High-fidelity Sound Reproduction and the Time Resolution of Human Hearing

Speaker: Milind N. Kunchur
Affiliation: University of South Carolina


Many misconceptions and mysteries surround the perception and reproduction of musical sounds. Common specifications, such as frequency response, provide an inadequate indication of the sound quality. Typically, electronically reproduced sound bears a distant resemblance to the sound of an acoustic instrument. High-end audio enthusiasts have long claimed that minute time-domain errors   (smearing in wires, speaker misalignments, etc.) can significantly deteriorate sound quality. These claims are usually dismissed because they imply that the human ear can discriminate timing errors in microseconds, which seems to defy the high frequency hearing limit of 18 kHz. Our research, involving psychophysical testing of human subjects and neurophysiological modeling of the hearing system, shows the inapplicability of the usual time-frequency relationship and the ability of humans to discern 5 microseconds timing alterations. In this talk I will discuss some of the elements of HiFi and give a simplified explanation of how our ear and brain create auditory perception. [This research was partially supported by the University of South Carolina Office of Research and Health Sciences Research Funding.]


Prof. Milind N. Kunchur obtained his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1988 and is currently a Governor’s Distinguished Professor and a Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has received several research honors, including the Donald S. Russell award, the Martin-Marietta Award, the Ralph E. Powe Award, and a National Research Council Senior Fellowship. His work in superconductivity and psychoacoustics is cited in college textbooks and popular magazines.

Prof. Kunchur is also known for his dedication to teaching and education. He was the 2014 Governor’s South Carolina Professor of the Year, and was the South Carolina winner of the CASE and Carnegie Foundation U.S. Professors of the Year Awards.

For more information, contact Prof. Kang Wang ()

Date(s) - May 10, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

E-IV Faraday Room #67-124
420 Westwood Plaza - 6th Flr., Los Angeles CA 90095