Acoustics: Sound Fields and Transducers is a thoroughly updated version of Leo Beranek's classic 1954 book that retains and expands on the original's detailed acoustical fundamentals while adding practical formulas and simulation methods.

Serving both as a text for students in engineering departments and as a reference for practicing engineers, this book focuses on electroacoustics, analyzing the behavior of transducers with the aid of electro-mechano-acoustical circuits. Assuming knowledge of electrical circuit theory, it starts by guiding readers through the basics of sound fields, the laws governing sound generation, radiation, and propagation, and general terminology. It then moves on to examine:

  • Microphones (electrostatic and electromagnetic), electrodynamic loudspeakers, earphones, and horns
  • Loudspeaker enclosures, baffles, and waveguides
  • Miniature applications (e.g., MEMS in I-Pods and cellphones)
  • Sound in enclosures of all sizes, such as school rooms, offices, auditoriums, and living rooms

Numerical examples and summary charts are given throughout the text to make the material easily applicable to practical design. It is a valuable resource for experimenters, acoustical consultants, and to those who anticipate being engineering designers of audio equipment.

Key Features

  • An update for the digital age of Leo Beranek's classic 1954 book Acoustics
  • Provides detailed acoustic fundamentals, enabling better understanding of complex design parameters, measurement methods, and data
  • Extensive appendices cover frequency-response shapes for loudspeakers, mathematical formulas, and conversion factors


Research scientists and engineers working in acoustics; Mechanical, electrical, audio and architectural engineers; Physicists; Acoustical consultants.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction and terminology

Part I Introduction

1.2 What is sound?

1.3 Propagation of sound through gas

1.4 Measurable aspects of sound

Part II: Terminology

1.5 General

1.6 Standard International (SI) units

1.7 Pressure and density

1.8 Speed and velocity

1.9 Impedance

1.10 Intensity, energy density, and levels


Chapter 2. The wave equation and solutions

Part III The Wave Equation

2.2 Derivation of the wave equation

Part IV Solutions of the Wave Equation in One Dimension

2.4 Solution of wave equation for air in a tube terminated by an impedance

2.5 Solution of wave equation for air in a tube filled with absorbent material

2.6 Freely traveling plane wave

2.7 Freely traveling cylindrical wave

2.8 Freely traveling spherical wave

Part V Solutions of the Helmholtz Wave Equation in three Dimensions

2.10 Cylindrical coordinates

2.11 Spherical coordinates


Chapter 3. Electro-mechano-acoustical circuits

Part VI Mechanical circuits

3.2 Physical and mathematical meanings of circuit elements

3.3 Mechanical elements

Part VII Acoustical circuits

Part VIII Transducers

3.5 Electromechanical transducers

3.6 Mechano-acoustic transducer

3.7 Examples of transducer calculations

Part IX Circuit theorems, energy, and power

3.8 Conversion from admittance-type analogies to impedance-type analogies

3.9 Thévenin’s theorem

3.10 Transducer impedances


Chapter 4. Acoustic components

4.1 Introduction

Part X Acoustic elements

4.3 Acoustic compliances

4.4 Acoustic resistances

4.5 Cavity with holes on opposite sides—mixed mass-compliance element

4.6 I


No. of pages:
© 2012
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the authors

Tim Mellow

Tim Mellow was educated at Boundary Oak School and Lancing College before obtaining a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Electronics from the University of Dundee, Scotland, in 1985. A career as a Design engineer at BICC, Marconi, Thorn EMI, Racal, VTech, and Nokia followed. Recently, he co-founded Mellow Acoustics Ltd with Philip Trevelyan to develop high fidelity loudspeakers and amplifiers. Tim takes a keen interest in music and plays the piano. He appreciates technology that brings musical performances to life, especially those which can no longer be heard live.


"It contains more recent and additional material, including material that is difficult to find elsewhere.…this highly recommended book is a treasure of information and problem-solving technique for both the novice and expert in the areas of acoustical transducers and fields."--Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, September 2013
"Even to those that already own a copy of the 1954 edition, I would recommend acquiring a copy of the revision.  It has sufficient new material and it is a pleasure to read to justify that cost.  To those starting out in the fields of room acoustics or electro-acoustics or those wishing to extend their existing knowledge, it would be invaluable…very well worth the current list price."--Acoustics Bulletin, January/February 2013, Vol. 38, No 1, page 51
"…a modern expansion and re-working of Acoustics, the 1954 classic reference…updated throughout and focused on electroacoustics with the needs of a broad range of acoustics engineers and scientists in mind, this new book retains and expands on the detailed acoustical fundamentals included in the original while added practical formulas and simulation methods for practicing professionals."--Acoustics Today, October 2012, page 48 Review, January 9, 2013
"…this reference work could be regarded as the counterpart to the advanced, computational acoustic engineering software such as Comsol now becoming popular, providing much of the grounding for these multi discipline, coupled modelling programs…It is a welcome surprise to see Leo Beranek’s Acoustics so exhaustively revised."--Audio Review, January 9, 2013
"Beranek and Mellow…offer engineering students a textbook on acoustics that can also serve as a reference for experimenters and consultants. They assume knowledge of electric circuit theory."--Reference and Research Book News,