Course detail

Sound System Design and Optimization

FEKT-MPC-SD2Acad. year: 2023/2024

The subject deals with the building blocks of sound systems, the characteristics of subwoofers and sub-bass arrays, methods of horizontal and vertical space coverage, optimization of a sound system in real space and sound design using a separate box, using an array of coupled point sources and using an asymmetric composite array of coupled point sources. 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, practical demonstrations in an anechoic chamber, and the design and implementation of sound systems in real space.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

Basic knowledge of sound system design, knowledge of the basics of sound physics and the way of mutual interaction of sound waves, knowledge of basic properties of building blocks of sound systems and their use 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 subject follows the introduction given in subject Fundamentals of Sound Systems Design. The aim of the course is to acquaint students with real sound systems. During the lectures and subsequent practical exercises the students will gradually pass the process of design of sound systems of different sizes from the initial simulation and the decision about the selection of suitable means to the realization of the system and its optimization in the given space.
On completion of the course, students are able to:
- describe building blocks of sound systems,
- explain methods of shaping directional characteristics of sound systems,
- specify the sound system requirements for a particular space,
- design a field of bound spherical resources for optimal horizontal and vertical coverage of space,
- design a line source for optimal horizontal and vertical coverage.

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 (CS)
EVEREST, F. Alton. Master handbook of acoustics. 4. vyd. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics. 615 stran. 2001. ISBN 978-0071603324 (CS)
RAICHEL, Daniel R., Science and application of acoustic, second edition. Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 647 stran. 2006. ISBN: 978-0387-26062-4 (CS)
DAVIS, D., PATRONIS, E. Jr., BROWN, P., Sound system engineering, fourth edition. 627 stran. Focal Press; 2013, ISBN: 978-0-240-81846-7 (CS)

Recommended reading

Not applicable.


Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPC-AUD Master's

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

Type of course unit



12 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Objectives of sound system design. Building blocks of sound systems in terms of sound spectrum and in terms of location in space. Phase subtraction, characteristics of subwoofers - frequency range, dimensions, radiation characteristics, polarity. Parallel pyramid. Subbass point source, line source. 1 lambda distance.
  2. Beam-steering - shaping the directional characteristics. Level tapering, delay tapering, sub-bass field of point sources. Cardioid sub-bass arrays - end-fire configuration, gradient configuration, advanced sub-bass configuration.
  3. Detailed specification of sound system requirements. Types of audio system channels according to audio content. Classification of sources according to sound pressure level. Ratio of sound pressure levels of the main sound system and subwoofers.
  4. Horizontal coverage, FAR, beam angle and horizontal direction of speakers, single source vs. compound source, symmetry, asymmetry. Optimizing the sound system in real space.
  5. Vertical coverage, beginning and end of coverage, types of main fields - the main element of the PA system, advantages and disadvantages, methods of use. Vertical routing, angle change, distance compensation. Sound system design using a separate box, sound system design using an array of connected point sources.
  6. Vertical asymmetry solution, line source design, line source segment, line source composite element, splay, element directivity, composite element ONAX, composite element crossover types. Sound system design using an asymmetric composite array of coupled point sources. Minimization of spectral variance, directing the radiation beam of low frequencies of the field of bound point sources. 

Laboratory exercise

14 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Simulation of the properties of subwoofers, polarity, design and simulation of a subwoofer array. Subwoofer array designer.
  2. Beam-steering of a sub-bass line source, delay tapering, level tapering. Subbass point source array. Cardioid subwoofer setups - end-fire, gradient.
  3. Advanced subwoofer setups. Subwoofer array directivity vs main PA. Phase comparison of subwoofers and main PA. Source - reflection interaction.
  4. Power scaling, horizontal coverage - covering sound systems - "filly". Sound system optimization.
  5. Vertical coverage, asymmetry. Composite element, ONAX. Sound design using a separate box, sound design using a coupled point source array.
  6. Design of sound system using coupled point source array.