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Unit of study_

DESC9090: Audio Systems and Measurement

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students will learn to make and understand a wide range of acoustical and electroacoustical measurements, assessed through laboratory or field work, and learn major aspects of sound system design, assessed through project work. Students will work in small groups in laboratory or field project work. Audio Systems and Measurement will develop knowledge and practical skills in electroacoustics; and the laboratory and project work will extend thinking and personal skills, so that students can apply the unit content to new situations. Upon completing Audio Systems and Measurement, students will be expected to understand the signal-processing basis, implementation and limitations of a wide range of audio and acoustical measurement techniques, such as sound pressure, linear time-invariant system response, source directivity, non-linear distortion, time variance, uncertainty in measurement, intelligibility, and audio quality. Students will also be expected to be able to design sound reinforcement systems, and to model audio system performance using various theoretical techniques.

Unit details and rules

Unit code DESC9090
Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Densil Cabrera,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Audio system modeling with EASE
40% Multiple weeks 1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Assignment group assignment Audio system measurement and analysis
60% Multiple weeks 2000 words, 5 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Audio system modeling with EASE: In this project, you will design an audio system using EASE software and proprietary software, guided by Luis Miranda. The assignment involves a mini-presentation prior to the final submission.
  • Audio system measurement and analysis: In this project, you will measure and analyse aspects of an audio system, guided by Densil
    Cabrera. The assignment involves some preliminary exercises, a mini-presentation, and a final submission. The main part of this assignment is optionally groupwork (group of 2) if the project is sufficiently ambitious – otherwise it can be a fully individual assignment (in view of COVID-19 restrictions).

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

School policy for late submissions is followed (5%/day)

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to audio systems and measurement (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 Loudspeaker systems and introduction to EASE (LM) (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Measuring linear time-invariant (LTI) audio systems (DC) (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 Advanced linear time-invariant (LTI) system measurement, and Speech Transmission Index (DC) (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 Speech intelligibility and STI. (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 06 LTI systems measurement activity (DC) and speech transmission index measurement activity (LM). On-campus activities are envisaged for this class. Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 07 Spatial aspects of audio systems and acoustic computational modelling (LM) (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 08 Beamforming from a loudspeaker array activity (DC), Commissioning example activity (LM) On-campus activities are envisaged for this class. Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 09 Working with EASE software (LM) AND Assignment 1 mini-presentations (online) Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 10 Measuring noise, time-variance and distortion in audio systems (DC) and introduction to high spatial resolution audio systems (LM) (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Measuring noise, time variance, and uncertainty activity (DC) and high-spatial resolution audio demo activity (LM) On-campus activities are envisaged for this class. Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 12 Audio feedback and audio quality (DC/LM) and Assignment 2 mini-presentations (online) Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify and understand concepts underlying current measurement methods used in audio systems
  • LO2. make measurements, analyse, and interpret results in relation to performance criteria
  • LO3. design an effective audio system in a room, using a combination of theory and software-based modelling techniques.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Unit of study surveys are used to improve this unit each year.


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