Engineering and Perception

I’ve often lamented the “demise” of what we used to call HiFi– as dumbed-down streaming/downloadable audio formats rule the day in the consumer music world (the world that increasingly sucks up manufacturers' R&D dollars). So news of this AES conference on Sound Field Control is a breath of fresh air, and a reminder that ever more sophisticated audio tools and techniques are being introduced constantly. In fact, “the creation of independent sound zones in listening spaces”– one of the topics that will be explored at this September conference– is really heating up in the AV world, as new processing tools now make elaborate, multi-zone sound modeling affordable for many venues. But the conference will go, it seems, beyond pure audio processing issues and delve into the frontiers of research on perception. Fascinating stuff– as we’re really beginning to open up new paths in audio.

Here’s the outline of the conference, from AES (Audio Engineering Society):

52nd Conference on Sound Field Control– Engineering and Perception

  • Dates: September 2-4, 2013
  • Location: University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  • Chair: Francis Rumsey

Sound field control enables the active management of audio delivered in an acoustical environment. Sophisticated signal processing and reproduction tools increasingly enable the engineer to tailor the sound field for specific applications, occupancy, or listeners' requirements. This can include the creation of independent sound zones in listening spaces, the active control of noise, personal communication systems, the electroacoustic manipulation of auditorium acoustics, and the generation of complex spatial sound fields using multi-channel audio systems. Application areas include automotive audio, consumer entertainment systems, mobile devices, aircraft interiors, concert halls, museums, and other public venues. All this raises questions such as how sound fields can be controlled without detriment to sound quality, what the perceptual effects of different methods of control might be, and how to optimize systems for a specific quality of experience.

This conference aims to bring together engineers and perceptual scientists from around the world to share their research in the field, and to discuss the numerous interactions between acoustics, signal processing, psychoacoustics and auditory cognition in this fast-moving field.

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.