The engineering team behind UE Pro is one of the most innovative in the audio world. We’re excited to pry Manager of Acoustics, Matt Green away from his work long enough to answer some questions for Ultimate Ears Stories.
Matt’s team has knocked it out of the park recently. Every innovation, from the superb UE BOOM series of portable speakers to our industry leading 3D printing process, has been world class. Stay tuned, we’ll be digging deeper with Matt on future editions of UE University.
Hey Matt, Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule to talk with us. Can you tell me a little about your background? What did you do before UE? How did you get involved with sound?
Before I could tie my own shoes, I would climb up on a stool and carefully place records on my grandma’s turntable. I just loved listening to music. For me, it was more than just the listening. I had to watch the turntable, the VU meters, the motion of the woofers (couldn’t stand to have grills on the speakers). The equipment that reproduced the sound is still just as important to me as the music. My love for audio and it’s gear lead me to a degree in electrical engineering. Then a masters in acoustics at BYU. I worked about 8 years in active noise control and hearing aid research before professionally working my way into audio when I joined UE in 2012.
Tell us a little about your background at UE.
I hit the ground running as a member of the group that delivered the UE900and later was the lead Acoustical Engineer on the UE900s. With my home desk in Camas, I also looked for opportunities to collaborate with UE Pro in Irvine. I worked on several projects to improve quality and verify designs.
We unveiled my favorite creation at NAMM in 2014. It was the first UE Pro demo system to allow a potential customer to listen to any product in our entire lineup from a single pair of generic fit monitors by tapping its picture on a screen. I specialized as an Acoustical Engineer on audio signal processing, acoustical measurements, and creating tools to make step-wise improvements in our products. In July of 2014 I was honored to accept the position of Manager of Acoustics and now lead the engineers that produce best in class sound for UE and Logitech audio products.
What’s the makeup of your team at UE?
The core UE Acoustics team consists of 6 engineers with unique backgrounds. They synergize around a passion for audio and rock-solid understanding of how sound works. We have electrical, mechanical, software, signal processing, physics, and recording specialists in the group. Each member is able to contribute from their area of specialty, providing a lot of breadth and depth in our product design.
I’ve heard great things about our the lab, you even have an anechoic chamber. Can you tell us what that is?
It is a room built for measuring sound. The walls, floor, and ceiling are lined with deep foam wedges. When sound reaches them it is absorbed rather than reflected. When you measure a sound source in any other environment you pick up the countless reflections from everything around you. Especially the walls.
These reflections can dominate the sound so that you’re actually learning more about the room than you are the device you’re trying to test. Anechoic chambers minimize the reflected sound so a source can be directly measured. They are also usually very quiet and isolated from the outside world. Even very small sounds can be characterized.
What are some of the other tools at your disposal in the lab?
There is a great listening room at UE, which we use to gather blind subjective feedback on our products as well as competitors. We use modeling software to help us design everything from driver components to full speaker and headphone systems. We have a laser. It will scan the moving surface of a speaker cone and tell us everything about it’s motion and potential performance. There are 3D printers for fast prototyping, and great measurement equipment for verification.
What are some of the products your team has developed?
Our mobile speaker business really took off with the launch of the UE Boom in 2013. It was followed by the Mini Boom. This January, we started selling the flagship MegaBoom and the Mini was replaced by the UE Roll. Our mobile speakers are best in class for sound quality, life-proof design, battery life, and wireless range. I also mentioned the UE 900s, which is as close to a custom IEM as you can get in a generic fit earphone.
Thanks Matt, I can’t wait to see and hear what the team comes up with next. If you have a question for Matt and his team drop us a line and we’ll pass it on. We’ll be talking to Matt again in depth more in the future, so get your questions in!