PAA2 Real-time Audio Analyzer
Measuring the listening space of your audio or home theater system is a sure way to know if you're getting the most out of your system. Taking those measurements can be a difficult and time consuming task and equipment needed to take such measurements can be quite costly, especially for those wanting to make one-time readings on their listening space. Simple level meters do not give users enough information about the frequency peaks and nulls that exist in practically all environments. A company called Phonic, known in the professional audio community, has introduced the PAA2 Personal Audio Assistant, a reasonably priced real-time audio spectrum analyzer that is loaded with useful features. The PAA2 is an accurate 31-band real-time analyzer capable of measuring frequencies from 21Hz to 20kHz. This handheld unit operates on four "AA" batteries and its lightweight design makes it simple to use. The 160x160 backlit LCD display with adjustable contrast gives the user plenty of useful feedback on the audio being measured. The built-in calibrated microphone can handle sound pressure levels from 30dB to 130dB. The unit also includes line inputs to measure directly from a source. The heart of the PAA2 is built around a Texas Instrument's TMS320VC5402A fixed point Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for very fast performance.
Both male and female XLR connectors are on the bottom of the unit. The male XLR outputs one of three signals for testing. Pink Noise or a 1kHz tone can be sent to a connected component. The unit also uses this connection to output the Polarity pulse for checking the system's wiring for proper polarity. The female XLR is used to measure line-level signals in dBu, dBV or AC or to check the phase of the input signal that is sent from the output connector when testing cables.
The back of the PAA2 has a Power Lock switch that is used to prevent the unit from being accidentally turned on. Since power is a simple button push on the front user panel, this switch helps prevent inadvertent battery drain. Also located on the back of the unit is the contrast control for the LCD display. The four "AA" batteries are also located here with a cover that slides on and off. There is also a standard threaded mount for a tripod to help hold the unit in position during measurements.
The SPL mode can either measure sound from the calibrated microphone or from the line input. The weighting, response time, SPL range and peak level is also selectable in this mode. In addition, a bar graph exists along with the numeric readout of the SPL reading.
The EQ Setting mode is designed to help provide information of the acoustics of the room you are monitoring. Using the CD provided with the unit, pink noise is played back through the system and sampled by the PAA2. Multiple samples can be stored into memory, which the user can select to average. The averaged results can be stored to one of six unique memory locations. This data taken by the PAA2 will then calculate the amount of equalization that is required at each of the center frequencies.
The polarity test is designed to check either system polarity or cabling. System polarity is tested by sending out a pulse to the system electronics and measuring the sonic wave produced by the loudspeaker. If the system hears the pulse in-phase then a "+" is displayed on the screen. If it's out-of-phase then a "-" is displayed. A "?" will be displayed if the analyzer cannot determine the polarity. This same test can be run on a cable connected between the two XLR connectors.
Battery life on the PAA2 is rather short, so it might be a good idea to use rechargeable batteries. We tried a set of 1800mAH batteries during our testing and they work great. Our rechargeable batteries lasted about two to three hours while the alkaline batteries lasted a little longer.
- Kevin Nakano
High-Definition DLP Projector
|Review - At a Glance|
Warranty: 1 year parts and labor
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