Ever wonder how light reflects back and forth between the semi-reflector and reflector in lasers? Well, what if it told you it’s easy to make something similar using sound? It’s possible! All you need is a hypersonic sound system.
Using the principle of superposition, the hypersonic sound system is one of the best sound reproduction technologies of the century.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
HSS offers a departure from conventional speakers to direct broadcasts. But, that’s just the surface of it all.
Hence, we wrote this article to tell you more about the hypersonic sound system, how it works, its applications, and its pros and cons.
Are you ready? Let’s begin!
What is Hypersonic Sound Technology?
The hypersonic sound system is one of the most impressive approaches to sound engineering. Developed by the American Technology Corporation, this innovative technology has one big advantage. It doesn’t use any complex circuits with crossovers, tweeter elements, enclosures, and woofers.
Complex Circuit board closeup
Plus, it also offers the characteristics for almost all audio frequencies.
But, what exactly is an HSS?
Well, the hypersonic sound system is a device that uses harmless ultrasonics to make an audible sound in any environment.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Normally, we can’t hear these ultrasonic tones, but the tones utilize the property of air to make different tones that we can hear. Thus, creating audible sounds.
Here’s the best part.
The sounds from this sound system only move in one direction. The sound does not spread to the rear or sides of an HSS unit. It not only allows you to produce sound where you want but also helps reduce noise pollution.
Workings of HSS System
A hypersonic sound system technology uses the property of non-linearity to operate. Non-linearity is the property of air that makes new waves inside another wave through the continuous contraction and expansion of waves.
Here, the system uses ultrasonic waves as modulated waves depending on the input audio signal. Thus, when this wave travels through the air, it makes new audible frequencies that we can hear (around 20Hz-20KHz). Plus, there are no disturbances from ultrasonic sounds since we can’t hear such sound waves. Only the newly created sound is audible to the human ear.
Additionally, the structure of an ultrasonic transducer has the following sections or components. These components include:
Like other electronic systems, the HSS system gets its power from highly filtered SMPS. You most likely find SMPS as multi-voltage power supplies in most systems. Also, the supply voltage varies according to the power of the output ( from 12v to 60v).
Audio Signal Processing Unit
The audio signal processing unit uses an advanced audio circuit that can decode and detect all audio input.
Panasonic Audio Circuit Board
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Plus, you can filter them according to your requirements and send them to the digital pre-amp unit.
Also, you can use multiple kinds of input for this processing unit up to 11.2 channels plus DOLBY and DTS. This unit also controls equalization and other dynamic controls.
Arduino Microcontroller unit
This unit is what makes all the necessary audio adjustments. You’ll find 16 to 32-bit microcontrollers being used in these systems.
Digital Audio Pre-amp
Here, the digital audio pre-amp handles the pre-amplification of the decoded audio transferred from the audio signal processor.
Circuit board for Digital Audio Pre-amp
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Once this is complete, the pre-amplified audio transfers to the ultrasonic modulator.
Variable Carrier Frequency Oscillator (VCFO)
The VCFO is the ultrasonic oscillator circuit that generates waves of ultrasonic carrier waves for modulation. You will find that ultrasonic crystal oscillators are commonly used for making these oscillations with a frequency above 40 kHz.
Dynamic DSB Modulator
This unit carries out the ultrasound modulation with the audio signal. Here, the high-frequency ultrasonic waves modulate with the input digital audio to create an HF modulated wave. It also filters other HF disturbances. For DSB systems, you can reduce the modulation index to suppress all distortions.
Ultrasonic Power Amplifier
The ultrasonic power amplifier is the HF power amplifier that handles the output power of the system. It increases the power the system can deliver at the output stage. Also, this is the last stage of the hypersonic sound system amplifier unit.
Ultrasonic Power Amplifier Circuit Board
Once the amplification is complete, it feeds the signal to the monolithic film transducers for transmission.
Monolithic Film Transducers
The monolithic film transducer is the last unit that handles the output of HSS waves into the air. Piezoelectric polyvinylidene transducers are one of the best transducers to use for this unit. The transducer emits the signal transferred from the ultrasonic power amplifier into the air. Also, the ultrasonic waves focus in one direction –like flashlights. Thus, humans can only hear the audio within the range of the HSS sound beam.
How does the HSS System Truly Work?
Here’s how it works:
A HyperSonic Sound system consists of an audio program source like a CD player, an HSS signal processor, and an ultrasonic emitter or transducer that gets power from an ultrasonic amplifier. The signal processor converts the voice or music to a highly complex ultrasonic signal before the transducer amplifies and transmits the audio signals into the air.
Since the ultrasonic energy is highly directional, it forms a virtual column of sound directly in front of the emitter, similar to the beam from a flashlight. Thus, the air creates new sounds all along that column of ultrasonic sounds ( the sound we made before converting to an ultrasonic wave). Since we can only hear the sound created in the column of ultrasonic sound, it does not spread in all directions like the sound from a conventional loudspeaker. Rather, it stays inside the column of ultrasonic energy.
So, to hear the sound, your ears must be in line with the column of ultrasound, or, you can hear the sound after it reflects off a hard surface. For instance, when you point the ultrasonic emitter toward a surface, you will only hear the sounds after the wall reflects it, making it even more similar to shining a flashlight at a surface in a poorly lit environment. You won’t see the light from the flashlight, only the spot of light on the wall. HSS works the same way, but instead of seeing, you’re hearing the beam of sound the wall reflects. For stereo, a separate ultrasonic emitter is required for each channel of audio, one for the left channel and one for the right channel.
Applications of Hypersonic Sound Systems
The HSS technology has a wide range of applications. The first, and most important, is the directional sound system that directs or focuses sound into a tight beam. In other words, passersby won’t hear your audio.
This sound reproduction technology has massive opportunities in the entertainment, art, and hospitality industries. Imagine going to a museum in San Diego and enjoying the audio explanations of paintings without annoying others. Or, watching a movie on your computer in a crowded place without disturbing others. This also includes restaurants, airports, retail, and even video conferencing. The HSS system helps you make your zone in a crowded environment. Other applications include:
- Automobiles: HSS in automobiles can send alert signals directly to the driver
- Audio/video conferencing: It projects the audio from a conference in four different languages from a single device. Plus, you don’t need headphones
- Paging systems: It directs the signals to the area you choose
- Retail sales: It offers targeted advertising directly at the point of purchase
- Drive through ordering: You can communicate directly with an automobile driver without disturbing the neighbors
- Safety officials: It provides a portable type of device for communicating with a specific person in a crowd
- Military applications: For ship-to-ship communications and shipboard communications. Or a hypersonic missile or ballistic missile that moves at the speed of sound
Ballistic Missile Using Hypersonic Sound system
Here are some of the advantages of HSS technology:
- You can focus sound on the places you want and nowhere else
- When you focus sound, it travels long distances in a straight line compared to standard loudspeakers
- It eliminates feedback from live audio
- The ultrasonic emitter device is flat and thin. Also, it does not require mounting
- You can control the sound dispersion with ease
- The designs of the HSS system allow it to work in ways the standard loudspeaker can’t.
- It provides HD real audio for virtual reality experiences
- It supports multi-channel audio
As good as the HSS system can be, it does have its downsides. Here are some of the disadvantages of using a hypersonic sound system:
- It requires a higher operating voltage when compares to a standard audio amplifier
- It’s quite expensive to manufacture
- HSS systems don’t allow direct analog amplification or sound mixing
- It requires a minimum stereo quality sound input to work properly
The HSS system is a powerful innovation in so many ways. Its small and lightweight design makes it more portable than conventional speakers and provides high-quality audio in a safe and personal way.
Besides electronics, the HSS system would be perfect in the entertainment industry. Also, HSS removes the challenge of hearing aids being unable to reproduce the entire audio spectrum. Though quite expensive, it truly is a quantum leap in audio technology. Well, that wraps up everything you need to know about the hypersonic sound system. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist.