Key facts

  • Joined the University in 2012
  • Programme Leader for the MSc Audio Engineering
  • Current modules: Audio Electronics, Live Sound System Design & Optimization, Acoustics, Live Event Practice, Computing & Communicaton Technology, Scholarship for Technologists
  • Seasonal live sound engineer for Gand Concert Sound (out of Chicago, USA) since 2003
  • Loves Peanut M&Ms!
  • Personal website: www.adamjhill.com
  • Twitter: @DrAdamJHill
  • LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dradamjhill

A little about me…

I’m originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago, where I decided that I’d be a professional musician of some sort. Yeah… no chance. I still play music as a hobby, but it’s probably best to leave it at that.

I went to Miami University (bonus points if you know that it’s in Ohio and not Florida) to study electrical engineering. During this time I began working as a live sound engineer for Gand Concert Sound (based just outside Chicago) as well as working as the chief engineer at Miami’s radio station, WMSR.

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Putting up a Nexo PA in the Superdome, New Orleans, USA 

About halfway through my undergrad career, I decided that I wanted to pursue live sound engineering as a career. The plan at this point was to do a master’s degree and then hit the road with a band as an engineer. I discovered the MSc Acoustics & Music Technology at the University of Edinburgh, which delivered exactly what I was looking for.

Near the end of the MSc in Edinburgh, I got to speaking with Professor Malcolm Hawksford at the University of Essex and quickly decided that I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a PhD under the supervision of an audio engineering legend! My PhD research focused on accurate control of low-frequency sound in a wide-range of acoustic spaces and was partially directed and supported by Bowers & Wilkins.

After completing my PhD, it was clear that a career in live sound wasn’t exactly on the cards. Luckily I was in the right place at the right time and the University of Derby was looking to recruit a new lecturer who had a PhD in electronics and/or audio engineering and experience in the live event industry. I’ve been at Derby ever since!

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Did I mention I like Peanut M&Ms?

Since joining Derby I’ve contributed to the teaching on the BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology, worked with my colleague, Dr Bruce Wiggins, to develop the MSc Audio Engineering and have supervised PhD students studying in the general area of audio engineering. 2015 was a particularly good year, where I was honored with two awards of Lecturer of the Year, one from the University Vice Chancellor and the other from the Students’ Union. Guess I must be doing something right!

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Receiving Lecturer of the Year award from University of Derby Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Coyne

In addition to teaching, I’m always juggling a number of research projects. The guys at Gand Concert Sound have been regular collaborators on industry-relevant projects over the years, where it has been great to see research being applied at real-world events. Recently, I’ve also been involved in developing recommendations for new international standards to be used for cinema sound. Specifically, I’ve been looking into practical approaches to achieving consistent and accurate low-frequency coverage across the entire audience in cinemas and dubbing theaters.

I always try to get my students involved in research projects during their time at Derby. I’ve had students working on projects under the guidance of engineers at d&b audiotechnik as well as working with world-leading experts, such as Dr Peter Mapp.

I still manage to get back to the US at least once a year to do live sound work with Gand. About a year or so ago I was asked how many bands I’ve worked with over the years. After a rough back of the envelop calculation I came up with a conservative estimate of around 1500! That’s a lot of bands!

You can check out my publications, try out software I’ve developed (free of charge!), look at some of the bands I’ve crossed paths with and much more at my personal website: www.adamjhill.com.

 

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