Listening skills software: Listening Lab

Listening skills software: Listening Lab


I worked as software developer on the project Listening Lab at the Department of Music of the University of York.

What is Listening Lab?

It is a collection of nine stand-alone applications and they are designed to help students of Music Production (and other disciplines involving audio) to develop critical listening skills through a series of interactive tests. Each test focusses on a particular topic such as dynamic range compression, stereo width or audio editing.

How does it work?

The user can explore how the interactive controls change the features of the original sound and train their listening skills through two types of tests:

  • Oddball test: It involves the playback of the same segment of audio for three times.  Audio processing is applied to one of the segments to change its features. The order of play back of the three segments is randomized each time the test is repeated, the goal is to spot the processed segment. There is a variety of interactive features designed to adjust the difficulty of the tests according to the user’s needs.  With Oddball test the user can learn through repetition of the tests how to recognise the sound of common audio processing techniques.
  • Match test: the tests randomizes the parameters of a notch filter (frequency, bandwidth, gain) each time the user repeat the test. The goal is to listen to the solution generated by the software and interact with the sliders and controls to get as close as possible to the random frequency of the notch filter generated by the test. You can discover how many semitones you missed the solution once you select an answer.

Why use Listening Lab?

It is an easy and effective way to train your listening skills incrementally. No matter if you’re a beginner or a professional you can adjust in a very simple way the difficulty of each test. Audio files suitable to the test are provided with Listening Lab. You can upload your own samples to further customize the tests. Each application includes a scoring system to keep track of how many correct answers you provided. This is a fun and engaging way to monitor your progress and challenge yourself while you learn.

All the tests, audio processing and GUIs included in Listening Lab have been developed and compiled in MATLAB.


Click on the links below to check out the Music production and Sound recording courses at the University of York where Listening Lab is used as learning material:


MA Music Production

BA (Hons) Music and Sound Recording



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