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Research collaboration reverberates with success

Posted on 30 October 2020

A collaboration with a major sound engineering firm has led to the launch of software which represents a significant advance in audio processing for the creative industries.

Dr Jez Wells.

Dr Jez Wells of the Department of Music was researching the mathematical challenges inherent in computerised sound manipulation, and had developed software for the detailed analysis and manipulation of reverberation for an audio-visual installation he was commissioned to create at the National Centre for Early Music in 2016.

Ideas

He approached Leeds-based audio specialists NUGEN in early 2017 with these ideas for a reverberation (reverb) processor that could manipulate the sound of rooms in audio recordings.

Although artificial reverberation in recording isn’t new, Dr Wells says his technique offers a combination of using the acoustic signatures of actual spaces with a very high degree of editing control over those signatures, giving the user a highly accurate and editable reverb effect.

NUGEN worked with Dr Wells to take his algorithm translate it into an viable ‘plug-in’ - a type of software used in studio technology which enables software sound processors to be incorporated into digital audio workstations and other audio software.

Expertise

“NUGEN were great,” said Dr Wells. “They clearly have expertise in audio processing and bringing useful tools to market. They were very enthusiastic and encouraging when I contacted them and I'm delighted with what they have produced.”

Dr Wells says he’s hopeful the plug-in - named ‘Paragon’ - will become an industry-standard audio production tool.

“It's very satisfying to see it out there for people to use in such a sophisticated and well-made product,” he said. “This began life a few years ago as software that I wrote for an audio-visual art installation at the National Centre for Early Music in York.

“It includes one process that I first began to investigate in my PhD 15 years ago, so it is wonderful to see this all come to fruition in a tool that will be used in studios around the world.”

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