New Technology for World-Class Acoustics

Ning Xiang, chair of Rensselaer’s graduate program in architectural acoustics, is using advanced signal theory concepts to develop a multiple sound-source measurement system to better predict the acoustic characteristics of complex rooms such as concert halls. The 1,200-seat main EMPAC performance hall will be the first room to be so characterized. Xiang’s “multiple acoustics measurement technique” greatly streamlines the process of measuring acoustics, gathering the acoustical information of any given space in minutes.

His method also can be used to quickly identify and correct acoustic mistakes within an existing performance space or to verify design goals in new building construction. Xiang’s approach enables all speakers in an area to emit a sound to designated receivers simultaneously. To interpret the data of each sound as it travels from speaker to receiver, Xiang’s group has created a new deconvolution algorithm that is loaded onto a computer with data acquisition and digital-to-analog capabilities. The system measures and graphs how well sounds move within the space.

Ning Xiang