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Noise and vibration testing

Noise and vibration testing is the process of analyzing the acoustic characteristics of a system and its components, then creating and validating solutions to modify those characteristics to meet design objectives.

What is noise and vibration testing?

Sound and vibration affect all of us in our daily lives – from the smartphones we use, the cars we drive and the machines we operate, to the environment in which we all live. For many products, the legislation applies to maximum vibration or acoustic levels. Still, a well-balanced sound and vibration performance is also perceived as a sign of high quality, accuracy, comfort, sportiness or other important product characteristics by its users.

Noise and vibration testing is the process of measuring, analyzing or validating the dynamic characteristics of a system and its components, then creating and validating solutions to modify those characteristics to meet design objectives.

The way the noise and vibration performance is perceived by humans or measured by sensors is the combination of dynamic sources in the system and many transfer paths in the structure where the energy is transmitted through. Noise and vibration testing helps to separate the dynamics related to operational sources from the structural dynamic properties and lets engineers identify root causes and targeted solutions to improve performance.

Related products: Simcenter Testlab Neo | Simcenter SCADAS | Simcenter Testxpress | Simcenter Anovis | Simcenter Sound Camera | Simcenter Qsources

A Siemens field engineer performs noise and vibration testing on an excavator in collaboration with the VDAB competence center.

Uncover the benefits

Increase performance

Noise and vibration testing helps you to quickly decompose dynamic properties in sources and transfer paths, allowing targeted improvements in product performance.

Time reduction

With noise and vibration testing, you can efficiently improve the performance of virtual CAE models or effectively troubleshoot problematic noise and vibration performance when found on real products.

Cost reduction

Noise and vibration testing on real products is an essential step in development and is often regulated by legislation. Innovative testing methodologies can reduce the cost of troubleshooting or testing expensive prototypes.

Types of noise and vibration testing

A sound and vibration test performed with a microphone and a SCADAS XS device.


Sound and vibration troubleshooting is a crucial process that detects, diagnoses and resolves noise and vibration issues in mechanical systems. It's crucial to effectively solve noise and vibration issues to avoid delays in product launches or to avoid unhappy customers.

A sound and vibration test performed with a drilling machine and a SCADAS device.


Most countries around the world have legislated limits on how much noise or vibration that machines produce, for example, in global ISO standards. These test procedures are only aimed at certifying products, but when certification fails, it’s critical to quickly solve any issues.

A man using a Simcenter SCADAS hardware device with the laptop executing vibration and shock testing.

Vibration qualification

Vibration qualification and vibration control testing is a specific form of product certification. It assures that the component or assembly can withstand the vibrations occurring during the real-life operating conditions it is designed for.

A visual of the multiple industrial machineries going through quality testing.

End-of-line quality testing

End-of-line (EOL) quality testing is a form of noise and vibration testing applied on test benches in a production environment as part of the quality assurance process. Using innovative sound and vibration-based fault detection, tests can identify any anomalies or production faults.

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Simcenter Testlab Neo software user interface (UI).

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Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between noise and vibration testing and NVH testing?

NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is terminology that is often used in the automotive industry and is a key metric when developing new vehicles and has a direct impact on comfort, driving experience, brand perception, reliability and quality. Next to noise and vibration measurements and analysis it also includes subjective evaluations, measured either via jury evaluations or with analytical tools that can provide results reflecting human subjective impressions. Over time, the term NVH has also been adopted in other industries.

Why do we do vibration testing?

There are many reasons to perform noise and vibration tests apart from mandatory certification tests. In the past, it was often done when problems were found in the prototype or production phase, requiring fast results and high flexibility. In a modern engineering process, computer-aided engineering (CAE) is a driving methodology to assess performance on noise and vibration on virtual models before physical prototypes are available. A hybrid approach, where test data from real components or products can be used in virtual models for correlation or to build hybrid models to save computation time, became an effective way to combine the advantages of both real- and virtual worlds.

How do you measure noise and noise level?

A typical measurement setup consists of both hardware and software components. Required hardware contains sensors to measure physical quantities (microphones, accelerometers, force cells) and a multi-channel data acquisition system to convert analog signals into high-quality digital values. The quality and usability of the data and, ultimately, of the results highly rely on the quality of the different hardware components. The measurement software is needed to configure sensor parameters, prepare the measurement setup, capture and store data, post-process and report the data into actionable results.

What are practical considerations to take into account?

Several practical challenges and boundary conditions can play an important role in noise and vibration testing and the selection of the right equipment. For example, accessibility of sensor locations, cable length and layout (effect on data quality), the effect of adding sensors to the measurement object’s dynamic properties (mass loading), required ruggedness of the equipment for tests in laboratories or in the field, external conditions that are controllable or not, temperature influences, desired measurable frequency ranges for vibrations or acoustics and many more.

Learn more


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Webinar | Introduction to the fundamentals of acoustic engineering


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