Communication Acoustics

Module Number: EI71004

Duration: one semester

Occurence: winter semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 6

Amount of work

Contact hours: 45

Self-study hours: 105

Total: 150


Professor in charge: Bernhard Seeber

Lecture as online videotutorialExercise as online videotutorial and online exerciseProf. Bernhard Seeber (TUM); Prof. Gerhard Müller (TUM); Prof. Michael Vorländer (RWTH Aachen); Prof. JaninaFels (RWTH Aachen); Prof. Sebastian Möller (TU Berlin); Prof. Stefan Weinzierl (TU Berlin); Dr. Jens Ahrens (TUBerlin / Göteburg); Prof. Ercan Altinsoy (TU Dresden)

Description of achievement and assessment methods

The written examination will cover material from the wide topical range of the module which is aimed at providing ageneral understanding of communication acoustics, audio technology and auditory preception. Understanding and theindividual ability to solve problems will be examined in a 120 minute-long written exam through solving numericalproblems and answering in-depth and tranfer questions about acoustical communication.

Recommended requirements

Mathematics and logarithms;Fundamentals of signals and systems are helpful (will be reiterated upon in the lecture)


1. Fundamentals of acoustics (Müller, Vorländer)

1.1 sound field quantities, wave equation

1.2 plane waves / spherical waves

1.3 energy/intensity, decibel

1.4 sound sources: voice / musical instruments / noise

1.5 sound reflection, absorption, diffraction

1.6 statistical room acoustics, reverberation


2. Fundamentals of signals and systems (Ahrens)

2.1 Complex notation, harmonic signals


2.2 Fourier series, Fourier transformation, time and frequency domain (DFT, FFT)

2.3 LTI systems, impulse response and transfer function

2.4 Digital filters

2.5 Short introduction to non-linear systems


3. Anatomy and physiology of the hearing system (Fels)

3.1 Peripheral auditory system

3.2 Physical binaural cues and binaural hearingModule Description EINEU014

3.3 Fundamentals of binaural technology

3.4 Reproduction of binaural recordings


4. Psychoacoustics (Seeber)- Hearing threshold- Auditory masking- Auditory frequency selectivity and critical bands- Loudness of sounds- Pitch, pitch strength, and timbre- Sharpness- Fluctuation strength and roughness- Binaural unmasking for speech understanding- Psychoacoustic methods


5. Electroacoustics (Altinsoy)

5.1 Introduction to electroacoustical systems and transmission

5.2 Electromechanical and electroacoustical analogies

5.3 Amplitude frequency response, harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, noise level and signal-to-noiseration

5.4 Transducer principles

5.5 Microphones

5.6 Loudspeakers

5.7 Headphones and earphones


6. Speech acoustics (Möller)

6.1 Anatomy of the human speech production system

6.2 Excitation (periodic excitation: mechanism, fundamental frequency, spectrum; aperiodic excitation: noisyexcitation, step function)

6.3 Sound shaping

6.4 Speech signal characteristics

6.5 Speech sounds

6.6 Models of speech production

6.7 Speech signal analysis6.8 Speech intelligibility


7. Sound recording and reproduction (Weinzierl)

7.1 The psychoacoustics of stereophonic reproduction

7.2 Reproduction formats: From 1.0 to 24.1.10

7.3 Recording techniques

7.4 Channel-oriented vs. object-oriented spatial audio coding


8. Virtual acoustics I: Binaural technology (Weinzierl)

8.1 The concept of binaural recording and reproduction

8.2 Recording and playback devices

8.3 Dynamic binaural synthesis and re-synthesis

8.4 On the quality of virtual acoustic environments


9. Virtual acoustics II: Sound field analysis and synthesis (Ahrens)spatial rendering: loudspeaker arrays;spatial capture: microphone arrays, beamforming

10. Application Room Acoustics 1 (Müller)Geometrical acoustics, impulse responses, perception (ISO 3382 parameters),examples of performance spaces and classrooms


11. Application Room Acoustics 2 (Vorländer)


12.1 Room impulse response, image source model

12.2 Ray Tracing model

12.3 Wave models, hybrid geom/wave models

12.4 Input data,: sources and boundary conditions, precision

12.5 Auralization and Virtual Acoustics

12.6 Interfaces to 3D audio12. Application Automatic Speech Recognition (Möller)Principle of speech recognition, architecture of a speech recognizer, feature extraction, Hidden Markov Models language models


13. Application Text-to-Speech Synthesis (Möller)Historic approaches, structure of a speech synthesizer, symbolic preprocessing, prosody generation, signalgeneration approaches: parametric, concatenative, unit-selection synthesis


14. Application of Psychoacoustics in Product Development (Altinsoy)


15. Product Sound Design (Altinsoy)


16. Application: Perceptual Audio Coding (Ahrens) (mp3)

Study Goals

Fundamental knowledge and understanding in the covered areas of fundamentals of acoustics, sound propagation,audio technology, sound production, speech processing, psychoacoustics and communication acoustics. Ability toindividually solve problems in communication acoustics.

Teaching and learning methods

The module content is taught via many short video tutorials. Material for individual further study and audio examplesare provided online. The exercise course deepens the understanding of the lecture content through solving numericalexamples and applying it to practical problems. The exercise part is provided in video tutorials and learning progressis monitored through online questionnnaires with electronic correction. The applicability of the taught fundamentals isdemonstrated on current research topics. Results and questions can be dicussed in a discussion group online withfellow students and tutors.

Media formats

Lecture and exercise with many video tutorials, audio demonstrations, explanations on examples, multimediademonstration of further material and online links, online testing of learning progress, online diskussion group.


Fastl, H., Zwicker, E.: Psychoacoustics - Facts and Models, 3. Auflage, Springer, Heidelberg, 2007.Yost, W.: Fundamentals of Hearing, An Introduction, 5. Auflage, Brill Academic Pub, 2013.Vorlaender, M.: Auralization. Springer, 2008.Blauert, J.: Spatial Hearing. MIT Press, 1997.Pulkki, V. and Karjalainen: Communication Acoustics. Wiley, 2015