Research course

Sound Recording

University of Surrey · Department of Music and Sound Recording

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a high level of academic achievement in relevant science/engineering subject areas 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.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

Since the Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) was created in 1998, it has become known internationally as a leading centre for research in psychoacoustic engineering, with world-class facilities and significant funding from research councils and industry.

We’re interested in human perceptions of audio quality, particularly 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. In turn, these attributes depend 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.

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.

Our world-class facilities include industry-specification sound-recording studios and edit suites, and an ITU-R BS.1116 standard critical listening room equipped with a 22.2-channel reproduction system.

Our research aims to provide tools to assist in any area where assessment of the quality of audio as perceived by human listeners (either overall or in terms of specific timbral or spatial attributes) is desirable but, for one reason or another, potentially problematic; and to provide complementary tools to allow appropriate adjustment where the assessed quality is not as it should be. More generally, we aim to engineer perceptually-motivated signal analysis, processing and control systems. If we have a single over-arching goal then it is simply this: to make sound better.

Qualification and course duration


full time
48 months
part time
96 months

Course contact details

Course Admissions