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The Implementation of MEMS Microphones for Urban Sound Sensing

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The urban sound environment of New York City (NYC) is notoriously loud and dynamic. The current project aims to deploy a large number of remote sensing devices (RSDs) throughout the city, to accurately monitor and ultimately understand this environment. To achieve this goal, a process of long-term and continual acoustic measurement is required, due to the complex and transient nature of the urban soundscape. Urban sound recording requires the use of robust and resilient microphone technologies, where unpredictable external conditions can have a negative impact on acoustic data quality. For the presented study a large-scale deployment is necessary to accurately capture the geospatial and temporal characteristics of urban sound. As such, an implementation of this nature requires a high-quality, low-power, and low-cost solution that can scale viably. This paper details the microphone selection process involving the comparison between a range of consumer and custom made MEMS microphone solutions in terms of their environmental durability, frequency response, dynamic range, and directivity. Ultimately a MEMS solution is proposed based on its superior resilience to varying environmental conditions and preferred acoustic characteristics.

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Permalink: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17466

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