Course detail

Fundamentals of Sound System Design

FEKT-MPC-SD1Acad. year: 2023/2024

The course deals with the interaction of sound waves of multiple sound sources, the effect on the frequency characteristics of the source, sound pressure levels, spectral content, sound image and localization, as well as crossovers of speaker systems, types of speaker arrays, problematic of the stereophonic sound and spatial acoustics from the point of view of the design of sound systems. The laboratory exercises are aimed at practicing the theoretical knowledge from the lectures, they include work with the prediction software MAPP XT and the measurement software SMAART and practical demonstrations in an anechoic chamber.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

Knowledge of basic physical laws and quantities of the sound field, spectra of periodic and non-periodic signals and random variables are required.

Rules for evaluation and completion of the course

Evaluation of study results follow the BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations and Dean's Regulation complementing the BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations. Up to 40 points are awarded for the individual project from the laboratory exercises. The minimal scope of elaboration of the project is specified by a regulation issued by the guarantor of the course and updated for every academic year. Up to 60 points are given for the final written examination, and it is necessary to get at least 30 points for its successful completion.
It is obligatory to undergo all laboratory exercises in regular or alternative terms and work out the project in a minimal scope to complete the course. Other forms of checked instruction are specified by a regulation issued by the guarantor of the course and updated for every academic year.


The aim of the subject is to acquaint students with the field of design of sound systems, the basics of sound physics in terms of system design, the way of mutual interaction of sound waves, the description of basic properties of building blocks of sound systems and the way of their use, and introduction to real-time sound design.
On completion of the course, students are able to:
- describe principles of sound waves addition in space,
- describe the electronic and acoustic crossovers generated during sound reinforcement,
- specify parameters of loudspeaker box,
- describe the used types of speaker arrays,
- specify the decision factors of the sound system design,
- describe the acoustics of space in terms of the sound system design.

Study aids

Not applicable.

Prerequisites and corequisites

Not applicable.

Basic literature

MCCARTHY, Bob. Sound systems: design and optimization. Third edition. New York: Focal press, Taylor & Francis group, 2016, xx, 579 stran. ISBN 978-0-415-73099-0 (EN)
EVEREST, F. Alton. Master handbook of acoustics. 4. vyd. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics. 615 stran. 2001. ISBN 978-0071603324 (EN)
RAICHEL, Daniel R., Science and application of acoustic, second edition. Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 647 stran. 2006. ISBN: 978-0387-26062-4 (EN)
DAVIS, Don, Eugene PATRONIS, Pat BROWN a Glen BALLOU. Sound system engineering. Fourth edition. New York: Focal press, Taylor & Francis group, 2013, xv, 626 stran. ISBN 978-0-240-81846-7 (EN)

Recommended reading

Not applicable.


Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPC-AUD Master's

    specialization AUDM-TECH , 2. year of study, winter semester, compulsory-optional
    specialization AUDM-ZVUK , 2. year of study, winter semester, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



12 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Audio system design objectives, reference signal, sound reproduction, PA system, phase, polarity, phase frequency response, module frequency response, addition of audio signals. Sum zone, transition zone, combination zone, isolation zone. Ripple and variability of ripple frequency characteristics, sound pressure level, spectral content, sound image, localization.
  2. Types of crossovers, types of filters, spectral electronic separators, spectral acoustic crossovers.
  3. Directivity, coverage and beam angle of the speaker box, sound beam width, filter order vs. loudspeaker order, constant and proportional directivity, spatial acoustic separator, spatial acoustic crossover.
  4. Types of speaker arrays, point source, line source, concave source. United vs. distributed resources. Speaker spacing. line source, array of connected point sources.
  5. Loudness in terms of sound system design, swing factor, dynamic headroom. Localization, head-related transfer function, interaural time and intensity differences, Haas effect in terms of sound system design. Stereophonic reproduction and its perception (simulation and practical verification). Perception of tonal changes, spatial changes, echoes. Excessive detection of amplified sound.
  6. Sound system design decision factors, prediction software requirements, source-reflector interaction, spatial acoustics from the point of view of sound system design. 

Laboratory exercise

14 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Getting familiar with the MAPP XT software, control ergonomics, basic settings and functions of the simulation environment.
  2. Introduction to SMAART software, ergonomics of control, basic settings and functions, RTA analysis, impulse response, transfer function, FFT. Spectral crossovers.
  3. Loudspeaker directivity, constant Q, proportional/progressive Q. Spatial crossovers.
  4. Spatial crossovers, phase addition of sound signals (simulation of X measurements), simulation of line source array, simulation of point source array, simulation of point destination array.
  5. Vertical and horizontal localization, stereo effect, perception of tonal changes, spatial changes or echoes - frequency dependence, perception of distance from the source.
  6. Simulation of source-reflection interaction, simulation of reflections of a rectangular closed space, sound design for a real space using point-source systems.