Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Montana State University

EE417:  Acoustics and Audio Engineering

Fall Semester 2010
: Section 1 (CRN 23943), MWF Noon-12:50PM, Wilson Hall 1-126

Prof. Robert C. Maher

610 Cobleigh Hall (northeast corner of 6th floor inside the ECE main office)


Office:  994-2505
Home:  587-5925 (but please do not call me at home)


Class Page:

Office hours:

Tuesday and Thursday 11AM - noon
Drop-in questions at other times are always OK if I'm not busy with some other appointment.

PHSX 222 PHYSICS II (course formerly named PHYS 212)
Textbooks and Materials
  1. Kinsler, Lawrence E., Frey, Austin R., Coppens, Alan B., and Sanders, James V., Fundamentals of Acoustics, 4th ed., Wiley & Sons, 1999.
  2. Handouts and reprints (in class)
Class Objective

The students obtain sufficient background and technical knowledge to understand contemporary issues in audio engineering.

Course Outcomes

At the conclusion of EE 417, students will be able to:

Class Outline (subject to change)

Week 1:

Intro, audio and acoustics subdisciplines, survey

Fundamental quantities, Fourier review, mass and vibration

Damping, complex exponential solutions, forced oscillation

Week 2:

Resonance, electrical circuit analogies

Acoustic wave equation

Week 3:

Harmonic plane waves, intensity, impedance

Spherical waves, sound level, dB examples

Radiation from small sources

Week 4:

Baffled simple source, piston radiation

Near field, far field

Radiation impedance

Week 5:

Recap and review

Demos, speed of sound measurement


Return exam, continue ear/hearing

Week 6:

The ear, hearing, etc.

Demos, hearing and detection

Week 7:

Environmental acoustics and noise criteria

OSHA, architectural isolation

Guest Lecture TBD

Week 8:

Example calculations

Architectural acoustics, reverb

Absorbing materials, direct-reverberant ratio

Week 9:

Relationships among music, audio, acoustics, and electronics

Audio engineering introduction

Audio engineering, units, concepts

Week 10:


Studio electronics

Week 11:

Studio electronics

Analog storage history (tape, LP disc history)


Week 12:



Week 13:

Digital audio


Week 14:

CD and DVD principles

Audio DSP

Multimedia audio, MP3, etc.

Week 15:

SMPTE and synchronization


Final review

Course Grading:
Homework, Concerts, and Written Report: 25%

→ Homework will be required periodically.  Homework is due on the due date at the BEGINNING of class.  No late homework will be accepted.
→ Students must attend at least FOUR music concerts, with verification, during the semester.
→ A WRITTEN REPORT will also be assigned during the semester.

Exam 1: 25%

→ Written in-class exam given late in September.

Exam 2: 25%

→ Written in-class exam given in mid November.

Final Exam:      25%

→ The final exam is:
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2010 (8:00-9:50AM).

Grade guarantee:  course letter grades may be higher (but will not be lower) than indicated by the following scale:
A- = 90%
B- = 80%
C- = 70%
D = 60%
F = 59%
A grade of F will also be given automatically if a midterm exam or the final exam is not taken, regardless of the student's aggregate score total.