Past meetings of the Society
March 2007

There is a Power Point Presentation of Dr. Blesser's presentation (as a web page): HERE

March 2007 Meeting

Date: Sunday, March 18, 2007
Time: 6:00 PM
Place: Boston University, Life Science & Engineering Bldg, 24 Cummington St, 1st Floor Conference Room, Boston, MA 02215, (617) 271-6588

Featured Guest: Dr. Barry Blesser

Topic: His new book: Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture (with Linda-Ruth Salter)

We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening.

Every environment has an aural architecture. Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines--including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others—Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.

Dr. Barry Blesser, left, with BAS President David Hadaway

Dr. Barry Blesser is considered one of the grandfathers of the digital audio revolution. He invented and developed the first commercial digital reverberation system, the EMT-250 in 1976, helped start Lexicon in 1971, published the landmark paper, "Digital Processing of Audio Signals" in 1978, co-chaired the 1st International Conference on Digital Audio in 1980, and was an adviser to the US Justice Department on the Watergate Tapes in 1974. Dr. Blesser was President of the Audio Engineering Society in 1980.

Dr. Blesser's first love for electronics began when he was 2 years old sitting in the kitchen observing the bright blue arc of a power transformer going south. From that point on he was fascinated with the "power" of electricity. As a teenager, he was considered a genius by his family because he could fix radios by replacing vacuum tubes by observing which ones had dead filaments.

Dr. Blesser's career in audio was launched at the age of 20 with the fantasy of building a portable concert hall. Although he had no idea how to do that project or even if the project was doable, the passion continued to burn for the next half century. Never underestimate the compelling influence of a dream. In fact, the book is just an extension of that early vision. The book was a family project with the fusing of the two cultures taking place at the family dinner table with his wife and co-author, Dr. Salter. "Everything in the book had to make sense to a social and physical scientist: We kept setting the bar higher and higher, and if I had not called a stop to those great discussion, the book would have remained a manuscript for another two decades."

There will be refreshments outside the room at 5:30.


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

problems? email Barry:

updated 1/4/08