Monday, October 13, 2008

The SR1 Audio Analyser Makes Waves at AES!

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 125th AES convention in San Francisco on 3rd-5th October 2008, to witness the launch of the new SR1 Audio Analyser from Stanford Research Systems (SRS).
With many years of success in the scientific instrumentation and test & measurement markets, SRS have been able to produce a high-end product at a low-budget price. The SR1 is targeted at the flagship AP2700 Series from Audio Precision, and provdes a similar specification at a fraction of the cost.
The SR1 contains an embedded PC for stand-alone operation, and is a dual domain (analogue & digital) instrument with true two channel FFT analysers. The full specification set is included as standard - without the need for a long list of extra cost options required to configure your basic instrument.
SRS also used this opportunity to launch the SR10, SR11 & SR12 family of audio switches for use with the SR1. Members of the SR1 design team were on-hand at AES to help with detailed technical discussions, and we were all pleased at the universally positive reaction. Comments included “thanks for injecting some real competition into this market”, “you’ll have great success with this”, “this specification for such a low price is incredible”.
This has to be one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I've been involved with. It was great to be present for the launch of a new product into a new market, to witness the high level of interest and universally positive reponse, and of course to have the chance to look at all that tempting pro-audio kit!
The first SR1 units are due to ship in January 2009, and if you would like more information please visit our new dedicated Audio Analyser website If you have any questions, just let us know. We look forward to talking to you about the SR1!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Audio Analyser UK website launched

After a lot of hard work (blood, sweat and some tears) we have now launched a microsite dedicated to the Audio Analyser

The site provides all the latest news, specifications and product information for the SR1 Audio Analyser, and we'll shortly be adding application information, product demonstration videos and much more.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Analysing Audio Signals

Fantastic news this week as Stanford Research have now launched the SR1 Audio Analyser.

The SR1 is a dual-domain analyser that consists of a high high-performance waveform generator with an array of analyzers that operate symmetrically in both the analog and digital domains.

The waveforms generator can produce sine, synchronous burst sine, noise (white, pink, and filtered), standard intermodulation test signals (SMPTE, CCIF, DIM), square waves, arbitrary waveforms (ASCII and .WAV), ramps and multitone waveforms.

The array of analysers include:

  • Time Domain Detector for measuring Amplitude, Crosstalk, and THD+N

  • Single-Channel FFT and Dual-Channel FFT Analyzers providing live spectral displays with full zoom and heterodyne capability.

  • Two-channel FFT analyzer for true single-shot frequency response measurements

  • THD Analyzer for frequency selective THD measurements

  • IMD Analyzer for standard audio distortion measurements including SMPTE, CCIF, and DIM

  • Histogram Analyzer displays live histograms of input signal amplitudes and probability distributions

  • Multitone Analyzer for fast single-shot measurements of a variety of audio parameters including Level, Frequency Response, THD+N, THD Total Distortion, Noise, Crosstalk, and IMD.

We're very excited by this product as it's got a very impressive spec at a great price.

We'll add more details as soon as we get them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Zygo surface metrology

We recently held a successful Zygo seminar on high performance optical surface profiling at the NPL, giving over 50 industry and academic participants an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how Zygo metrology tools can help characterise surfaces and improve R&D and manufacturing processes. Zygo provide two basic tools, one based on scanning white light interferometry and the other on Fizeau interferometry and we often get asked which one should be used for a particular application or what's the difference between the two? So here I will provide a brief explanation.

The Zygo NewView scanning white light interferometer is a general purpose surface metrology tools designed to cope with most surface topographies and textures. Depending on the quality of light reflection from the surface it will allow measurement of surfaces from a very small field of view (0.22 mm square) but with high magnification (100x) to a large field of view (22 mm square) with very low magnification (0.5x). This makes the NewView very versatile for measuring surfaces ranging from super smooth all the way to poorly reflecting surfaces with roughness values of tens of microns. Typical applications range from highly polished diamond machined surfaces such as contact lens moulds to embossed paper and rough coatings from screen printed materials. When measuring rough surfaces best results are achieved with a high magnification setting on the tool which means that "stitching" of several fields of view is required to observe a large area of several to tens of mm square.

The Zygo GPI is a Fizeau interferometer using a laser light source, it relies on a comparison of the surface under test with a reference optical surface, allowing measurement of flat or spherical components. The field of view is typically large from 4" diameter and more but the surface needs to be reflective and typically shiny to the naked eye to ensure enough laser light reflected off the surface can make its way back into the instrument. The GPI uses a similar camera to the NewView and with the larger aperture this means it will have a lower optical resolution than can be achieved with the NewView. Surfaces are measured on the GPI to determine form rather than roughness and typically this includes optical components and shiny diamond machined parts such as contact lenses and orthopaedic hip joints where the departure of the surface from either flat or sphere is no more than a few microns.

For more information take a look at:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Physik Instrumente UK website launched

We have now launched a dedicated UK website for Physik Instrumente's high precision positioning systems at

The idea behind the website is to provide detailed information on PI's positioning products and applications that are of particular interest to UK customers. It will also list UK events and provide comprehensive contact details and information of PI's UK contacts.

Hopefully this will prove to be a valuable resource of information to those interested in all aspects of high precision positioning and gives a more local flavour and back up to PI's main website,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lambda Roadshows - Coming to a University near you

Over the past 6 months or so, we have been organising Photonics & Positioning Technology exhibitions (or Lambda Roadshows) at University sites throughout the UK.

So far these have proved extremely popular; our academic customers are able to discuss their applications with our product specialists, get hands-on demos and see new developments in the photonics & positioning fields.

It seems people are reluctant to visit the larger exhibitions and these onsite, smaller exhibitions offer convenience and a personal touch not possible at a huge exhibition.

I'll soon post some pictures on here of the exhibition at the ORC at Southampton University, (6th Feb 08) and below is a list of future dates.

N.B. If you'd like a Lambda Roadshow to visit your University, then please contact us.

6th Feb 08 - ORC, Southampton University

27th Feb 08 - The Clarendon Lab, Oxford University

5th Mar 08 - The Photon Science Institute, Manchester University

22nd Apr 08 - School of Physics, Heriot-Watt University

24th Apr 08 - Physics Department, St Andrews University

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big Sky Laser now Quantel (USA) - It's official!

Big Sky announced this week that they are officially changing their name to Quantel (USA). We often get asked by customers about the difference/relationship between Quantel and Big Sky and it used to be very confusing, so hopefully the change will simplify matters.

A little history: Quantel purchased Big Sky back in 1998 and Big Sky has been a 100% subsidiary of Quantel since then. At that time, the decision was made to keep the Big Sky name which was well known throughout the laser community. We were lucky as we were the UK representative for both Quantel and Big Sky, so it was an easy transition for us!

Hopefully now that there is only a single company name it will end any confusion.

See Quantel's range of Nd:YAG lasers here