Memorial Lecture at 144th: Malcolm Hawksford / Understanding high quality audio – a personal journey

AES 144th Convention
NH Hotel Milano Congress Center, Milan, Italy.
May 23–26, 2018

Thursday 24th May, 6.30 pm

Malcolm Hawksford, Emeritus Professor and recent AES Gold Medal Winner, will present the 38th Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecture during the 144th Convention

Understanding high quality audio – a personal journey

Audio engineering is bounded by theoretical principles that ultimately establish what can be achieved in practical terms. The mapping of theory into a practical realization is inevitably moderated by system-specific approximations and increasing entropy as information travels through an audio system. While the theory may be deceptively simple, the means of implementation can embrace diverse concepts and ingenious design techniques. My career as an academic and researcher mirrors this diversity, which has witnessed remarkable transformations as the industry has adapted from analogue to digital (and back again!). Working with highly talented students, my research projects have been principally motivated by an underlying ambition to extend the horizons of sound reproduction. Alongside personal reflections about factors critical to high quality sound reproduction, my lecture will concentrate on important circuit and system factors, both analogue and digital. A new means of down-sample rate conversion will be demonstrated too.


Malcolm O. J. Hawksford was educated at Aston University in Birmingham, UK where he received his B.Sc. with first-class honours in 1968, Ph.D. in 1972 and D.Sc. in 2008. He is now Emeritus Professor within the School of Computing Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex University, Colchester, UK. Early research embraced delta- and sigma–delta modulation (SDM) applied to colour TV coding that under the award of a BBC Research Scholarship lead to a method of luminance and chrominance multiplexing exploiting digital time-compression, a forerunner of MAC/DMAC. Principal interests include audio engineering, electronic circuit design, error correction in amplifiers and signal processing focussing on loudspeakers, SDM, PWM linearization, spatial audio and telepresence. Malcolm is recipient of the AES Publications Award for the best contribution by an author of any age for JAES, volumes 45 and 46 and holds the AES Silver Medal awarded 2006 for major contributions to engineering research in the advancement of audio reproduction. Also, in 2014 he was awarded the Peter Barnett Memorial Award by the Institute of Acoustics, UK for his contributions in the field of electroacoustics extending over 4 decades. He is a chartered engineer and fellow of the AES, IET, and IOA. Malcolm has been formative chair of the AES Technical Committee on High-Resolution Audio and was a founding member of Acoustic Renaissance for Audio (ARA).

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