurements, and second, you're pretty likely to get some very loud feedback. If I was using my interface purely for measurements, I'd open it up and remove the outer plastic part of the button, so you'd need a pen to push it.


If in doubt, feel free to ask. For me, getting a decent measurement system up and running was the single biggest improvement I could make to my equipment - if I felt there was some excess sibilance, it'd show me the frequency that was sticking up, and whether or not my adjustments had fixed it. Same for balancing HF/MF/LF levels in multi-way systems.

Chris
If you can see the cone move regularly, you haven't got enough speaker.

User avatar
ed
retired
Posts: 3887
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 pm
Location: yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by ed » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:00 am

OT Chris, apologies

have you got or used an 1820?

I looked at it a while back as a replacement for my echo layla 3g, which is getting a bit long in the tooth and the phantom power has gone down. I got the bits to fix it from echo but never got round to fitting them.

The reason I didn't follow up on the 1820 was the lack of midi, but I can get round that another way.

If you have experience of the 1820 what is the latency like?
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

User avatar
IslandPink
No idea why I do this anymore
Posts: 6959
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 7:01 pm
Location: Denbigh, N.Wales

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by IslandPink » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:16 pm

Thanks Chris - looks like I have everything I need there. Will order the jack/phono cable as soon as I get back from hols. I already have a microphone cable of a good length. I'll see if I can pull it all together in about 2 weeks.
"The bass is the king of the instruments - it has no known natural predator" (Wobble)

User avatar
rowuk
Old Hand
Posts: 267
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:50 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by rowuk » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:14 pm

Holm Impulse is something that I use quite a bit. I model crossovers with a MiniDSP and then build analog versions to match. Since about 5 years, I use passive line level crossovers and one amp channel per driver. The line level crossovers are working into a resistive load, hence very little compensation necessary.
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

chris661
Shed dweller
Posts: 2256
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:29 am
Location: Sheffield

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by chris661 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:40 pm

ed wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:00 am
OT Chris, apologies

have you got or used an 1820?

I looked at it a while back as a replacement for my echo layla 3g, which is getting a bit long in the tooth and the phantom power has gone down. I got the bits to fix it from echo but never got round to fitting them.

The reason I didn't follow up on the 1820 was the lack of midi, but I can get round that another way.

If you have experience of the 1820 what is the latency like?
Hi Ed,

Looks like there's midi I/O on the back of the 1820.
Latency-wise, no idea. Haven't used one myself. I would note, however, that there are options for routing inputs straight to the outputs and keeping the signal chain analogue - should be basically zero latency there.

I've just noticed that the 1820 appears to be expandable via ADAT. More reading to be done...

Chris

User avatar
ed
retired
Posts: 3887
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 pm
Location: yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Speaker design/test software

Post by ed » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:26 pm

my bad...there is deffo midi on the 1820..must have had a senior moment when I last looked.

thanks..I will definitely consider it again cos it looks like it's got identical capability to the echo i/f.
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

Post Reply