One of the best parts about coming back to school is our first quarter Trends in Modern Sound Design class. This class (apart from being home to some of our favorite recurring projects... stay tuned) is often a great time for us to visit some really awesome places where sound trends are being made! In the past, we've visited Warner Brothers, L'Acoustics, QSC, and more! This week, we woke up early and headed to Harman for a tour of their engineering and testing facilities.
We learned about compression driver technology, and JBL's take on how to make the drivers more efficient, with lower distortion. Then we took a look at the testing facilities, where JBL was going through their notorious, rigorous 100-hour power test. The room (behind 3 doors) required ear protection, because the SPL from their power test was incredible (it clipped the microphone on the crude SPL meters on our phones)!
The photo below is us in the power test room with Henry Goldansky, Director of Engineering for JBL.
After a peek in the anechoic chambers (they have 4 of them!), we heard a great lecture from Dr. Sean Olive about subjective listening research. We were honored to be featured on his slides as the "most trained" student ears. (Thanks Mike for your critical listening class!) The slide below was one of my favorites -- it shows a correlation between training and cynicism.
|Chart from Harman Innovation Hub|
Following the lecture, we were invited into the subjective listening room, where a hydraulic speaker mover hides behind a black grill cloth, and Harman's proprietary iPad app allowed us to choose our speaker preferences. The speaker mover was a brilliant solution to ensure that each speaker was placed in the exact same place. Interestingly, our preferences were all pretty similar to each other, and we were surprised with how accurately we could distinguish between the different bookshelf speakers in a blind test. It became apparent that each of the speakers really did have a character of its own.
|Photo from Dr. Sean Olive on Twitter|
Thank you very much to our hosts at Harman/JBL: Paul Chavez, Ken Freeman, Henry Goldansky, and Dr. Sean Olive. We had a great time and learned a lot about subjective and objective testing!
My fellow students also wrote a quick note on their experience, after the jump.