The University of Southampton

ISVR2041 Audio and Signal Processing

Module Overview

Acoustical engineers are required to demonstrate knowledge of the basic methods for acquisition, analysis, processing and reproduction of audio data and audio material. They must be familiar with the theoretical fundamentals of these techniques and be capable of applying them to practical engineering problems. The first part of this module covers a range of basic signal processing techniques for the analysis and processing of audio signals. The theory is reviewed of a number of topics that students have encountered in other modules with emphasis on their relevance to audio technologies, and elements of digital signal processing are introduced to students. Students are trained, especially through computing tutorials, to apply these theoretical tools to practical engineering problems. The second part of the module covers the fundamentals of systems and technologies for audio capturing and reproduction. The concept of channel quality and its objective descriptors (noise, distortion, etc.) are explained and put into relation to human sound perception, some aspects of which are introduced. The principles of operation of stereo and surround sound systems are introduced and demonstrated. It is emphasized that the theory of some of the topics is covered in this module at a basic level. An advanced theoretical analysis of these topics will be provided during the third- and fourth-year modules.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. to convey an understanding of a range of signal processing basic principles and tools 2. to endow students with the ability to apply these tools to the analysis and processing of audio signals 3. to teach, through theory and applications, the fundamentals of linear system analysis 4. to introduce students to the concept of channel quality and the human perception of audio. 5. to develop an understanding of the fundamentals of audio reproduction

Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • to demonstrate a working knowledge of Fourier analysis and to apply it the analysis of audio signals and systems
  • to demonstrate a working knowledge of the concept of convolution, of the convolution theorem and of some of their applications
  • to demonstrate a knowledge of the basics of digital signals and digital signal processing
  • to demonstrate a working knowledge of the basic theory of digital filters and to apply it to the processing of audio signals
  • to apply the basic signal processing techniques to estimate the impulse response and frequency response function of a linear, time-invariant system and to interpret the results
  • to describe and explain the basic operating principles of a range of systems for audio data acquisition and reproduction
  • to understand the metrics and specifications associated with audio channel quality
  • to demonstrate a knowledge of the operating principles of sound reproduction and of its limitations


Fundamentals of signal processing with applications 1. Fourier analysis (continuous and discrete), auto-spectra, cross-spectra, spectrograms and their digital implementation. 2. Convolution and its digital implementation. 3. Introduction to FIR and IIR filters. Linear systems 4. Review of theory of linear, time invariant systems. 5. Linear system identification: basic theory and applications. Audio systems and perception 6. Channel quality and sound perception 7. Audio specifications. 8. Theory of sound reproduction (stereophony, loudspeaker-room interaction, etc.) 9. Analogue vs digital audio technologies

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Module delivered over semester. This will include - 3 lectures per week. - 7 tutorial sessions focusing on Python implementation of DSP algorithms. - 1 individual assignment (computer programming activity), to consolidate the understanding and application of digital audio signal processing. - 1 laboratory session on real-time digital signal processing. - 1 laboratory session on cross-over design and realization.

Completion of assessment task30
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Practical classes and workshops10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Resources for cross-over filter measurement. Resources for cross-over filter measurement (already available in ISVR laboratory) The cross-over networks measured during the lab may be those built by the students during the module FEEG2001 Systems Design and Computing or will be provided to students.

Resources for real-time DSP. Resources for real-time DSP (already available in ISVR laboratory)


Assessment Strategy

The assignment and one of second laboratory sessions will require the application and critical understanding of the DSP algorithms that the students will have implemented during the tutorial sessions.


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 40%
Exam 40%
Laboratory Report 10%
Laboratory Report 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 50%
Exam 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite module/s: MATH2048 Mathematics for Engineering and the Environment, FEEG2001 systems Design and Computing.


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

MATH2048Mathematics for Engineering and the Environment Part II
FEEG2001Systems Design and Computing
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