Frequently Asked Questions

Acoustic Beamforming

Acoustic Beamforming is a signal processing technique of using an array of multiple microphones to identify and localize sound.  Many different algorithms exist but almost all look for constructive interference between the microphones. Beamforming systems typically have a camera and overlay beamforming data over the camera image. Depending on the system, beamforming can be done in real-time or post-processed. Beamforming results can dramatically differ between manufacturers, their arrays, beamforming algorithms, and camera systems used.

The SoundCam is a self-contained and portable instrument that contains an array, signal processing, display head, and camera which allows calculating beamforming levels and overlay it on real-time video. It is the first truly self-contained portable acoustic beamforming instrument which is capable of up to 100 acoustic-frames-second over 50fps of video.

Click here to learn more on Wiki

The SoundCam & CAE

CAE is a German company that manufactures the SoundCam and several other types of sound localization instruments and acoustic beamforming instruments and software.  Systems include the Bionic Interchangeable Arrays, Large wind-turbine arrays, and the Noise Inspector Software.

SoundCam 2

The SoundCam is a self-contained and portable instrument that contains an array, signal processing, display head, and camera which allows calculating beamforming levels and overlay it on real-time video. It is the first truly self-contained portable acoustic beamforming instrument which is capable of up to 100 acoustic-frames-second and 50 fps of video.  The SoundCam v2 is the same as the original version except can now measure up to ~100kHz.

SoundCam Ultra

Just like the original SoundCam, the SoundCam Ultra is a smaller and lighter portable beamforming instrument that can measure from ~2kHz to ~100kHz.


SoundCam Ultra Sensor

This is a ruggedized version of the SoundCam Ultra without the display.  It’s typically used for remote deployment or integrated into a facility or manufacturing line for automated fault detection or EOL (end-of-line) quality control.

Sound Level Meter and Beamforming Comparison

It is unlikely that find that acoustic beamforming and a sound level meters will show the same Decibel values.  The reasoning behind this is that acoustic beamforming instruments are directional perspective instruments and report sound levels based on the face while slm instruments generally measure sounds from all directions depending on the.

Additionally, there are two standards for sound level meters with each having their own tolerances and precision.  Sound level applications in non-acoustical devices (mobile phones, etc..)  are unlikely to meet any of these standards.


Holography is a different technique for imaging sound that allows for lower frequencies. Holography uses many of the same components (array, signal processing, camera, display) but uses a completely different algorithm technique to process the data.

While the soundCam cannot perform Holography, CAE, the manufacture of the SoundCam has other instruments designed to make Holography measurements.

Click here to see CAE’s Holography Instruments

Click here to learn more on Wiki

Measurable Frequency Range

Detecting Multiple Sound Sources

Detecting multiple sound sources is possible depending on the system, array, distance, frequency, and algorithms used.  While possible, it’s also not a straight forward answer as it depends on both the instrument capability, distance, and the specific application considered.

The simplest scenario when you can see multiple sound sources in a single frame is when a) the sound sources are within the acoustic resolution of the instrument, b) the sound levels are reasonably similar, and c) louder than ambient or surrounding noises.

Outside of this simple scenario, it unlikely to directly see multiple sources in a single frame.  However, with beamforming, we have the ability to dissect our data in a couple of different dimensions that allows us to see multiple sources in different frames.  Consider these options:

  1. Frequencies between Sound Sources.
    If the sources are of different frequencies you can focus on the frequencies of interest.
  2. Distance between Sound Sources.
    If the sources are very close you may need to move the beamforming instrument closer to achieve the acoustic resolution for a same-frame multi-source picture.
  3. Distance between the Beamforming Instrument and Sound Sources.
    Beamforming can also focus on distance.  If each possible sound source is physically separated by a large distance from the instrument, it may be possible to focus on distance.

Click here to learn more about beamforming on Wiki


The SoundCam is capable of imaging sounds very close (<1 inch) to far off distances.  Like with all acoustic beamforming instrumentation, the capability of the SoundCam is very subjective to the application (the purpose and objective of use) and the acoustic resolution does diminish as the sound source distance increases.

Click here to learn more on Wiki


Quite simply, the SoundCam is fast!  Up to 100 acoustic fps (frames per second) or video at up-to 50 frame-per-second depending on picture resolution.

Click here to learn more on Wiki

Battery Life

The SoundCam has a built-in Li-ion 48Wh recharable battery which provides a typical runtime of 2.5 hours.  The battery can be charged at the same time as you use the instrument so you can work and charge simultaneously.


The SoundCam allows you to filter by frequency.  The frequency range depends on the hardware release (version 1.x is ~900Hz – 20kHz, v2.x ~900Hz – 60kHz while.

Lower frequencies can be seen using a larger array such as the CAE’s Bionic system (~150Hz) or the Wind Turbine System (~50Hz)

Data Export

The simple answer is YES!

When using the SoundCam software you save both the processed data along with pictures and videos of your beamforming images which can be copied to a USB drive for your use.

Files are stored in a common .tdms file and with the national instrument excel add-on, you directly open and look at the data.

With the PC option, stored option stored data files can open and reviewed using a Windows version of the SoundCam software.

With the streaming option, you can stream the data directly from the SoundCam to your PC for your own beamforming analysis or postprocessing using CAE’s NoiseInspector Software.

With the API option, you can write your own software to interface directly with SoundCam to write your own software.  This useful for organizations looking to write their own software such as end-of-line quality control or value-add based services.

SoundCam with larger array for lower frequencies

The SoundCam has a fixed number of microphones in a fixed array which allows the SoundCam to be a light and portable grab and go instrument.  This fixes the lower end of the frequency-range to around ~800Hz (or lower with a loss of accuracy).

If lower frequencies are desired please look into CAE’s Bionic or Wind Turbine beamforming and holography systems.

Custom Software


With the API option and the ethernet port, you can write your own software that interfaces with the underlying SoundCam.  Organizations have used this option to create custom applications such as end-of-line quality control testing or value-add applications.

Are you looking for <<x, y, z capabilities>>? We strive to find you the perfect product solution, every time. Check out our product offerings!

Dimension: 34 cm
Perfect for squeak & rattle, leakage
The most low-cost mobile handheld device


Dimension: 27 cm
Perfect for squeak, rattle, leakage
mobile handheld device
exchangeable arrays

Bionic XS-56

Dimension: 60 cm
Beamforming & <40Hz Holography
Exchangeable Arrays

Bionic S-112 Array

Dimension: 100 cm
Beamforming & <40Hz Holography
Exchangeable Arrays

Bionic M-112 Array

Dimension: 170 cm
Beamforming 150Hz
<40Hz Holography
Exchangeable Arrays

Bionic L-112 Array

Dimension: 500 cm
Beamforming from 50 Hz
Specially for wind turbines

Bionic M-112 Array

Dimension: from 40 x 40 x 40 cm
Application: 3D-Beamforming
user-defined microphone positions

Bionic XS-56

Dimension and shape customer defined
Setup of walls and rooms
analog or digital

Bionic M-112 Array

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