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What is needed to become an Acoustic Engineer?

I'm a Senior in High school and I play many instruments. lately I've been interested in how Acoustics work in any hall or space. I'd like to take a class on this especially in college but i am not sure where to start. Any comments and or tips are greatly appreciated.

#Music #Sound-Engineer #engineering #acoustics

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Al’s Answer

Electrical/electronic engineer would be great. You need a good DSP understanding. Some good schools may offer a degree in music engineering. Check out Penn States acoustic program as a reference.

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Jeffrey’s Answer

Acoustic Engineering has many branches of study, and there are many exciting career options! From concert hall design, to product sound quality (e.g. designing quiet cars) , speaker/microphone design, noise control engineering (e.g. designing quiet buildings), audio signal processing, sound system design, biomedical ultrasonic devices, just to name a few.

Most Acoustic Engineering programs are graduate level programs in Mechanical or Electrical engineering departments. If you are interested in architectural design and physical acoustics, then I would recommend pursuing a BS in physics or mechanical engineering. If you are more interested in the audio signal processing side, speakers and sound systems, etc, then go for a BS in electrical engineering.

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Paul’s Answer

This is certainly a rare one on CareerVillage! This might be considered a "cross-discipline" in many circles, as you need a solid foundation of science (physics and acoustics), but also a solid understanding of music and sound.

There are a number of possible positions in this area. The two areas I can imagine almost immediately are using that knowledge in software as an audio DSP engineer. That will involve designing and programming audio plugins for digital audio workstations, and professional live audio applications. The second would be as a room acoustics designer for concert halls, theaters and recording studios. (Actually that can go even further, as factories have become more sensitive to the high SPL levels the machinery can generate, and wish to reduce their liability with workmen's comp for hearing loss.)

Either way, it's going to be important to understand both the art and science of sound. As far as universities, I would look first for schools with a specific acoustic program (Penn State, as Mr. Prosuk mentioned). From there, look at schools with strong science and music departments. But if your focus is more towards room design, you may also consider architecture programs. Talk to advisors at the campuses and discuss your interests; they should be a great help to choose the best schools for your interests. Good luck!

Paul recommends the following next steps:

Research schools with acoustics, architecture and music programs
Research careers in audio DSP engineering and acoustic design; learn what skills are needed
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