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Introduction to Loudspeaker Design 1st Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0966377323
ISBN-10: 096637732X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Even if you don't know a woofer from a tweeter, but can solder, cut wood, and do basic arithmetic, this book will give you sufficient knowledge and intuitive grasp to select the type of system you need, and, with some software and/or experience, successfully design a complete speaker system. In conclusion, I cannot imagine a better "Introduction to Loudspeaker Design" than this book. And the low price of $24.95 represents a small fraction of the cost of one serious audio mistake, which this book should help prevent. --Speaker Builder, Issue 1/99

I highly recommend this book to anyone entering the difficult, but rewarding, area of speaker design. I found it a pleasure to read. With a lively writing style, Mr. Murphy accurately presents the necessary physics fundamentals (he is a physicist), while requiring no more than basic math understanding on the part of the reader. --Speaker Builder, Issue 1/99

A newer edition of this book is available as: ISBN 978-0966377347 --The Editor

From the Inside Flap

This work was begun in 1989 as part of the user's manual for my loudspeaker design software products. As I began talking with the users of these products I realized how difficult it was to locate introductory information on loudspeaker design. So I proceeded to expand my software manual to teach basic principles of audio and loudspeaker design. The work has now grown to the point where it can serve as an introduction to loudspeaker technology for hobbyists and engineers alike.

The design methods taught here follow the work of Neville Thiele and Dick Small. Ever since loudspeakers were first developed earlier this century to support the budding film industry the engineering analysis of loudspeaker enclosures was less than satisfactory until the publication of Neville Thiele's revolutionary work on loudspeakers in vented boxes in the 1970's. After Thiele's work was expanded and clarified by Dick Small the Thiele-Small Model for loudspeaker systems analysis finally emerged as a useful engineering design tool.

With the Thiele-Small method, the acoustic analysis of a loudspeaker enclosure was transformed and moved from the mysterious world of acoustics to the well-developed domain of electrical circuit analysis. Now, for the first time, we could create electrical circuit models that could predict the acoustic performance that would result when a given driver was mounted in a known enclosure. The implementation of Thiele-Small analysis on mainframe computers and hand-held calculators in the 1970's marked the beginning of the practice of loudspeaker design via simulation.

Today most loudspeaker design tasks are performed with the aid of a personal computer using a loudspeaker simulator such as my WinSpeakerz or MacSpeakerz applications. Therefore it should not come as a surprise that much of the discussion here will center on computer aided design methods.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: True Audio; 1 edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096637732X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966377323
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #832,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a good self-start on loudspeaker building. It tells WHAT are the things you have to look for in designing a working loudspeaker; there are many conflicting issues to address and the author states all of them clearly, not assuming the reader has a degree on the subject. This alone is a good reason to read this book. All popular box designs are explained and also some not-so-popular. It misses transmission lines, TQWT, horns and the like but this work is intended to be introductory. The explanation of Small-Thiele parameters is concise but clear. Most diagrams in the book are screen prints of the software program the author created (a good one in my opinion) and surely the book is a good software complement. The software does not cover the exotic designs that are missing in the book too. Some parts, like using a stetoscope to point-and-shoot enclosures behaviour are fun and intriguing. Having said all that, what I miss is WHY should I prefer an enclosure with a specific driver, WHAT parameters should I look for in a driver (assuming a given enclosure) and HOW do I have to orient myself in determining what is the best design for a given room/taste/sound/budget, real-world examples that is. But all in all the book is a easy-reading, good starting point on loudspeaker design that guarantees not to disappoint you, giving an overall outlook on the subject and clear useful technical knowledge to start with.
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Murphy explains in the introduction that this book grew out of his writing a user manual for his WinSpeakerz software (Real Audio, ...), and I have no doubt that it would be an excellent companion manual to many of the widely available louspeaker design suites on the market today.
Further, Murphy has written an extremely "readable" book, largely due to the profund paucity of mathematical formulae. For the mathematically challenged, the book is a good orientation to the overarching concepts of speaker design without an overwhelming level of quantitative detail. Also, certain oft-neglected concepts such as the importance of different spatial loadings of drivers or phase characteristics of crossovers are emphasized.
However, it is for precisely the above stated reasons that this book is NOT an introduction to the design of loudspeakers--at least, not an enabling one. A novice who read only this book would be no more able to design even a simple speaker than he would a nuclear weapon. A more honest title might be "Overview of Loudspeaker Design Principles," or even "Getting More Out of WinSpeakerz."
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Format: Paperback
From what I can tell, Murphy published this book himself, without the help of an editor or even a proofreader. He spells about as well as an engineer, and sentences are often missing verbs or other helpful grammatical signposts.
Yes, the book digests physics and EE quickly and easily enough for the beginner, but more often than not it serves as nothing more than an advertisement for Murphy's $130 speaker-design software. This isn't a bad idea, really, but the book is only 166 pages long, and not all of it is meat.
If you want to get an idea of what his software project is like, visit trueaudio.com
Overall it's a nice book, but don't expect to use this as a standalone bible for building speakers; it's more of an addition to your library.
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Format: Paperback
I've been working with loudspeakers for a long time but I sure learned a lot from this book. I was having trouble with speaker theory regarding the enclosure. But now after reading this I feel like I have a real grasp on the subject for the first time. The chapter titled "Loudspeaker Basics" really taught me what the box does and the design tradeoffs involved. I thought it explained the Thiele Small parameters clearly.
I bought it mostly because of the good review in Speaker Builder magazine and really enjoyed reading it.
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This book gives the basics of loudspeaker and basic filter design. The types and basic formulations besides the history. If you are new to the subject and still haven't decided to pick loudspeaker building as a hobby or not, this book can give you a broad idea about what is happening inside the world of loudspeakers. The language is simple and easy to follow. The sections are well organized. There are no in depth explanations that can scare the beginners away. A good collection of simple questions and answers like; where should I place the port or SPL, Size and Bass relation. I think the book covers all the common questions that beginners are afraid to ask.
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Murphy has done a better than average job of pulling together the technical considerations of loudspeaker design. He focuses on closed and vented designs sufficient to allow the first timer a fighting chance at successfully designing and building a speaker. The use of symbols is less than admirable, frequently mixing lower case and upper case symbols (see "F(sc)" on pp 48 v. "f(sc)" on pp 26). Proofreading would have made the book more enjoyable ("sign wave," pp 47). Editorial comments aside, if you want a relevant and timely book for the beginner this is it.
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This book is a good introduction to speaker building, but it's definitely nothing more than an introduction. Murphy examines most of the basic topics concerning speaker building, but doesn't go into much detail on any subject. And of course (because this is only an intro), there is no analysis of any advanced speaker building topics. It seems that Murphy's goal in writing this book is to expose the reader to speaker building fundamentals, rather than give the reader a thorough analysis of the topics (which makes sense, considering the small size of the book and its goal as an intro). Plus, this book is a good starting point from which the reader can go on to more complicated books.

Readers should be able to understand most topics without any prior acoustical or electrical knowledge, but some previous knowledge would help in certain places. Also, this book's organization is pretty bad (things aren't presented in a very good order), so definitions for certain terms appear several pages after where they were first discussed. This isn't too much of an issue because the book is so incredibly short that most readers will be able to read the whole thing within a day or two, and so the discussion of something will be fresh in the reader's mind when they find the definition.

Several reviewers criticize this book for being basically an instruction manual for the author's speaker simulation program (Winspeakerz), but I find this to be an invalid criticism. For one thing, the author explicitly states at the beginning of the book that this book originally came to be when the author was making the user's manual for this program, so it makes sense that there will be some overlap.
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