Bongiovi DPS
on January 31, 2012

During the filming of our new video series, we had the opportunity to record the output of our wacky creations using Earthworks TC30 microphones.  These microphones have extremely accurate frequency and transient response which is why we chose them to represent the sound of our Will It Tune creations.  I can now present fairly accurate wave forms for the “speakers” with and without DPS.  Read on and get ready for some Sound Science!

top waveform: DPS OFF bottom waveform: DPS ON

The top wave form looks like the output of a fairly standard speaker.  The “thicker” areas represent more RMS power (average power over time) and quick transients (the little spikes) peek out of the larger mass of the wave form.  As expected, lower frequencies will show up as more RMS power because they require more energy to reproduce.  Long vocal notes will also show up as more RMS power (and a thicker wave form) because the vocals are mixed loud in the song.  And since RMS is power over time, they can be as powerful as the bass line in some cases.

Now take a look at the bottom wave form with DPS ON.  See the difference in RMS power?  The DPS technology is “active” which means it is constantly reacting to the incoming program material and making adjustments in real time to provide the maximum amount of power possible within the limitations of the playback device.  These particular “speakers” (if you can even call them that…watch the episode!) had quite a few limitations.  But by creating a custom profile for them, I was able to divert power away from frequencies where it was being wasted into frequency ranges that needed help.  The DPS “toolbox” allows me to use this new power available from the small 20 Watt amp we were using to make the speakers sound pretty darn amazing.  This is all done by hand/ear and, in case you were wondering, the DPS “toolbox” is NOT a glorified multi-band compressor.  There is some special sauce at the core of DPS.

If you look closely at the DPS ON wave form you will see large peak transients spiking out of a fat and consistent body of RMS power.  This wave form actually looks more like the wave form of the actual recording!  However, the transients are actually LOUDER than those of the original recording.  This has the effect of adding life, color, excitement and drama to the program material.  It is these non-measurable intangibles that we strive for when creating profiles for DPS.  So at the end of the day it looks like the DPS technology has not only distributed the power evenly across the audio spectrum specifically for these speakers, it actually INCREASES the dynamic range.

When all frequencies are tuned for a given DPS application, the device now has more headroom available.  This headroom should result in an increase in volume but sometimes it can’t!  The bottleneck becomes the actual digital audio engine itself.  Most systems (Windows and iOS for example) use PCM audio as the backbone of their audio engines.  This means “digital zero” is the loudest possible signal that can be reproduced before very nasty clipping will occur.  Modern music is already mastered right up to this “digital zero” level so if we are INCREASING the dynamic range for a louder output, where can all of this new sound go?  It’s like putting Dr. Bruce Banner into a Honda Civic and making him angry.  The Civic may become slightly distorted!  We’ve worked around this issue by building headroom into the Windows version (since it becomes a part of the whole computer audio system) and creating HIFI profiles for iOS.  This isn’t a problem for integrated DPS applications since we are part of the design of the system.

Hopefully you found this technical insight into DPS interesting.  Respond to this post if you have any questions or wish to elaborate.

Joey Butera

ShowHide Comments (3)

3 responses to “Will it Tune? A DPS Waveform Analysis…”

  1. I’d like to get a nice audio system for my truck, but I don’t want to have to spend more by making a mistake. I know the RMS power rating is the realistic power rating and that the speakers should be higher rated than the amp. Should the RMS power rating of the speakers exceed the amp or should the max power rating of the speakers exceed the amp?

    • Joseph Beaty says:

      Hey Deirdre! We have many options for you. If you have a Toyota it is possible that your dealer can install a DPS Module. We also have audio applications for Apple devices. Search “Bongiovi DPS” in the Apple App store and try the app. If you have an AUX in your car you can plug in and use the Bongiovi App to process your car’s speakers. I do it with my new iPod touch. Fantastic results! -Joseph Beaty (Bongiovi Acoustics)

  2. Joey Butera says:

    It is true that the RMS output of an amplifier is more indicative of it’s actual power output though these measurements are usually taken under perfect conditions and best case scenarios. It is always best to assume any consumer amp is a few watts less than it is rated. In general, it is safe to pair equally rated amps and speakers.

    If you exceed the power rating of the speakers with amplification there will be no problems until you actually send a signal that pushes the speaker beyond it’s physical capabilities. This will result in damage to the speaker however the audio quality will not suffer at lower volumes. Conversely, if you under power your speakers the amplifier will distort before your reach the power capabilities of your speakers, thus degrading your listening experience.

    Bongiovi DPS seeks to distribute the power going to the speakers across the frequency spectrum in such a way as to maximize that speaker’s potential output. This has the effect of providing more volume and clarity with less amplifier power and less damage to the speaker over time.

    Hope this helps!

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