Dr Russell Mason
Dr Russell Mason is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) at the University of Surrey. He is Programme Director for the Tonmeister programme, teaches Audio Engineering to students in all years of this programme, and conducts research into aspects of perception and measurement of audio.
Russell graduated from the Tonmeister Music and Sound Recording degree course at Surrey in 1998, and was offered the opportunity to continue his studies with a PhD jointly in the IoSR and the Department of Psychology, and sponsored by BBC Research and Development. This project, in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, Genelec and Nokia among others, examined the perception of spatial impression detail, including creating new methods for synthesising spatial sound and a binaural hearing model capable of predicting the perceived effect. Following his PhD, Russell gained funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to continue the work, which resulted in an advanced binaural hearing model that can successfully predict the perceived width and location of sound sources in the horizontal plane, and the perceived width of acoustical environments.
In 2004, Russell gained a lectureship in the IoSR, and in 2009 was promoted to Senior Lecturer. During this time, Russell has taught a wide range of modules, including Electronics Practicals, Audio Laboratory, Audio Research Seminars, Computer Audio Systems, Technical Projects, and Audio Engineering 1, 2 & 3. He has also taught Master's level Speech and Audio Processing for the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Russell has also undertaken a number of critical administrative roles for the Tonmeister programme. This includes serving as Admissions Tutor for 7 years, during which he revised the admission procedure, including the creation of an online interview booking system and the creation of new entrance tests. He is currently Programme Director for the Tonmeister programme, which includes responsibility for the direction of the programme, managing changes and updates to the programme, managing the IoSR budgets, overseeing upgrades and management of facilities, and mentoring junior staff.
Russell has continued his research into psychoacoustic engineering; specifically the perception and measurement of audio. This research involved the development of novel subjective testing methods and stimulus synthesis techniques, as well as developing new computational algorithms to mimic human auditory perception and furthering understanding of the human auditory system. Recent projects have investigated the role of head movement in spatial perception, optimal design of microphone arrays for localisation around the horizontal plane, computational auditory scene analysis based on psychoacoustic cues, and perception and modelling of spectral magnitude distortions. He is currently working on further development of measurement techniques of spatial attributes of sound, such as integration of results across frequency and perception of elevation cues. He is also applying the techniques he has developed to the fields of auditory masking and modelling of quality in the presence of interfering signals.
So far, Russell has been involved in funding bids that have brought nearly £900,000 to Surrey (approximately half of this has been as principal investigator) from a range of sources including EPSRC and industry. This has included collaboration with a wide range of industrial partners such as Bang & Olufsen, Adrian James Acoustics, Harman-Becker Automotive, Wolfson Microelectronics, and BBC Research and Development.
Outside the University, Russell is an active member of the Audio Engineering Society. He was a member of the committee of the British section for many years including the creation of the section website. He has also contributed towards the organisation of a number of British section conferences, and many International conferences in the UK and abroad. He acted as papers co-chair for the Audio Metadata conference and has chaired many paper sessions and given invited presentations to conferences in Japan, Australia, France, Germany and the USA.
Russell also has a strong musical background, having performed music from the age of 4 and studying trumpet, piano and music theory for many years in both jazz and classical styles. In his spare time, Russell is an active musician, playing trumpet in the department Trad Band and in the department Big Band that he co-founded as a final year undergraduate. He also appreciates a good curry.
Current research projects:
- Perceptually optimised sound zones
- Perception of loudspeaker directivity
- Perception and measurement of auditory elevation cues
- Adaptation of spatial audio quality measures to the automotive environment
Past research projects:
- The role of head movement in the analysis of spatial impression - Funded by EPSRC (EP/D049253/1)
- Automated separation of sound sources in reverberant environments using spatial cues - Funded by EPSRC (EP/P503892/1)
- Perceptual sound field reconstruction and coherent emulation - Funded by EPSRC (EP/E064507/1)
- Perceptually motivated measurement of spatial sound attributes for audio-based information systems - Funded by EPSRC (GR/R55528/01)
- Eureka 1653 Multichannel enhancement of domestic user stereo applications (MEDUSA) - in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen, Genelec, Nokia and the University of Lulea-Pitea
Current teaching responsibilities:
- Audio Engineering 1
- Audio Engineering 2
- Audio Engineering 3
- Technical Projects