SoundExpert belongs to internet resources usually called Distributed Human Projects. They help to combine tiny efforts of millions of people for solving extremely complicated problems. Most known distributed projects are:
- SETI@home – Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by means of internet-connected computers of ordinary users; pioneer of distributed computing
- DarwinTunes - modeling cultural evolution by means of mutations and selection of music samples.
- fightAIDS@home – designing new drugs to fight AIDS
- distributed.net – distributed computing power for academic research and public-interest projects
- FreeDB - database that stores meta data about music CDs; anyone can contribute information about new CDs
- P2P – peer-to-peer networks can also be considered as distributed human/computing systems; they help to establish very efficient distribution of any digital content over the internet by sharing storage capacities and bandwidth of connected computers
- Wikipedia – collaborative project to produce a complete encyclopedia; a good place to start learning about distributed computing - List of distributed computing projects on Wikipedia
SoundExpert, in this sense, helps to unite tiny efforts of people for evaluating audio quality of various sound equipment and technologies.
In case of audio codecs SoundExpert conducts distributed listening tests which consist of thousands small and simple listening tasks performed by volunteers.
In case of objective measurements of audio equipment SoundExpert collects micro-donations of people in the form of cryptocurrency mining in browsers. Afterwards devices of interest are bought and tested according to highly revealing music-based audio metric.
For almost 20 years SoundExpert is the home for innovative audio measurements and research. Newly developed listener-centric audio metric combines instrumental measurements with listening assessments and helps to perform both more efficiently.
Since 2001 more than 10 000 volunteers participated in distributed blind listening tests on Soundexpert website. Sound quality ratings of 100+ codecs were computed thanks to their time and efforts. You can still take part in them.
Recently we developed a new method for instrumental measurements of audio equipment. It is based on the new audio metric and helps to examine technical performance of an audio device in great detail. Furthermore all audio devices can be grouped according to their sound signatures. The measurement procedure was fine-tuned during two years of beta-testing with 30+ portable devices. Now it is mature enough for production environment. First few tested players can be found on Portable players page.
I hope this new audio metric will attract more audio engineers and enthusiasts as it opens new field of audio research where objective and subjective are not separated anymore. Further advance in the research requires many more different audio devices to be tested - a serious challenge for our non-commercial research project. Fortunately portable players are good test subjects for this research, even the old ones. That's why I need some help from our volunteers again. If you have such old/previous/ex digital portable audio player or a smartphone that was marketed as "HQ audio inside", if it is fully functional but not in use anymore, please, consider donating it to SoundExpert. Its df-measurements will appear on the portable players page. Then it will be either kept for research purposes or sold off supporting the project additionally (or given away to some music lover if it can't be sold for some reason). I'm going to refund your postal expenses but can't confirm this right now. Please, contact me for further arrangements.
Manufacturers of portable devices can order df-measurements for their products. The cost of the work will be equal to retail price of the device. I will buy it and perform standard df-measurements. If you decide I will not publish results during a year.
Today building a comprehensive audio quality map of various audio devices on the market can be done by ourselves - audio consumers. And it's not hard indeed. In the end this will free up some time for listening and discussing Music, not technology )).