Robert Sazdov is a composer, researcher, music producer, and educator. His compositions and productions have received prizes and awards from various organizations and institutions including: ‘Pierre Schaeffer’ Competition, Musica Nova Competition, Sonic Arts Awards, Bourges International Competition, Just Plain Folks Music Awards and the Audio Engineering Society. His music has been released by Capstone Records, Vox Novus, Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Society for Electroacoustic Music, Australasian Computer Music Association, Sonic Arts Awards and SoundLab Channel. Sazdov has undertaken residencies at the Erich-Thienhaus-Institue, Detmold University (2012) and The Sonic Lab, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen Mary University (2007).
Sazdov’s recent performances include: ICMC (2012; 2013), NIME (2009; 2010) International Conference on Spatial Audio – Erlangen (2014), New York City Electronic Music Festival – NYC (2014), MK-NL II Concert, STEIM – Amsterdam (2014), MK-NL II Concert, Konzerthaus Gaudeamus – Utrecht (2014) Pure Ambisonics – Graz (2015), and Insonic 2015, ZKM – Karlsruhe (2015). Sazdov’s music has also been featured on various electroacoustic and new music radio programs in Mexico, the US, New Zealand, and Australia. Sazdov established and is currently the curator of Sonic Immersion – Festival of Media Arts (2014-). In 2008, Robert was invited to curate the critically acclaimed CD release for the Australasian Computer Music Association of Australian composers entitled ‘Unfenced’. Between 2009-2010 Sazdov was the curator of Soundings Festival, Ireland and was the coordinator and jury member of the ‘Diffusion’ Prize – International Composition Competition 2010 for RTÉ Ireland. He recently curated the first Vox Novus (NYC) 60x60 Europe Mix (2012).
Between the years 2008 – 2017 he worked Europe where he was faculty member (2008-13) and Director of the Spatial Audio Research Group at the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre (DMARC) – University of Limerick. He was also the co-founding member of the Film Academy, University of Goce Delchev – Shtip (2013), and served as the Film Academy’s Associate Dean and was an Associate Professor of Sound and Music. Prior to starting at UTS he was a Scientific Researcher and Associate Professor in 3D Sound at the Fraunhofer Institute (IIS), International Auditory Laboratories – Erlangen and Project Coordinator of the European Commission ‘Horizon 2020’ funded ORPHEUS Project which investigated the production chain of object-based audio.
Sazdov is a member of the International Computer Music Association (ICMA), Electroacoustic Music Studies Network (EMS,) Audio Engineering Society (AES), Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA), and Australian Computer Music Association (ACMA), where he was on the executive committee between 2003-2007. In 2013, he co-founder and is currently the President (2014-) of the Macedonian Electroacoustic Music Association (MEMA), and was a member of the Governing Body of the Composers’ Association of Macedonia (2014-15).
Sazdov’s current research focuses on the perception of immersive audio and formulating compositional approaches for multi-channel configurations that includes elevated loudspeakers. His research findings have been published by various bodies, including: ACMC (2006), AES (2007; 2014; 2015), CMJ (2017) EMS (2007; 2011), HCS (2005), ICMC (2009; 2011; 2013), ICSA (2011; 2015), Musiques & Recherches (2011), SAN (2007). He has been invited to present at the Psychophysics Lab – Cambridge University (2007), University of Sydney (2005), Sonic Arts Research Centre – Queens University (2007), St. Kiril and Methodius University (2007; 2012), ESRA Audio- Visual University (2009), and the Erich-Thienhaus-Institue, Detmold University (2012).
Can supervise: YES
Lynch, H & Sazdov, R 2017, 'A Perceptual Investigation in Spatialization Techniques used in Multi-channel Electroacoustic Music for Envelopment and Engulfment', Computer Music Journal, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 13-33.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Composers of electroacoustic music have developed and creatively implemented various spatialization techniques for multichannel loudspeaker setups. What is not known is which of these spatialization techniques is most effective for exploiting the extended creative possibilities available in multidimensional sound. This article discusses an experiment investigating the perception of the spatial attributes of 'envelopment' and 'engulfment' within a high- density loudspeaker array. The spatialization techniques used in the experiment were timbre spatialization, spectral splitting, amplitude point-source panning, and dynamic spectral subband decorrelation. Three loudspeaker setups, or spatial dimensions, were investigated: horizontal-only; elevated-only; and three-dimensional, which consisted of both horizontal and elevated loudspeaker setups. Results suggest that dynamic spectral subband decorrelation was perceived as both the most enveloping and the most engulfing technique when compared to other techniques in these experimental loudspeaker configurations. We propose that the experimental results can be successfully implemented when composing electroacoustic music to exploit the creative possibilities in a high-density loudspeaker array or in other multichannel loudspeaker configurations.
Ronan, M, Ward, N, Sazdov, R & Lee, H 2017, 'The perception of hyper-compression by mastering engineers', Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, vol. 65, no. 7/8, pp. 613-621.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Hyper-compressed popular music is the product of a behaviour associated with the over-use of dynamic range processing in an effort to gain a competitive advantage in music production. This behaviour is unnecessary given the introduction of loudness normalisation algorithms across the industry and has been denounced by mastering engineers as generating audible sound quality artefacts. However, the audibility of these sound quality artefacts to mastering engineers has not been examined. This study probes this question using an ABX listening experiment with 20 mastering engineers. On average, mastering engineers correctly discriminated 17 out of 24 conditions suggesting that the sound quality artefacts generated by hyper-compression are difficult to perceive. The findings in the study suggest that audibility is suggested to depend on the crest factor (CF) of the music rather than the amount of CF reduction thus proposing the existence of a threshold of audibility. Further work focusing on education initiatives are offered.
Ronan, M, Ward, N & Sazdov, R 2017, 'Exploring the sound quality dimensions of hyper-compression' in Hepworth-Sawyer, R, Toulson, R, Paterson, LJ & Hodgson, J (eds), Innovation in Music II, Future Technology Press, United Kingdom, pp. 36-51.
Sazdov, R 2011, 'An Ecologically Valid Experiment for the Perceptual Study of Multi-Channel Electroacoustic Music' in Vande Gorne, A (ed), L'Espace du son, Musiques & Recherches, Brussels, pp. 71-90.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The following paper presents an experimental design for the perceptual study of multi-channel
electroacoustic music, with emphasis on the contribution of elevated loudspeakers to the spatial
attributes of envelopment and spatial clarity, and the proposed attribute of engulfment. Further, an
argument for an ecologically valid experimental design is presented leading to a novel perceptual
experimental method in the way various perceptual factors are controlled. The term spatial scene is
defined and the factors contributing to its construction are discussed. In the process, an argument is
presented for the use of complex stimuli, division of the audio frequency range and the use of varying
levels of sonic complexity. The experimental loudspeaker configuration used for the proposed study is
discussed with reference to research on psychoacoustics and established multi-channel loudspeaker
standards. Problems encountered in the initial listening test are discussed and the results of the pilot
experiment are presented.
Ronan, M, Ward, N & Sazdov, R 2016, 'Considerations when calibrating program material stimuli using LUFS', Proceedings of the Audio Engineering Convention 140, Paris, France, AES 140 Convention, Audio Engineering Society, Paris.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While the LUFS standard was originally developed for broadcast applications, it offers a convenient means of calibrating program material stimuli to an equal loudness level, while remaining in a multichannel format. However, this calibration is based on an absolute sound pressure level of 60 dBA, the preferred listening level when watching television. Levels used in analytical listening and perceptual experiments tend to be significantly higher. This disparity may affect the accuracy of the Leq(RLB) weighting filter employed in LUFS meters. To address this issue, the development of the LUFS standard is examined to assess its suitability for the task. The findings suggest that a compromise between analytical listening and loudness matching in perceptual experiments requires careful consideration of experimental variables.
Ronan, M, Ward, N & Sazdov, R 2016, 'The perception of hyper-compression by untrained listeners', Proceedings of the Audio Engineering Society Conference 60, Leuven, The Netherlands, Audio Engineering Society Convention, Audio Engineering Society, Leuven.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
A listening experiment was conducted to examine whether untrained listeners can discriminate up to 12dB of compression limiting above chance levels. Forty-nine participants completed an ABX listening experiment and a musical engagement questionnaire. The experimental results demonstrate that untrained listeners cannot discriminate up to 12dB of compression limiting above chance levels. The effects of musical engagement indicate that participants more likely to use music to alter their emotional state or relieve boredom performed significantly worse than those less likely to use music for these purposes. It is concluded that, in general, hyper-compression may not be significantly audible to untrained listeners and previous inconclusive results on preference tests are related to this finding.
Silzle, A, Sazdov, R & Weitnauer, M 2016, 'The EU Project ORPHEUS: Object-based Broadcasting – for Next Generation Audio Experiences', Proceedings of the 29th Tonmeistertagung - VDT International Convention, Cologne, Germany, 29th Tonmeistertagung, Cologne.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Object-based media is a revolutionary approach for creating and deploying interactive, personalised, scalable and immersive content. This allows media objects to be assembled in novel ways to create new and enhanced user experiences. Orpheus will develop, implement and validate an object-based end-to-end media chain for audio content. The partners will lay the foundation for facilitating infinite combinations of audio objects in ways that are flexible and responsive to user, environmental and platform-specific factors. This includes innovative tools for capturing, mixing, monitoring, storing, archiving, distributing, playing out and rendering of object-based audio. To further foster the development of new capabilities in the European content creation industry, ORPHEUS is working on a reference architecture and guidelines on how to implement object-based audio chains. An overview of the project, the challenges and first results will be presented in this paper.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Envelopment vs. Engulfment: Multidimensional scaling on the effect of spectral content and spatial dimension within a three-dimensional loudspeaker setup', Proceedings of the International Conference on Spatial Audio 2015, Graz, Austria, International Conference on Spatial Audio III, Verband Deutscher Tonmeister e.V., Graz.
Ronan, M, Ward, N & Sazdov, R 2015, 'Identifying and validating program material: a hyper-compression perspective', Proceedings of the Audio Engineering Convention 139, New York City, USA, AES 139 Convention, Audio Engineering Society, New York City.
Ronan, M, Ward, N & Sazdov, R 2015, 'An investigation into the sound quality lexicon of analogue compressors using category analysis', AES 138 Convention, Audio Engineering Society, Warsaw, Poland.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This study investigates the lexicon used to describe analogue compression. Extant documents comprising 51 reviews of analogue compressors over 15 years are coded using category analysis. A total of 160 adjectives emerge and are further refined to nine inductive categories: transparency; frequency related; signal distortion; energy; transient shaping; glue; association; spatial dimensions; and character. A final abstraction reveals two primary attributes governing the perceived sound quality of analogue compression: 'character' and 'transient shaping.' Transparent dynamic range compression is found to be less important. This investigation clarifies the lexicon used to describe the sound quality attributes of analogue compression.
Ronan, M, Sazdov, R & Ward, N 2014, 'Factors Influencing Listener Preference for Dynamic Range Compression', Proceedings of the Audio Engineering Society Convention 137, Los Angeles, USA, AES Convention 137, Audio Engineering Society, Los Angeles.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The introduction of loudness normalization has led some commentators to declare that the loudness wars are over. However, factors contributing to a preference for dynamic range compression have not been removed. The research presented here investigates the role of long-term memory in sound quality judgments. Factors influencing preference judgments of dynamic range compression are discussed along with suggestions of further research areas. Research is presented that indicates that an objective measure of dynamic range will facilitate a greater understanding of how dynamic range compression affects individual sound quality attributes.
Ronan, M, Sazdov, R & Ward, N 2014, 'Loudness Normalisation: Paradigm Shift or Placebo for the Use of Hyper-Compression in Pop Music?', International Computer Music Conference Proceedings, International Computer Music Conference, Michigan Publishing, Athens.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Lynch, H & Sazdov, R 2013, 'An Investigation into the Perception of Spatial Techniques Used in Multi-Channel Electroacoustic Music', Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2013, Perth, Australia, International Computer Music Conference, Michigan Publishing, Perth, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The paper reports on an experiment designed to examine
the perception of the spatial attributes of envelopment
and engulfment in spatial techniques used in multichannel
electroacoustic music. Four spatial techniques
were examined, they were: (i) Timbre Spatialisation ,
(ii) Spectral Splitting , (iii) Amplitude Point Source
, and the proposed (iv) Dynamic Spectral
Spatialisation technique. The multi-channel loudspeaker
configuration consisted of 16 loudspeakers, eight
horizontal and eight elevated. The experiment was
design whereby the four above mentioned spatial
techniques were presented in three conditions: (i)
Horizontal only, (ii) Elevated only, and (iii) Horizontal
and Elevated, referred to as Three Dimensional (3D),
loudspeaker configurations. The experiment took place
in the Spatialisation Auditory Display Environment
(SpADE) at the University of Limerick and has physical
attributes that conform to the ITU-R BS.1116-1 listening
room standard . Each participant individually
undertook a listening experiment whereby they were
asked to evaluate each spatial technique presented in the
three conditions for perceived levels of envelopment and
engulfment. A factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA)
was performed on the envelopment and engulfment
ratings. The results of the analysis revealed a significant
main effect for spatial techniques and loudspeaker
configurations for both spatial attributes. Participants
rated the Dynamic Spectral Spatialisation technique
highest for levels of envelopment and engulfment. The
Horizontal loudspeaker configuration was rated highest
for envelopment and the Elevated loudspeaker
configuration was rated highest for engulfment.
Ronan, M, Pigott, D & Sazdov, R 2012, 'Novel methodology for measuring room acoustics', Proceedings of the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association Conference 2012, Cork, Ireland, Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association Conference, Cork, Ireland.
Sazdov, R 2012, 'The effect of elevated loudspeakers on the perception of engulfment, and the effect of horizontal loudspeakers on the perception of envelopment', Proceedings of the International Conference on Spatial Audio 2011, Detmold, Germany, International Conference on Spatial Audio, Detmold, Germany.
Sazdov, R 2011, 'The influence of sub-woofer frequencies within a multi-channel loudspeaker configuration on the perception of spatial attributes in a concert hall environment', Proceedings of the 2009 International Computer Music Conference, International Computer Music Conference, Michigan Publishing, Montreal, Canada.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Lynch, H & Sazdov, R 2011, 'An Investigation into Compositional techniques Utilized for the Three-Dimensional Spatialization of Electroacoustic Music', Proceedings of the Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference 2011, Electroacoustic Music Studies, New York City, USA.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Lynch, H & Sazdov, R 2011, 'An Ecologically Valid Experiment for the Comparison of Established Spatial Techniques', Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2011, International Computer Music Conference, Michigan Publishing, Huddersfield, UK, pp. 130-134.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Sazdov, R 2009, 'Localisaton of subwoofers in a concert hall environment', Proceedings of the 2009 International Computer Music Conference, ICMC 2009, pp. 465-471.
This paper considers the use of subwoofers in a multichannel loudspeaker configuration, as there is a current trend to utilise this dedicated low frequency speaker in multi-channel electroacoustic music. Research into perception of subwoofer localisation is reviewed, establishing that there has been relatively little research investigating subwoofer perception in a concert-hall environment. The paper presents the results of an ecologically valid subwoofer localisation experiment run in a concert-hall environment, the results of which suggest that azimuth localisation is possible, however elevation localisation is not. The possible implications of the experiment for proposed surround-sound multi-channel standards and for multi-channel electroacoustic music are discussed. © July 2009- All copyright remains with the individual authors.
Sazdov, R, Paine, G & Stevens, K 2007, 'Perceptual Investigation into Envelopment, Spatial Clarity, and Engulfment in Reproduced Multi-channel Loudspeakers', Proceedings of Audio Engineering Society Conference 31, Audio Engineering Society Conference 31, London, UK.
Sazdov, R 2017, 'Sv. Kliment', Sound Anthology: Binaural Representations of HDLA Music, MIT Press, in Computer Music Journal, Volume 41, Number 1 "High-Density Loudspeaker Arrays, Part 2: Spatial Perception and Creative Practice".
The composition Sveti Kliment (2007) implements various spatialization techniques based on perceptual research and psychoacoustics. These include techniques to exploit the elevated loudspeakers within the multichannel setup in the Sonic Lab of the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Queens University, Belfast. The aim was to generate a sense of being covered by sound—engulfed, and not simply enveloped ("surrounded by sound"). The composition was inspired by Saint Clement of Ohrid (ca. 840–916 CE), patron saint of Ohrid, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, whose life was committed to research, teaching, and improving the lives of those in his diocese. He was considered the most learned of Saint Cyril's and Saint Methodius's disciples, and he not only improved the Cyrillic alphabet, but was also a prolific writer and translated various texts using the Cyrillic script. In 886, he established in Ohrid a center of higher learning, best described in modern terms as a university, which during its existence taught literature, language, medicine, music, art, and agriculture to over 3,500 students.
The recording was undertaken in the Sonic Lab at SARC. The Neumann KU100 dummy-head microphone was used for the recording and positioned in the "sweet spot" of the audience seating area. The KU100 was set up at a height of 120 cm to reflect the average height of a seated person. The acoustic panels in the Sonic Lab were lowered to create a reverberation time RT60 of 0.2 sec as used in electroacoustic music concerts such as the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music. The recording was done by the composer and recorded using a Digidesign Digi 002 interface and Digital Performer software.
Sazdov, R 2017, 'Serene Scream of Silence', Composers Association of Macedonia, in CD release "Acousmatic Music", Composers Association of Macedonia, SOCOM (2017).
Sazdov, R 2016, 'Serene Scream of Silence', Contemporary Museum of Skopje.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Dreams of the Jailed Modernist', ZKM-IMA Kubus, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04 (ICSA Mix)', Ligeti-Saal at University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Skopje Sonorities', ZKM-IMA Kubus, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Bogorodica 28.08', Intone: Voice Abstractions, Clan Analogue.
Sazdov, R 2015, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04 (ICSA Mix)', Parc Billoux Marseille, France, 2015.
Sazdov, R 2014, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04', Sonic Arts Awards, Sonic Arts Awards, Rome, Italy.
Blagoveshtenije 07.04 (2013) is the third and final
composition of a trilogy that consists of Bogorodica
28.08 (2005) and Deva 21.09 (2009), which addresses
important dates in the Orthodox calendar attributed to
the Mother of God. As with the other compositions in
the trilogy, Blagoveshtenije 07.04 incorporates both
sacred and secular influences. Various traditional
instrumental timbres and rhythms, along with
Macedonian Byzantine vocal manipulations form the
sonic basis for the work.
Sazdov, R 2014, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04', STEIM, Amsterdam.
Sazdov, R 2014, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04', New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, The Abrons Arts Center, New York City, USA.
Sazdov, R 2014, 'Blagoveshtenije 07.04', Konzerthaus Gaudeamus, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sazdov, R 2013, 'Vodanica', Faber Studio.
Sazdov, R 2013, 'Bogorodica 28.08', Perth Entertainment Centre.
Sazdov, R 2013, 'Dreams of the Jailed Dancer'.
Sazdov, R 2012, 'Od Soluna do Tetovo', Thompson Theatre, North Carolina State University.
Sazdov, R 2012, 'Dreams of the Jailed Dancer', Kino Siska.
Sazdov, R 2012, 'Ancient Meditations No.1', Faber Studio.
Sazdov, R 2012, 'The Disappearing Village', International Conference on Spatial Audio 2014, Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer IIS - Erlangen, Germany.
Sazdov, R 2011, 'Dreams of the Jailed Dancer', Society of Electroacoustic Music, Prague.
Sazdov, R & Torre, G 2010, 'MANI, Interactive Electronic Music Performance, New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) 2010, UTS', Bon Marche Studio.
Sazdov, R 2009, 'Od Soluna do Tetovo, Stereo Acoustic composition in '60x60' 2004-5 Compilation CD. Vox Novus Records', Vox Novus.
Sazdov, R 2009, 'Deva 21.09', Concert performance, International Computer Music Conference 2009, McGill University, Montreal.
Sazdov, R & Torre, G 2009, 'MOLITVA', Interactive electronic music performance, Soundings Concert, Limerick.
Torre, G & Sazdov, R 2009, 'MOLITVA', Live interactive electronic music selected for concert performance at New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME) conference 2009, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.
Torre, G & Sazdov, R 2009, 'MOLITVA', Interactive electronic music performance at 're:sound Festival', Copenhagen. Denmark.
Sazdov, R 2009, 'Deva 21.09', " Immersive Cinema of the Ear" Concert, McGill University, Montreal.
Sazdov, R 2009, 'Let All Mortal Souls Remain Silent', Daghda.
Sazdov, R 2008, 'Let All Mortal Souls Remain Silent', Australasian Computer Music Association.
Sazdov, R 2006, 'Bogorodica 28.08', Accademia Musicale Pescarese.
Sazdov, R 2005, 'Bogorodica 28.08', Society of Electroacoustic Music, Prague, Czech Republic.
Sazdov, R, 'WFS Concert: Robert Sazdov', International Conference on Spatial Audio 2014 - Fraunhofer IIS.
Sazdov, R, '"Unfenced" - Double CD release of Australasian Computer Music, for the Australasian Computer Music Association'.
Sazdov, R, 'Curator of 'Sonic Immersion – Festival of Media Arts' 2014, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia'.
Sazdov, R 2014, 'The Disappearing Village' – A case study: composing electroacoustic music in a 22.2 channel configuration'.
Conference workshop on the composition and spatialization of music in a 22.2 loudspeaker configuration