BBC launches Audio Research Partnership

The BBC's Research and Development wing is launching an Audio Research Partnership to provide viewers and listeners with better sound.

The broadcaster is holding a lunch event for the new project at the BBC's new MediaCityUK complex in Salford and is hoping to recruit a senior sound expert to lead the venture.

"This marks the culmination of over a year of discussions and meetings between BBC R&D and the UK’s top universities in audio and audio-visual research," writes the Beeb's Graham Thomas in a blog post. "We will be working with five world-leading university partners, selected for their relevance to BBC R&D’s current audio ambitions."

The project's primary partners will be Surrey University for audio-visual research and Salford University for acoustics research. The broadcaster will also be working closely with Southampton, Queen Mary, University of London, and York.

BBC R&D has been active in audio research for many decades and has been involved in loudspeaker design and acoustics for studios, some of the first work on digital audio, and the development of standards for loudness measurement.

Future projects will include research into 3D spatial audio, new methods of 'unmixing' sound which will hopefully let sports fans fade out those annoying noises made by female tennis players, and upgrading the sound tracks of archive TV programmes to modern formats.