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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Lend Me Your Ears... David Whittle

Hello all, and welcome as I take my first steps into the blogosphere. I’ll be writing on all things about or related to audio, and I hope to provide some interesting thoughts and ideas about new products, technologies and trends in audio design. Much of my earlier work life was in pro audio sales support, marketing and technical roles. Feel free to comment, because your insight might be…well, insightful.

Audio products depend on one thing – our ability to hear. Many years ago our team was tasked with creating an audio demo at the NAMM show. This was when digital recorders were making a strong push to replace tape-based systems and we wanted to demonstrate the quality of the recordings by our new recorder. If you’ve ever been to a NAMM show, or any noisy trade show for that matter, you know that audio demos often require you to either provide headphones or rent a separate room space. Given the expense of trade show spaces, we opted for the headphones.

Our Product Manager had an interesting idea. He had arranged to borrow a dummy head used to create binaural recordings. We started by recording the trade show ambient noise on the last day of setup. He then positioned staff members in various locations around the demo station and had them read scripts he had already prepared. The scripts included a short talk that would take place prior to the music demo.

The demo station he created included 10 headphones so that larger groups of people could listen to the demo together. After hitting the PLAY button, someone would inevitably say, “I don‘t hear anything”, but they were actually listening to the show ambiance we had previously recorded. When the dialog began everyone would instinctively turn their heads in the direction of the sound. They quickly realized they were all turning at the same time, resulting in laughter as the music demo began to play.

That experience led me to think more about the human ear and how the brain perceives the sounds around us, which leads me to recommend this interesting article. Although it’s more medical than electronics-related, it helps us understand that the final “component” in the signal chain is the human ear.

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David is the Technology Specialist for Mouser’s audio market segment and is responsible for identifying new technologies, products, applications and business opportunities in the automotive, consumer and pro audio markets. Prior to joining Mouser, David spent 20 years in the professional audio industry with International Music, Akai Professional and Rupert Neve Designs. Since coming to Mouser, David has driven growth strategies for some of the leading embedded processor and audio focused suppliers.

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