Sine wave acoustics

Acoustics Engineers

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Every day if you listen to the radio you will most likely hear an advertisement for a popular audio chain that promises to improve the audio quality of the sound in your vehicle.  This chain is capitalizing on this market and the overall need that people have for good quality sound.  Good audio quality is pleasing to the ears and allows people to relax and enjoy while they are driving but poor quality sound can be grating to our ear drums making us visibly cringe as if someone was running their nails across a chalkboard.  When we are driving we are trapped in a small little bubble and this experience can either be pleasurable and we can listen to the music that we enjoy without outside noise or it can be a miserable experience plagued by the sounds of traffic, the road or even the squeak and rattle of the vehicle all which can distract from the driving experience.

Creating the ideal audio driving experience is the role of the acoustics engineer.  This engineering position is key to creating a car that is a pleasure to drive from the low end economy car where they must create low-cost sound insulation to the high-dollar luxury automobile that pulls out all the stops to have a virtual sound room on wheels for the passengers of the vehicle.  No matter where on the scale the engineer works the goal for the end result is the same, a disturbance free, high-quality audio experience.

Educational requirements for an acoustics engineer

The educational requirements for an acoustics engineer are similar to other engineering degrees where you will want to have a strong background in math, science, physics and even chemistry.  These core classes will give any prospective student the background they will need to succeed in this field.   When you are selecting a degree field there are specialty degrees available for acoustics engineers or you could earn a degree in mechanical engineering with a focus in acoustics to make your degree more marketable while you search for the ideal job and gain experience needed to work in a specialty field.  The acoustics engineering degree and acoustics focus with a mechanical engineering degree will both require the student to complete courses in acoustics theory, noise reduction, ultrasonics, nonlinear acoustics and even underwater sound.  They will have the opportunity to work with a variety of measuring devices and experience the surreal feeling of an anechoic chamber which eliminates all echoes from the environment allowing the engineer to focus purely on the sounds being produced by the item under test.  All of this experience will prepare the student for a career in the acoustics engineering field within the automotive industry.

Working as an acoustics engineer

The acoustics engineer role is essential to the success of any automobile design.  During each phase of the design they will be involved assessing performance in the prototype, pilot and production phases.  They will measure the quality of sound that is produced by the audio systems within the vehicle but also listen to the noise within the cab of the vehicle to see if it exceeds the design specifications and will create an unfavorable environment.  If an unpleasant sound is detected, they will work with the design engineer to make alterations to the design to eliminate the issue.  For example, if the side view mirrors are creating too much wind resistance they will make design suggestions to reduce drag and limit the noise due to the wind.

Traveling in an automobile is more than just getting from point A to point B, it is about the entire experience and the acoustic engineer is responsible for that aspect of the end user experience with the vehicle.

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