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University of Massachusetts-Lowell - May 1, 2013

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Summary

The final lecture of the 2012/2013 school year featured a guest from inside the walls of our very own UML SRT department. As part of his senior year honors thesis, Tom Cahill studied two of our main recording spaces for various acoustic properties: Durgin 113 & 114. After researching methods throughout the fall semester, Cahill developed a system for testing each space's reverberant characteristics using the software WinMLS.

First, two speakers were placed at one end of each room opposite a test microphone. Each speaker faced 90 degrees away from the microphone in order to ensure that the sound playing out of the speakers would excite the space with even coverage, while preventing too much direct sound into the microphone. Then, swept sine tones were played, which the WinMLS software uses to gather data. This test was repeated in several different configurations in each room, creating a range of data that Cahill summarized in his presentation.

In order to bring musical relevance to his project, the same placement and distance measurements were used to test how each room responded to hits on a snare, and to a strummed acoustic guitar. Audio examples of each hit and strum from each room were played, comparing the close distance microphone on each instrument to the far distance counterpart. Considering how much recording is done in each room, it was interesting to see and hear some of the data gathered from repeatable tests.

Tom Cahill put an immense amount of hours into this research, and we'd like to thank him for coming by and sharing his results with us. You can read more about his tests, and see graphs of his results on the blog created for his thesis: http://acousticmeasurements.blogspot.com/

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AES - Audio Engineering Society