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EXCLUSIVE: Audio Precision APx555 analyser sets “new standard for testing”

Lowest residual THD+N in the world provides audio professionals “unparalleled insight into their designs”, says AP

Audio test specialist Audio Precision has announced the availability of the APx555, “the culmination of 30 years of experience” that represents “the most powerful and capable audio test instrument ever developed”.

Based on the modular architecture and powerful software of other members of Audio Precision’s APx family, the 555 is said to deliver “improved measurement accuracy, speed, flexibility, automation and ease-of-use for developers of audio components, equipment and systems”, and will ship next month, October.

“The APx555 represents a lifetime of work in audio test,” says AP co-founder and chief analogue designer, Bruce Hofer (pictured below right). “It pushes analogue circuit design to the edge of understanding and accounts for many previously unseen anomalies, achieving real, measurable performance that exceeds any other.”

“The APx555’s capabilities address a variety of markets but examples of applications requiring high-performance audio analysis include the design and development of high-end audio ADCs and DACs, professional audio equipment and leading-edge consumer electronics,” says AP president Dave Schmoldt. (Read PSNEurope‘s recent interview with Schmoldt here.)

With a typical residual THD+N of -120dB (conservatively specified at -117dB), the two analogue channels of the APx555 claim to achieve the lowest noise and distortion of any audio analyser ever made, allowing the most sensitive measurements to be made with assurance. Audio Precision says APx555 offers audio developers previously “unachievable “insight into the behaviour of their designs, unimpaired by noise or artifacts from the test system.

Also launched is the new APx500 v4.0 software, which provides a multi-mode user interface for the entire APx family of analysers. Developed with system flexibility in mind, the software enables easy switching between two modes. Sequence Mode is the fast and efficient menu of measurements with which APx users worldwide will be familiar. Bench Mode has been inspired by the former AP flagship SYS-2700 series analyser and delivers real-time feedback of any selected parameters, including waveform scope, FFT spectrum, frequency, THD+N and more. Engineers may choose the mode that best suits their needs with a click of a mouse button.

“Bench Mode offers more visibility into real-time behaviours,” says Eric Cline, engineering technician chip developer Analog Devices. “Being able to see everything at once is a huge deal: distortion, noise, and signal level on meters is incredibly important. It definitely answers my requests, offering the best of both of worlds.”

The APx series uses a modular architecture that supports a wide range of digital I/O, ensuring that as formats change APx options will be ready to support the audio industry. APx500 measurement software is under constant development, says Audio Precision, “keeping pace with new standards and methods in audio testing”. Version 4.0 is available free-of charge to existing customers.

“We are incredibly proud of the APx555 and APx500 v4.0 software,” adds Dave Schmoldt. “The APx family covers every audio test need from high-speed production to the most refined and demanding research and development, and it is ready for whatever changes the industry may bring.

“Only AP could deliver such an uncompromising package of world-class performance, flexibility, speed and ease-of-use for the audio professionals we serve.”