ARS is an American acoustic testing services company, founded by a pair of ambitious industry veterans who were tired of seeing the same old worn-out acoustic testing solutions shoehorned into newer, bigger applications, and saw an opportunity to create better acoustic testing systems for customers who could benefit from better technology in better packages with better service and support. Built from the ground up solely to focus on scientific and industrial applications of high-power acoustic output devices, ARS utilizes a combination of existing and new technologies, as well as an industry-optimized business model, to help customers better meet their acoustic testing needs.
FAQ [Frequently Asked Questions]
When qualifying hardware for spaceflight, rigorous testing is required to ensure that all benchmarks are met to ensure the hardware’s safe and successful launch and deployment. From assemblies and micro-sats all the way up to medium and large satellites, all critical flight hardware must go through an acoustic test that simulates the intense sound and vibration the unit will experience while transiting to orbit atop it’s launch vehicle.
Direct field acoustic testing is a new and more precise way to perform this highly intense acoustic testing, where large stacks of acoustic transducers are placed around the unit under test and the hardware experiences the acoustic power of the speakers directly, not via the reflections of a reverberant chamber.
In short, yes. These acronyms effectively all mean the same thing. They are all various manufacturer’s different names for their methods of performing an acoustic test with loudspeakers where the test article is in the direct field of the acoustic devices. ARS does direct field acoustic testing, and we were the first manufacturer to invent an acoustic device specifically for the unique and demanding needs of ultra-high output aerospace acoustic testing.
The ARS NEUTRON system is our newest product line - a turnkey, highly scalable solution for performing high power acoustic testing on a wide range of test articles worldwide. It’s an industry first - a plug-and-play system, designed from a completely blank slate, solely for ultra-high output scientific and industrial acoustic testing. From the beginning of our product development process, we knew that customers wanted an acoustic testing system that was not just bulletproof at higher output levels, they wanted a system that was intuitive to assemble, easily controlled and monitored, and highly scalable to be effective in a wide range of applications.
Furthermore, our NEUTRON system is completely turnkey, as all the necessary parts to safely operate the system are supplied from ARS. All NEUTRON systems are inter-compatible, allowing customers to easily expand or arrange their inventory to meet testing needs.
Direct field acoustic testing typically employs repurposed concert sound systems, or generic “line array systems” that are incapable of producing the kind of incoherent, homogeneous sound field that customers want in order to perform a proper acoustic test. Due to their inherently coherent nature, as well as the fact that they require huge stacks of subwoofer speakers to reinforce their sub-bass frequency ranges, line array speakers cannot provide a properly diffuse sound field, as they are prone to developing standing waves and destructive interference that may negatively impact the successful outcome of the test, or worse provide an inconsistent result for the hardware being tested.
The ARS NEUTRON system is the industry’s first built from the ground up next-gen acoustic testing solution that can generate a completely incoherent, completely diffuse and homogeneous sound field up to and exceeding OASPL levels and test lengths never thought possible with previous line array systems. The NEUTRON system can even run semi or fully coherent as well, should the application dictate, and NEUTRON devices can be even utilized to drive reverberant chambers in replacement of, or in supplement to existing nitrogen driven transducers.
Dating back to the early 2000's, commercial concert line array systems like JBL’s VerTec 4889 (used by MSI- DFAT), D&B’s J-Series, or Adamson’s E15 (used by Siemens) were designed to help touring production rental companies provide higher fidelity audio with flown arrays of loudspeakers, closely coupled to increase their acoustic output and directivity. While these systems are relatively efficient in certain parts of the audible frequency spectrum, they’re designed to reinforce musical performances, which generally require a flat target frequency response. They’re also primarily designed to be suspended in single-wide long arrays and used with companion sub-bass cabinets that are designed to reinforce bass frequencies that the flown full-range cabinets aren’t effective at reproducing.
With the introduction of Direct Field Acoustic Testing, it was demonstrated that music-reinforcement systems, if deployed in a large enough quantity, could be utilized to provide some acoustic testing services. While their line-source design creates significant, unavoidable issues with frequency response modes and lack of reliability, their inherent shortcomings and significant inefficiencies are generally overlooked due to potential cost savings and lack of other options in the marketplace.
Looking to completely change the way high power acoustic testing systems are built and deployed, ARS designed the NEUTRON system not only to tackle the significant shortcomings of existing loudspeakers, but also to build a complete acoustic testing system of loudspeakers and standardized infrastructure.
NEUTRON speakers are highly efficient. Designed to be many times more efficient on a per enclosure basis than competing systems, especially in the lower octaves, a frequency range that is highly critical to many launch test specifications.
NEUTRON speakers are full-range (20hz-20khz). While existing systems require large, unwieldy configurations of subwoofers and mid-high cabinets for full performance, each ARS NEUTRON acoustic device is a complete broad-band, phase-coherent acoustic source.
NEUTRON systems are purpose optimized. Never meant to be used at a concert or musical events, NEUTRON systems look different because they are different. The enclosure design is based around reinforcing the most demanding parts of acoustic test spectra, while the rigging and cabling infrastructure are designed to be intuitive to use and significantly faster to set up correctly than existing solutions.
NEUTRON systems are scalable. Even the smallest applications can benefit from having the kind of broadband output normally seen from a much larger and more expensive existing concert line array system.
NEUTRON systems are economical. Our goal is to provide best-in-class value, as well as offer a variety of options for customers to make NEUTRON systems a part of their testing toolkit.
Typically a customer will work with ARS weeks or months in advance of the test, as we work together to determine the optimal size of test circle and optimal number of NEUTRON devices needed to provide proper coverage and OASPL levels all the way around the device under test. Thanks to our global inventory of NEUTRON devices, ARS can serve customers with on-site testing services in a variety of regions around the world.
Our system arrives in tractor trailers, and is unloaded with a forklift. All we require is a high-bay with a crane or lifting device, and our system builds into place. Power can be taken from an in-house supply, or brought in via generator, and we travel with all necessary cabling and infrastructure needed to make the NEUTRON system work perfectly.
We’ll work in partnership with your team to characterize our system in the room and ensure all microphones and devices in the system are properly calibrated, then we’ll do a series of “dry runs” to demonstration the system will reach level quickly and accurately before loading the test article in. Once all “empty circle” runs are complete, the test article will be rolled on a cart or hung in the center of the testing circle, and the official tests will commence! Runs will start at -12dB below full level, and we’ll step up incrementally to -6dB, -3dB and 0dB full level runs.
Between each run we’ll pause to allow the analysis teams to collect their data and confirm that the structural response is on track with expectations. Once the final 0dB run is completed, the test article is removed, all cables are disconnected from our acoustic devices, and the entire system unstacks and loads back into it’s trucks to go to the next test!
No! In addition to testing services where we bring our NEUTRON system to your facility and set it up for your testing needs, ARS is the industry’s only acoustic testing provider that can also supply turnkey acoustic testing solutions for a customer to purchase or lease long term, depending on their needs. Facilities in that in the past may not have had access to this type of test, now can have the option of an ARS on-site testing service, a long term system lease, or full system ownership along with ARS’s annual benchmarking service and global support network.
If you are interested in learning more about our groundbreaking new designs, or would like to know how an ARS acoustic test system could work for you, please contact us.