Forthcoming Meetings

Cutting Edge Research - from City University and King's College London

Date: 14 Oct 2014
Time: 18:30

Location: Performance Space, City University London
College Building, St John Street, EC1V 4PB

This month’s lecture will showcase cutting edge research from City University’s Music Informatics Research group and King’s College London’s Centre for Telecommunications Research. The evening will include a drinks reception a selection of technology-based creative works from the Music Department at City.

Music Informatics Research in the Department of Computer Science

The Music Informatics Research Group in the Department of Computer Science works since 2005 on analysing music as audio and symbolic data (scores, MIDI). At City we bring together expertise in machine learning, signal processing, computer science and musicology to develop intelligent music analysis and processing methods. We work on challenges such as audio transcription, music audio similarity, music voice separation, chord recognition and melody models for generation and classification of music. Our work focuses on analysing and recognising musical structure and we are interested in particular in the integration of audio and symbolic music representations and processing. We use our methods in interdisciplinary applications such as music education software and a game interface for data collection, as well as large scale processing of music audio and scores for musicology and music retrieval.


  • Automatic Music Transcription: Methods and Applications
  • Big Data for Musicology and Music Retrieval
  • Music Audio Similarity Models and a Game with a Purpose
  • Music Language Models

Composition Research in the Department of Music

At City we recognise that the ways in which composers create and share work are shifting and changing. Traditionally delineated boundaries between the fields of scored concert music, studio composition, and media composition are increasingly dissolving to form a broad and fluid landscape for contemporary composers. For the music department at City, this broad field of contemporary composition encompasses notated and digital music, sound arts, improvisation, interdisciplinary practices and numerous points of intersection between these areas. At present staff and students are engaged in practice-led research in instrumental composition, live electronic performance, multichannel studio composition, interdisciplinary and collaborative research (notably in music and dance, and music and film), and sound installation theory and practice. Composition in this broad sense forms a critical strand of research in music at City alongside the department’s other strengths in musicology, ethnomusicology and performance research.

Audio Lab, Centre for Telecommunications Research, King’s College London

The research of the Audio Lab at King’s College London is centred on multichannel systems for perceptual sound field synthesis and reproduction. The field of spatial sound has so far been mainly geared towards creating special effects and providing a pleasing listening experience, rather than rooted in solid engineering or science. Notable exceptions include ambisonics and WFS, which unfortunately haven’t penetrated the market yet. At King’s, we established a scientific framework for the analysis and design of multichannel systems based on concise modelling of underlying psychoacoustic phenomena. That framework enabled the development of a new multichannel audio technology which improves over state-of-the-art systems in terms of accuracy and stability of the auditory perspective. We also developed a super-real-time software implementation for virtual reality applications, based on further psychoacoustic approximation, as well as a new class of underlying higher-order microphones.


  • Perceptual Sound Field Recording, Reproduction, and Synthesis
  • Efficient Synthesis of Room Acoustics Via Scattering Delay Network
  • A New Class of Higher Order Differential Microphones
  • A Computational Model for the Prediction of Localisation Uncertainty

A Comprehensive Overview of Game Audio

Date: 3 Nov 2014
Time: 15:00

Location: Room 203, Birmingham City University
Millennium Point

Room 203, Millennium Point, Birmingham City University, Curzon St, Birmingham, B4 7XG.

AES-Midlands is hosting an afternoon of presentations introducing the field of video game audio. From simple casual games all the way to AAA blockbusters, audio plays a major role in the gamer’s experience. The interactive nature of games and the technical limitations of the platforms they run on, significantly contrasts from linear mediums such as TV and film. Presented by industry professionals of both creative and technical backgrounds, these presentations are ideal for those interested in the industry.

The event is free of charge and open to everyone (members and non-members). Free tickets are available here.

[3.00 - 3.45] The Sonic Journey, Andy Grier (FreeStyleGames/Activision)
[3.45 - 4.15] Pew-Pew! Boom-Boom! Kapow!, Andy Grier (FreeStyleGames/Activision)
[4.15 - 5.00] If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, how many channels does it use?, Jethro Dunn (Codemasters)
[5.00 - 5.30] Break
[5.30 - 6.15] Mixing for the Unknown, Edward Walker (Sounding Sweet)
[6.15 - 7.00] Sound Bytes, Aristotel Digenis (FreeStyleGames/Activision)
[7.00 - 7.45] Creating a Virtual World in Real-Time, Jon Holmes (Rare/Microsoft)
[7.45 - 8.00] Coffee
[8.00 - 8.30] To ∞ and beyond…, Aristotel Digenis (FreeStyleGames/Activision)


3.00 – 3.45: The Sonic Journey
Andy Grier – Lead Audio Designer – FreeStyleGames/Activision
A brief historical audio tour from the first bleeps and bloops of Pong, through all the various synthesis methods of console generations that you or your parents played on, right up to groundbreaking technology found in current generation video games. Andy will highlight key moments in game audio history which helped shape the industry whilst engaging the audience in a comparison of where we’ve came from vs. where we currently stand.

3.45 -4.15: PEW-PEW! BOOM-BOOM! KAPOW!
Andy Grier – Lead Audio Designer – FreeStyleGames/Activision
So what does sound design for video games entail? Andy will discuss the task of producing raw source material and content that will go into the video game. Audio topics such as traditional sound design, Foley art, field recording, synthesis, voice-over production and music composition to name a few. It’s the harmonious sum of all these components which are brought together to create the audio vision for the game.

4.15 -5.00 If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, how many channels does it use?
Jethro Dunn – Senior Audio Designer – Codemasters
We have sound… now what? Jethro discusses how sound is implemented in games from basic authoring and triggering using audio middle-ware to complex data driven simulation systems for modern games. He will also discuss how hardware limitations can affect design decisions and examines some approaches to budgeting and optimisation which can allow sound designers to exceed those limitations.

5.00 – 5.30: Break
Sandwiches will be served in Room 405

5.30 – 6.15: Mixing for the Unknown
Edward Walker – Game Audio & Post Production Sound Engineer/ Director – Sounding Sweet
Mixing audio for games is no longer something that ‘just happens’ towards the end of production. It has become a key area of development which offers some fantastic creative opportunities. Mixing has the power to make or break the audio presentation of your game! In this session we will be exploring the challenges that mixing for non linear audio presents. We will be looking at how one mix can be adapted to sound great across multiple platforms while also conforming to loudness requirements and console limitations. What techniques can we learn from film dubbing mixers that could be employed in a 3D game audio mix, and what can the film dubbing mixer learn from us game audio guys that would help with positioning in Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D? How many speakers is enough? Where does the average consumer place them? What happens when my carefully sculpted surround mix is only experienced through a mere TELEVISION SPEAKER!

6.15 – 7.00: Sound Bytes
Aristotel Digenis – Lead Audio Programmer – FreeStyleGames/Activision
While new game console generations offer great gains in computational power, audio programmers still need to be creative in how to best implement audio algorithms into games. Computational complexity aside, algorithms that may be suitable for offline processing often need to be reviewed and adjusted for the interactive and real-time nature inherent in games. Aristotel will cover engaging topics including spatial audio, environmental audio, codecs selection, and toolsets for authoring interactive audio.

7.00 – 7.45: Creating a Virtual World in the Real-Time-World
Jon Holmes – Audio Engineer – Rare/Microsoft
It’s a really exciting time for audio in games. Technology has rapidly advanced to the point where we have the fewest restrictions ever on what we are capable of doing. The last generation of games consoles in particular have allowed game audio programmers to really flex their technical creativity. Jon will talk about how much audio really goes into a modern AAA game and how the available technology is used to make it sound dynamic and fully immersive.

7.45 – 8.00: Coffee
Coffee will be served in Room 405

8.00 – 8.30: To ∞ and beyond…
Aristotel Digenis – Lead Audio Programmer – FreeStyleGames/Activision
What next…? That is the question. This closing talk will go over just some of the areas being researched both by game audio companies as well as academic institutions, and suggest how game audio may benefit from them.