Bruce Wiggins, Associate Professor in Audio Engineering at the University of Derby, brings a rich blend of technical prowess and musical passion to his role. Hailing from Oakham, Bruce’s journey intertwined mathematics and music, leading him to Derby where he found an ideal fusion of diverse programs and exceptional faculty. With a focus on audio programming, digital signal processing, and spatial audio, Bruce’s work extends beyond academia, impacting industries such as gaming and live entertainment. Embracing the future, Bruce envisions groundbreaking advancements in immersive audio experiences, poised to revolutionize how we listen. Beyond his academic pursuits, Bruce finds solace in playing the tenor horn and contributing to local music ensembles. With ongoing projects ranging from spatial audio algorithms to hearing protection for brass players, Bruce continues to push the boundaries of innovation in audio engineering.


photo of Bruce Wiggins

Bruce Wiggins

What is your name?

Bruce Wiggins

What is your quest?

To make listening to recorded sound indistinguishable from real-life. If you can’t tell whether what you’re listening to has come from headphones/loudspeakers, then it’s worked! We should be listening to the sound, not the equipment 🙂

What is your favourite colour?


What is your hometown?

Oakham (Rutland) – my home is definitely the Midlands!

What did you do before coming to Derby? 

My favourite subjects at school were maths and music. I spent much of my spare time playing (mostly trumpet and piano), or composing/creating music (a Commodore Amiga was my tool of choice – MED, later OctaMED, was incredible software for the time!). I had a great music teacher at secondary school who had a cupboard with an Atari ST and some outboard synths we could use with Steinberg Pro 24 and who let us use the music rooms and equipment after hours. I studied Maths, Physics and Music at A-level as I’d already decided that either Music or Music Technology were likely to be the direction I went in, which is why I came to Derby!

When did you start at Derby?

I’ve been at Derby for a loooonnnnngggg time! I started as an undergrad on the Music Technology and Audio System Design course back in 1996, graduating in 1999 with a 1st class honours. I stayed on to do a PhD which I (eventually!) completed in 2004 (An Investigation into the Real-time Manipulation and Control of Three-dimensional Sound Fields). I’d been part-time teaching as a PhD student, and it was a job I enjoyed. A lecturing job came up in 2002, just as my PhD funding finished which I applied for and got…..I’ve been here ever since!

Why did you choose to work at the University of Derby?

I liked the suite of programmes all offered by one department at Derby at the time, and the incredible staff. Courses ranged from Popular Music courses, Music Tech, Live Event Tech, Multi-media and electronics. This meant I could be teaching electronics or C++ programming for audio to a set of students, and then the use of the equipment/technology to another set. It was this mix that attracted me to Derby all those years ago!

What is your current role?

Associate Professor in Audio Engineering

What programme(s) do you teach on?

I currently teach on the programmes:
BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering
BEng. (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering
MSc Audio Engineering

I’ve previously also taught on the following courses:
BSc. (Hons) Music Technology and Audio System Design
BSc (Hons) Music Production
BA (Hons) Popular Music and Music Technology
BSc (Hons) Broadcast Engineering and Live Event Technology
BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technology and Music Production
MA Music Production

What are your areas of expertise?

Audio Programming, Digital Signal Processing and Spatial Audio. I came to Derby all those years ago interested in recording/mixing/producing, but soon found I really enjoyed the more technical end (the engineering parts!). I also had an interest in spatial audio from a young age. I used to position my parents’ hi-fi so the speakers and me were in a triangle so I could hear where everything was supposed to be coming from between the speakers!

What has been your most memorable experience from your time working at Derby?

There have been so many. I really enjoy seeing the students completing the bigger projects. Whether it’s their ‘show control’ work where they put together an automated theme-park type attraction or high-pressure live shows. They’ve been involved in some great events over the years! I also like seeing my research used outside of academia. My research work can be found in VLC Media Player, at Glastonbury Festival and in Colin McRae Rally and Grand Theft Auto computer games. Last year, we worked with Derby Theatre, MBD (VR) and care-experienced young people and adults to create a really unique live, virtual reality performance. It won The Stage publications ‘digital project of the year’ and was a great project to be involved in ( Spatial audio is everywhere!

What do you think is the next “big thing” in your field?

The next big thing will be due to real-time headtracking made available in headphones combined with scanning of the acoustic environment you’re in, I think. It’ll allow for a more immersive listening experience and sounds that can augment reality rather than simply replace it.

What’s a hobby or interest you have outside of your university work?

My main hobby, currently, is playing the tenor horn. I help out (well, I think I’m helping….) at Derby Music Centre and play in Derwent Valley Wind Band, too.

What is your favourite museum?

Oh, it has to be the Silk Mill Museum of Making – the world’s first factory, which is about 250m from my house!

Is there a work-related project you’re particularly excited about?

I’m currently working on algorithms to give producers more options when presenting spatial audio to listeners over stereo and a way of capturing the acoustics of a space using a single microphone. I’m also looking at hearing protection for Brass players!

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