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Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms Paperback – August 22, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0240520094 ISBN-10: 0240520092 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Floyd E. Toole studied electrical engineering at the University of New Brunswick and at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London where he received a Ph.D. In 1965 he joined the National Research Council of Canada where he reached the position of Senior Research Officer in the Acoustics and Signal Processing Group. In 1991 he joined Harman International Industries Inc. as Corporate Vice President – Acoustical Engineering. In this position he worked with all Harman International companies and directed the Harman Research and Development Group, a central resource for technology development and subjective measurements, retiring in 2007. He is currently a consultant to Harman.

Dr. Toole’s research has focused on the acoustics and psychoacoustics of sound reproduction in small rooms, directed to improving engineering measurements, objectives for loudspeaker design and evaluation, and techniques for reducing variability at the loudspeaker / room / listener interface. For papers on these subjects he has received two AES Publications Awards and, for service to the society, the Board of Governors Award. For his achievements he has been recognized with both the AES Silver Medal (1996) and Gold Medal (2013) Awards. He is a Fellow and Past President of the AES, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and a Fellow of CEDIA (Custom Design and Installarion Association). He has been awarded Lifetime Achievement awards by CEDIA and ALMA (Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International). He has recently written a book: "Sound Reproduction: the acoustics and psychoacoustics of loudspeakers and rooms." (Focal Press, 2008).


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (August 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240520092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240520094
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Siegfried Linkwitz on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this book Floyd Toole summarizes and explains conclusions from a lifelong involvement with audio. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in factual information about loudspeakers and listening rooms, about measurements, listening observations and their practical implications. It is lucidly written in easy to understand language, extensively illustrated and referenced. It deals with the reproduction of sound - which existed in a space - inside another space. My only regret is that the potential of 2-channel playback in doing so has not been fully explored. This is understandable because the conventional box loudspeaker with its frequency dependent directivity index has been used for almost all of the observations that are discussed. In fact, the particular interaction of a box loudspeaker with the listening room makes it more difficult for our ear/brain perceptual apparatus to hear the recording venue's space and acoustics, provided that such information has been captured in the recording process. Floyd focuses on multiple loudspeaker surround sound. He considers this approach to spatial sound reproduction as much more rewarding and he provides extensive practical information for that. The book is very comprehensive and in my opinion a "must-read" for loudspeaker designers, recording and mastering engineers, room-acoustic consultants, audio reviewers and audiophiles. The book is about theory and praxis. It debunks much of the BS that seems to have permeated the audio industry and many of its customers.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Paul Scarpelli on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dr. Toole, with whom I worked at Harman for years, showed me this book in person at CEDIA last week, and I was quite impressed. I have not read the book in detail yet, but I have been recommending it to everyone I work with at Triad Speakers. Floyd is a wealth of practical and technical knowledge, and he communicates well to academics as well as hobbyists. He debunks myths, and has the ability to cut through the crap to what really matters. He and I have both ranted for years on the importance of the room in presenting accurate sound reproduction, and that overlooked concept will be more strongly promoted with the introduction of this book.

As good as the book appears at first glance, it stands out even more due to the paucity of printed material on the subject of speakers and rooms. The few books available are either incomplete, antiquated, or in the case of Everest, geared more toward pro sound.

This is the seminal speaker book and all us tweaks should buy it both to advance our education and because Floyd's a great guy and deserves to make a buck! Floyd, if you're reading this, I have always appreciated your contributions to our otherwise amateurish industry.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Haskins on January 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent for anyone designing loudspeakers. It is a very nice summary of the available research and Toole does a good job of making it readable. He also does a good job of summarizing things for those who need/want to skim right to the meat. I'd encourage you to read it all of course. ;-)

The only shortcomings are more in the nature of the limitations of research. They don't give us definitive answers to many questions but that is just the nature of the beast. There is a lot of emphasis on multichannel reproduction but most of the research is applicable to any type of playback method. As mentioned above, there is not a great deal of emphasis on individual loudspeaker design choices, outside of pointing toward desirable objective characteristics of good designs. It is also a very readable summary of the information for those who are not engineers. There isn't any math necessary and you can skim over the dry areas and still get to the meat of the subject quickly.

I'd consider this necessary reading material for anyone serious about reproducing high-quality audio in small spaces (home audio sized rooms). If I were an editor of a review magazine, I'd make it required reading for anyone performing loudspeaker reviews. This isn't going to resolve the long-standing debate between objectivist/subjectivist issues but it is great reading for those on both sides of that divide.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Howard Ferstler on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book goes well beyond your typical technical paper on audio and even most books on the subject, and I must admit that in some ways it is a tour de force when it comes to certain important aspects of the discipline. Nobody else that I have read even comes close when it comes to the totality of information, although there are some important omissions and dismissals that I will discuss up ahead.

Within the text Dr. Toole dwells on some topics at length, and often refers back to them as the reader progresses through the book. He is obviously trying to get serious points across, and does so with obvious enthusiasm.

To cut to the chase, I liked the book a lot, and it has information in it that I have pretty much agreed with for years, particularly as it refers to the need for wide and smooth broad-bandwidth dispersion, smooth off-axis response, the importance of a center channel, the requirements of surround channels (placement and performance), and the lack of importance of comb-filtering, phase integrity, and similar artifacts in typical home listening rooms. It was good to see some input regarding digital codecs for surround sound, too, and it was nice to read some refreshing opinions regarding tube (high output impedance) power amps and wire, although those topics are not the main thrust of the book.

Of course, a number of other rational writers and research-oriented manufacturers have been saying the same thing about the book's basic ideas and conclusions for many years, although maybe not on so comprehensive a scale, nor with the kind of documentation we find here.

Indeed, a fair amount of what Dr. Toole is saying in the book is almost self-evident from a "this makes total sense" standpoint.
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