Not everything that our team works on is directly related to making something that you might hold in your hands one day. There’s a lot of testing and analysis that goes on behind the scenes, and a lot of that starts out with certifying that a product will do what we say it should, but quickly evolves into a much more general application.
Kyle’s omnidirectional speaker is a perfect example.
Kyle Tharratt Manufacturing engineer & professional crab raver
Regular viewers of our Short Circuit channel would know that when we built the new set our videos suffered from pretty bad echo/reverberation. Most times, this is a HUGE headache that requires a lot of work installing sound deadening and modifying the space… but in this case, the fix was simple - just move the microphone, dawg.
How did we figure this out? Science!
We call it the death star speaker and it has one single function… to make noise in all directions. It was built mostly by following an instructable on A Dodecahedron Speaker for Desktop Printers (https://www.instructables.com/A-Dodecahedron-Speaker-for-Desktop-Printers/) with the major differences being the addition of a tripod stand and using more readily available speakers.
After a bunch of hours 3d printing, a day in the workshop and some jank of course… out came a working omni-directional sound maker. Combining this speaker with a calibrated USB microphone and an open-source software package called REW allows us to make relatively accurate acoustic readings.
As I alluded to earlier, we used this to help get rid of the reverb from the short circuit set, where we measured a significant reduction between two mic locations. You also saw this bad boy show up in the LTT video about acoustic treating the workshop. Without going too turbo nerd here, we basically used an RT60 reverb decay graph to show how the reverb lessened after adding treatment:
The purple line (pass 2) shows the result of just adding a few sound panels in the workshop. The decay became noticeably lower within human speaking range (125Hz - 8Khz).
So, why did we put all these resources into something like this? Was it just for a cool video? Well yes, but also no. The overarching goal here is to start objectively quantifying some of the things that we experience. We want to make more of the choices about how we run our business - whether that’s evaluating a product or creating the ideal setup for a new set - based on a lot more data.
Stay tuned for more of this, as we are really looking to up our testing game in the coming months.
Heck yeah. I’m sure you’ll see a lot more about the random stuff we use to improve the office and measure our products soon.
Let us know if you want Kyle to give a breakdown of the mouse tester he created to certify the accuracy of our desk pads in this videohttps://youtu.be/nLgXeIaK0U0