Audio Systems Design and Installation

Audio Systems Design and Installation
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Audio Systems Design and Installation by Philip Giddings, P. Eng.  Trade paperback. (xxvi + 574 pp, index)


As an audio system engineer or designer, you must understand the reasons for safe grounding, complete interconnection, and adequate—or exceptional—electronic housing. All three are given special attention in this book, including proven advice on cables, connectors, and electrical wiring. Uninformed specialists sometimes solve problems with techniques that compromise the safety and reliability of the system. That's why this book is so important. Audio Systems Design and Installation focuses on showing you how to solve design problems correctly, avoid costly mistakes, and add performance to your design and construction. Plus, this book demonstrates how to follow professional standards in developing audio systems so you can achieve harmony with safety and a vastly improved system design.

Recommended by InfoComm International as a CTS-D exam content resource, Audio Systems Design and Installation provides complete details on:

Power and Ground Systems

  1. Grounded Power Systems
  2. Technical Power Systems
  3. Earth Connection


  1. Interconnection Principles
  2. Patching Systems

Cables, Connectors, and Wiring

  1. Wire and Cable Construction
  2. Cable Preparation
  3. Assembly, Outboard, and Central Equipment Wiring

Housing Electronic Equipment

  1. The Equipment Rack Standard
  2. Rack Layouts
  3. AC Power, Grounding, and Cooling

Right-click to download the complete Table of Contents and Preface to the 2013 Printing here:      Click to download Table of Contents

"Don't let the title fool you, this is the book on interconnection wiring, grounding, shielding and AC power."Rane Pro Audio Reference

"It is so thorough, so well written and well illustrated that it has become an instant classic. Gloriously nuts-and-bolts. 'Instant classic,' 'must have,' 'perennial'—strong language, rarely justified. But wait until you see Audio Systems Design and Installation!" – Ted Uzzle, Sound & Video Contractor

"Anyone who has to install or work with a professional audio system should have a copy of this book." – Daniel R. von Recklinghausen, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society

"A landmark book that sets the standard by which all other such books should be judged. Every audio engineer, sound system designer, installer, and technician should read and understand the contents of this book." – Greg Vinci, IATSE 48, North Canton, OH

“This book is still the only place I have found guidelines for interfacing every conceivable combination of audio gear. If you are designing a studio, sound system, or other multimedia equipment, you need to read most of this book before you pick up your soldering iron.” – Michael W. Hulbert,  Anaheim, CA

“This is the bible of audio interfacing. I truly could not get along without this book.” – Francis P. Biancamano III, New York, NY

"Fills an important niche not well covered by any other text. I know of no other coverage of audio system grounding that provides the clarity, accessibility, and depth of this section. This book uses many charts. This is one of my favorite things about this book and keeps me using it after I have learned the important principles. In the opening section, Table 4-1 on the typical AC power consumption of various audio devices is a fabulously quick-and-dirty reference for getting power plans in the right ballpark. These charts help me do my job faster." – Christopher Plummer, Theatre Design & Technology

"We have a great admiration for Philip Giddings. We think he is the best in the business." – Richard Pilbrow, Theatre Projects Consultants

Philip Giddings launched his career in audio and AV over three decades ago after completion of a degree in Electrical Engineering at McGill University. Starting out as a project engineer for sound contracting firms, he early on identified gaps in many areas of the industry’s technical understanding. As a result, he researched and documented several areas he felt needed further insight. This resulted in his paper entitled “An Introduction to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) for Audio System Designers,” published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society in 1989.

In 1990, his text book Audio Systems Design and Installation was published by Sams Publishing. The book further detailed several areas including technical grounding, interconnection, and installation techniques. Hailed as an ‘instant classic’ by the critics of the day, much of the text’s content remains valid over two decades later. With the book in print, he turned his attention to founding an engineering firm, Engineering Harmonics, that specializes in audio systems design and engineering. As an industry authority, Philip was subsequently invited to present at various AES chapters, the Peabody School of Music, IAAM and other societies.

Engineering Harmonics quickly broadened its scope to include AV and broadcast systems, and today also offers control systems programming services. The firm currently has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. In 2013 the corporate ownership expanded to include five partner shareholders. Engineering Harmonics’ success is the result of a continued effort to bring to all projects, value and expertise into a rigorous and standardized methodology that continues to evolve and improve. Philip remains a senior consultant to the firm. He can be found on LinkedIn.

From the Preface to the New Corrected Edition

Audio Systems Design and Installation has been out of print for years. As the author, I have been contacted by many trying to obtain a copy. While the book was published over 20 years ago, most of the content is still important, relevant and unique. As time has passed, I have been told what a valuable resource the book has been from those seeking the best practices in audio design and installation. It has been rewarding to know this. It is, of course, why I wrote it in the first place—to raise the bar.

I have also been asked to revise the book. Regrettably, time and energy have not allowed this, and rather than delay further, I have decided to reprint the book as it first appeared. The book is largely correct as it stands. The section on technical power and grounding is still applicable. Although digital systems are less prone to EMI, they are still vulnerable, and good technical power and ground are really not very costly. Readers should be aware that for extensive equipment rooms, a signal reference grid (SRG)—not discussed in the book—is more appropriate. This can be researched on the web.

The extensive section on analog interconnect has merit. I have been told it is the definitive reference on the subject, and so it should be accessible to those who dig the sound of good, clean analog audio. I was once told by a book fan that he had wired his studio exactly as shown in the book and his noise floor was fabulous.

The last half of the book on installation practices is still relevant—and indeed still needed—as many of these best practices are still not commonplace, except in the most competent of contracting firms. Time has shown that the positive results that the book can bring to audio system performance are worth the effort of getting to know the material.

– Phil Giddings, September 2013

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Giddings, Philip, author
          Audio systems design and installation / Philip Giddings.

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-9920244-0-6 (pbk.)

          1. High-fidelity sound systems--Equipment and supplies. 
2. Electric cables.  3. Electric connectors.  4. Electric wiring. 
I. Title.

TK7881.7.G53 2013              621.382'8            C2013-908141-0

Book dimensions 9.25 x 7.25 x 1.25 in

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