PhD in Sound Recording / Psychoacoustic Engineering
- Research Director
- Laura Cull
- Programme length
- Full-time: 33–48 months , Part-time: 45–96 months
- Programme start date
- October, January, April, July
Typically, a project will begin with a thorough review of previously published academic literature in relevant areas, leading to a critical/ analytical report. The conclusions to this report will suggest an appropriate next step which will normally be some sort of experimental study, designed to test a hypothesis formulated from the literature review. The study might involve software design, acoustic measurements, listening tests, and so on. The results of this study will be written up in another report (and possibly as a conference paper) which will include a discussion of their significance to the project. The literature review and experimental study, perhaps together with some additional reading and/or experimentation, will lead to a full progress report drawing appropriate conclusions, refining research questions and detailing a research plan to allow these questions to be answered, together with a viva voce examination.
Subject to a satisfactory progress report and viva voce examination, the research plan defined in the progress report will then be executed. This will lead to further literature-based and experimental research, conference (and possibly journal) publications, and the final PhD thesis (ca. 70,000 words) and viva voce examination. Throughout the project, regular guidance will be given by way of meetings with the designated supervisor(s), progress will be reviewed formally twice a year, internal seminars will be used to share and discuss findings with other research students and training needs will be identified and met by the University’s internal postgraduate research courses, modules from the University’s taught degree programmes, external courses or guided reading.
A high level of academic achievement in relevant science/engineering subject areas (for example acoustics, psychoacoustics, signal processing, computational modelling, experiment design, statistical analysis) and a clear aptitude for research are required. Typically this will mean a first or high upper second-class Bachelors degree with a significant final-year project or dissertation, or a Masters degree achieving or approaching distinction, with a significant research project element.
For all doctoral study in the School of Arts, students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
English language requirements
IELTS minimum overall: 7.0
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Fees and Funding
|Study mode||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
Occasionally studentships from the Department are available for applicants to apply for.
Sound Recording and Psychoacoustics at Surrey
The Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) is responsible for world-class research in psychoacoustic engineering and offers postgraduate research-based MPhil and PhD programmes in this area, as well as being home to the world-famous Tonmeister™ BMus undergraduate degree course in Music and Sound Recording.
We are interested in human perception of audio quality, primarily of high-fidelity music signals. Overall perceived quality depends, at least in part, on perception of lower-level timbral and spatial attributes such as brightness, warmth, locatedness and envelopment. These attributes depend, in turn, on acoustic parameters such as frequency spectrum and inter-aural cross-correlation coefficient.
Using a combination of acoustic measurement and human listening tests, we are exploring the connections between acoustic parameters and perceived timbral and spatial attributes, and also between these perceptual attributes and overall quality and listener preference. From our findings we are developing mathematical and computational models of human auditory perception and engineering perceptually motivated audio tools. One particular focus of our work is the development of tools to predict the perceived audio quality of a given soundfield or audio signal.
Our work combines elements of acoustics, digital signal processing, psychoacoustics (theoretical and experimental), psychology, sound synthesis, software engineering, statistical analysis and user-interface design, with an understanding of the aesthetics of sound and music.
We have shared office space for all our postgraduate research students. Working alongside others with similar interests and complementary expertise, and just along the corridor from IoSR academic staff, can be very valuable, as can the proximity of our technical facilities and the University’s Library and other learning resources.
Our technical facilities include three professional recording studios and associated control rooms, two sets of mobile recording equipment, an extensive range of professional microphones, three audio editing suites, a listening room with surround monitoring equipped to the highest international specification (ITU-R BS 1116), and a good range of electronic and acoustic test equipment.
We have successfully completed projects in collaboration with Adrian James Acoustics, Bang & Olufsen, BBC R&D, Genelec, Harman-Becker, Institut für Rundfunktechnik, Meridian Audio, Nokia, Pharos Communications and Sony BPE. Additionally, the IoSR was a founding partner in the EPSRC-funded Digital Music Research Network (DMRN) and Spatial Audio Creative Engineering Network (SpACE-Net).