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  • Music to my Engin'ears': WVU engineering student selected as finalist for AES MATLAB Plugin Student Competition

Music to my Engin'ears': WVU engineering student selected as finalist for AES MATLAB Plugin Student Competition

John Kolar playing guitar

John Kolar has been playing music since the age of twelve. When deciding on a career path, the Morgantown native knew he wanted a career that would combine his love for music with his passion for math and science.


This pursuit led him to West Virginia University to study electrical engineering, music technology and physics. A combination that he hopes will land him a job in the audio industry.

After a summer spent as an applied engineering research intern with the audio equipment company Bose, Kolar put his audio engineering skills to the test by creating an audio plugin for the Audio Engineering Society’s MATLAB Plugin Student Competition.

“The goal of the competition was to create a plugin within MATLAB, a common engineering tool, to create a software package to process audio,” Kolar said.

When analog was commonplace in audio engineering, a plugin was something that would be physically plugged in, but with new advancements in technology, plugins are created and manipulated digitally, Kolar explained.

Kolar named his plugin “The Dynamizer.”

“With this plugin, you can manipulate the volume and specify which frequencies of the volume you’re going to manipulate,” Kolar said. “You can also change the tonal characteristics of whatever you want to.”

Kolar submitted his plug in to AES, along with a five minute video explaining his software package. He was selected as one of six finalists and traveled to New York City in October to demo his plugin at the AES Pro Audio Convention.

“Talking to all of the other students and judgesgetting their feedback, and discussing ideas and the different processes they used to make their plugins was very helpful to me,” Kolar said. “If I was going to go back and do it again, I would do it completely different even with the same project.”

Kolar was awarded honorable mention for his plugin.

This semester, Kolarwill berecording a five song EP with his alternative rock band, Stray Tuesday, for his independent study with Mark Benincosa, instructor of music technology in the WVU School of Music . He will be using his audio plugin to produce the EP.

Kolar received funding from the Statler College student engagement opportunity fund, which gives opportunities to students to experience experiential learning, the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineeringand the College of Creative Arts to travel to the convention.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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