Acoustic Design Cycle

Developing products with the Sorama Acoustic Design Cycle

At Sorama we are experts at low-noise and sound design of all kinds of products. During our 10+ years of experience we’ve developed a solid acoustic design approach that we deploy in order to improve sound behavior in products. It is an iterative cycle that relies on gaining insight into the problem and translating this to proper solutions, instead of the traditional trial-and-error method.

sorama acoustic design cycle steps

Phase #1: Starting the cycle

A trigger occurs that initiates the acoustic design cycle, ideally in close synchronization with the overal product design cycle. If you think ahead you will not turn up unconsciously competent; i.e. have a lucky, low-noise product design outcome while not being aware of the risks let alone the opportunity that proper sound design holds. The worst-case outcome is to be unconsciously incompetent, meaning at the end of the product design cycle the product is too noisy; even worse, customers start complaining in the field and a re-design is needed. This can result in unsatisfied customers, a much higher cost of ‘repair’ and a blow to the brand identity, amongst other things.

Phase #2: Research & Analysis

First of all, establish the importance of sound or low-noise design for the value or success of the future product. What are the responses of customers or the market to the sound of the previous and current products in the same category? Is there legislation involved concerning noise level compliance? Could you think of ways the sound design could improve the brand identity or trigger a USP in the market?

Phase #3: Specification & Modeling

The specifications follow from the evaluation of the sound and low noise value for the product as well as pre-existing legislation and/or compliance. This could mean that the customer itself has certain standard norms or there is a governmental push to lower noise levels or improve sound perception. Furthermore, in this stage the acoustic design rules and/or models and simulations are being reviewed in order to prepare for the next stage.

Phase #4: Design & Creation

The design and creation stage is where all design rules, hypotheses, rules and experience is combined in order to set the design of the product. Up to now the process has been highly linear and analytic. The design phase, where you often have to make multiple assumptions, be creative and inventive, is what involves the art of engineering. That term may seem out of place, but more often than not the success of the design boils down to the experience and creativity of the engineers in how they solve problems and address requirements. For single cycle acoustic design cycles is it advised to create a small series of prototype variants addressing the uncertainties. Meaning in the next phase there is space to analyze and make the optimal choice given the circumstances.

Phase #5: Testing & Validation

Once one or multiple prototypes are ready it is time to do testing. Here, the Sorama Portal is utilized to perform testing with the CAM64 and CAM1K acoustic camera while following good measurement practice. For example, three slightly different versions that all comply to the functional specifications of the product are closely compared acoustically. Make sure good measurement practice is followed in order to speed up the process while making sure enough data is gathered for future analysis while also allowing to directly compare results. For the validation of the acoustic specifications the sound pressure level meter and spectral tools of the Portal may be used. Also, the acoustic imaging is effective in making a well founded decision of which version performs best. The acoustic imaging analysis may also result in minor tweaks that might pose an easy win before finalizing the product.


Phase #6: Evaluation & Communication

After the testing and validation all the data and findings are consolidated into very concise and to the point communication material. If the validation and analysis was successful it should be possible to refrain from multiple graphs and multipage reports. Focus on getting the essentials out of your findings and simple visualize the main issues and results. This is where the use of the Sorama Portal and acoustic cameras stand out.

Phase #7: Product Launch

Depending on the results and decision of the client (internal or external customer) the product design may go through to product launch. In most cases, however, additional cycles are required to get up to launch status. Also, it is advised to update your design rules based on the validation phase. Ideally, you could even perform another analysis and modeling phase for the follow-up product quality.

Do you want to develop more silent products with the Acoustic Design Cycle? We can support you.