Sam is comes originally from a background in sound engineering, designing and installing sound systems in venues as well as working on live shows. Having studied at the University of Derby for a BSc(Hons) in Sound, Light, and Live Event Technology, his focus shifted towards the acoustics of buildings, from both the design stage and the treatment of existing buildings. Sam's current research is cross departmental, being not only part of the Architectural Science Group, but also part of the Cardiff Psychoacoustic Laboratory.
In most situations people understand what is being said to them, even if there are high levels of background noise. Yet the majority of people have some knowledge of the fact that a highly reverberant room makes conversation harder, especially when background noise is present.
When that background noise is other people talking the intelligibility of the target speech goes down, the so-called "Cocktail Party" effect.
As an example, places such as train stations and airport lounges are places where intelligibility is poor due to high levels of background noise as well as high levels of reverberation. The majority of the current research involves either our understanding of speech in noise, be it general noise or other voices, or of speech in reverberation. It is the aim of this project to combine both situations into a more realistic model of speech intelligibility, allowing us to both measure and predict the level of intelligibility in a room, with the ultimate aim to be able to produce a system that will enable architects and acousticians to better understand how their designs affect the intelligibility of speech.