Sound, Acoustics

Acoustics FAQ

What is sound? What is a decibel? How does the ear work? These questions and much more answered in this detailed text document.


“Exciting World of Acoustical Links from Denmark” A large collection of interesting, entertaining and useful links about acoustics.


Research In The Hearing Sciences, UC Berkeley

Auditory Perception Lab, Center for New Music & Audio Technologies, Auditory Physiology, Hearing and Acoustics resources.

House Ear Institute

“engaged in an exploration of the auditory system from the ear canal through the inner ear and into the cortex of the brain…improve hearing aids, auditory implants and develop innovative treatments and intervention methods.”

Hearing Protection FAQ

How to prevent your hearing from being damaged by loud noise, from the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

Tinnitus FAQ

Information about “ringing ears and other head noises perceived in the absence of any external noise source”


“ educate the public on the dangers of excessive noise, and to provide adequate hearing protection for musicians and music fans.”

Preventing Hearing Damage When Listening With Headphones

“…the risk of hearing damage from headphones is higher than with loudspeakers, even at comparable volumes, due to the close coupling of the transducers to the ears.”

Audiophile Equipment


“obsessed headphone geeks at your service” – retailer of Headphones and manufacturer of headphone amplifiers.

High Fidelity Earplugs

Flat attenuation, clear unmuffled sound quality. From Etymotic Research: ER-20 Hi-Fi Earplugs (ready-fit), and Musicians Earplugs (custom molded). Also see Hearos, Pacific Coast Laboratories, and Westone music products.

Tubes Vs. Transistors

Is there an audible difference between tube sound and transistor sound?

Tapered Quarter Wave Tube (TQWT)

An elegant loudspeaker design. A friend made something similar to these using the Fostex FE83E driver. A single full-range driver with no crossover provides a smooth uncolored sound quality. Light on the bass, but wonderful reproduction of voice and acoustical instruments. Also known as a Voight pipe. Also see the Single Driver Website.

The Sound Well

Berkeley’s oldest stereo store, specializing in refurbished components.

Musical Instruments

Experimental Musical Instruments

“For the design, construction and enjoyment of unusual musical instruments or sound sources…”

Making Wind Chimes

Directions and Formula’s for making wind chimes out of solid cylinders or tubes of metal.


Animal Bioacoustics

Animal communication and associated behavior, sound production, auditory capacities and mechanisms, effects of human-made noise on animals.

Whales Sounds

Whales and other Cetaceans inhabit an extraordinary acoustic realm, communicating by “singing” to each other across thousands of miles of ocean with powerful voices that can exceed 150 decibels. Ocean Alliance has recorded songs from humpback populations throughout the world, building a whale song library that contains the largest collection of humpback recordings – over 6,000 hours of sounds. Here are a few samples of the whale sounds they’ve recorded. While on their site, take a look at the voyage of the Odyssey.

Oceans of Noise

Due to human activities, the oceans are much noisier today than they were just a few decades ago. Because whales and dolphins are so dependent on their sense of sound, this poses a major threat to their wellbeing. For more information, see the 165 page research paper Oceans of Noise (pdf) published by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). Also, check out the article Human Noise and Whale Song, “…interfering with the love chat-line, acoustic pollution…could make it more difficult for whales to find each other…