Fundamentally, audio systems aim to recreate totally convincing musical and cinematic experiences for humans. Sometimes, pure signal analysis approaches can be at odds with human perception: for example—depending on how you measure it—maximising signal-to-noise ratio will not always deliver the best sound.
However, realistic audio experiences are not the result of a mysterious and unmeasurable magic. They are functions of many interacting, complex systems. The links in this chain are the traditional elements of audio reproduction, from the recording itself through each component and cable on the way to the loudspeaker and room itself. The final link is the amazing ear/brain system which is the ultimate judge of believability.
Our core aim is to understand this process as fully as we can. This means understanding music and its signal content. It means understanding the impact and interactions of all the components and cables right up to the final, elaborate interplay of amplifier, crossover, drive units, cabinet and room. Most challenging, though, is understanding how humans perceive sound: exactly what makes the impression of a cello utterly believable or recreates that spine-tingling sensation of a venue’s acoustic.
Human ears have some weaknesses held up against the finest microphones and measurement tools. After all, evolution had no drive to gift us with abilities to distinguish relative volume levels precisely, or to uncover subtle signals buried in much louder backgrounds. Nonetheless, the ear does have some remarkable strengths—signal inference, spatial interpretation and superb phase discrimination to name just a few. Indeed, some of these were the undoing of first generation digital audio.
While we are far from having a complete understanding, our insights help us identify which measurements matter most when making design decisions.
This is not a new problem, and we are by no means the first to consider it. Over the years, we have learned a lot about the tremendous and evolving field of audio engineering. Yet our diverse backgrounds mean that we offer a fresh perspective, founded on our knowledge of engineering and physics, as well as our experiences in other sectors.
Our overall approach is supported by broad and deep in-house capabilities in computational modelling and data analysis. Whether a project needs huge finite element analysis of stress and vibration patterns, or relies on terabytes of 3D measurement data to optimise a crossover, most audio sector problems are well within the envelope of our past experience. In addition to leveraging the practically unlimited compute resources of Amazon’s EC2 and Microsoft’s Azure, we have our own GPU-based cluster in Cambridge with over two petaflops of peak compute capability.
Finally, our advice is informed by the team’s operational and financial experience from running a broad range of businesses: we understand first hand the operational realities of manufacturing, marketing and sales.
For a product to succeed, end-to-end manufacturing needs to remain feasible, robust and efficient—minimising resource and energy requirements, ensuring a flexible component supply chain and maximising the reliability of the final product. Even an outstanding product then needs explaining, with press, distributors, retailers and customers all appreciating clear descriptions and illustrations to help them share the sense of wonder at the art, crafts and technologies which make it so special.
While striving to deliver ultimate performance, we can provide assistance and advice across the full arc of this process, spanning strategy, conception, design, development and sales.