High-fidelity sound reproduction, psychophysics, and auditory neurophysiology

Prof. Kunchur’s research seeks to provide an understandable, objective, and quantitative approach for evaluating and improving audio performance at the highest level-- a realm known as high-end audio -- by unraveling the astounding auditory neurophysiology that underlies the perception of musical sounds. He has been invited multiple times by AES (Audio Engineering Society) to speak at their conventions as an expert speaker and workshop organizer. Below is the description of the recent 1-hour workshop in Helsinki, Finland:

"Towards an Objective Understanding of High-End Audio"
Workshop at AES (Audio Engineering Society) Convention in Helsinki, Finland

Panelists (left to right): Hans van Maanen, Milind N. Kunchur, Joshua Reiss, Menno van der Veen, Mike Turner, and Jaime Angus-Whiteoak
High-end audio (HEA) aims to reproduce sound with an accuracy that mimics the original live performance. While this goal is not exactly achieved, some HEA systems can come dramatically closer to the “real thing” than mainstream consumer audio. In progressing toward its goal, HEA goes beyond the standard specifications (20Hz–20kHz frequency response, low common distortions, etc.) and utilizes controversial (and seemingly extreme and superfluous) technologies and measures (atomic clocks, exotic cables, meticulous attention to time alignment, etc.). These measures tend to get dismissed by the mainstream because they appear to defy commonly accepted science, aren’t supported by published blind listening tests, or aren’t explicable in terms of standard measurements. The goal of this workshop is to unearth the various unexplained and surprising observations in HEA; seek a better understanding and verification of them; and ultimately develop a more predictive set of measurements. Also, to educate the audio community more widely about the realities and complexities of the human auditory system, whose misunderstanding is often the origin of the misinterpretation and skepticism regarding HEA.

Upcoming AES Convention in Madrid, Spain:

Prof. Kunchur has been invited to give a 30-minute tutorial presentation "The Human Auditory System and Audio" followed by a 1-hour workshop "High-performance audio through the lens of a new understanding of hearing". pdf file

Selected publications:

"The Human Auditory System and Audio", M. N. Kunchur, Applied Acoustics, vol. 211, pp. 109507 (2023). pdf file
    This comprehensive review represents major advances in our understanding of auditory neurophysiology and its relationship to audio.

"Hearing and Audio—Part 1: Frequency, Phase, and Time", M. N. Kunchur, AudioXpress, pp. 56–60 (March 2024). pdf file
"Hearing and Audio—Part 2: Auditory Resolution", M. N. Kunchur, AudioXpress, pp. 64–66 (April 2024). pdf file
    These two articles explain various enigmas in audio and clarify common misunderstandings about musical timbre and the time domain.

"3D imaging in two‐channel stereo sound: portrayal of elevation", M. N. Kunchur, Applied Acoustics, vol. 175, pp. 107811 (2021). pdf file
    First proof and explanation in its ~70 years history that stereo sound has 3 dimensions.

"Cable pathways between audio components can affect perceived sound quality", M. N. Kunchur, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, vol. 69, pp. 398–409 (2021). pdf file  (also please see the paper's official AES Forum)
    First IRB documented scientific proof in the entire history of audio that components other than loudspeakers affect perceived sound quality.

"An electrical study of single-ended analog interconnect cables", M. N. Kunchur, IOSR Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering vol. 16, pp. 40–53 (2021). pdf file
    New suite of measurements developed to reveal some of the electrical causes of fidelity loss in wired transmission.

"Pseudoscience in audio -- a commentary on the Audio Science Review YouTube channel", M. N. Kunchur , September 2022). pdf file
    The audio scene is permeated by misinformation and opinions based on incorrect, incomplete, or obsolete science. Some of these groups close themselves off to new information and function in a cult like manner -- fiercely clinging onto nonsense instead of seeking an education.

"Temporal resolution of hearing probed by bandwidth restriction", M. N. Kunchur, Acta Acustica, vol. 94, pp. 594–603 (2008). pdf file
"Audibility of temporal smearing and time misalignment of acoustic signals",
M. N. Kunchur, Technical Acoustics, 17 (2007). pdf file
    These two papers provided the first psychoacoustic (i.e., through controlled blind listening trials) proof that humans can discern temporal (timing) alterations in the ~5 microsecond range in periodic signals. This result is cited in textbooks, review articles, and popular magazine articles.


Related publications:

Article  explaining simple methods for measuring reverberation and other room acoustical parameters, by Caitlin R. Kunchur, OJAppS, vol. 9, 601 (2019). pdf file

Article in popular HiFi magazine summarizing principal results and implications of above papers , by George Foster, HIFICRITIC Vol3/No2  pg.7 (2009). pdf file

Music in the Human Experience: An Introduction to Music Psychology, by Donald A. Hodges and David C. Sebald, pg.96, Ch. 6 (2010). pdf file


Kunchur's homepage link and QR code