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Master Handbook of Acoustics, Seventh Edition

PDF Master Handbook of Acoustics, Seventh Edition 7th Edition

Book author
  1. F. Alton Everest
  2. Ken Pohlmann
Master Handbook of Acoustics

The industry standard guide to room acoustics―fully updated with the latest advances

Based on the classic text written by acoustics pioneer F. Alton Everest, this revised resource presents the fundamentals of acoustics along with time-tested solutions and detailed room designs. Master Handbook of Acoustics, Seventh Edition explains the art and science of room acoustics and architecture by combining theoretical instruction with matter-of-fact engineering advice. The numerous room designs inside―complete with floor and elevation plans and performance analyses―can be built as presented or adapted to meet specific needs. You will get designs new to this edition, including video teleconferencing rooms and voice studios, as well as new details on listening room and recording studio construction.

Inside, you’ll discover how to:

  • Control and utilize sound reflection, absorption, diffraction, and diffusion
  • Calculate room reflections, reverberation times, and modal resonances
  • Perform acoustical measurements and site surveys and choose construction materials
  • Install modules to optimize early reflections, reverberation, and diffusion
  • Design and construct home theaters, project studios, control rooms, recording studios, and other acoustically sensitive spaces
  • Reduce HVAC noise levels and achieve excellent sound isolation with proven wall, window, and door designs
  • Analyze the acoustics of concert halls, auditoriums, and places of worship
  • Incorporate psychoacoustics in your designs to optimize room performance
  • Understand the operation of room acoustics modeling software
  • Utilize the supplied cost-effective plans and specifications for a variety of listening and recording rooms


You hold in your hands, either physically or electronically, the seventh edition of the Master Handbook of Acoustics. Mr. F. Alton Everest was the original author of this book. In 1981 he devised the formula for an acoustics book that balanced theory and practice. Many engineering books sprinkle examples and problems throughout the text, to inform the reader of practical applications. He improved on that model by presenting basic theory combined with a significant quantity of pragmatic information, then attaching entire chapters, comprising a substantial portion of the book, that are purely devoted to practical examples. These chapters are particularly essential for anyone building a room with similar characteristics.

Mr. Everest understood that this was the perfect way to teach introductory acoustics while simultaneously providing practical guidance to anyone undertaking a construction project. He thus created a valuable tool that we know and trust, a book that has become a classic. The acoustical engineering community grieved when Mr. Everest passed away in 2005 at the age of 95.

I was honored when McGraw-Hill asked me to prepare a fifth, a sixth, and now this seventh edition of the Master Handbook of Acoustics. I had used the handbook since it was first published, and was well familiar with its value as a teaching text and reference handbook. Readers who are familiar with another of my books, Principles of Digital Audio, may be surprised to learn that my passion for digital technology is equaled by my enthusiasm for acoustics. I taught courses in architectural acoustics (in addition to classes in digital audio) for 30 years at the University of Miami, where I directed the Music Engineering Technology program. Throughout that time, I also consulted on many acoustics projects, ranging from recording studio to listening room design, from church acoustics to community noise intrusion. As with many practitioners in the field, it was important for me to understand the fundamentals of acoustical properties, to be able to articulate those principles to clients, and also to stay current with the practical applications and solutions to today’s acoustical problems. This essential equilibrium was the guiding principle of Mr. Everest’s original vision for this book, and I have continued to seek that same balance. Further, through Mr. Everest’s four editions, and my three editions, this book has improved steadily to reach a high level of refinement.

Occasionally, and particularly among newbies to the field of acoustics, the question arises, “Why is it important to study acoustics?” One reason, among many, is that you will be joining in, and hopefully contributing to, a noble scientific undertaking. Since antiquity, some of the world’s greatest scientists and engineers have studied acoustics and its elegant complexities. Greek philosophers including Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Euclid began the exploration of the nature of musical harmonics and how we hear sound. The great Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius carefully analyzed echo and reverberation in his building projects. Over the years, heavyweights such as Ptolemy, Galileo, Mersenne, Kircher, Hooke, Newton, Laplace, Euler, D’Alembert, Bernoulli, Lagrange, Poisson, Faraday, Helmholtz, Ohm, Doppler, and Sabine all made contributions. In all, countless men and women have worked to evolve the science of acoustics to a high degree of sophistication.

But, pressing the question, in today’s binary world, is acoustics still important? Consider this: We rely on our eyes and ears. Our eyes close when we sleep; we cannot see in the dark; someone can sneak up on us unseen from behind. But from birth to death, awake or asleep, in light and in dark, our ears are always sensitive to our world around us. Whether we are hearing sounds that give us pleasure, or sounds that alert us to danger, whether they are sounds of nature, or sounds of technology, the properties of acoustics and the way that architectural spaces affect those sounds are woven into every moment of our lives. Is acoustics important? I think it is. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Everest would agree.
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