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Audio Forensics

Audio Forensics is the application of analysis and processing to further the investigative use of recorded audio. This covers three general areas:

  • Enhancement to improve the signal quality and intelligibility of signals of interest, such as speech, by attenuating noise or otherwise increasing the signal-to-noise ratio.
  • Authentication analysis of signals and file data to establish provenance and originality of a recording.
  • Comparison of audio signals, speech and other acoustic events, to better understand unknown or disputed details.

This field can be thought of as a coin with two important sides that the AES is involved in: research and practice. As a practice, audio forensics is first and foremost a forensic science. This means that the factors important in all forensic disciplines are no less important here: standard practices, concepts of individualization, evidence handling and documentation, ethics, awareness of cognitive biases, clear and concise presentation of findings, and so on. Working as a scientist within the forensic construct, an audio forensics practitioner then relies heavily on the other side of the coin where tools, methods, and techniques are developed through research and publication.

The links provided below were selected with this in mind where it is demonstrated that for the past many years, the AES has steered the direction of audio forensics through the publication of novel papers, both research and methodological, and through various events organized by the Technical Committee on Audio Forensics. Additionally, external links are provided to the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE), which develops and curates best practice guidelines for digital and multimedia forensics (including audio forensics), and the standards landing page for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee on Digital and Multimedia Evidence.

The next AES International Conference on Audio Forensics will be June 18-20, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. The proposal portal is open now and accepting novel research and case study papers as well as tutorial and workshops proposals until February 15, 2019.

Jeff Smith

Curator: Jeff M. Smith

As Associate Director of the National Center for Media Forensics, Smith has the pleasure of helping build the foundation for strengthening forensic sciences in the U.S. through the Center's education and research programs. Smith's research areas include the forensic authentication of recorded media, forensic speaker recognition, multimedia file analysis, and machine learning applications. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) as Chair of the Technical Committee on Audio Forensics and past chair of the Colorado Section of the AES. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). He works closely with law enforcement as member-at-large of the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) Executive Committee and as a member of its Audio Committee. Funding sponsors include U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Audio Forensics Resources

AES Journal Spotlight Interview

Francis Rumsey interviews Viktors Berstis about his engineering report on 3D printed acoustic lenses, published in the December AES Journal.


AES - Audio Engineering Society