Why Audio Test Equipment

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The Music Telegraph
Text 2022-08-01


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Why Audio Test Equipment


The understanding of what a piece of audio equipment will do or how it will sound can be found in the technical specifications for that equipment. Not only will the specs tell you about the equipment, they will also give you a set of parameters against which you can evaluate whether or not the gear is operating correctly.


When we get a piece of audio gear, we want to be able to determine if it is operating properly. To gain this valuable information, the audio engineer must be able to put the equipment through some basic tests and measure the outcome of these tests. These tests involve determining the maximum and minimum output levels, noise floors, and frequency response of the equipment. (There are other more complex tests involving distortion, phase, transient response, crosstalk, etc.). 


The tools used to perform audio tests are the AC Millivoltmeter, the Sine Wave Generator and the Oscilloscope. The AC Millivoltmeter (ACVM), also knwon as the vacuum tube voltmeter or VTVM (even though most modern units no longer use vacuum tubes) is a very common measurement device used in the diagnosis and repair of audio equipment and the alignment of analog tape machines. The Sine Wave Generator is another valuable tool for diagnosis and repair of audio electronics. It is an essential piece of equipment for tape machine alignment, room acoustics calibration, and sound reinforcement set up. You will select frequencies and adjust the output level of the generator then you will read the generator's output level on the ACVM. The Oscilloscope is another of the tools the audio engineer uses to align, diagnose, and repair equipment. It is a time-based device that can measure and display instantaneous voltage levels with respect to time. It plays a particularly important role in the precise phase alignment of analog and digital tape machines and signal distortion measurements. You will need to set up the controls on the scope to view the signal from the audio source such as CD player, DAT machine, etc. 






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