A new exhibition and research lab in Parma, Italy

resultung from a joint research project of Comune di Parma, Universit� di Parma and CNIT

New! - presentation slides now available both in English and in Italian

New! - the first scientific papers related to this project have been published: 14th ICSV Conference, 32th AES Conference

New! - Since 20 December 2008, the Casa del Suono is finally open to the public!

Institutional Partners



Technical Installations

Laboratorio di Costruzioni

The Casa del Suono (Sound's Home) is located inside a 4-century-old building, formerly known as the S.Elisabetta Church, in Parma, ITALY. The building was abandoned since decades, and it has been completely restored and renewed by Comune di Parma.


On 24 May 2007, in Parma (Italy), at the "Casa del Suono", a new exhibition has been inaugurated; it contains a precious collection of vintage radios and phonographs, which was donated to CNIT from don Giovanni Patan�. The collection, including approximately 400 pieces, ranges from Edison's phonographs to "modern" equipment dating up to the sixties. It has now found a definite and prestigious collocation, where it can be enjoyed by visitors.

The "Casa del Suono" was born thanks to the cooperation of several instutions: Comune di Parma, Universit� degli Studi di Parma (Sezione di Musicologia and Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale), Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT). The exhibit is the beginning of the activity of the new structure located in the ex-church S.Elisabetta. When the structure will be completed (autumn 2007), it should become the Italian reference center about research on reproduced sound, thanks to the advanced electroacoustical facilities and listening rooms which will be made available inside the Casa del Suono. Some of these advanced technologies are already in use, both in the "niches" containing the exposed pieces, and in the "sonic chandellier" located at the center of the church.

The vistors entering the exhibition niches trigger an advanced sound system (line arrays with digital steering of the beam, made possible thanks to the usage of multichannel power amplifiers and the Basis digital control unit, all from QSC Audio). The sound system plays music of the same period as the pieces exposed in each niche, which has been processed in such a way of recreating the sonic experience which was originally produced by the equipment on display.

Future actvity is planned with reference to study, experiments and divulgation about the new "culture of reproduced sound", including engineering, musical composition and performances, new artistic horizons, and socio-economical behaviours related to the ways in which the sound is produced, distributed and enjoyed.

The actual exhibit is focused on two main attractions:


In occasion of the inauguration of the exhibit, a futuristic musical composition has been created by Martino Traversa, named 'NGC 353', from the name of a spiral galaxy located 8 millions lightyears from Earth. The composition is a sort of "sonic sculpture', dancing around and aboive the head of the slistener, who is transported on a world of sound which appear possible to touch with a hand...

The Sonic Chandellier has been developed thanks to the join efforts of the Acoustical Engineering Lab of the University of Parma and of LAE (www.laegroup.org), a research facility created with the contribution of Regione Emilia Romagna. More technical infos are available here (in Italian). The principle of operation of the Sonic Chandellier is Acoustical Beamforming, which consist in applying proper delays and gains to the 192 loudspeakers constituting the chandellier, so that the sound is focused in a narrow beam, as shown here:

The following architectural plan shows the designed layout:

In the rear part of the church, a special listening room, named Sala Bianca, has been built. Here you can see a couple of photos of it:


The "Sala Bianca" is a Wave Field Synthesis room, designed for 30 seats, and equipped with 192 loudspeakers forming a complete crown around the room. These louspeakers are embedded in the walls, and hence are not visible. In the above photos, you can just see a darker stripe at ear's height...

This room employs a lot of loudspeakers, power amplifiers, D/A converters, all interfaced with state-of.the-art computers, so that it will be possible to develop and test innovative sound processing algorithms for multichannel sound reproduction. Although this room was built mainly as a research and development facilty, the room will be open to the public, who will be able to partecipate in blind listening tests, helping the researchers collecting questionnaires and assessing the efficteveness of several competing sound reproduction technologies.

The Casa del Suono facility was finalized and opened finally to public on 20 December 2008. Starting in January 2009, the research lab will be fully operational.

Here some photos of the opening cerimony:


For informations and visits:

Casa del Suono, Parma, piazzale Salvo D�Acquisto - Tel. +39 0521 031170 - email infopoint@lacasadellamusica.it  www.casadelsuono.it