The purpose of the course is to give all media technology engineers, regardless of future specialisation, a foundation in acoustics and in the technical mediation of speech and music. The syllabus is structured around a progression along the sound communication chain, from elementary physics of sound, via conversion and sound processing, to content, meaning and technical applications.
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Lectures and tutorials: the communication chain, elementary acoustics, the ear and hearing, room acoustics, microphones and loudspeakers, analogue and digital representations of sound, stereo and spatial audio, digital audio technology, music as an information carrier, the human voice, speech technology.
Laboratories: measurements of one's own hearing, representation and distortion of signals, musical representation and musical expression.
Field trip: patching exercise with a mixing desk, visit to a recording studio.
Intended learning outcomes *
On completion of this course, you should be able to
describe the different levels of representation in acoustic communication, and categorise given phenomena and problems to the correct level,
make a qualified judgment as to whether communication by sound will work in different given circumstances, including distance, number of people, equipment, venue, programme material, ambient noise, user interfaces and storage media.
In order to reach these overall goals, you must be able to
apply wave theory and concepts of elementary acoustics to describe how sound with different wavelengths from different sources will propagate in given environments,
apply basic knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of human hearing in judging sounds for audibility, localisation and health hazards,
make simple calculations of delays, RMS values, acoustic pressures, powers, intensities, levels in dB, and room acoustic metrics; and select formulas that are appropriate for solving a given problem,
explain qualitatively what a spectrum of a sound represents, and how it may be modified by filters,
account for acoustical and electrical particularities of common types of microphones and loudspeakers,
describe at a functional level (such as block diagrams) how sound signals are represented and processed in analog and digital forms,
recognise common types of distorsion and unwanted sounds by ear,
account in general terms for how various features in speech and music signals are carriers of information,
describe current speech technology with regard to main principles, application areas, potential and limitations.
The course is given in period 1. A small checkpoint exam is given at the middle of period 1. The three laboratories are of each of three hours duration, preparations are required.
Literature and preparations
Specific prerequisites *
Single course students: completed upper secondary education including documented proficiency in Swedish corresponding to Swedish B, English corresponding to English A. Furthermore: 15 hp in mathematics.
5A1230/SK1120 Waves, 4F1224/MF1035 Electrical Engineering, Basic Course Media plus the first-year mathematics courses of Degree Program in Media Technology (CMETE or MEDIA).
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Compendium: Sten Ternström: Ljud som informationsbärare. The compendium is updated annually and can be bought at the EECS Service Center, Borggården LV3 plan 4.
Examination and completion
Grading scale *
A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
Grading scale: P, F
Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.
The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.
In this course all the regulations of the code of honor at the School of Computer science and Communication apply, see: https://www.kth.se/en/eecs/utbildning/hederskodex/inledning-1.17237.
Other requirements for final grade *
Passed exam and completed laboratory sessions.
Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination
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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination