Researching Acoustics/Acousticians
February 13, 2009 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for information about accoustics and, wait for it, acousticians. How does one train for this? Is it a branch of engineering? Does it entail studying architecture? Music? I've found only very general information or, on the other hand, very technical stuff. I'm looking to be able to ask an acoustician some (mildly) intelligent questions about his work for a broadcast. Any web resources you can think of would be really appreciated. Thanks!
posted by brynnwood to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Is an acoustician different from an audio engineer? Thanks again.
posted by brynnwood at 7:27 AM on February 13, 2009

Syn-Aud-Con is one of the best.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:45 AM on February 13, 2009

For audio and acoustics education, that is.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:46 AM on February 13, 2009

Check out their recent article links at the lower left of their page.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:54 AM on February 13, 2009

Arrgh; lower right (switching to decaf in 3 ... 2 ...)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:55 AM on February 13, 2009

Yes, an acoustician is very different from an audio engineer. An audio engineer, depending on who you're talking about, does things in a studio that involve mic placement, gear maintenance, running recording sessions, and generally being involved in the music-making from a technical standpoint.

An acoustician deals with rooms in which music is supposed to sound good, so, basically, concert/recital halls and recording studios.

Beware: both the concert hall and the recording studio are entities that are disappearing at alarming rates, so this may not be the greatest career choice at this particular juncture.
posted by nosila at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2009

Have you checked out resources from the Acoustical Society of America?
posted by knile at 8:39 AM on February 13, 2009

An organization very likely to help you is Bruel & Kjaer. They produce all kinds of sound and vibration equipment. They publish a (quarterly?) magazine I used to get all the time, with case studies about - for example - home theaters (pdf). My favorite article, which I cannot find on their site, was about cats purring so they are all over the place with interesting studies of sound and vibration.

Acoustical engineers find many places to work. The reason jet engines are getting quieter is mainly because of acoustical engineering. If you have an interest in acoustical engineering you get a mechanical engineering degree and as many math and materials science courses as you can.
posted by jet_silver at 9:52 AM on February 13, 2009

Acoustics is a very cool science, and yes very different from an audio engineer. Involves a lot more math, and much more measurement and experimentation. They pretty much are hired to come in and design live rooms or exhibition rooms, with things like reflection coeffecients and standing wave potentials and delay and stuff.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:08 PM on February 13, 2009

Response by poster: Hey, thanks a lot. I'm going to check out the Acoustical Society and Bruel Kjaer. I am not looking to get into the field (I doubt I'd have the math aptitude). I'm preparing an interview for radio of someone who worked on the redesign (from an acoustical standpoint) of a concert hall here in NYC. Thanks for making my work easier!
posted by brynnwood at 4:56 PM on February 16, 2009

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