Times and Spaces

Wednesday 26 April 2017, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Jez Wells

The reverberant characteristics of a (real or imagined) space are described by its impulse response. Thanks to recent research and development efforts in both academia and industry, the audio community now has a wide range of acoustic impulse response data and tools for generating reverberation at its disposal. Yet impulse responses themselves can be monolithic and impenetrable: the rich complexity of the geometry and materials of spaces encapsulated within single, fading audio traces. How can we interact with them in useful and revealing ways? What modifications can we make and (how) can they be meaningful? Can we have our (acoustically measured) cake and eat it (algorithmically)?

This seminar will begin by presenting some straightforward, but possibly intuition-taxing, ways of interacting with impulse response data using simple arithmetic operations in both the time and frequency domains. It will then describe a new spectral modelling system for reverberation that enables interaction similar to that possible with algorithmic reverberators, and ongoing work to ready the system for deployment as a studio-based tool. There will be a focus on listening to reverberation and considering its creative applications.


Dr Jez Wells has expertise in the development and use of digital technologies, particularly signal analysis and processing, for musical applications. Such applications range from creative sound processing (e.g. improvements to Fourier based cross-synthesis techniques) to transcription (e.g. hi-hat isolation for tempo tracking in South African jazz recordings). He is also interested in the history of signal processing in music production (e.g. manifestations and meanings of technology in productions of Joni Mitchell; the early adoption and overt use of digital technologies in Imagination’s Night Dubbing). He gained his PhD, on ‘Real-Time Spectral Modelling of Audio for Creative Sound Transformation’ in 2006 from the Department of Electronics at the University of York. Currently, he is Lecturer in studio recording techniques and audio processing and modelling at the Department of Music, University of York.

Location: Rymer Auditorium