Chicago AES Section Blog

Past Event: Noise Reduction: From Capacitors to Convolutional Neural Networks

Nick Engel, Dolby Laboratories

Nick Engel, Dolby Laboratories

August 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Location: virtual

Speaker(s): Nick Engel, Dolby Laboratories

Recording of this presentation:

Noise Reduction technology kick-started Dolby Laboratories 55 years ago, and in 2020, continues to be a focus, albeit in completely new contexts and applications. Despite advances in capture technology and the shift in recording mediums, the proliferation of content creators and capture devices has seen an ever increasing need for solutions to reduce noise in audio.

In this presentation, Nick Engel will dive into noise reduction techniques – from analog processing through to today's machine learning approaches. He'll discuss his own experiences as an engineer working on the digital implementation of Dolby B Noise Reduction, through to more recent experiences for helping to reduce noise in audio recordings at scale with This talk will explore how the types of noise and audio capture and recording methods have progressed, as well as approaches for reducing noise, from analog, to digital signal processing and through to the state of the art of deep learning techniques.


Nick Engel is the Senior Director, Media API R&D for the Media Processing platform. Nick is a graduate of the Australian National University where he studied Engineering (Interdisciplinary Systems) and Information Technology (Software Engineering). Nick grew up playing guitar and his passion for music and technology led him to join Lake Technology in 2003 as an Audio Signal Processing engineer developing audio enhancement technology for consumer devices. Nick joined Dolby Laboratories in 2004 and has held various positions in the Advanced Technology Group and Consumer Entertainment Group leading engineering teams in Sydney, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen developing technology to bring immersive and enhanced audio experiences to a wide range of consumer devices in the home and on the go. Nick holds several patents and played a key role in launching new initiatives and developing many of Dolby's core audio technologies. Nick recently relocated to San Francisco to lead the R&D team for - a developer API platform for enabling media processing and analysis at scale.



We will be hosting this meeting using BlueJeans, as opposed to Zoom (which we have used for the last couple meetings). One advantage of BlueJeans is that we will be experiencing spatialized Dolby Voice processing. We are still limited to 100 people attending the meeting. We plan to have a recording of the meeting available afterwards on the section's YouTube channel, however. Please be sure that BlueJeans is installed on your preferred device prior to the meeting time (app store for iOS/Android, or the meeting link should open a web app on Mac or PC). You can either use the audio on your device, or call in for the audio with your phone (see instructions at the bottom of this message). There is also a test link at the bottom to check your setup.

Most participants will have audio and video muted during the meeting. The moderator will un-mute participants in turn to ask a question during the Q&A period. This will be explained again at the beginning of the meeting.

Other Business: Officer nominations for the 2020-2021 season

View Official Meeting Report

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2020

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