Academic Islah Ali-MacLachlan sat in a recording studio.

Islah (Izzy) Ali-MacLachlan

Course Leader, BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production and (BSc) Music Technology

College of Engineering

Dr Islah Ali-MacLachlan is a Senior Lecturer and subject lead for acoustics, covering musical, environmental and building acoustics. He has a PhD in Music Research (Birmingham City University), PGDip (IOA) in Acoustics and Noise Control (Derby University) and BSc (Hons) Industrial Design (Technology) (Napier University of Edinburgh). He is a member of the Institute of Acoustics and sits on their board of education.

  • Expert
  • Course Leader
  • Active in Industry
  • Sound Engineering


I have a PhD in Computational Analysis of Music, and a PGCert in Acoustics and Noise Control. My research is in the areas of acoustics music information retrieval. Currently, I'm working with a virtual reality team to be able to fully experience the sights and sounds of a cathedral that was destroyed many years ago, and on another project I'm looking at ways to minimise the effect of traffic noise in inner cities. I'm also a busy live sound engineer and musician.

Before BCU

My undergraduate degree from Napier University in Edinburgh was Industrial Design. I worked as a hi-fi equipment designer and then managed a consultancy before working for the government as a design business advisor. I became a lecturer in Product Design Engineering in 1997, spending four years at Glasgow School of Art and then almost four years as a Course Director at Strathclyde University. I moved to BCU in 2004 as a Course Leader in Design before moving to lecture in Music Tech in 2006.

Industry connections

The courses I manage have led the way in making industry an integral part of what we deliver to students, from course design to specialist lectures. I have great contacts from most of the areas that we deliver as part of the courses,  including leading audio design and manufacturing companies such as Midas, Focusrite and Audient as well as internationally recognised acoustics consultants such as Arup, Atkins and RBA Acoustics.

Notable work

I was chosen as a specialist on The Gadget Show, to analyse the outputs of some powered speakers. I used the same software and techniques that we teach to students.