Satellite "Soundscape and Psychoacoustics"

- using the resources for environmental noise protection

Standards in Psychoacoustics

Roland Sottek, HEAD acoustics GmbH, Germany


Besides loudness, other psychoacoustic parameters like sharpness, roughness and tonality can be used for product noise assessments. Sharpness considers the amount of high frequency components of a noise, roughness evaluates modulation characteristics, and standard tonality measurement procedures quantify the audibility of prominent tones.

While loudness of stationary sounds has been standardized for decades, standards for sharpness of stationary sounds and for loudness of time-varying sounds have been published in 2009 (DIN 45692:2009-08) and 2010 (DIN 45631/A1:2010-03), respectively.

Recently, a new ISO standard for loudness of arbitrary sounds ISO 532-1 (Zwicker method) was proposed for the revision of ISO 532:1975 (method B). The new standard is based on DIN 45631/A1:2010-03, which includes the widely used standard DIN 45631:1991 for stationary sounds as a special case. DIN 45631:1991 differs slightly from ISO 532:1975 (method B) by specifying corrections for low frequencies and by restricting the description of the approach to numerical instructions only, thus allowing a unique software description.

ISO 532-1 eliminates uncertainties of existing standards by strictly defining the complete procedure of loudness calculation starting with the waveform of the time signal and ending with specific and total loudness vs. time functions. The strict definition of the complete procedure, given not only by formulae and tables but also by program code, is a step forward to comparability of calculated loudness results.

The method according to Moore/Glasberg based on the American standard ANSI S3.4-2007, for stationary sounds only, shall replace ISO 532:1975 (method A) and will be named as ISO 532-2 in the updated version.

In addition, there are several roughness models available, performing more or less well for synthetic and selected technical signals. Currently, a roughness standard is under discussion in a DIN working group.

Common methods for the evaluation of prominent tones are the Tone-to-Noise Ratio (TNR), Prominence Ratio (PR) and DIN 45681 Tonality.



Short Vita

Dr.-Ing. Roland Sottek studied Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Aachen (specialization in Communications Engineering), where he received a diploma in 1987 and a doctor’s degree in 1993 for his doctoral research study titled "Signal Processing Model of the Human Auditory System". From 1987 to 1988 he worked as a scientist at the Philips Research Laboratory Aachen. In 1989 he joined HEAD acoustics where he began working as a scientific consultant. From 1999 to 2002 Dr. Sottek directed the HEAD consult NVH department. Since October 2002 he has been in charge of the newly-established HEAD research NVH department. Dr. Sottek has applied for patents concerning the design of permanent magnet excited motors and signal analysis techniques. He is author or co-author of numerous scientific papers. Dr. Sottek supervised more than 30 theses. During his work at HEAD acoustics he was involved in the realization of numerous consulting projects mainly with the automotive industry, as well as in 17 publicly-funded national and international research projects. Current research work concerns models of human hearing, psychoacoustics, noise engineering and digital signal processing as well as experimental and numerical methods for sound-field calculation. He works in the field of human hearing equivalent sound-field analysis, auralization of virtual environments, and NVH analysis. He is a member of ASA and DEGA. Dr. Sottek is a reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals, a technical expert for the evaluation of research projects related to acoustics, and an active member of national and international standard committees.

Perception-based Engineering: Integrating Sound Perception into Engineering Design

Patricia Davies, Professor and Director, Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA


Perception-based engineering can be thought of as a way to improve machinery and engineered system design so that the positive impacts on people are enhanced and the negative impacts reduced.  It involves coupling of the engineering modeling and predictions of stimuli (sounds, forces, vibrations, images, heat, e.g.,) with models of human sensory and information processing, and using these coupled models to optimize machines and systems.   It is putting the people affected directly into the design process so that new designs and modifications can be evaluated in terms their impact on people prior to prototyping or introducing refinements to an existing design.   As with engineering models, theory, prior knowledge, computation, experiments, analysis, and validation are all parts of developing the human processing models.  For sound stimuli, the human model requires time histories as inputs and so there is also a strong need to develop engineering models that predict sounds rather than just, e.g., spectral properties.   This enables machine designers to listen to their designs as they modify them, and, being able to do this in real time would be very powerful.  The optimization process and efficiently going backwards from an undesirable sound to identify the necessary machine component changes are both areas for investigation.

Short Vita

Patricia Davies joined the faculty of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in 1987 after completing her Ph.D. at the I.S.V.R. at the University of Southampton. She became Director of the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories in 2005, which is a laboratory focused on graduate student research with an emphasis on technology transfer.  She also has a courtesy appointment in Psychological Sciences. Her research is in the area of vibrations and acoustics and includes signal processing, nonlinear system identification, sound perception, and the impact of noise on people.   A theme in her research is model development and bridging the gap between experimental results and predictions from models based on current understanding of human, mechanical and/or material behavior.   In her most recent acoustics research she and her graduate students have developed models that predict people’s assessments of product sound quality and community response (annoyance and sleep disturbance) to supersonic and subsonic aircraft noise.   Her research is sponsored by government agencies and industry.  She has developed nonlinear, viscoelastic dynamic material models and has incorporated them into models to predict the vibration response of multi-body systems, such as seat-occupant systems.    She is a founding member of a group of engineering and psychology professors at Purdue who conduct research in acoustic, vibration, visual, and haptic perception that is focused on understanding how people perceive and are affected by machines and engineered systems.  Dr. Davies served as President of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering 2008-2010 and is a Fellow of that society. 

Labeling of Product Sound Quality

Christian Fabris, Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Germany


The noise of each product, equipment or machine, let it either be used for business or by private consumers, is always a nuisance and sometimes even a health threat. Different studies show distinct economic benefits if quieter machines are used in factories and offices. Also private consumers can benefit from quiet products with a better sound quality, maybe less economically but definitely more in the sense of comfort. But how could anyone become aware of the noise quality of a product even before purchasing it – without being an acoustician or consulting a book? One approach could be the labeling of a noise quality value. The speaker shows the legislative and technical requirements for a feasible labeling of noise quality. You will also learnabout the few but effective noise labels European consumers are used to – justlike theirhistoricaland political background. You will catch a glimpse of the not-only-noise-but-broadly-accepted-and-economically-influencing German quality label for environment-friendliness, the Blue Angel. Furthermore other European quality labels will be summarized. Finally, there will be a short outlook to international approaches for a feasible product noise rating.

Short Vita

Christian Fabris was born and educated in Germany. He graduated as an engineer (Dipl.-Ing.) for media technology from IlmenauUniversity of Technologyin 2008. Since hehas been working as scientific officer for the German Environment Agency in Dessau. His expertise comprehends noise abatement of mobile machinery and consumer products, acoustical measurement standards and instruments and rating of environmental noise. He represents the German governmentin the official Noise Expert Group for the European “Outdoor Noise” Directive relating to noise emissions by equipment for use outdoors. He is vice chairman of the German working group on standards related to the measurement, abatement and data collection of noise emissions by machinery and sites. He has composedthe low noise emission requirements for relevant products in each criteria document for the well-known environmental label “Blue Angel”.He is currently concerned with noise planning of construction sites, noise abatement of heat pumps in sensitive areas in Germany and a harmonized labelling of product noise in the international “Buy Quiet” program.He repeatedly contributes different articles and presentations about “German Noise Policy”, “Construction Noise”, etc. to international conferences like Internoise, ICBEN or NOISE-CON.He is 35 years old and married with two children.

Applying the soundscape technique to develop unique solutions for noise control

Bennett M. Brooks, Brooks Acoustics Corporation, USA


Environmental noise is a concern for community stakeholders in the USA. However, there is no unified noise policy in the USA.  It is a mixture of federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations.  Enforcement is not consistent, with private civil lawsuits common.  Regulations are usually based on source noise emission, not on receiver immission.  Thus, for a specific source emission scenario, inconsistent or inadequate regulation makes for poorly defined goals for the noise control designer.  To achieve success for the project, the development of noise control solutions must go beyond the requirements of law, and improve the perceived sound in the environment.  Application of the soundscape technique can lead to better noise control designs, resulting in a better sonic climate for the stakeholders.  Recent environmental noise control design case studies will be discussed.  Design solutions can include architectural and mechanical means to prevent sound inside a building from getting out, or sound outside a building from getting in.  

Short Vita

Bennett M. Brooks holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MS in acoustics from George Washington University.  After a career that began in aerospace, he entered the acoustical consulting arena, and is now President of Brooks Acoustics Corporation (BAC), an acoustical consulting firm.  He believes that environments should provide a sonic dimension which promotes a sense of well-being.  

Since 1992, Bennett and his BAC team have created pleasing sound environments and noise control solutions in over 800 project applications ranging from concert halls and theaters, hospitality and entertainment facilities, hotels, resorts and residences, schools and universities, hospitals and healthcare, houses of worship, commercial offices, recording and broadcast studios, to factories and power plants.  Project interests include noise and vibration control, architectural acoustics, and soundscape design.

Bennett is active in standards development organizations and frequently publishes and presents his findings in a variety of forums, including peer reviewed journals.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer, Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, and Past President of the National Council of Acoustical Consultants.

Soundscape in urban planning and architecture.

Dick Botteldooren, Ghent University, Belgium


The urban soundscape, as an integral part of our cities, contributes to their identity and the quality of life they want to guarantee. However, soundscape design still is hardly considered in urban planning and architecture. In particular in new developments and city renewal, urban sound planning should play a more pro-active role. The urban sound plan should account for different uses of different parts of the city, in particular the public space, and develop a vision on the expected soundscape. Implementing this plan should include noise control of unwanted sound sources that cannot be avoided, using the typical elements of a city: buildings. Not only the general morphology of the city but also small architectural elements such as green roofs, green walls, balconies, façade structure, and small barrier-like structures can be useful in this respect. This has been shown by both measurements and simulations that we have performed over the years. In addition to noise control, guiding the attention of the users of the space to those elements of the sonic environment that contribute to the envisaged soundscape, plays an important role in the implementation of the vision of the urban sound plan. Adding sounds by attracting desired activities or adding surprising and fascinating elements could be used for this purpose but also changing the visual context has to be considered. The urban public space also includes line elements used for walking or cycling. The soundscape along these soft routes can contribute to the experience of visiting a place but also helps to promote such sustainable modes of transport. Bridges across road or railroad infrastructure form a particular challenge. The presentation will introduce examples of all of these elements to conclude with a few guidelines for soundcape planning of our future living environment.

Short Vita

Dick Botteldooren is a full professor at Ghent University where he leads the Acoustics Research group (10 to 15 researchers) and teaches a variety of courses related to sound and computational methods.

Dick Botteldooren was born in 1963 in Oudenaarde, Belgium. He obtained an MSc degree in Electronic Engineering in 1986 from Ghent University and a PhD in Applied Science in 1990 from Ghent University. In 1992 he became interested in acoustics and in particular environmental noise and obtained a post-doctoral fellowship with the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research. In April 1993 he became a part-time professor at Ghent University. Since October 2000 he is a full-time professor in acoustics. Between 2004 and 2013 he was the Editor-in-Chief of Acta Acustica united with Acustica, the journal of the European Acoustics Association. He is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the chairman of the Belgian Acoustics Society.

Dick Botteldooren has made research contributions in the field of acoustic modeling, noise mapping, environmental sensor networks, computational intelligence, modeling perception of environmental sound, health impacts of sound, biomonitoring, urban sound planning, soundscapes, and noise policy support. This work was reported in 105 journal publications and several hundred conference contributions. Based on his expertise he was an advisor for national and international health councils, and noise policy makers.

Using a soundscape approach to address anti-social behaviour and noise in Brighton and Hove, UK

Lisa Lavia, Noise Abatement Society, UK


In 2011, we conducted a sonic arts-based applied research night-noise intervention, designed in line with a soundscape management approach, in a busy UK city centre clubbing and entertainment district. In 2014, our new series of experiments were undertaken in a pedestrian subway (i.e. an underground passageway for pedestrians).

The goals of the projects were to test the feasibility of making sound / music-based interventions, using a soundscape approach, to help minimise public disorder and increase feelings of safety amongst the visitors to and those passing through these areas. In 2015, a measurement session was carried out to characterise the acoustics of the pedestrian subway. Sound-pressure distributions of the levels and reverberation times were investigated. Preliminary analysis of the results show that such parameters have different patterns in long enclosures with respect to other indoor environments. We triangulated these findings with preliminary sample data from the behavioural analysis and found a direct correlation between certain acoustic characteristics and the behaviour of the public in the space. We have developed a preliminary soundscape management model based on these results for added sound in public spaces to discourage anti-social and support pro-social effects on public behaviour.

Short Vita

Lisa Lavia is managing director of UK NGO The Noise Abatement Society (NAS). The work of the Society is to find solutions to noise pollution problems for the public benefit. Lisa has pioneered the NAS’s applied soundscape programme since 2009, including as a member of ISO TC43/SC1/WG54 on Soundscape helping to establish the world’s first acoustics Soundscape standard (ISO 12913-1:2014). Lisa is a member of the EU COST Action TD0804 on Soundscapes, is a member of the British Standards Institute EH 1 / 2 and EH 1 / 3 noise technical committees, and has a research sabbatical with The University of Sheffield in the UK to help further applied soundscape studies. She launched and edited the glossy ezine “SoundScape, where life sounds good”, has published several conference papers, presents regularly, and is a lead chapter author (Chapter 10, Applied Soundscape Practices) of the book “Soundscape and the Built Environment” (Edited by Prof Jian Kang and Prof Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp).

Sounds in the city: applying the soundscape approach to urban noise management

Catherine Guastavino, Daniel Steele


Noise regulations in Montreal date back to their first adoption in 1976 with few significant changes. Since then, an extensive body of academic literature on the perception of urban sounds by city users has provided theoretical grounds for a new approach (“soundscape”) that offers great potential for shaping the future of urban noise management. Other cities have updated their noise regulations much more recently than Montreal (e.g. New York City, where the original 1936 regulations were substantially updated in 1971 and 2005, the most recent code responding to “the need for peace and quiet while maintaining New York’s reputation as the ‘City that never sleeps’”), yet most have stopped short of a comprehensive soundscape approach.

Sounds in the city aims to position Montreal as a leader in urban noise management by filling the knowledge gap between soundscape and urban planning practice.From a practical standpoint, we provide Montreal concrete interventions that they can apply to harmonize their practices with best practices in 3 main areas, via: alterations to the city noise regulation; implications for noise inspections, and training programs for urban planners and other decision makers. From a theoretical standpoint, we explore links between urban planning and soundscape. Project outputs will benefit not only researchers but also practitioners in urban planning, noise policy makers and the general public. These include a searchable database of noise policies from around the world, best practices for noise management, a documented knowledge mobilization roadmap for facilitating the use of research findings by built environment practitioners, and outreach activities to empower citizens to listen to and shape their soundscape.

Short Vita - Catherine Guastavino

Catherine Guastavino is an Associate Professor at McGill University where she holds a William Dawson Research Chair. She received a Ph.D. in Psychoacoustics from the University of Paris (Pierre et Marie Curie) and post-doctoral training in cognitive psychology at McGill before joining the McGill School of Information Studies in 2005. She is a member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) where she served as Associate Director for Scientific and Technological Research from 2007 to 2009, and an associate member of the McGill Schulich School of Music. Her research interests include soundscape, spatial audio, auditory localization, multisensory perception, and music perception and cognition. She is a member of the ISO working group on Soundscape (CAC/ISO/TC43/SC1). Her research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the Canadian National Science and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec and research and development grants with industry partners. She is also collaborating with the city of Montreal on best practices for urban noise management.

Short Vita - Daniel Steele

Daniel Steele is a PhD candidate graduating in 2016 with Dr. Guastavino. He was trained in psychoacoustics and audio technology at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he studied both mathematics and music. He also holds a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from McGill and a member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT). His research has taken him on extended soundscape research exchanges in the Netherlands, where he engaged with the active European soundscape community.Before returning to academia, heworked as a research programmer at the Starkey Hearing Research Center in Berkeley, California, specializing in hearing loss and music. At Starkey, he became interested in environmental auditory perception in addition to the technological aspects, leading him to soundscapes.

Mr. Steele’s experience draws together hearing, soundscape, and urban design and planning, which has contributed to an extensive array of projects. He serves as the research lead on the Musikiosk project, the results of which were presented at Internoise 2016. His doctoral work focuses on understanding the conceptualizations of urban sound by urban planners and designers. His research findings will contribute towards creating and directing resources that are meaningful to planners and designers on sound(scape) and that are also sensitive to the contexts of their workplace and experience.

Outside of the laboratory, Mr. Steele is an avid music performer, swimmer, runner, cook, and learner of languages.