Audio Research & Development
Crystal Audio's dedicated Research & Development team cooperates with universities and technical institutes in order to develop new technologies and bring them to the final customer's use.
Our main research interests involve:
Our engineers often present their work in Conventions of the Audio Engineering Society - AES. The Audio Engineering Society is the only professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology. Its membership of leading engineers, scientists and other authorities has exploded throughout the world, boosting the society's stature and that of its members in a truly symbiotic relationship.
"HD Digital Multimedia Center with Intelligent Room Equalization System"
in collaboration with the scientific team of Sound Technology & Audio from the University of Patras, BLUEdev and Ergologic (Jan. 2014).
The project created a central entertainment unit that will provide full Media Player capabilities, advanced Networking features and services, and most importantly, an innovative Room Equalization system.
The final product will allow the user to enjoy his / her media library from networked or directly connected storage devices and to explore a selection of streaming services with reference quality, High Definition audio and video material. To ensure absolute sonic quality in every room, the media center will be fitted with an advanced EQ system, capable of automatically applying settings or sending all measurements to dedicated Engineers via the network. Our Engineers will then be able to send back a custom - tailored EQ curve, for perfect sonic results.
The user will be able to have complete control on all system parameters, with the aid of a hi-tech touch screen remote control, and specially developed software. The remote will also embed the microphone, required for all in-room measurements. The final product was released on Jan. 2014
Download the full product brief here.
"Objective and Subjective Evaluation of Digital Equalization Systems - Measurements of Resonances and Colorations"
presented in the 118th AES Convention, 2005 in Barcelona
Abstract:In this paper, we investigate the correlation between subjective and objective criteria to evaluate Digital Equalization systems automatically. Although the method developed can be perfectly adapted in the case of loudspeakers evaluation, our main concern and motivation is the objective evaluation of Digital Equalization (EQ) systems which promise the undoing of loudspeaker and room artifacts by using different approaches. The interesting issue about Digital EQ systems is developing metrics to evaluate their performance in terms of frequency response flatness and spatial smoothness. We developed in MATLAB an optimization system in the DSP to control the EQ parameters, aiming for optimum overall frequency response.
We have created a user friendly application (check the just below image) that can process 4 in-room measurements and calculate the values of the metrics that we developed and presented in this paper. You can download the application, 4 example files to try and the user's guide from here. Use it and give us your feedback on it!
"Optimum Loudspeaker System with Subwoofer and Digital Equalization"
presented in the 117th AES Convention, 2004 in San Francisco
Abstract: In this paper we investigate the subwoofer concept in relation to the various benefits of digital equalization and the way it can be used together with today’s small sized multichannel loudspeaker systems. We try to systematize a somewhat objective method of comparing between different subwoofer positions and crossover frequencies regarding their optimum response in a listening area. All these have as purpose to show that we can raise the subwoofer frequency at 120Hz and thus relieve the main loudspeakers from the task of reproducing frequencies down to 80Hz. Thus it is possible to create a hi-end system using slim, line array, main loudspeakers, with all their known advantages, which can be correctly integrated, both aesthetically and acoustically, in any listening room.
"A Versatile Digital Audio Processing Engine for Loudspeaker and Room Equalization"
presented in the 102nd AES Convention, 1997 in Munich
Abstract: A versatile Digital Processing Engine for speaker and room equalization has been designed and manufactured for hi-fi, hi-end and studio use. The processor has been implemented as to be a "normal" hi-fi component with all the facilities and user-friendliness of a standard preamplifier. The DSP heart has been implemented in a separate PCB that can be interchanged or stacked in a "plug 'n' play" way, allowing for user selected FIR lengths from 832 to 2528 coefficients per channel.
"Finite Baffle Dipole Speakers with Electrodynamic Drivers - Design, Implementation, Measurements, and an Experiment of Digital Equalization"
presented in the 100th AES Convention, 1996 in Copenhagen
Abstract: Dipole speakers are widely known to benefit from the merits of figure-of-eight polar response throughout the audio spectrum. Figure-of-eight room loading creates a weaker early reflection field and a stronger "reverberation" field, both qualities adding to the creation of more realistic stereo reproduction. Moreover, the use of "standard" electrodynamic loudspeakers for building dipole speakers offers cost effectiveness and an "easy" interface with amplifiers (high sensitivity and impedance). Implementation strategies, computer modeling and measurement tips are both presented and analyzed. Additionally, the use of Digital Equalization using proprietary D.E.A.S. system with dipole speakers is also demonstrated and analyzed.
"Digital System for Loudspeaker and Room Equalization"
presented in the 98th AES Convention, 1995 in Paris
Abstract: A dedicated stand-alone and low-cost digital equalization audio system (DEAS) is described suitable for loudspeaker and room acoustics equalization. The system incorporates a number of novelties with respect to the algorithms used and its hardware implementation. The system uses a dedicated transversal filter structure and thus allows FIR filters of up to 2400 taps to be implemented and is easily programmable via extensive and flexible library options.
Beyond Audio, Questions & Answers
1. What is the mission of Crystal Audio New Product Development?
To create the most efficient development & Supply Chain, from our Suppliers to the end-users, of our customers' networks
2. What is the advantage of Crystal Lean-PMI New Product Development System?
Shortening the Strategic Lead Time from Idea to Market. Crystal Lean-PMI New Product Development System
People at Crystal Audio realize that there is a direct correlation between model age and market share. According to Merrill Lynch, “Clearly the older the model the lower the market share – newness wins every time”.
The proprietary Crystal Lean-PMI system was implemented to develop a state-of-the-art System for New Product Development and enter new, dynamically growing markets. The mission is: "Shortening the Strategic Lead Time from Idea to Market." Lean-PMI integrates People and Processes with the Products, the Projects, the Programs, and the Portfolio.
3. What is Crystal Audio perception for New Product Development?
Starting from an “ocean” of opportunities, Crystal Audio uses a funnel flow screening with interim reviews, defined by the stage-gate processes and Lean principles, in order to deliver only the best value for money products.
4. How Crystal Audio stands out with Lean-PMI New Product Development System?
Crystal Audio integrates the Processes and Knowledge Areas of the best Industry Associations and Certifications, PDMA, AIPMM, PMI, Lean, Six Sigma, TOC.
5. What is the international industry reference used for the development of new products and services?
Principles and methodologies based on PDMA - Product Development Management Association
Crystal Audio applies the top industry standard practices in order to develop and deliver new products and services. This process involves an integrated set of unique activities clearly defined from the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA). PDMA is the premier global organization for product development and leads its practitioners to:
The PDMA Book of Knowledge compromises:
3 Phases: Discovery, Development, Distribution
6 Knowledge Areas: Technology and IP, Strategy and Planning Process, Execution and Metrics, People, Teams and Culture, Customer and Market Research, Co-Development and Alliances
6. What is the international industry reference used for the project management of new products and services?
PMI - Project Management Institute, the world’s leading organization for the project management profession
It is all about Project Management with emphasis on timely delivery and attention to product specifications and budget. Crystal Audio project management teams consist of PMI practitioners in order to understand and execute PMI principles. Project Management Book of Knowledge includes:
7. How do you ensure the best quality for products and services?
By applying Lean Six Sigma principles and tools:
We practice state-of-the-art industry standards by implementing a blend of two proven methods: Lean Development and Six Sigma, which is more commonly known as Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma creates more value with fewer resources. This is achieved by:
Six Sigma projects adhere to the DMAIC methodology, which is concluded in five phases:
Define - the Customer, their Critical to Quality (CTQ) issues, and the Core Business Process involved
Measure - the performance of the Core Business Process involved
Analyze - the data collected and process map to determine root causes of defects and opportunities for improvement
Improve - the target process by designing creative solutions to fix and prevent problems
Control - the improvements to keep the process on the new course
8. Which system do you integrate for decision making?
Methodologies and tools derived from the international industry reference Theory of Constraints - TOC
The theory of constraints (TOC) is an overall management philosophy introduced by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. The analytic approach with TOC comes from the contention that any manageable system is limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints. Hence, the TOC process seeks to identify the constraint (problem) and restructure the rest of the surrounding organization.
TOC uses Management Decision-Making Tools called the Thinking Processes (TP) - a set of tools to help managers walk through the steps of initiating and implement a project.
9. What influences do you have from other industries to develop your own Product Development process?
Our Lean-PMI has integrated a lot of Lean practices from Automotive Industries PDS - Product Development System
There are several distinguishable companies across various industries which can be used as references and top influencers. Highly featured, however - for Crystal Audio striving for business and operational excellence - is Toyota’s PDS, which has revolutionized the Automotive Industry over the last three decades, with Lean Manufacturing and Development.
Toyota PDS has become a significant study area for Universities around the globe and considerable literature has been published around it.
Toyota’s Lean Product Development System is structured around three main areas:
10. How do you maximize the Customer’s Benefits with the product’s Features and Technical Specifications?
By listening to the ‘voice of the customer’ with QFD - Quality Function Deployment
QFD, or also known as “House of Quality”, is an industry standard process in which ‘voice of the customer’ is heard and deployed.
Orderly, QFD consists of four-phase process:
QFD distinguishes between customer attributes and product technical characteristics.
11. How do you ensure that the Product Development delivers on Specifications, Time and Budget?
Crystal Audio uses Project Management by Checklist, our in-house developed tool.
Questions and checks include information around:
Project Management by Checklist is a software tool which allows the Project Managers instant access to critical information for every project throughout the entire Life Cycle.
For every stage of the Project, there is a set of check questions across all disciplines (Engineering, Operations, Sales, Marketing, Supply, Quality, Creative, Advertising, Copywriting) where they need to be completed, for the project to proceed to the next phase. This way, we minimize the risk of missing critical steps. The time tracking is not overlooked, since there is an associated delivery timeline for every single task.
12. How do you optimize the value stream for each product family?
With Value Stream Mapping based on Lean Six Sigma Principles
13. How do you integrate your suppliers in the Product Development Process System?
We train and monitor the development of the best suppliers.
We carefully select our suppliers, through the most demanding international industry Qualification and Verification procedures:
Suppliers who will be advanced may start having access in Lean-PMI tools in order to have common access to the deliverables and timeline associated with the co-development projects
14. How do you support Product Development in the Industry beyond your few selected Suppliers?
We support our Customers beyond delivering Products with state-of-the-art Development System, which has been presented in International Conventions
e.g. Crystal Audio has presented Lean-PMI methodology to the following events:
Fully integrate the BEST suppliers into your Product Development System
15. I am interested to learn more about New Product Development Systems. Where can Ι find additional information?