Vibration and Acoustic Sensors

Training Center Classroom

Whether you are knee-deep in industrial, machinery, automotive systems, or medical devices, the design challenges posed by acoustic and vibration sensors are pretty much the same: environmental (think harsh!); noise and interference, which require appropriate filtering and signal processing capabilities; sensitivity and accuracy to assure precise measurements and balancing the two with the need to minimize power consumption; and size and form factor. The issue of harmonics and their potential interference with the desired sound or its tendency to create unwanted noise comes with acoustic sensors.

In this classroom, we present the background of these challenges and tutorials that specifically address the solutions, from types and uses of vibration sensors to navigating their usage and the multiple factors to consider when choosing them. If Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is not currently in your acronym lexicon, well, we’ve got that covered, as well as the test and measurement techniques necessary for your toolbox.

Start here and be prepared to go everywhere with your designs.

Aimee Kalnoskas

Editor in Chief, EE World Online

Vibration and Acoustic Sensors Classroom sponsored by: 

Vibration • Accelerometers

What are the types and uses of vibration sensors?

What are the subtleties of using accelerometers as vibration sensors?

What are ten key parameters of audio system performance?

Quantifying and measuring non-electrical phenomena: Vibration

Each sensor technology has unique performance characteristics that make it suitable for a specific type of applications.

There are numerous mechanical, environmental, electronic, and application-related factors to consider.

How these parameters are specified and measured and the safe sound levels that are specified.

Basic concepts of periodic versus random vibration, measuring vibration, and vibration characterization.

Harmonics • Measurement

Understanding instrumentation for measuring total harmonic distortion

What’s all this triplen harmonics stuff?

Understanding total harmonic distortion measurements

There are a few elusive details that come into play during THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) measurements.

Become more familiar with triplen harmonics — having to do with the third harmonic.

A relatively small number of harmonics diminish in amplitude with spectral distance from the fundamental.

Featured Resources:

Advancements of Shock Sensors for Product Testing

Transmission Loss in Acoustic Testing

This paper explores advancements in shock sensors, including multi-mode damping, ESD protection and low noise cables. We will compare the legacy and new technologies, and demonstrate the improvements in the new offerings.

Dr. Andrew Barnard shows how to test materials for sound absorption and loss. Learn how to choose the best materials for noise reduction from outside sources, such as wind and other noise.

Top Testing Protocols for Audio Applications

Quantifying Acoustic Sources Through Sound Power Measurements

This dynamic, informative webinar focuses on the importance of audio testing related to implementing speakers and headphones into your products. It provides practical, real-world knowledge for test and audio engineers to improve their testing practices.

Dr. Andrew R. Barnard discusses sound power measurement techniques, including free-field, reverberant, and in-situ. He provides tips for choosing the right method for your testing application, and demonstrates a “free-field over a reflecting plane” measurement using PCB Model 378B02 free-field microphones.

Noise • Audio • Acoustics

Audio measurements for product development

How does an acoustic camera work and what’s it good for?

The difference between electronic distortion and noise

Scanning for defects with sound waves

Recent advancements in SAM technology have significantly improved throughput speeds and defect detectability.

It pays to know the fundamental parameters that quantify the performance of sound equipment.

There are a variety of microphone array structures to support specific analysis needs.

The concepts of distortion and noise in signal processing overlap to a limited extent, but they are distinct phenomena.

PCB manufactures vibration, pressure, force and strain, shock, and acoustic sensors used by design engineers and predictive maintenance professionals worldwide for test, measurement, monitoring, and control requirements. Our sensors support testing in aerospace and defense, automotive, transportation, civil engineering, and general R&D industries. Primary sensing technologies include piezoelectric (ICP®), piezoresistive, and capacitive MEMS. With a worldwide customer support team, 24-hour SensorLine, and a global distribution network, PCB is committed to Total Customer Satisfaction. info at

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