Fundamentals

Acoustics Is the Study of Sound

Until the 19th century, acoustics primarily consisted of the physics of sound propagation related to human hearing. During the early 1800’s, electromagnetics was discovered and one of the first non-musical instrument sound generators, the telegraph, was developed.  The invention of the telephone in 1876 resulted in the creation of microphones and loudspeakers, followed by the phonograph at the end of the 19th century.  Radio was developed during the early 1900’s.

During the early part of the 20th century, a small group of researchers began applying engineering principles, such as equivalent circuits, to the science of acoustics in order to improve the design and construction of microphones and loudspeakers.  This was the birth of the applied science of electroacoustics.  The work was carried out in several universities and in the research laboratories of companies such as Bell Laboratories and Victor Talking Machine (which in 1929 became RCA Victor).

To better communicate and share their discoveries, they formed the Acoustical Society of America in 1929, and the first text book on electroacoustics, Applied Acoustics, was authored by Frank Massa and Harry Olson in 1934.  Many of the fundamental principles developed by these pioneers is still used today in the design of electroacoustic transducers and systems.

For more information on some of these early developments in electroacoustics, see the following publications:

Some Personal Recollections of Early Experiences on the Newpdf
Frontier of Electroacoustics During the 1920’s and 1930’s
This invited paper by Frank Massa was presented at the 106th meeting of the
Acoustical Society of America in San Diego on November 10, 1983, and published in
the April 1985 (Vol. 77, No. 4) edition of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Sonar Transducers: a Historypdf
This article was written by Frank Massa and published in the November 1989 issue
of Sea Technology Magazine.

Ultrasonic Transducers for Use in Air pdf
by Frank Massa
Preceedings of the IEEE, Volume 53, No. 10, October 1965

Radiation of Sound pdf
by Frank Massa
American Institute of Physics Handbook, Third Edition, 1972


For printable copies of reports containing electroacoustic information written by Don Massa, please click the following links:

Recent Whitepapers by Donald P. Massa

An Overview of Some of the Fundamentals Electroacousticspdf

An Overview of Electroacoustic Transducerspdf

An Overview of Ultrasonic Sensors  (Sensors Magazine, February – March 1999)pdf

A Brief Overview of Sonar Operationpdf


Massa has also published a number of articles which contain information regarding various aspects of electroacoustics.  Some of these can be found in the “Publications” section of this web site.

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