In recognition of Dr Lee’s leading research in 3D audio recording and reproduction he has been elected as Governor of the prestigious Audio Engineering Society (AES), the only professional body devoted exclusively to audio technology

THE hard work of a Huddersfield academic over the last decade has led to the University of Huddersfield becoming one of the leaders for expertise in 3D audio recording and reproduction.  

Now, in recognition of his achievements, Dr Hyunkook Lee, who leads the University’s Applied Psychoacoustics Laboratory, also known as the Centre for Audio and Psychoacoustic Engineering, has been elected as a Governor of the prestigious Audio Engineering Society (AES) and is extremely proud at being the first South Korean to do so. 

The Audio Engineering Society is the only professional body devoted exclusively to audio technology. Founded in the USA in 1948, the AES is now an international organisation that unites audio engineers, creative artists, scientists and students worldwide by promoting advances in audio and disseminating new knowledge and research. 

Over 12,000 members affiliated with 90+ AES professional sections and 120+ AES student sections around the world provides members with valuable opportunities for professional networking and skill and career growth.

In 2018 Dr Lee was awarded the Fellowship Award by the AES after his work in spatial audio psychoacoustics was endorsed by five experts, and the organisation’s board awarded Dr Lee’s work a distinction.

Hyunkook's major research focus was on the perception of height in sound, which is vital in creating the best possible sense of space and ambience in a 3D recording. He has made breakthroughs that have been incorporated in some of the most advanced microphone systems now available. 

For example, Schoeps, one of the world’s leading microphone companies, took Hyunkook’s findings on board in producing the ORTF 3D, an innovative new microphone array. It has been used for recording events such as the BBC Proms, FIFA World Cup, and French Open.  

Four pairs of small microphones are arranged precisely so that one microphone per pair points upwards to capture the ambience from above, while the other points in the opposite direction to record source sound from floor level. Dr Lee’s research provided the theoretical basis for determining the correct angle and spacing between the microphones. 

High impact research

Dr Lee’s research into how to capture 3D audio effectively has since been used as an impact case study for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The research was internally evaluated to have strong potential for a four-star rating – which translates as ‘Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour’.


In this video courtesy of DPA microphones, the Director of the University's Applied Psychoacoustics Laboratory, Dr Hyunkook Lee, uses St Paul's Concert Hall as the venue for a 3D sound microphone array shootout using 50+ DPA microphones.  Dr Lee can be seen comparing seven different main microphone arrays in order to discover what type of perceptual differences there are between them.

Dr Lee is now expanding the research into virtual and augmented reality, and how to provide people with very realistic and plausible believable experience in a virtual environment. 

“We have developed a software system that can simulate any virtual space acoustically. As you walk through that space virtually, you hear different sounds from different directions and have an interactive immersive experience,” Dr Lee explained.

Dr Lee’s appointment as Governor commences in January 2022 for two years and just as he benefitted from the resources offered by the AES when he was a student, he is determined to carry this forward and raise awareness so that more students around the world can access the same world-leading expertise.

“In the midst of the pandemic,” said Dr Lee, “I delivered talks and Q&A sessions to students from various countries online, which I used to do physically at AES conferences before. The students really appreciated the opportunity to have such sessions online as it is not always easy for them to come to the US and Europe to attend the AES’s major conferences as it’s quite far and expensive.

“In my proposal for Governor, I said that we should do more activities to support students and for other people who cannot really access physical conferences. I’m really keen on helping the AES to meet this objective and to make them even more accessible to students around the world who are interested in audio engineering,” he said.

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