Dynaudio Labs ensures quality with high-tech Jupiter lab

posted on Friday, 21st December 2018 by Geny Caloisi

Dynaudio  Evoke  Jupiter  R&D 

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Wanting to have a top of the range R&D facility, Dynaudio Labs created Jupiter, a colossal impulse-response room. Its sole job is to measure speakers.

The first thing you do when you go into Jupiter is look up; you can’t help yourself. That’s because suspended 6.5m above you is a massive moving robot. It can take 31 measurements at a time in a giant 7m arc, creating a spherical sonic model of how a loudspeaker behaves when we put a signal through it.

InsideCI spoke to Peter Gibbs from Dynaudio to find out more about Jupiter and the R&D facilities.

How many R&D facilities do you have? 

Just the one R&D centre – called Dynaudio Labs – in Skanderborg, Denmark. It opened in 2016 and is covers 17,000 square feet over three storeys. The centre contains workspaces, meeting rooms, listening rooms and new garage facility where we carry out the tuning for our car audio products. 

The largest room in the building is our new Free Field Impulse Response Measurement room, which we call Jupiter. It’s 13m x 13m x 13m – so it’s rather an impressive space! This facility allows us to push the boundaries of what we can engineer with our new loudspeakers; we use it to test all our new ideas.

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Tell us a bit more about the Jupiter room, how is the Jupiter room different from your competitors and what part does it play in product development? 

Jupiter works by lifting the loudspeaker up on a special crane into the centre of the room, where we then capture many impulse responses from the test speaker using Jupiter’s microphone array. 

The array has 31 microphones arranged in an arc, while the crane platform that the loudspeaker sits on rotates 360 degrees to capture impulse responses at all angles. This means we can calculate the full spherical radiation of the loudspeaker under test. 

It’s still one of the largest arrays of its kind in the world and has really helped us improve the accuracy of our acoustic measurements as well as the speed at which we can take them. We can make fast adjustments to speaker tuning and then take another measurement, so the speed of the process and the amount of information we can gather has increased massively. What could have taken three days before now takes just 28 minutes. 

Ultimately, though, once the measurements are taken we always then use our ears to listen to the product. Our listening rooms are designed to replicate normal living spaces and aren’t over-treated acoustically – so we can hear what the speaker will sound like in a real-world situation. 

We spent a huge amount of time measuring Evoke prototypes in Jupiter – from individual drivers to complete speakers, crossovers and everything in between.. Using the robot, the proprietary analysis tools we’ve created and – of course – the incredible minds that work all over Dynaudio Labs, we’ve been able to bring true Confidence-level technology to this new product family.

Now it’s all ready, Evoke is going to be launched in early 2019.

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Can you please give us an example of a typical day at the R&D centre in Skanderborg, how often do you use the Jupiter room?

The 'typical day’ varies depending on the project and where we are in its timeline.

Commonly for acoustic development our engineers could be simulating, building prototypes, measuring, validating or listening. This is a cycle that repeats until we’re happy with the product. We also spend time researching and developing technologies with a similar cycle. 

Typically, 60 per cent of the development is spent in the listening room, carefully pinpointing audible issues, while 30 per cent of the time is spent measuring and validating in Jupiter to understand and solve the issues heard in the listening room.

We also have other facilities, including our 3D laser scanning vibrometer for analysing driver and cabinet vibration, as well as many other drive- development tools. A small percentage of the time is spent simulating and building prototypes.

Can you share an unusual project which has been carried out at the R&D centre and how the Jupiter facility helped solve any product development issues you were having previously?

Maybe not unusual, but Jupiter was invaluable when we were developing the new Confidence’s DDC Lens. We were able to make fast measurements of the vertical radiation of the loudspeaker so we could make quick changes to the prototype and know the point-to-point radiation at 3m within minutes.

This is where the arc really comes into play when solving problems: it lets us quickly see the radiating at all angles and gives us a good understanding of how the loudspeaker will act in reality, in a room. In the past, we would have to physically move a single microphone around the loudspeaker in close proximity and estimate the far-field response or just base it on simulations, which can give good results but aren't necessarily the truth.

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Are you likely to outgrow your current R&D facilities?

Definitely, there are always ways to improve the accuracy of measurements, even in Jupiter! Especially with newly discovered measurements that give a new and different understanding of loudspeakers. Research on loudspeakers is always developing and we don’t see it stopping any time soon. But Jupiter will always be a very useful tool. 

Do you have a road map for R&D? If so, could you tell us about it?

Yes, we do… and no, we can’t. Sorry!

Dynaudio is well known in the hi-fi, professional audio and car audio markets, why are you now venturing into the Custom Install market?

We’ve been making great-quality loudspeakers for over 40 years, and we wanted to bring our legacy in making speakers for the hi-fi market, professional recording studios and premium automotive brands to the Custom Install channel.

We wanted to put hi-fi into the wall and give end users true Dynaudio performance without having the speakers visible in the room. Our Custom range uses the same drivers and materials that you’ll find in our high-end hi-fi and pro loudspeakers. In fact, the chances are very high that many of your favourite albums, movies and TV shows are mixed by artists and engineers on Dynaudio speakers – and we want people to be able to hear their music or movies as it was intended by those artists, whether the speaker is in a cabinet, a car door or mounted in a wall.

What will be your measure of success with CI?

We want to be every bit as sought-after in the CI market as we are in our other verticals. We’d like to replicate that success and have the same reputation for creating great-sounding loudspeakers among CI dealers that we have in homes and recording studios around the world.

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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