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Audio Engineering

Audio engineering is a three year Bachelor program with the aim of providing the audio industry with engineers proficient in modern audio engineering technology.

Why choose Audio Engineering?

Are you interested in sound and technology? Do you want skills that not everybody else possesses? Our Audio Engineering program provides you with in-depth knowledge about the technology underpinning modern audio engineering.

What kind of job will you get?

Engineers specialising in audio engineering work in product development, broadcasting, sound system planning and installation for cinemas, lecture theatres, concert and public address sound systems, etc. Audio engineers also work with teleconference system, sound studio equipment, or as designers of Hi-Fi and professional audio equipment.

Sales and service: Modern audio equipment is becoming more advanced, so the demands on sales and service personal are increasing. This is especially the case for personal that liaison with professional customers. More and more jobs in sales and service will therefore require personal with a Bachelor degree in audio engineering.

Audio streaming: The technology underpinning streaming of audio and video over local networks and Internet is in rapidly development. Broadcasters, contents providers, studios, internet service providers, etc. will need personal proficient in modern digital audio technology. The need for personal that understand the audio-specific aspects of streaming is expected to increase in the future.

Signal processing: Modern audio engineering is to a large extent founded on digital signal processing. Out Bachelor program therefore contains a large amount of signal processing, which makes you qualified for a broad spectrum of jobs that require skills in signal processing.

Signal processing is, in addition to its importance to audio engineering, a core technology in image processing, video, multimedia, communications, radar, soar, medical instrumentation, the aerospace industry, etc. Our audio engineering Bachelor program makes you qualified to take a Master's degree in signal processing.

Installation: Personal that plan, install and maintain large audio installations need to have a solid knowledge of elctroacoustics, transducers and audio signal processing, in order to ensure optimum performance.

The growing number of multi-functional cultural buildings has lead to a need for audio engineers that are able to plan and maintain large public address audio systems. Such installations are designed around digital audio distribution and large array loudspeakers.

Entrepreneurship: Buskerud University College encourages is actively involved in regional industrial development and we encourages our graduates to start their own company, preferably in the Buskerud region. You will be introduced to entrepreneurship and industrial economy as part of the Bachelor program.

This is what you will learn

You will learn about modern audio technology and the latest developments in digital audio. You will also be introduced to industrial partners, in the form of industrial visits and a comprehensive final year project.

Room acoustics: You will learn about how the acoustics in recording and playback rooms affect the sound quality. You will learn about how standing waves develop and dies out in a closed room, how the frequency distribution of the standing waves are related to room dimensions and how different materials affect the room's reverberation time.

Psychoacoustics: You will be introduced to psychoacoustics, which is the study of how the brain interprets the signals that our ears pick up. Insight into psychoacoustics is paramount for understanding traditional stereophonic reproduction and more advanced 3D-reproduction. It is also important in connection with loudspeaker design and placement, filter characteristics, audio compression algorithms, etc.

Transducers: You will receive in-depth knowledge of loudspeakers and microphones, in the form of lectures, simulations and laboratory work.

As far as loudspeakers is concerned, the focus is on dynamic loudspeakers, but you will also learn about electrostatic and magnetostatic panel loudspeakers, as well as ribbon speakers. The so called Benson-Thiele-Small parameters play a central role in loudspeaker design and will be thoroughly studied. An introduction to more exotic speakers will also be given.

Electronics: You will learn about circuit theory, as well as analogue and digital electronics. Although most aspects of modern audio equipment is digitised, analogue electronics still plays an important role both in microphone and power amplifiers. You will learn how digital electronics is designed, how to use Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and how to program FPGAs and microcontrollers in a high level language.

Programming: You will learn how to write code in high level programming languages and how to write real-time code for microcontrollers and Digital Signal Processors (DSPs). A DSP is spesial purpose microprocessor suitable for real-time signal processing and control. We use Analog Devices SHARC DSPs, of the same type as used in professional audio equipment.

Stereophony and 3D audio: You will learn about the theory underpinning two-channel stereophony and why it is possible to create an impression of a spatial sound field in front of the listener by using only two loudspeakers. Psychoacoustics plays a crucial role in stereophony, but factors such as microphone and loudspeaker directivity, their placement, etc. also play an important role for the final result.

The syllabus is founded on physical principles and verifiable scientific principles. Musicality, therefore, is not a requirement for becoming an audio engineer, although it does no harm.

You might have noticed that when listening over headphones, the orchestra appears to reside inside your head, which is highly unnatural. You will learn about methods to eliminate this effects, using either artificial head recording or signal processing during playback.

In the final year you will be introduced to advanced methods for 3D sound reproduction, in the form of Wavefield Syntheiss (WFS) and Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA). In contrast to the illusion created by two-channel stereophony, WFS and HOA aim at recreating the sound field at the recording location during playback. These methods are still the subject of active research and are included in the syllabus with the aim of equipping you with an understanding of the latest developments in the field of audio technology. These techniques are expected to become important in certain simulators, future games programming, etc.

Digital audio and signal processing: Digital signal processing is the core of modern audio technology and therefore plays a crucial role in our audio engineering program. You will learn about how analogue signals are digitised, analysed and processed. Music is transient in nature, and you will learn how to carry out and interpret spectral analysis and how to relate time and frequency domain descriptions. You will also learn how to take psychoacoustic aspects into account when designing digital filters.

Most analogue to digital and digital to analogue converters are of the ΣΔ type, which are relatively complicated devices. Owing to their importance in the audio chain, however, a thorough analysis is included in the syllabus. Other things you will learn about are signal bandwidth and dynamic range requirements, again in a psychoacoustic perspective. Have you ever wondered whether a sample rate of 96 or 192 kHz really is better than 44.1 kHz? These are some of the questions you will be faced with in theory and listening sessions.

Other aspects of digital audio are standards for audio interfacing, such as AES-3, SPDIF, MADI, HDMI, USB, Firewire, etc. Clock synchronisation and sample rate conversions are other important aspects you will be studying. Storage media for digital audio has seen rapid developments. Apart from the media themselves you will be introduced to error correction codes both for storage media and audio distribution. Another important topic is the architecture of the audo-specific software on a PC and how it interacts with internal and external sound cards.

Switch-mode power amplifiers now play an important role in audio, particularly in large installations. You will therefore be introduced to the operating principles of switched-mode amplifiers.

Audio signal processing:

You will learn about computer arithmetic, the architecture of Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) and how to program them. Applications you will learn about are acoustic noise and echo cancellation, active room corrections, etc.

Audio compression: Compression of audio is widely deployed in connection with audio streaming and storage on portable devices, such as mobile phones. In the final year you will learn about the methods used both for lossy and lossless audio compression. This is an area of active research, so the syllabus is continuously updated in order to take new developments into account.

Communications technology and broadcasting: Audio distribution is rapidly becoming all-digital. You will learn about the technology underpinning Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), such as Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM). An introduction to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), as used in e.g. UMTS, is also included. Broadcasting of packet-switched networks is a rapidly developing technology, that we have hitherto only seen the beginning of. You will learn about this technology, with emphasise on the audio-specific aspects of the technokogy.

Other subjects: In common with all engineering programs, at the start of the audio engineering program you will be studying mathematics and physics, as well as chemistry, economics, etc. Mathematics and physics are of particular importance for audio engineering.

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The program commences with mathematics, physics, microcontrollers, information technology, chemistry and environmental studies. These are skills common to all electronics engineers.

I the second year you will study digital signal processing, communications, analogue electronics, acoustics and stereophony.

The third year is devoted to in-depth study of loudspeakers and digital audio. Some of the topics in the final year are still on the research stage, but we believe that it is important that our graduates are equipped with a knowledge about emerging audio technology, as this will give them an edge in the job market.

Laboratory work: Several subjects include laboratory measurements of room acoustics and loudspeakers, as well as analogue and digital equipment. We have a purpose built listening room equipped with dynamic and electrostatic loudspeakers, a selection of various types of microphones, WinLMS electroacoustic measurement system, a Prism dScope audio analyser, etc.

Further studies:

Upon graduation you may wish to continue with a Masters degree in audio engineering, or in signal processing. Audio engineering at the Master's level does to a large extend consist of applied signal processing, so a Master's degree in signal processing is an attractive option. Most of the he final year of our Bachelor program consists of applied signal processing, so provided that you obtain good marks you will be able to apply for further studies at a Master program in Norway or abroad.


Denne siden ble sist oppdatert: 13.01.2012 13:02
av Jan-Henrik Kulberg


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