Melody Baglione

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Experimental Acoustics


Cooper Union faculty and students take advantage of our location in New York City pursuing research projects in experimental acoustics, noise monitoring and control.  Students take sound data from our HVAC equipment and evaluate the room acoustics of spaces in our state-of-the-art 41 Cooper Square academic building and in the Great Hall of our landmarked Foundation Building.  Students have access to our state-of-the-art data acquisition equipment and the anechoic chamber in our Vibration and Acoustics Laboratory.

Sounds of New York City: Urban Acoustic Monitoring and Deciphering the Code

New York City’s sound environment can be perceived as vibrant and energetic or loud and disturbing. Citizen complaints registered with the NYC 311 information/complaints line establishes noise as a major quality-of-life issue; although not all noise issues are reported. Cooper Union students are gaining a deeper understanding of the urban sound environment, the NYC Noise Code, and how noise complaints are addressed and mitigated. Students have taken sound level measurements in a number of East Village apartments and compared these measurements to the noise code.

Cooper Union is also collaborating with the NYU Center for Urban Science + Progress to evaluate the frequency response of  low-cost, acoustic sensing devices for monitoring the urban sound environment of New York City.  To learn more, below is a link to a Sounds of New York City video submitted to the 2015 NYC BigApps Competition:

Related Publications:

Mydlarz, C., Shamoon, C., Baglione, M., Pimpinella, M., "The design and calibration of low cost urban acoustic sensing devices," 10th European Congress and Exposition on Noise Control, May 31-June 3, 2015, Maastricht, Netherlands.  Best Paper and Presentation Award. 

Evaluating Low-cost Speech-Language Pathology Measurement Systems

Mike Pimpinella (M.Eng. '16)

Speech-Language Pathology focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and post-therapy assessment of communication issues arising from diseases and disorders such as Parkinson's disease, strokes, cleft palates, and more. This relies on the recording and measurement of voice with microphones and sound level meters (SLMs) for the determination of voice perturbation metrics and vocal intensity measurements. This thesis involves the development of test and analysis protocols for comparing measurements acquired with low-cost options to those obtained with calibrated equipment designed for measurement purposes. These methods will be applied to a selection of low-cost microphones and sound level meters to determine whether they are suitable as substitutions for precision instrumentation. The performance characteristics are compared to a set of guidelines developed by experts in the field.

Related Publications:

Oliveira, G., Fava, G., Baglione, M., Pimpinella, M., “Mobile Digital Recording: Adequacy of the iRig™ and iOS device for Acoustic and Perceptual Analysis of Normal Voice,” Accepted to Journal of Voice, May 2016.

Fava, G., Oliveira, G., Baglione, M., Pimpinella, M., Spitzer, J., "The Use of Sound Level Meter Apps in the Clinical Setting," American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2016, Vol. 25, 14-28.

Acoustic Properties of Auditoriums

Yueyue Li (ME '18), Independent Study Project

Reverberation time is an important indicator for a room’s acoustics; it is the time it takes for a 60 dB sound decay.  Analyzing the reverberation time can reveal which functions are most suited for a particular space. The Interrupted and Impulse Methods were used to measure the reverberation time in The Great Hall and Rose Auditorium. The Interrupted Method involves an omnidirectional speaker playing white or pink sound, and the Impulse Method uses a balloon-pop as a triggering sound source. A Larson-Davis 831 sound level meter is used to measure the decay of different frequency sound and to calculate the reverberation time.  The average reverberation time is 1.43 seconds for The Great Hall and 0.709 seconds for Rose Auditorium. Considering the volumes of the two auditoriums, The Great Hall is best suited for concerts, while Rose Auditorium is best for speeches.  



Acoustic Characterization of 41 Cooper Square

Jacob Fern (ME '11), Senior Capstone Design Project

The acoustics of Cooper Union's 41 Cooper Square building were tested for two di fferent acoustical parameters:  reverberation time and ambient sound levels. These measurements were compared with ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010.
Based on the overall ambient sound pressure level and reverberation time measurements, 41 Cooper Square does not meet ANSI standards for academic acoustical characteristics. Although most rooms were just below
the maximum limit for reverberation times of 0.7 seconds, almost every room that was tested failed to fall below the
ANSI standard for the ambient sound levels of the room. In many cases, this was due to external noise from the city, and in almost all cases, the HVAC system seemed to be at fault.  Click here for final report.  Click here for poster.