Comprehensive Testing Process Determines if Media Meets Requirements for Mission-Critical Production Applications

REEDSBURG, WI, NOVEMBER 18, 2014Sound Devices, specialists in audio and video products, announces an expanded Approved Media List designed to identify media fully compatible with and meeting the high-quality standards of the Sound Devices and Video Devices mission-critical production recorders. Since a recording is only as good as the medium in which it is stored, identifying and using approved media ensures that the company’s products will operate with the utmost reliability in the field.

“We created the Approved Media List because, quite simply, not all types of media are created equal,” says Dan Desjardins, Director of Software Engineering, Sound Devices. “Some are too slow for reliable high-data-rate recording or multi-file simultaneous recording, and some don’t perform well in wide temperature ranges. This updated approved list will lead to fewer media-related failures in the field.”

Sound Devices products use a range of storage media including SSD, HDD, CF and SD cards. Media is tested and approved, per product, depending on the type of media that particular product uses. Sound Devices engineers have devised a comprehensive six-step test to determine if a drive meets the requirements for mission-critical product applications, and is therefore placed on the Approved Media List. The first step is to determine which products the media is compatible with, in terms of its physical dimensions. The next step is Metric Testing, where the engineers scrutinize the read and write speeds of the drive to see if it can handle the speeds required by the recorders to write and read data.

The next step is Recording and Playback where the engineers run several recording and playback tests in numerous configurations mimicking those found in real-world applications including a wide range of short burst- and long duration-recordings. This is followed by the Worst-Case Recording step, where the drive is pushed to the limits of the recorder’s capabilities, such as recording ProRes 4444 with 64 tracks of audio.

“We use custom automated programs that make hundreds of short 30-second recordings and long-duration recordings that span the entire capacity of the media, as well as test both single-file write and the more strenuous multi-file write capabilities,” says Kevin Mancusi, QA Software Engineer, Sound Devices. “We also test playback of both short and long files, verifying audio and/or video integrity.”

Next, the engineers subject the drive to voltage and power tests to uncover any voltage spikes or other forms of unique electrical activity during specific types of use, such as when the file is being closed. Finally, they test the temperature, placing the drive in an environmental chamber capable of producing extreme hot and cold temperatures and then running it though a barrage of speed, voltage, and other unique challenges.

“If the drive has met all of the Sound Devices and Video Devices requirements, then it’s added to our Approved Media List,” adds Matt Anderson, CEO, Sound Devices. “Through this rigorous testing procedure, engineers gain the information about the drive they need to approve it for mission-critical production applications. Our team goes to great lengths during the approval process to subject media to the most extreme of tests so that we are confident they will perform reliably at all times. We encourage our customers to always refer to Sound Devices' Approved Media List.”

Sound Devices actively tests new media to ensure that the approved list is current and up-to-date. All media testing is conducted at Sound Devices’ headquarters in Reedsburg, WI. The full list of approved media can be found at http://www.sounddevices.com/approved/.