Check Belmont College in Nashville, TN
You should take an independed study and study on your own and maybe you will come up with the great idea on creating a very good speaker.
There are lots of books on speaker designs and since you're becoming an EE with a mix of ME majors you may figure what boock suits you best.
You will also need the basics of acoustics i.e. sound pressure, resonance etc... which I guess you may've went through studying some ME and if not you may figure out when you start reading yourself.
I spent most of my adult life in an industry that I did not enjoy, and now I'm peddling audio gear, which I love. I still fantasize about designing loudspeakers, but the reality is I couldn't pass the math classes it would take to have a solid background. It took me three tries to pass the first calculus class, and I never passed another math class after that. So I can't help but be impressed by anyone who graduates with an engineering degree.
If this is your dream and your passion, I say go for it. I have come to believe in doing what you're passionate about, instead of what people expect of you or what would be most lucrative.
You might want to contact the Audio Engineering Society; someone there is likely to have a pretty good feel for what the best graduate-level programs are out there. You might also try contacting industry professionals to see what they'd do if they were in your shoes. In particular, you might contact Vance Dickason, editor of The Voice Coil loudspeaker industry publication. I don't know him, but he probably has an extremely thorough understanding of the loudspeaker industry today.
Hey maybe one day I'll peddle the stuff you design!
Best of luck to you,
If you want hands on experience, then work for someone who designs speakers that you like. Don't be shy. Knock loudly and frequently on those doors, and you will get it. You will learn far more that way than in a school, and you will be well on your way to building your own product, should you so desire. Go for it. You'll do great!
All the best,
Howard has a good point. There probably are very few schools that specialize in speaker design and so the best may be to learn-it-on-the-fly. That is how it seems to work very often these days. However, a graduate degree is useful for this up and coming generation, or so I am told by oldtimers at electrical engineering symposiums I attend.
We have at Virginia Tech a pretty good physics lab that I know has a state-of-the-art anechoic chamber but I don't think they do any speaker work - mostly RF. I am an EE/ME as well, currently researching nonlinear DC-DC converter circuits. I am thinking of building my own switching amp to satisfy my "doing the hobby" desires.
Duke is quite right though: do something you love at any rate.
I'm a grad student in physics at the university of texas. The mechanical engineering department here does some acoustics, but i'm not sure how audio related their research is. http://www.me.utexas.edu/
There are also other opportunities available here. At least in physics, i have the option of doing research under a research scientist at a research institute owned by the university. They do have several acoustics experiments on going there. http://wwwext.arlut.utexas.edu/researching/index.html
If nothing else, UT is a really good school. Top 10 physics and math, and i'm pretty sure their engineering is at least top 20. Also, austin is a great place to live. Much better than kentucky ; )(i'm from indiana)
Someone that you may want to speak with is Roy Johnson of Green Mountain Audio. He is the owner and designer at GMA, I believe he has a physics background. He is a really nice guy who really knows his stuff, and he may be willing to give you some guidance (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Always good to see a fellow Hokie lurking.
When the world was a larger place,you went where the specialists were congregated. Study automibles? Go Big Ten school close to Detroit. Motion pictures? Go Southern Cal close to Hollywood.
Now that the world is smaller,the best research and researchers are a few mouse clicks away.
Allow me to suggest that finding a school where you are comfortable,where your faculty advisor(s) will allow you to persue the work you want to do is important.
Internships? Post grad employment? What are the three speakers you respect the most? E mail their r and d departments and ask them what you've asked us.
You may want to check out Essex University in the UK.
When I was there during the late eighties, they had an excellent electronics engineering faculty and had a strong audio engineering biais thanks to a couple of professor highly involved in HiFi.
One of our professors was Dr. Malcom Omar Hawksford - a very well known HiFi guru and an active member (Chairman?) of AES. He wrote the famous Essex Echos articles, some of which were published in HiFi News and did an amazing mathematical model on cables and the effect on signals and possible sound! He also did the definitive technical review of the Linn SONDEK CD12.
One of his student projects (not mine !) was on digital crossovers taking into account room correction using the Celestion 6000 with those spherical subwoofers.
Dr. Richard Bews was another professor highly involved with acclaimed but underated LFD amplifier brand taught us loudspeaker Design and Crossover theory using using Martin Colloms book 'High Performance Loudspeakers'.
Other HiFi brands I believe were involved with Essex University students and/or its professors include Audiolab, Pink Triangle the PIP pre-amp, Celestion, Musical Fidelity, Audio Physic....
My suggestion is:
1) Contact the audio companies you respect
2) Ask their designers which research papers they are reading and who their authors are.
3) Find out what schools those authors work at, apply to those graduate schools, and do your dissertation under those researchers.
I would be interested to hear what the results of this search would be. My understanding is there is not much going on in the way of home audio engineering research; so many of the design concepts are decades old that the significant work is on refining those concepts, not creating new ones.