Having worked within the field of acoustic simulation for loudspeaker drivers for over 10 years, I have become very familiar with the large variety of acoustic simulation software on the market.
Some simulation software is acoustic specific, however, the vast majority of the best simulation packages take a multi-physics approach and can simulate a wide variety of engineering problems and not just acoustics.
One of the best acoustic simulation software packages is COMSOL. Although many professional simulation software packages are available which can complete excellent acoustic simulations, COMSOL dominates in the acoustics industry.
In this article, I am going to discuss the 9 best simulation software packages on the market, which can simulate acoustic problems accurately.
My background is loudspeaker driver design, so I will focus on the simulation software that is particularly good at this, but I will also cover other general acoustic engineering problems, covering:
- What is an acoustic simulation?
- 9 best acoustic simulation software packages
What Is An Acoustic Simulation?
An acoustic simulation is the process of modelling the sound waves that are produced by an object or system. This can be done using software that considers the physical properties of the object or system, in order to predict how the waves will propagate.
This process can predict the sound produced by anything from a musical instrument to a building and can be used to study the effects of noise on people or the environment.
9 Best Acoustic Simulation Software Packages
There are a number of excellent acoustic simulation software packages available on the market.
There are also a lot of “task-specific” acoustic simulation software packages that are useful for completely only certain acoustic tasks, such as working out the modal response of a listening room.
The following acoustic simulation software packages are based on my experience working as an acoustic simulation engineer. These are all professional simulation software packages that can simulate a wide variety of acoustic problems, from loudspeaker design to vibration noise in mechanical parts.
COMSOL is a powerful simulation software package that can be used to simulate a wide range of engineering problems, including a variety of acoustic problems.
The software is very user-friendly and can simulate both simple and complex problems. It includes a wide range of features that make it one of the best acoustic simulation software packages on the market.
The multi-physics approach of COMSOL means that the acoustics can be coupled with other physical effects, for example, considering the magnetic field in speakers or the structural mechanics of a speaker chassis.
ANSYS software is the global leader in engineering simulation. Engineers use it to predict how products will perform under real-world conditions. ANSYS customers span a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, medical devices and semiconductors.
Ansys Acoustics Simulation is a software program used to predict how products will perform under real-world conditions regarding sound.
It is a powerful and professional acoustic simulation package and a global leader.
3. Siemens Acoustic Simulation
Siemens Acoustic Simulation software is a program that allows users to simulate the acoustic behaviour of rooms and buildings or minimise noise through simulation. It can be used to predict how sound will travel in a given space, as well as to identify potential noise pollution issues.
Architects, engineers, and environmental consultants used the software to design sound-proofing solutions for a variety of applications.
Just like COMSOL and ANSYS, the Siemens Acoustic Simulation software is powerful and versatile and a professional solution for any acoustic simulation or vibration engineering problem.
ABAQUS Simulation Software is a computer program used for finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. It is produced by Dassault Systèmes.
The program is used in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. It can simulate the behaviour of structures and systems under a variety of loads and conditions.
From my experience, ABAQUS is a firm favourite amongst mechanical design engineers and I have used it extensively for drop test analysis of manufactured parts.
ABAQUS is a powerful tool that can help engineers to understand the behaviour of complex acoustical systems.
Just like COMSOL and ANSYS, it can be used to optimise designs and investigate the effects of different loads on structures and components.
ABAQUS is a versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of applications. It is user-friendly and can be customised to meet the needs of individual users.
5. MSC Nastran
The MSC Nastran Simulation software is a finite element analysis (FEA) program that is used to predict the behaviour of physical systems. It can be used to simulate the movement and stresses on objects, as well as the effects of forces and vibrations on structures.
MSC Nastran is used by engineers and scientists in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, and mechanical engineering. It is also used in academia for research and teaching.
MSC Nastran has been developed by MSC Software Corporation (formerly Matrix Science Corporation) and is currently owned by Hexagon AB.
From my experience, Nastran is predominately a favourite in the structural engineering sector and is not the first choice for acoustic engineers. But since it is such a versatile and capable software and has acoustic modelling features, it is worth checking out.
6. PAFEC VibroAcoustics
PAFEC VibroAcoustics is a very powerful acoustic analysis software. It uses finite element and boundary element methods to solve a variety of acoustics simulation problems.
In addition, PAFEC has a loudspeaker analysis tool called PadLS.
As well as being able to complete structural element analysis, it is a powerful tool for loudspeaker designers or those who simulate complex problems in the acoustic domain.
7. ALTAIR Acoustics
Similar to COMSOL and ANSYS, Altair is part of a large simulation software platform that can simulate a vast variety of simulation problems across a variety of engineering fields.
For example, Altair can be used to study the aerodynamic and thermodynamic behaviour of fluids. It can simulate the flight of aircraft and missiles, as well as the flow of air over cars and ships. Altair is also used to study the effects of wind on buildings and other structures.
It is a very advanced and complex simulation package capable of solving acoustic problems.
8. OpenFOAM Aeroacoustics
OpenFOAM is a free and open-source software package. It is an incredibly powerful and free way to complete CFD simulations.
The downside of OpenFOAM is that since it is open source, there is no fancy user interface when using it for free and therefore some savvy IT skills are needed to get up and running.
Once installed and working, it is a really powerful CFD tool that can solve fluid simulation problems, which air is.
9. Odeon Room Acoustics Software
Odeon Room Acoustics Software is a program that allows users to simulate the acoustics of a room. It can be used to predict how sound will travel and echo in a room, as well as to adjust the acoustic properties of a room in order to improve its sound quality.
Unlike all the other acoustic simulation software mentioned, this simulation is task-specific, meaning that it can only be used for simulating room acoustics.
If you want to simulate speaker designs, check how vibration affects a part, or complete more complex acoustic simulations, then this software is not for you as it is limited to room acoustic simulation only.
In the world of room acoustic simulation, however, it is a leader.
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The best acoustic simulation software for you depends on your needs and the type of simulations you want to do.
If you need general-purpose simulation software that can be used for a variety of engineering problems, then COMSOL, ANSYS, Altair, or OpenFOAM are good options.
If you need to simulate the acoustics of a room, then the Odeon Room Acoustics Software is a good option.
My personal favourite is COMSOL, and I have found that it leads the field professionally in the world of acoustic simulation software, followed closely by ANSYS.