AUDIO TEST KITCHEN
LOS ANGELES, US
What Is Audio Test Kitchen
ATK is the world’s first platform to compare professional audio gear in a fully immersive, interactive and unbiased way. With Audio Test Kitchen, audio engineers and record producers can skip the hype and directly compare the sound of different audio gear.
Several biased or salesy sources
Recording artists do not have a meaningful, trustable or easy way to compare the sound of the equipment that is available in the market to make their art. There is no hub to easily and quickly compare audio equipment in a natural way. The process of audio gear comparison before purchasing is scattered, time-consuming, very biased, subjective and heterogeneous. Most of the buyers cannot make an objective comparison looking at the frequency response curves so they surf the web looking for information. They will find different information about each piece of audio equipment in different places, making the process unstructured and difficult to compare. In a nutshell, they will not find a homogeneous way because there is no comprehensive database of homogeneously compared audio gear. Therefore, they can’t distinguish biased or salesy sources from trustable ones.
A trustable, independent platform
ATK is a trustable, independent platform with a comprehensive list of audio equipment organized in a structured way. Condensing all shootout audio and other meaningful information in an easy to use and intuitive interface to simplify discovery, comparison and purchase decisions.
Key Challenges on the Tech side
Performance in the Browser
One of the greatest challenges from a tech perspective in this project was the amount of data that needed to be loaded into the browser. There are 300+ pieces of gear, 4+ songs with 6+ instruments per song. We needed to architect the platform in a way to provide a great user experience with good browser performance even when loading all the sources with different types of internet speed.
Zero Latency is Vital
One of the vital requests from our client was the “Zero Latency” experience when manipulating gear. A relevant aspect to consider was the fact that the user can change gear, music or the instrument with the playback continuing. For this, the zero latency is fundamental because the user is comparing different aspects of the same microphone, so any latency totally destroys the experience and defeats the platform’s purpose. Usually, this is the type of UX experienced in a desktop application, not on a web application, while manipulating full quality audio files.
Key Challenges on the Product side
Create Value for All the Personas
Audio Test Kitchen must deliver an unbiased value to two personas, who are very different from each other: the professional personas, that value raw information, technical specifications and carry out surgical research to find their preferred gear; the “Novus” personas, that need external sources (playlists, feedback, 3rd party validation – “I like being told what to buy”) to finalise a purchase, and enjoy the research process because “it’s rewarding” and, moreover, do not know what to do with raw information.
Daily Usage Platform
We aim at a platform that incentivises users to repetitive interactions. Not only for the gear-comparison-purchase journey but also for discovery and learning purposes.
How to Quantify KPIs When There’s No Purchase Flux
How do we measure interest when the user’s intention is not to purchase? What’s the best way to track their interest? (The sorting order is not the best option, because we can’t force them, and what order means is subjective).
Keep The Manufacturers Happy
Despite not actively interacting with the ATK Platform, The Manufacturer wants to showcase their products from a marketing perspective. As they represent a key stakeholder in the ATK Business model, we’ve got to keep them happy.
Case Study PDF
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How We Did It
We focused on the business vision and created a comprehensive brief for the project by gathering all the research on the market, competitor benchmarks and any other necessary information. Then we met with the client in an immersive session to craft a value proposition and set the main assumptions to prove. Finally, we created the ultimate list of user stories and features necessary to prove those main assumptions within the MVP.
Outputs: Comprehensive Brief, List of research topics.
Key Screens UX/UI
We started by creating the most important screens for the product. This allowed the client to see exactly how the product will look. After a few iterations on the UX/UI, the client approved the design.
All Screens UX/UI
Once the key screens were approved, we extended the design to the remaining screens and delivered the full product UX/UI.
Before starting the full implementation, we did a tech spike to test if the technology we were proposing could handle the requirements for good performance, in an above-par PC, and the Zero Latency in audio reproduction, once the gear was loaded.
With the decisions closed in the previous steps, we went on developing the tool through agile cycles.
ATK immersive studio session
During the development of the platform, ATK team went on an epic quest to record all the instruments from all the songs with all the microphones – as well as shooting 360º images for each. This process happened in three industry reference studios. Throughout the process, they have followed the most rigorous actions, from anechoic chambers to process the pink noise to derive the freq curves, to laser tags with mic positions to be sure all microphones are recorded in the same conditions.
Each piece of gear is connected to real soundtracks that have been recorded using that particular piece; even more granularly; as each soundtrack is broken down into several instruments playing, the user can assess the recording quality of the gear on that particular instrument.
Frequency Response Curves Comparison
More savvy users can compare the gear’s standardised frequency curves.
Users can drag the gear around to perform a 360º view.
Top Songs per Each Gear
We connected each gear to famous songs on Spotify that have been officially recorded using that device.
Users can perform the taste test but all instruments’ information will be hidden, proof of the fact the platform pushes for quality and not for biased recommendations.
Altar.io’s team is composed of excellent leaders that take the initiative in communication and product development. Their team is personable and dedicated to our success. They have scaled their team to our needs throughout the project. Altar.io has gone above and beyond to build a great product. They remain invested in our success. The team always puts our vision and business goals first.
Alex Oana – Audio Test Kitchen, Co-Founder
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