The Sound System Design Primer is an introduction to the many topics, technologies, and sub-disciplines that make up contemporary sound systems design.

Written in clear, conversational language for those who do not have an engineering background, or who think more in language than in numbers, The Sound System Design Primer provides a solid foundation in this expanding discipline for students, early/mid-career system designers, creative and content designers seeking a better grasp on the technical side of things, and non-sound professionals who want or need to be able to speak intelligently with sound system designers.

part I|256 pages

What Is a Sound System?

section I|47 pages


chapter 3|12 pages

What Is Sound?—Part 1

Acoustic Version

chapter 4|10 pages

What Is Sound?—Part 2

Electric Version

chapter 5|9 pages

What Is Sound?—Part 3

Digital Version

section II|44 pages


chapter 6|15 pages

Microphones (Wired)

chapter 7|12 pages

Microphones (Wireless)

chapter 9|10 pages

Playback Devices and Systems

section III|66 pages


chapter 10|20 pages

Preamplifiers and Mixing Consoles

chapter 11|17 pages

Effects—Part 1

Creative and Mixing Effects

chapter 12|13 pages


Digital Signal Processing

chapter 13|14 pages

Effects—Part 2

System Calibration Effects

section IV|14 pages


chapter 14|7 pages

Power Math

chapter 15|6 pages

Power Amplifiers

Plus a Note on Power Conditioners, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, and Distros

section V|32 pages


chapter 16|21 pages


chapter 17|9 pages

Monitoring Systems

section VI|21 pages

Computers and Sound

chapter 18|10 pages

Networks and Connectivity

chapter 19|6 pages

Show Control

chapter 20|5 pages

Triggers, Sensors, and Customization

section VII|18 pages

Communication Systems

chapter 21|9 pages

Audio Com Systems

chapter 22|4 pages

Paging Systems

chapter 23|4 pages

Video Com

We Know It’s Not Audio, But It’s Almost Always Our Job Anyway!

section VIII|10 pages


chapter 24|10 pages

Cable Types and Their Uses

part II|47 pages

How Do You Set Up, Test, and Calibrate a Basic Sound System?

section IX|13 pages


chapter 26|5 pages

Testing and Troubleshooting

section X|31 pages


part III|183 pages

What Type of Sound System Do You Need?

section XI|66 pages

The Basic Process of System Design

chapter 30|9 pages

Understanding the Source Material

chapter 31|6 pages

Understanding the Venue

chapter 32|3 pages

Understanding the Audience

chapter 34|23 pages

Selecting Loudspeakers and Positions

Loudspeaker Modeling

chapter 36|6 pages

Refining Your Choices

section XII|115 pages

The Different Types of Sound System

chapter 37|7 pages

Concerts, Small Scale

chapter 38|13 pages

Concerts, Large Scale, and Festivals

chapter 39|11 pages

Theater—Straight Plays

chapter 40|10 pages


chapter 45|11 pages

Recording/Mixing/Mastering Studios (Project and Commercial) for Music, Film, Etc.

Including a Brief Note on Sound Stages for Visual Media

chapter 47|5 pages

Creative Systems

Multimedia Art Galleries, New Media, New Uses

part IV|81 pages

How Do You Document and Present Your Design?

section XIII|37 pages

Technical Drawing

chapter 48|9 pages

Basic Technical Drawing Standards

Organizing and Labeling, Drawing Setup, Notes on Computer Drafting, Etc.

chapter 49|13 pages

Plan and Elevation Views

Including Rack Elevations

chapter 50|4 pages

System Block Diagrams

Audio, Control, Network Risers

chapter 51|6 pages

Mounting Details

chapter 52|3 pages

Magic Sheets

section XIV|30 pages

Other Technical Documentation

chapter 53|6 pages

Hookups and Workbooks

chapter 55|3 pages

Budget Documents

chapter 56|4 pages

Technical Narratives

chapter 57|6 pages

Presentation Packaging

To Clients, Bidders, and Integrators

section XV|11 pages

Presenting Your Work to Paying Clients

chapter 58|4 pages

First Presentations

chapter 59|3 pages

Revisions and Value Engineering

chapter 60|3 pages

Finalizing and Signing Off