The acoustic emission (AE) technique, whose modern roots are found in the early 50’s, analyses the elastic waves generated into solid materials in a frequency range usually well above the human ears limit. AE are sound waves emitted when abrupt variations occur in the local distribution of strain in a medium. These variations are generally associated with, for example, the growth of fractures, phase transformations and corrosion under various loading conditions. This is why the AE technique can be applied as a non destructive and passive tool in condition monitoring of structures, a typical application being the pressure vessels and piping field. In this paper, after a short summary on wave propagation, the AE is simulated by a pulse generator, acting on a bar and a plate. The aim is to highlight the effects of the sensors positioning on some of the parameters frequently adopted to describe the AE activity, e.g. its amplitude and strength.