One of the transient things that unite Oregonians is the love of nature. People who live here are not looking to get rich quick; they are looking to live a life of quality among the wonders of nature that surround them. I often see neighbors sitting and watching the hummingbirds as they feed at sugar-loaded feeders or hanging colorful fuchsias. Children dance on sidewalks pointing out the sparrows dashing through the air in pursuit of a gigantic insect. When Oregonians vacation, we go to see sights like the incredible blue surface of Crater Lake or the golden sands of the Oregon coast. Hikers bounce along trails watching giant trees sway in a light breeze or sit beside the path listening to the unmistakable music of a tumbling brook.
Nature permeates our lives, so it is only natural that our businesses are infused with the drive to imitate those things that we love. An example of that drive exists in the work of Audio Precision, a sound-quality firm located in what we refer to as “The Silicon Forest.” Here is where the imperfections so long accepted by the public meets its enemy, and sound purity finds its greatest ally.
The Issue of Audio Quality
Since Thomas Alva Edison first realized that he could record a voice on a metal cylinder and play it back, the effort to bring pure sound to consumers has driven the industry to distraction. At first, consumers accepted the grainy nature of the sound as a necessary compromise. As technology progressed, however, the consumer began to expect more from sound-producing equipment. Initially, it was an issue of finding and producing the correct needle to create the recording and playback the recording. Then, the problem moved to the creation of a competent method of reproducing that recording for anyone, anywhere, at any time. Hand-cranked record players became the fad as monaural needles drove distorted, but acceptable, sound across the nation. The stereo needle and its accompanying electrical advances reduced sound distortion and allowed for the division of a single sound into several parts. Consumers began recognizing brand names that produced superior sound equipment, primarily due to the expertise of assembly line employees.
Then came the analog and digital age. New discoveries meant new problems, especially in quality control. While the sounds emitting from this new technology were purer and more succinct, the difficulty in maintaining quality control was overwhelming. The modern device was complicated, miniaturized, and full of problematic inconsistencies. The testing of these devices on the assembly line was, of course, time-consuming and employee dependent, raising the cost of the items for consumers. A method of maintaining quality control in an extremely competitive industry became an essential ingredient for success.
The Role of Audio Precision
The founders of Audio Precision, like many others, saw a niche in the audio industry for a system that could continuously test sound equipment with audio analyzers (https://www.ap.com/audio-analyzers/). They created a software platform to test equipment in recording studios and for live stage events capable of finding and treating hardware and software glitches in sound equipment. The niche was small, and Audio Precision was only known to recording studios, artists, and filmmakers.
Inevitably, the expertise that developed the platforms to continuously monitor and test the complex equipment used in sound studios found a demand among equipment producers. As products and markets developed, the quest for continuous sound quality grew in difficulty. Many small businesses opened as the lure of the market grew. Only those who persisted in developing new technological advances in the testing of sound equipment survived.
Today, Audio Precision is the go-to producer of analog and digital testing programs and equipment. Audio Precision has created software programs to detect issues that limit audio quality in several types of equipment, including:
- MEMS Mics and Mic Arrays
- Smart Devices
To quicken production line performance, Audio Precision developed a method to test up to 16-units at a time. The software package eliminated a bottleneck that had pestered the manufacture of sound equipment for decades. When asked to find an affordable way to test both digital and analog equipment from a single program download, Audio Precision was the sound quality business that answered the call.
When problems arise related to new audio technology, Audio Precision is often the first called on to find a way to guarantee the production of a quality product.