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Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms [Paperback]

by Floyd Toole
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 22, 2008 0240520092 978-0240520094 1
Floyd Toole, a leading expert in the field of sound reproduction, explains how to design the best possible listening experience for recording control rooms and home entertainment systems. This comprehensive work covers the whole sound reproduction chain from multi-channel audio configurations and the loudspeaker/room system to acoustics and psychoacoustics and the evaluation process. Part 1 shows the reader how to create the best listening experience, offering practical approaches to the sound reproduction chain. Parts 2 and 3 are an in-depth consideration of acoustics and psychoacoustics.

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Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms + Master Handbook of Acoustics
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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).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (August 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240520092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240520094
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long overdue summary August 5, 2008
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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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book... September 9, 2008
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Summary of the research January 7, 2009
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
My reveiw will be brief. This is an excellent book on the experience of sound reprodution in small rooms. It offers a good introduction to the subject, and a general overview of acoustics sans the math.

His reporting of what has been learned from studies of the 'Hass Precedence Effect' and it's implication to the the small room environment was revolutionalry to me. That alone made the book worth it's price.

FYI - having a book reveiwed by S.Linkwitz is a hoot and an honor. He is one of the most knowledgeable individuals on loudspeaker cross overs!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Floyd Toole is one of the world's leading experts on room acoustics and loudspeakers, as well as all things audio. He was head of R&D for Harman International, one of the largest audio companies in the world which makes things like Harman/Kardon home theater receivers, computer speakers, Infinity car speakers, Revel high end audiophile speakers, JBL pro speakers, etc.

This book is very well written and approachable even if you are a novice to audio and acoustics. The emphasis is on multi channel sound, which according to many research studies is the best way to experience immersive high-quality audio. One of the best things about this book is that the author has the solid voice of authority backed by scientific research (his own and others). This is a welcome break from some of the myths and misunderstandings that pervade high end audiophile circles, such as the irrational love of two-speaker stereo, hate of equalization, etc.

Some practical things that you will learn are the general principles about how to choose speakers and how to lay out your home theater. There are some interesting sections showing how really inexpensive speakers outperform flawed overprices designs, and how professional studios are not always set up for the best sound. There is also some fascinating reading about subwoofer setup.

Shortcomings of the book are that it really does not give you all the answers. In fact, having read it, I feel it dwells too much upon room acoustics and general principles and does not get enough into specifics and how-tos. It also does not cover loudspeaker design as much as I expected based on the author's background (in fact, speakers as a chapter come very late in the book). You will need to look elsewhere to round out your knowledge on this and other topics.

Overall, solid book on home theater and room acoustics.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory reading for audiophiles, especially the well heeled
I used to count myself among these ranks, but ultimately lost interest and patience with more than one dealer, and ultimately the industry itself. Why? Read more
Published 11 months ago by John R. Smolley MD
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
Very detailed and illustrative book. I'm really enjoying the lecture of one of the best acoustic gurus in the industry.
Published 14 months ago by diego ivars
5.0 out of 5 stars Very in depth analysis of acoutics
This book contained a lot more information than I needed to set up my 7.1 surround system, but all the extra information was extremely interesting and goes into the mathematics and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Russell H. Evenhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Turning art into science
There's no hard and fast rule on setting up the right listening room or designing the "perfect" loudspeaker system. Read more
Published on September 24, 2011 by Savvas Sidiropoulos
2.0 out of 5 stars An academic exercise of little practical use
Many of the rave reviewers here are manifestly audio professionals, some doubtless friends of the author. Read more
Published on July 28, 2011 by George Goldberg
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite audio-related book of all time
Not just for home theater enthusiasts! Any serious student of audio should own this book. Not borrow it, but own it so you can read it more than once. Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by David Townsend
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing, extremely well written essay on what is good sound
This is one of the best (if not "the best") summary of what constitutes good sound on how to get it. Read more
Published on May 18, 2011 by Francisco Huerta
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is a "must read" for would-be audiophiles who really want to understand how speaker systems work in typical rooms.
Published on April 7, 2011 by Doug Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information!
I received this book for christmas. I am the typical forum reader- Searching and reading all thing audio on the internet. Read more
Published on December 31, 2010 by W. Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource, with one quibble
I agree with most of the other reviewers here, especially Howard Ferstler, who details the book's omission of many classic speaker designs. Read more
Published on December 29, 2010 by J. Paulsonn
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Topic From this Discussion
Anyone tried the Kindle version?
I rented the kindle version and found it very hard to read on my kindle 4 - though I am a kindle fanatic I ended up getting the dead tree version. A reference book like this with lots of graphs and figures on different pages to the text that refers to them I found heavy going on a kindle, a lot... Read more
Jul 14, 2013 by zog |  See all 2 posts
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