Project AES-X217 initiation

[page updated 2013-08-20]

This project was proposed by Chris Lacinak. It was approved under our rules by Subcommittee SC-02 and assigned to the SC-02-01 Working group on Digital Audio Measurement Techniques .

TITLE AES-X217, Audio Analog-to-Digital Converter Test Method and Performance Specification for Archiving and Preservation Applications
SCOPE To specify sets of measurement methods and performance criteria to characterize the performance of audio analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) used in archiving and preservation workflows. This standard considers the production of files using the highest-quality ADC devices.
RATIONALE This standard would provide a test method and performance specification to be used by organizations digitizing analog sound recordings for preservation. The quality of the digitization is critically dependent on the quality of the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that is used.

It is generally understood that commonly-published performance metrics are of little value in selecting or specifying a suitable ADC. AES17 provides test methods for ADCs but no performance requirements.

The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) has published a set of performance specifications in TC 04: Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Objects, 2nd ed., 2009. However, the alignment between the AES-17 test method and IASA TC-04 performance specifications is poor, making it impractical for use. Furthermore, a study undertaken by FADGI found that the IASA TC-04 performance specifications are likely in need of adjustment.

This project will produce a set of tightly integrated specifications that will provide relevant organizations with the ability to:
b) measure and test ADCs for selection, acquisition and integration into preservation systems;
a) include quality requirements in statements of work to vendors being hired to perform digitizing services;
c) perform routine test and measurement of ADCs being used in digitizing workflows to confirm integrity.

This project also aims to provide test and measurement solutions that are a) cost effective, and b) able to be used by technicians who are not measurement specialists.
WHO BENEFITS? Commissioning bodies and providers of services for archival digitization of audio.
WHY AES? The AES is understood to be the relevant authority on measurements in this field.
AES - Audio Engineering Society