Psychoacoustics

Last updated: 15 November 2011

This week Adam Walton explores the world of sound and how we perceive it. He delves into the science of psychoacoustics. Parts of the programme were recorded using a "binaural head" microphone which uses a pair of stereo microphones embedded in a dummy head to replicate the way we hear sounds. If you are listening on FM or via the web, try listening on headphones for the best effect!

Broadcast Tuesday 15th November at 7pm

Listen to the latest programme online

binaual head microphone

At The Wall recording studio at Glyndwr University, Adam meets lecturers Mike Wright and Richard Smith who explain the science behind the sounds we hear and how our senses can be fooled when we hear sounds we don't expect.

Inger Ekman from Helsinki University of Technology joins the programme and discusses her research into "scary" sounds and how by tapping into our primitive sense of sound we can create scary soundscapes within videogames.

In this age of digital music downloads, ways are needed to make the audio files smaller, as "CD quality" sound would fill up our hard-drives and MP3 players too quickly. As Dr Stuart Cunningham, academic leader for creative industries, media and performance at Glyndwr University, explains, this "audio compression" exploits weaknesses in the way that we perceive certain frequencies and types of sound to squeeze down file sizes. We hear how too much audio compression can severely affect the sound quality of music.

LINKS:

Glyndwr University

The Wall Recording Studio (Facebook)

Dr Stuart Cunningham, Glyndwr University

Meaningful Noise (Inger Ekman blog)

Psychoacoustics (Wikipedia)

Shepard tone - auditory illusion (Wikipedia)


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