Way back in 1999, Sandeep Mittal, Technical Director of Anutone, attended the joint meeting of ASA, EAA & DAGA in Berlin, Germany that culminated a decade of self-study of acoustics, right through the 1990s, and mentorship by the then masters in India – Prof BS Ramakrishna & Dr BVA Rao, Bangalore – Burjor Mistry & Jal Mistry, Mumbai – Uma Shankar Bhargava, New Delhi.


On returning from the Berlin Meet where he also had the good fortune of meeting a legend – Leo Beranek – he founded Soundesigns, a consulting firm on acoustics and noise, as the need was felt for a professional approach to the discipline for India entering the 21st century.

Soundesigns ran its successful course till 2014 but left Anutone with a rich legacy of acoustical and related books bought and collected in the 1990s.




A pandemic and the consequent lockdown provide time for reading options and what better for an industry professional in architectural acoustics than to expand their knowledge with these books on acoustics.

You may be academically qualified and you may be practically experienced but books in your library are forever – a continuous source of knowledge or a reference guide whenever needed.

Some books are must-have, some are theory, some are practical and some are just for hobby. Here is our bestseller list catalogued for your easy understanding.

Modern History – 2 books

History of modern acoustics is all about Wallace Clement Sabine and later the Sabine cousins. Here are 2 books:

  1. The Sabines at Riverbank – Kopec
  2. Collected Papers on Acoustics – Sabine



Acoustics as a subject – 9 books

Architectural acoustics is the main subject of Anutone and here are 9 bestsellers in no particular order:

  1. Master Handbook of Acoustics – Alton Everest
  2. Architectural Acoustics Design Guide – Acentech’s James Cowan
  3. Architectural Acoustics – David Egan
  4. Architectural Acoustics – Principles & Practice – William Cavanaugh & Joseph Wilkes
  5. Architectural Acoustics – Principles & Design – Madan Mehta, Jim Johnson, Jorge Rocafort
  6. Acoustical Designing in Architecture – Knudsen & Harris
  7. Acoustics in the Built Environment – Duncan Templeton
  8. Acoustics and Noise Control Handbook – Leland Irvine & Roy Richards
  9. Architectural Acoustics – Yoichi Ando

Reinforced Sound & Audio – 4 books

 Acoustics is about the behavior of sound after it emanates from loudspeaker and reaches the ear. Audio is behavior of sound from the mouth to microphone to processing and till it reaches the loudspeaker. Both are interlinked and any study of acoustics is incomplete without study and understanding about audio.

Here are 4 books of interest:

  1. Handbook for Sound Engineers – Glen M Ballou
  2. Sound System Engineering – Don Davis & Carolyn Davis
  3. Live Sound Reinforcement – Scott Hunter Stark
  4. Audio Engineering for Sound Reinforcement – John Eargle & Chris Foreman


Performing Spaces – 3 books

Architectural acoustics has to a large extent been about performing spaces like concert halls & auditoria. Books that focus on such acoustics are a useful read and here are 3:

  1. Concert & Opera Halls – Leo Beranek
  2. Auditorium Acoustics & Architectural Design – Michael Barron
  3. Theatres for Drama Performances – Richard Talaske & Richard Boner

Speciality Spaces – 5 books

For a comprehensive and holistic approach to acoustics in auditoria, concert hall and conference centres it is good to understand the finer nuances of design that go into the making of such specialty spaces:

  1. Theatres – Planning & Guidance – Roderick Ham
  2. Theatre Engineering & Stage – Toshira Ogawa
  3. Sound for Stage – Patrick Finelli
  4. Walt Disney Concert Hall – Patricia MacKay & Richard Pilbrow
  5. Conference Centers – Planning & Design – Richard Penner


Functional Performance – Lighting

Acoustics is just one aspect of functional performance of a space. Among many others is lighting and HVAC. The interlink and interplay between all services cannot be denied. An acoustical ceiling would need to integrate it all. Here are 2 on lighting and 2 on HVAC noise control.

  1. Architectural Lighting – David Egan & Victor Olgyay
  2. Concert Sound & Lighting – John Vasey

HVAC Noise Control

  1. Practical Guide to Noise & Vibration Control for HVAC Systems – Mark Schaffer
  2. Noise & Vibration control for HVAC – CIBSE Guide B5

Noise & Vibration – 5 books

From acoustics we move onto related subjects – noise and vibration. Essentially sound and hearing is vibration. On the other hand, noise is more about unwanted sound and mainly due to mechanical equipment.

  1. Handbook of Acoustical Measurements & Noise Control – Cyril Harris
  2. Handbook of Noise & Vibration Control – Antony Barber
  3. Sound & Vibration – Design & Analysis – NEBB
  4. Procedural Standards for Measurement & assessment of Sound & Vibration – NEBB
  5. Handbook for Industrial Noise Control – NASA

Acoustics, Noise & Vibration Mathematical – 6 books

Acoustics is not just a subjective art but a physical science. It can be very objective to a point of mathematical precision. For those who  are mathematically inclined these 6 books would be a good read:

  1. Noise & Vibration Control – Leo Beranek
  2. Engineering Noise Control – David Bies & Colin Hansen
  3. Acoustics – Leo Beranek
  4. Acoustical Measurements – Leo Beranek
  5. Fundamentals of Acoustics – Lawrence E. Kinsler, Austin R. Frey, Alan B. Coppens, James V. Sanders
  6. Room Acoustics – Heinrich Kuttruff


History of Acoustics

We started with the history of modern acoustics and we circle back to history but of the pre-modern era. Here are 2 books for hobby:

  1. Origins in Acoustics – Fredrick Hunt
  2. Sounds of our Times – Robert Beyer


Industry associations like CISCA and AWCI provide useful literature for their members. It is good practice to be members of such organisations and obtain relevant literature for reference and practical use:

  1. Ceiling System Handbook
  2. Metal Security Ceiling – Use & Practice

Conference Papers

  1. International Congress on Acoustics
  2. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


Some of the information in the books could be dated as these are editions from 1990s but the fundamentals remain the same and we can pick and choose what works best for us in 2020.

For example, sustainability and hygiene are hot-button topics for 2020, so acoustical design, products and installation that is sustainable and hygienic needs to be incorporated.


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