AES Section Meeting Reports

Middle Tennessee State University - February 10, 2010

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Dr. Floyd Toole is a scientist recognized worldwide for his expertise in acoustical engineering. His research has focused on the acoustics and psychoacoustics of sound reproduction in small rooms, and his work has led to improvements in loudspeaker design, engineering measurements, and techniques for reducing variability in acoustic performance within sound-studio control rooms, living spaces and home theatres.

Dr. Toole's lecture was an engaging and accessible overview of issues that affect music fans, record producers, mixing engineers, equipment designers, film buffs and audiophiles alike.

Lecture Overview: Reproduced sound is nearly universal in modern residential, commercial and entertainment settings. Despite its relative sophistication, however, there are tremendous variables in the production processes and electronic components that link the creators of audio programs to their audiences. Human perception of sound is subjective, complex, multidimensional, adaptable and sometimes even capricious. Meanwhile, audio technology has reached a very high level of reliability and consistency in performance, but technical metrics are fundamentally different from the emotional and personal criteria used to describe musical and sonic content.

For most of his career, Dr. Toole has studied the interface between these disciplines by identifying perceptual dimensions that influence listener responses, researching the underlying psychoacoustics, measuring and specifying loudspeaker characteristics, and promoting high-quality standards so that sound—and especially musical art--can be heard as it was intended.

Drawing on the work summarized in Toole's book "Sound Reproduction," the lecture offered insights relevant to anyone who wants to ensure that recorded sound is heard as intended by its creators.

Music, Sound and Engineering at MTSU: At MTSU each semester, hundreds of Recording Industry majors are engaged in classes and studio activities that emphasize subjective responses to recorded and reproduced sound. Meanwhile, dozens of engineering students study the science of sound and electro-acoustics through classes offered by the physics department, and hundreds of applied music students attune their ears to the nuances of natural sound and acoustics through rehearsal and live performance.
This lecture was intended to inspire greater awareness of the interdisciplinary natures of audio production, music, physics and human perception.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society