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Architectural Acoustics David Egan Pdf

Architectural Acoustics by M. David Egan: A Review

Architectural acoustics is the science and art of designing buildings and spaces for good sound quality and noise control. It is a multidisciplinary field that involves acoustical engineering, architecture, interior design, psychology, and music. Architectural acoustics is essential for creating comfortable and functional environments for various purposes, such as speech communication, music performance, education, entertainment, worship, and health.


One of the most comprehensive and widely used books on architectural acoustics is Architectural Acoustics by M. David Egan, a consultant in acoustics and Professor Emeritus at the College of Architecture, Clemson University. The book was first published in 1988 by McGraw-Hill and has been reprinted in 2007 by J. Ross Publishing as a classic edition. The book covers the basic principles of sound and hearing, sound absorption and noise reduction, sound isolation and criteria for noise, control of HVAC systems noise and vibrations, auditorium acoustics design, and electronic sound systems. The book is intended for architects, interior designers, engineers, and all others concerned with the design and construction of buildings who need to know the basics of architectural acoustics, but who do not have the time to digest wordy presentations.

What makes this book unique and effective is its highly illustrated format. The book contains more than 540 illustrations that are not merely supplements to the text, but are the core of the coverage of the topics. The illustrations are clear, concise, and informative, using graphs, diagrams, tables, charts, photos, and examples to explain the concepts and applications of architectural acoustics. The illustrations are also accompanied by captions that summarize the main points and provide additional information. The book also includes bibliographies and indexes for further reference.

The book is organized into six chapters that cover the following topics:

  • Chapter 1: Sound and Hearing: This chapter introduces the basic concepts of sound waves, sound pressure level, frequency, pitch, loudness, masking, reverberation time, sound decay curve, early and late reflections, directivity, diffraction, reflection coefficient, absorption coefficient, transmission loss, noise criteria curves, octave bands, A-weighted sound level meter, equal-loudness contours, auditory perception, speech intelligibility index, articulation index.

  • Chapter 2: Sound Absorption and Noise Reduction: This chapter discusses the methods and materials for reducing sound reflections and reverberation in rooms and spaces. It covers the topics of porous absorbers (such as fibrous materials), resonant absorbers (such as Helmholtz resonators), panel absorbers (such as perforated panels), diffusers (such as quadratic residue diffusers), sound-absorbing ceilings (such as suspended ceilings), sound-absorbing walls (such as acoustic plaster), sound-absorbing floors (such as carpet), sound-absorbing furniture (such as upholstered chairs), sound-absorbing draperies (such as curtains), sound-absorbing baffles (such as hanging panels), sound-absorbing screens (such as folding partitions), noise barriers (such as walls or fences), noise reduction coefficients (NRC), sabins.

  • Chapter 3: Sound Isolation and Criteria for Noise: This chapter deals with the methods and materials for preventing sound transmission from one space to another or from outside to inside. It covers the topics of airborne sound insulation (such as walls or windows), impact sound insulation (such as floors or ceilings), flanking transmission (such as ducts or pipes), composite structures (such as double walls or floors), mass law (such as mass-spring systems), coincidence effect (such as critical frequency or angle), damping effect (such as viscoelastic materials), transmission loss (TL), sound transmission class (STC), impact insulation class (IIC), field impact insulation class (FIIC), noise isolation class (NIC), apparent sound transmission class (ASTC), room criterion curves (RC).

  • Chapter 4: Control of HVAC Systems Noise and Vibrations: This chapter addresses the sources and solutions of noise and vibrations caused by heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, elevator, generator, transformer, fan, pump, compressor, chiller, boiler, cooling tower, and other mechanical and electrical systems in buildings. It covers the topics of noise generation (such as turbulence or rotation), noise propagation (such as ducts or pipes), noise radiation (such as grilles or diffusers), noise control (such as silencers or isolators), vibration generation (such as imbalance or misalignment), vibration propagation (such as structure-borne or fluid-borne), vibration radiation (such as panels or floors), vibration control (such as springs or dampers), noise rating curves (NR), room noise criteria curves (RNC), balanced noise criteria curves (NCB), preferred noise criteria curves (PNC).

  • Chapter 5: Auditorium Acoustics Design: This chapter focuses on the design and evaluation of auditoriums and other spaces for music performance and listening. It covers the topics of room shape and size (such as rectangular, fan-shaped, horseshoe, or vineyard), room volume and reverberation time (such as Sabine, Eyring, or Millington formulas), room acoustics parameters (such as clarity, definition, loudness, spaciousness, envelopment, intimacy, warmth, brilliance, balance, blend, echo, flutter echo, focusing, interference, standing waves, modes, resonance), sound diffusion and scattering (such as irregular surfaces or shapes), sound reflection and absorption (such as reflectors or absorbers), sound reinforcement and amplification (such as microphones, speakers, mixers, amplifiers, equalizers, feedback control), audience and occupancy effects (such as absorption coefficients or noise levels).

  • Chapter 6: Electronic Sound Systems: This chapter covers the basic principles and components of electronic sound systems for speech and music reproduction and reinforcement. It covers the topics of microphones (such as types, characteristics, polar patterns, placement, phantom power), loudspeakers (such as types, characteristics, frequency response, impedance, sensitivity, directivity, placement, crossover network), amplifiers (such as types, characteristics, power rating, distortion, feedback), mixers (such as types, characteristics, inputs, outputs, channels, faders, gain, equalization, effects), cables and connectors (such as types, characteristics, impedance matching, signal-to-noise ratio), sound level meters (such as types, characteristics, weighting networks), sound pressure level (SPL), sound power level (SWL), sound intensity level (SIL), decibel scale.

The book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of architectural acoustics in a clear and concise manner. The book is also a useful reference for professionals who need to apply the principles of architectural acoustics in their projects. The book is written in a simple and accessible language that does not require advanced mathematical or technical skills. The book is also richly illustrated with examples and case studies that demonstrate the practical applications of architectural acoustics. The book is a classic in the field of architectural acoustics and deserves a place in every architect's library.


  • Egan M.D. Architectural Acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1988.

  • Egan M.D. Architectural Acoustics. J. Ross Publishing Classics ed. Fort Lauderdale: J. Ross Pub.; 2007.


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