Introdution to Acoustic

Created: 5/12/2020


Acoustic engineering is generally related to the generation, transmission, and reception of audio, as well as its effects on human hearing. These effects are conveyed through mechanical waves propagating in physical mediums such as air and liquid. A key point to remember is that the perception of loudness is subjective and unique to each individual. 



Decibels measure the relative difference between a signal and a reference. Due to the large dynamic range of human hearing, a logarithmic scale (dB) is effective for quantifying large variations. 

Sound Pressure level (SPL)

This is a measure of the loudness of sound as experienced by the human ear, quantified in terms of sound pressure amplitude in decibels. 

Weighting Curves

Generally, there are several weighting curves, with A and C being the most commonly used.

Audio Range

 The standard hearing frequency range for humans is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. .


This is a time-varying graphical visualization of SPL levels relative to the frequency spectrum. 

In the plot, the x-axis represents time in seconds, the y-axis represents frequency in Hz (on a logarithmic scale), and the color intensity represents the signal intensity in decibels (dB). 

See a real spectogram here:

Detailed Explanation

Audio Generation

This involves an electroacoustic transducer, such as a speaker driver, which can be a full-range, subwoofer, woofer, or tweeter, each covering a different range of the audio frequency band.

Audio Transmission

This process involves wave propagation. In the far-field region of the wave, the SPL level typically degrades by 6 dB for every doubling of the distance from the source in an anechoic chamber.

Room Acoustics

In practice, rooms are reflective and echoic, causing the rate of loudness level degradation with distance to flatten out within a few meters.

Audio Reception

This involves converting sound waves back to electric voltage using an electroacoustic transducer, such as a microphone.


How do sound levels add?

For example, two 60 dB noise signals would add up to 63 dB. 

Summary & Conclusion

Further Reading and Practice: