Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Montana State University

EE480:  Acoustics and Audio

Fall Semester 2004
Section 1 (CRN 74596), MWF 4:10PM-5:00PM, CobH 632

Prof. Robert C. Maher

529 Cobleigh Hall (southwest corner of 5th floor)


Office:  994-7759
Home:  587-5925 (but please do not call me at home)


[email protected]

Class Page:


Office hours:

Tuesday 10AM-noon.
Drop-in questions at other times are always OK if my office door is open.

Textbooks and Materials
  1. Eargle, John M., Handbook of Recording Engineering, 4th ed., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.
  2. Kinsler, Lawrence E., Frey, Austin R., Coppens, Alan B., and Sanders, James V., Fundamentals of Acoustics, 4th ed., Wiley & Sons, 1999.
Class Objective

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

Course Outcomes

At the conclusion of EE 480, 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 (tape, LP disc history)


Week 12:



Week 13:

Digital audio

Week 14:

Digital audio


Week 15:

CD and DVD principles

Audio DSP

Multimedia audio, MP3, etc.

Week 16:

SMPTE and synchronization


Final review

Course Grading:
Homework and Report: 20%

Homework will be required periodically.  Homework is due on the due date at the BEGINNING of class.  No late homework will be accepted. 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:      30%

The final exam is:
MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2004 (8:00AM-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 and/or final exam is not taken, regardless of the student's aggregate score total.