At the University of Salford we have a long track record in audio research and consultancy work. With our extensive, world-class laboratories we offer many different tests and services including bespoke testing and development to fit individual needs.
We are very experienced in designing and running different types of experiments (listening tests), aimed at assessing sound quality in terms of human perception. We have several acoustically-treated spaces for critical listening, including an ITU BS1116 standard listening room and a dedicated spatial audio lab for accurate 3D sound reproduction. Some examples of listening tests we have performed in the past are the assessment of:
- Codecs e.g. Bluetooth/wireless headsets, audio watermarking, compression algorithms etc.
- Loudspeaker preference tests
- Amplifiers and audio systems
- DSP/processing algorithms
- MUSHRA tests
- Audio applications for the hearing impaired
- Virtual car journeys combining VR (virtual reality visuals) with immersive 16-channel spatial audio
Using our expertise in acoustics and audio research into a wide range of subjects, we are able help companies with various aspects of research and development. We recognise that it is not always possible for companies (whether large or small) to commit large amounts of time or human resources to R&D. As a result we have helped many companies in the past to either improve the audio performance of existing products and also to create new products that help give them a new foothold on the market. In the past we have worked with loudspeaker and amplifier manufacturers, fire alarm system designers, algorithm developers, automotive companies and many more improve their business using our research experience.
Loudspeaker measurements including 3D directivity
As part of our extensive acoustic test facilities we have a loudspeaker robot which is able to make very high resolution anechoic loudspeaker directivity measurements in two planes, producing balloon plots of a loudspeaker’s response. We are also able to make many other loudspeaker measurements such as on-axis frequency response, group delay, and sensitivity.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
At the heart of modern audio systems is digital signal processing. Whether it is an app on your phone, a processing module on a guitar effects pedal, or various settings in your hi-fi amplifier, digital signal processing plays a very important part. A large element of work here at Salford is the development and optimisation of DSP routines and algorithms that can enable incredible things to be done with audio.
Spatial Audio Systems
Salford has expertise in creating, reproducing, and evaluating state-of-the-art spatial audio, also known as ‘3D sound’. Our specially-designed listening room and audio laboratories enable us to reproduce spatial audio in any format, including wave field synthesis (WFS), Ambisonics, and traditional dedicated-channel formats such as 5.1 and 7.1. More recently, we played a key role in the S3A project which spanned 5 years and led to us becoming experts in the development and distribution of object-based audio (OBA).
Computation models are often used for product development and diagnostics as it is often possible to test a large number of scenarios in a relatively short amount of time. We have experience in numerical modelling techniques such as finite difference time domain (FDTD), finite element (FEM) and boundary element modelling (BEM) as well as analytical modelling solutions and other established techniques such as lumped element modelling and transfer matrix models. Each project is different and the correct model needs to be chosen wisely with a knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses. Our breadth of knowledge in this area allows us to work together with clients to choose the correct technique for the given application and write the model such that it generates accurate and powerful results.
We are experienced in standardised and bespoke testing for industrial communication headsets, such as in-helmet monitoring systems for pilots and other high-noise environments.
For some perceptual tests, it is important to assess the hearing thresholds of participants. We are able to offer a full audiometric screening service if your testing requires it.
Dr Zuzanna Podwinska
t: +44 (0)161 295 3814
Dr Andrew Elliott
t: +44 (0)161 295 4001