FDTD simulation of room acoustics: Recent progress and application to auralisation of Italian opera house

Brian Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sound propagation within concert halls and opera houses is generally governed by wave phenomena; yet currently, most simulation techniques for room acoustics are based on the simplifications of geometrical acoustics, wherein sound is assumed to propagate along rays or via particles, leaving wave diffraction effects largely neglected. Such simplifications have traditionally been motivated by perceptual considerations relating to statistical acoustics, but have also been employed out of necessity, since limitations in available compute power had, for some time, precluded the direct simulation of sound waves in large spaces. Today, thanks to advances in computing hardware, it is becoming increasingly possible to employ wave-based simulation for auralisation purposes, allowing one to abandon geometrical and statistical simplifications, and capture all relevant acoustical details of a space (in theory). Among others, one popular wave-based technique, the finite difference time domain (FDTD) method, has recently shown promise in being able to simulate large spaces at audio rates by exploiting special-purpose computer graphics hardware. However, the application of time-domain wave-based methods is not only a question of computational costs such methods carry additional complications in terms of algorithm design, mainly to ensure that resulting numerical solutions do not experience exponential growth (numerical instability) and converge towards the correct solution of the model problem. This talk will give a brief overview of FDTD methods in the context of room acoustics simulation, and present recent developments that have resulted from the five-year ERC-funded NESS (NExt generation Sound Synthesis) project, including modelling of arbitrary geometries, variable and frequency-dependent wall conditions, and viscothermal effects in air. As an application of these developments, preliminary wave-based simulations of an Italian opera house, based on architectural models of DOrazio et al., will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2017
Event8th International Symposium on Temporal Design - Bologna, Italy
Duration: 14 Sept 201715 Sept 2017


Conference8th International Symposium on Temporal Design


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