Audio Test Tones - Several Sources

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by BlueWizard, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    This came up in a couple of discussions before, and I thought it might be useful to some.

    If you want to test your speakers, and especially your speakers in your specific room, or maybe you just want to test your hearing. Here are some sources for Audio Test Tones.

    For all these assorted test tones, save them on your computer, then burn them on to an audio CD; one separate CD for each group of test tones. You should have no trouble playing them in any standard CD or DVD player.

    As mentioned before, you can get test tones from RealTraps.com

    RealTraps - Test Tone CD

    These are slow 100 second sweeps of 10hz each from 10hz up to 300hz. Good for testing bass and subs. Because the sweeps are 100 second in a range of 10hz, 1hz equal 10 seconds. So, your CD player should be giving you a time count on its front panel. As an example, starting from 30hz at 0 seconds, when you reach 10 seconds you are at 31hz, 20 seconds 32hz, 30 seconds 33hz, ...at 100 seconds, just before the track ends, you are at 39.9hz. The next track then starts at 40hz. Also, includes a 15 second of Pink Noise track.


    Next, 20hz to 20,000hz in individual 10 second files. These are spaced at 1/3 octaves, so the whole range is in 31 individual files.

    Subwoofer Test - Bass Test mp3 - Subwoofer Test mp3

    Files are in ZIP format, so you shouldn't have any trouble unzipping them into the WAV files.

    So, 20hz to 20,000 hz in 31 ten second steps.


    For more precise measurements, here is roughly the same thing in 1/6 octave steps for a total of 63 test tones covering the range of 20hz to 22,000hz.

    Audio test CD - Arve Bersvendsen

    If you scroll down on the page link to just above, you will see a track list that you can print out and have as a reference. One large file is in .7Z compressed format. But there is a link to the Free compression tool 7-zip which can be used to uncompress and extract the individual test tone files.


    Again, burn these on to a CD and play them back in your CD player, DVD player, or directly from your computer.

    Before using these Test Tone CDs, put in a regular music CD, and set the volume to a modest comfortable listening level; roughly 1/3 volume. Then place the Test Tone CD in and step though the frequencies. Once the volume is set, leave it there.

    Resist the urge to turn the volume up! Yes, you will be able to hear tones that you couldn't hear at lower levels, but you will also but a lot of unnecessary strain on your equipment.

    Also, take short break of at least a few seconds between tracks to give the speakers time to cool down.

    You can trust your ears, but a much better test is to use a SPL or Sound Pressure Level Meter, or simply Sound Level Meter. These typically run £50 or less for consumer SPL Meters.

    With an SPL meter you can actually measure the loudness level of each tone, plot them out on a graph and see how good your speaker response truly is.

    You can also use the SPL Meter to search out dead spots in your rooms, or try to improve the sound level at your favorite listening spot.

    One small problem with consumer SPL Meters, they tend to have two scales; the 'A' scale which is 500hz to 10,000hz (sometimes 8,000hz on the high end) and the 'C' scale which is from 30hz to 10,000hz. Above, 10,000hz the accuracy of the measurements are reduced. But, it is still a good tool to have. Unfortunately, professional SPL meters with a wider frequency range are substantially more expensive.

    However, with some time and effort, and of course, some money, you can find software to not only generate the tones from your computer, but also measure the Sound Level, records it, and display it on a nice graph for you.

    Safe use of these files, that is, safe for your ears and safe for your speakers, depends on you setting a modest listening level before playing them. Roughly equal to casual music listening. Again, 1/3 volume should be more than enough, but NEVER more than 50% volume.

    Also, again, a short pause between playing tracks of a few seconds will give the speaker time to cool down. Sustained tones like these generate more heat than dynamic music. For the short tones, just the track change time is probably enough. In this case, pause 5 to 10 seconds, between every five tracks. With the 100 second RealTraps test tones, a pause of 5 to 10 second between very couple of test tracks should be fine.

    These can be valuable tools to those who use them wisely. But they can also be dangerous tools to those who use them stupidly. Be smart.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Audio test CD - Arve Bersvendsen

    I finally got around to trying to burn the 1/6th Octave tones on to a CD and ran into problems. Despite that fact that my Raxio Creator software says it will burn a BIN/CUE disc image onto a CD-R, I couldn't get it to work.

    Further, it burns the file in a continuous stream of .CDA instead of individual files. (CDA - standard CD audio format)

    The easiest solution I found was to extract the internal files into .WAV format, which should work fine for a audio CD player.

    I used PowerISO on someone else's recommendation. The Trial version is limited to 300Mb, but the file we are dealing with is only 100Mb, so, no problem.

    PowerISO - Create, Edit, Compress, Encrypt, Split, Mount, Extract ISO file, ISO/BIN converter, Virtual Drive

    Install and run this program, select the BIN file, and select Extract the internal files, it should default to .WAV format.


    Before you can use the audio files, you need to extract them using 7-Zip, the necessary working files will be -

    testcd.bin . . . 111,132,000 bytes
    testcd.cue . . . 2,482 bytes


    CUE is the files with the details necessary for the burn. The BIN file is the actual disc image, and this is the file that contains the sub-files that you need to extract with PowerISO.

    The files have standard names of Track01, Track02, etc..., Track63.

    Once I had the WAV files, I change the names to indicate the frequency being played, as in -

    T01-20.wav ... for the first track which is 20hz
    T02-25.wav ... Track 02 with 25hz
    T03-30.wav ... Track 03 - 30hz
    T04-35.wav ... etc...
    T05-40.wav
    T06-45.wav
    T07-50.wav
    T08-55.wav
    ...
    T63-22_0k.wav[/i] ... Track 63 with 22khz

    This should make these test tone easier for everyone to use.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Some one recently referenced these test tones in another thread.

    They could come in handy.

    Test Tones (20-20khz)

    I can't vouch for them, but they might be worth checking.


    Steve/bluewizard
     

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