Containing, producing, arising from, actuated by, related to, or associated with
Acoustic is used to modify terms that designate an object, or physical characteristics, associated with sound waves; acoustical is used when the term being qualified does not designate explicitly something that has such properties, dimensions, or physical characteristics.
The following terms are examples of those modified by acoustic; impedance, intertance, load (radiation field), output (sound power), energy, wave, medium, signal, conduit, absorptivity, transducer.
The following examples do not have the requisite physical characteristics and therefore take acoustical; society, method, engineer, school, glossary, symbol, problem, measurement, point of view, device.
As illustrated, the generic term is usually modified by acoustical, whereas the specific technical term calls for acoustic.
This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use