This short course provides an introduction to basic principles of sound and vibration measurements common across multiple disciplines.  The focus is on relating fundamental concepts used in the acoustic characterization of materials, machines and systems to actual physical measurements of these properties using real instrumentation and software applications under non-ideal test conditions.

Objectives, requirements and methods for obtaining high quality measurements of sound and vibration phenomena are presented and practical considerations are discussed.  Demonstrations of various measurements using common test instrumentation and examples of acoustic phenomena that impact measurements will be included throughout the day.  The course concludes with examples and discussion of real-world measurements tailored to course participant’s specific applications.  

This course is intended for engineers, system developers, technicians and others engaged in making measurements of sound, vibration or other dynamic signals.   The course is also suitable for those involved in interpreting, incorporating or marketing the results of such measurements.     


  • Time and frequency domain properties of sound and vibration signals
  • Measurement Instrumentation
    • sound level meters, oscilloscopes, frequency domain analyzers; 
    • analysis bandwidths, averaging;  spectrographs
  • Measurement transducers
    • sensitivity, bandwidth, directivity, resonance;  calibration;
  • Measurement Systems
    • signal conditioning, dynamic range, bandwidth; ADC parameters; data storage;
    • data analysis; special considerations for PC-based systems
  • Measurements in noise
    • SNR optimization; RMS averaging;  energy and matched filter detection
    • cross-spectral methods; correlation techniques
  • Selected measurement applications based on participant interest, including but not limited to:
    • Room acoustics (RT, ETC, STI); materials and structures  (α,NRC,TL, STC)
    • Audio and electro-acoustic system measurements
    • Environmental Noise Measurements (outdoor, industrial, marine)
    • Source localization; Underwater and ocean acoustic measurements
  • Demonstrations using software apps and instrumentation provided by participants

Dr. Chris Barber is the founder of Multipath Science and Engineering Solutions and has over twenty years’ experience in applied acoustic research ranging from acoustic testing of naval ships to characterization of professional audio systems.  He has taught courses and advised students in acoustics, audio and electrical engineering at the undergraduate, graduate and professional continuing education levels.

Course participants receive a hard copy of the instructor’s course notes and selected reference materials.  Following the course, opportunities are provided to schedule a web-based follow-up Q&A session between the instructor and course participants.  

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