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  Emotional response to immersive audio in live music performance

   School of Physics, Engineering and Technology

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  Prof H Daffern, Prof G Kearney  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is a collaboration between University of York and L-Acoustics as part of CoStar LiveLab. It will address the challenges of understanding the impact of different listening environments, contexts and technical setups and sound formats on listeners. With the development of virtual and augmented reality experiences, and the rapid changes in how people consume media, especially live music performance, live in-person performance is potentially being re-valued. The successful candidate will develop a research question around the topic of the influence of social relationships on the performer and listener experience in Live musical events. How to measure the value of in-person real time relationships remains a big question. Non-invasive methods to track physiological features that relate to our emotional response are becoming more widely used tools in the evaluation of user experience across different academic fields and different applications. This project will utilise mixed-methods and will likely employ biometrics sensors, pupilometry, motion tracking technologies and cameras to develop a protocol to measure social interaction and impact different auditory contexts on individuals. This project might explore performer-performer or performer-audience relationships in the context of live music performance experiences from perceptual and emotional perspectives. The transference of these experiences into virtual or hybrid contexts might also be explored. In addition to working within the Sound Interactions in the Metaverse CDT cohort, this project aligns with another PhD being supported by L-Acoustics, based in Paris, focusing on the impact of sound system design and mixing choices on the listener’s emotional response to live music, and the successful candidate will also collaborate with this student.

Student Skills Requirements:

Students need a strong knowledge of Audio Systems and Spatial Audio. A knowledge of psychoacoustics and experience designing and running experimental studies is desirable. First degree in Music Technology, Audio Engineering or similar or ability to demonstrate a good knowledge of these systems is desirable. May have a background in psychology / neuroscience but a strong interest in audio.

About L-Acoustics:

L-Acoustics is the industry leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of premium sound reinforcement technologies. Presently, the company unites a global workforce of close to 800 people (1000 by end of 2024), with 25% of team resources devoted to R&D and application. Designed & manufactured in Europe according to the highest professional standards, L-Acoustics products are chosen by audio professionals around the world to give the best sonic experiences.

Who should apply?

Candidates must have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a UK upper second-class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent and a strong interest and experience in sound and audio technology. Their formal training and qualifications may be in disciplines not directly associated with audio engineering or metaverse technologies.

We especially welcome applications from candidates belonging to groups that are currently under-represented in metaverse-related industries; these include (but are not limited to): women, individuals from under-represented ethnicities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with physical disabilities.

How to apply:

Please go to the School of Physics Engineering, and Technology website and apply for a PhD in Music Technology. When applying please select ‘CDT in Sound Interactions in the Metaverse’ as your source of funding. You do not need to provide a research proposal, just enter the name of the project you are applying for. You can contact us at [Email Address Removed]

Application Deadline: 8th May 2024

Why apply to SIM

The University of York is committed to conducting research that positively impacts people’s lives, and providing equality of opportunity. York is currently holder of the Athena Swan Bronze Award for gender equality in higher education.

The SIM cohort will grow in 2024 from five PhD students who enrolled in 2023, and will grow to nine. Students receive training in research methods, recording techniques for XR, immersive audio systems, AI and responsible innovation and co-design. You will also develop a personal training plan with your supervisors and industry partner accessing existing taught modules across the University. There will be opportunities to work directly with industry and third sector organisations through placements, research exchanges and knowledge exchange events.

Privacy notice

In addition to the data sharing outlined in the University’s Privacy Notice - student applicants, applications will be shared with the external partner for the shortlisting process and interview panels. The external partner will delete details of unsuccessful applications once the selection process is complete.

Biological Sciences (4) Creative Arts & Design (9) Engineering (12) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship will cover the tuition fee at the home rate (£4,786 for the 2024/25 academic year), an annual stipend at the standard research council rate for a period of up to 3.5 years (£19,237 for the 2024/25 academic year) and a research training and support grant (RTSG).
Although there are a limited number of fully funded international awards available each year, at this particular time we can only accept applications from students who qualify for UK home fees. Please refer to UKRI website (

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