A series of uniaxial-compression tests were conducted on some representative brittle rock specimens, such as granite, marble and dolerite. A multi-channel, high-speed AE signal acquiring and analyzing system was employed to acquire and record the characteristics of AE events and demonstrate the temporal and spatial distribution of these events during the rupture-brewing process. The test result showed that in the primary stage, many low amplitude AE events were developed rapidly and distributed randomly throughout the entire specimens. In the second stage, the number of AE increased much slower than that in the first stage, while the amplitude of most AE events became greater. Contrarily to the primary stage, AE events clustered in the middle area of the specimen and distributed vertically conformed to the orientation of compression. The most distinct characteristic of this stage was a vacant gap formed approximately in the central part of the specimen. In the last stage, the number of AE events increased sharply and their magnitude increased accordingly. The final failure location coincidently inhabited the aforementioned gap. The main conclusion is that most macrocracks are developed from the surrounding microcracks existed earlier and their positions occupy the earlier formed gaps, and the AE activity usually becomes quite acute before the main rupture occurs.