Jon Francombe

Jon Francombe

Research fellow in spatial audio



I graduated from the University of Surrey in 2010 with a First Class Honours degree in Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister). The degree included a professional training year spent working as a music technician, and a research project in emotional speech synthesis. I then returned to Surrey in 2011 to study for a PhD in perceptual audio evaluation, which formed part of the 'Perceptually Optimised Sound Zones' (POSZ) project (, a collaboration between the Institute of Sound Recording and Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey, and industrial partner Bang & Olufsen. I am currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Institute of Sound Recording as part of the S3A "Future Spatial Audio" project, an EPSRC-funded project involving the universities of Surrey, Southampton, and Salford, and the BBC.

Research interests

My research on the S3A project is focussed on the listener experience of spatial audio reproduction. I am working on determining the perceptual characteristics of spatial audio reproduction that are important to listeners. Knowledge of these important perceptual characteristics will enable the creation of relevant predictive models, which could be used by content producers in meters, system designers for perceptual evaluation, or as part of reproduction algorithms for producing perceptually optimal solutions.

My research on the POSZ project (which aimed to produce multiple listening regions (sound zones) over loudspeakers, and to evaluate and optimise these sound zones in a perceptually-relevant manner) focussed on qualitative and quantitative evaluation of interference between multiple audio programmes. This included determining the perceptually relevant attributes of the listener experience in an audio-on-audio interference situation, and subsequently the development of a predictive model of distraction. I also worked on integrating the distraction model into sound zone production algorithms.


Technical ear training (1st year Music and Sound Recording). I deliver small group seminars including theory and audio examples covering areas such as frequency equalisation, audio artefacts, reverberation, recording balance, spatial audio, and digital audio.

My publications


Francombe, J., Coleman, P., Olik, M., Baykaner, K., Jackson, P.J.B., Mason, R., Dewhirst, M., Bech, S. and Pedersen, J.A. 2013: 'Perceptually optimized loudspeaker selection for the creation of personal sound zones', 52nd Audio Engineering Society International Conference on Sound Field Control, Guildford, UK.

Olik, M., Francombe, J., Jackson, P.J.B., Coleman, P, Olsen, M., Moller, M., Mason, R. and Bech, S. 2013: 'A comparative performance study of sound zoning methods in a reflective environment', 52nd Audio Engineering Society International Conference on Sound Field Control, Guildford, UK.

Francombe, J., Mason, R., Dewhirst, M. and Bech, S. 2013: 'Modelling listener distraction resulting from audio-on-audio interference', 21st International Congress on Acoustics / 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 133, p. 3367.

Francombe, J., Mason, R., Dewhirst, M. and Bech, S. 2012: 'Determining the threshold of acceptability for an interfering audio programme', 132nd Audio Engineering Society Convention, preprint 8639.