Dr Dave Payling

Associate Professor

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

I played bass, guitar and drums in various bands in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, since leaving secondary school and made recordings at local studios, performed at local venues and did live sound engineering for other bands. Alongside this I taught in schools for a number of years before going back into further study and graduating from an MSc in Music Technology from York University in 2000. This allowed me to gain employment at Staffordshire University and focus my teaching towards Music Technology, which had always been an interest and passion. As technology developed I became increasingly interested in computer-based production and investigated how it was possible to achieve high quality productions when moving away from the safety of traditional recording equipment. During my time a Staffordshire I studied part time towards a PhD in Visual Music Composition. This involved creation of a portfolio of audio visual compositions accompanied by a thesis documenting my creative processes and influences. I continue to use a combination of these musical production and audio-visual composition skills to create high quality multimedia and inform future research and teaching.

Professional memberships and activities

Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET)

Academic qualifications

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

PhD (Film, Media and Music) Staffordshire University 2014. Visual Music Composition with Electronic Sound and Video

MSc (Music Technology) York University. 2001

PGCE (Design and Technology) Sheffield Hallam University. 1997

BEng (Hons) First Class Honors in Electronic Systems and Control Engineering. Sheffield Hallam University. 1993


Digital audio production techniques and working in the box
Electronic and Dance music composition
Audio mastering using hardware and software
Surround sound mastering
Digital video production and animation techniques

Research interests

My research is centred on audio visual composition and the intersection between visual music and electronic music composition. I work mainly with abstract visual and sound materials and explore the relationships that develop when they are combined. This is primarily a practice-based pursuit manipulating and transforming multimedia materials with numerous technologies to create finished compositions. I am also interested in investigating how more popular musical genres can be combined with visual music.

I am ‘From the Floor’ section editor of Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture



MAX, Jitter and Quartz Composer.
Programming for real time audio and video applications.

Audio Visual composition and Visual Music
Audio Mastering


Audio Mastering in Surround
Research Methods
Audio Visual Composition


Lumia and Visual Music. Using Thomas Wilfred’s Lumia Factors to Inform Audiovisual Composition. (2017) eContact! Online Journal for Electroacoustic Practices. (Journal Article)

The DiY Free Party Collective. (2016) Dancecult Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. (Journal Article)

Interaction, Visual Composition and Synthesis with Quartz Composer. (2016) Seeing Sound. Bath Spa University. (Conference Presentation)

Visually Inspired Visual Music from a Musician’s Perspective. (2015) Understanding Visual Music Symposium, Brasilia, Brazil. (Conference Presentation)


Neon Vibration
Synchresis, Program 28. Granada Spain. XXIV Festival Internacional de Arte Sonoro y M sica Electroac stica Punto de encuentro. 1st December 2017.
Visual Music Full Dome Festival. Morelos Mexico. 4th November 2017.

Synthetic Electro Replicant
ICMC Conference Shanghai China. 18th October 2017,
Sound Image Colloquium. University of Greenwich. UK. 13th November 2016.

Circadian Echoes
Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music. Queens University, Belfast. 26th November 2016.
flEXiff Experimental Film Festival. Sydney Australia. 24th September 2016.

NoiseFloor Festival. Staffordshire University. Stafford, UK, 20-22nd September, 2013.
flEXiff, First and Last Experimental Film Festival. Sydney, Australia

Space Movement Sound
XVIII International Festival of Electroacoustic Music - Meeting Point. Electroacoustic Music Association of Spain. Valencia, Spain, 3rd May 2012.
NoiseFloor Festival, Staffordshire University. Stafford. UK (Paper Presentation)

Theravada Colour Morph
NoiseFloor Festival. Staffordshire University. Stafford. UK, 20-21st February, 2010.
MANTIS FESTIVAL. Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester, UK, 6th November, 2010.
Soundings - International Festival of Sonic Art. Reid Concert Hall, Bristol Square, Edinburgh,
Seeing Sound Visual Music Symposium. Bath Spa University. UK. 30th October, 2011.

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020