Mstation Book Reviews
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Sat, 02 Sep 2006

Acoustics and Psychacoustics

D.M. Howard, J. Angus Acoustics and Psychoacoustics 3rd Edition, 
with CD, Focal Press

Focal Press have quite a number of educational books related to audio and video and quite a few of those are used for teaching courses. That is the case with this one also and so the general layout of the thing is to have text followed by a list of further reading, but not section questions.

The book starts with an introduction to the nature of sound and how it behaves in space, and goes on to look at the nature of human hearing, notes and harmony, acoustic models for musical instruments, timbres and environmental considerations, and finally, digital signal processing.

There is also a reasonable scattering of equations through the book, which is entirely apt considering the subject matter, and which shouldn't put casual readers off as they are a further explanation of the story rather than being the story itself.

It is an interesting and accessible treatment altogether although the further reading lists will need to be consulted if you want to explore some of the more advanced topics. For example, the authors state that human hearing is generally confined to 20-20kHz. There's nothing odd about that except that some people (like Rupert Neve) believe in a much extended bandwidth. If the ears do only handle the limited bandwidth, there might be questions about where the extra is absorbed. In any case, that particular topic is still one that is being debated.

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