Tutorial Lecture


Providence, Rhode Island

Tutorial Lecture on Sound Reproduction:  Science in the Service of Art

A tutorial presentation on “Sound Reproduction: Science in the Service of Art” will be given by Floyd E. Toole, formerly of the National Research Council Canada and Harman International, on Monday, 5 May 2014 at 7:00 p.m.


The vast majority of music we enjoy is generated by loudspeakers of differing pedigree, and propagated to our ears through spaces that can mostly be described as acoustically arbitrary. In spite of the obvious huge variations, humans have managed to not only enjoy reproduced music, but sometimes even to exhibit enthusiasm for it. Common acoustical measurements confirm the variations. Are they wrong? In double-blind subjective evaluations of loudspeakers in rooms, listeners exhibit strong and remarkably consistent opinions about the sound quality from loudspeakers. The challenge has been to identify those technical measurements that correlate with the subjective ratings. What is it that these listeners are responding to? A clue: it is not in the specification sheets of most loudspeakers, nor in a secret formula for room design. This tutorial will examine the acoustical properties of loudspeakers (the sound source), rooms (the acoustical conveyance) and listeners (the powerfully perceptive, and adaptable receptor). In some respects, our problems began when we started to make certain kinds of simplistic measurements. Two ears and a brain do not respond to complex sound fields the way an omnidirectional microphone and analyzer do. What our eyes see in these measurements is not always well-matched to what our ears hear.


Lecture notes will be available at the meeting in limited supply. Those who register by 7 April 2014 are guaranteed receipt of a set of notes.


To partially defray the cost of the lecture, a registration fee is charged. The fee is USD$15 for registration received by 7 April 2014 and USD$25 thereafter including on-site registration at the meeting. The fee for students with current ID cards is USD$7 for registration received by 7 April 2014 and USD$12 thereafter, including on-site registration at the meeting. Register online at or use the downloadable registration form to register for the Tutorial Lecture.