The transducer characteristics of hydrophones manufactured from porous 3-3 piezocomposites are compared with dense piezoceramic disc hydrophones using finite element modelling. Due to the complex porous structure of the 3-3 piezocomposites, a real-size 3-dimensional model was developed while a 2-dimensional axisymmetric model was constructed for the simple dense disc hydrophone. The electrical impedance and receiving sensitivity of the hydrophones in water were evaluated in the frequency range 10-100 kHz. The model results were compared with the experimental results. The sharp resonance peaks observed for the dense piezoceramic hydrophone were broadened to a large extent for porous piezocomposite hydrophones due to weaker coupling of the structure. The receiving sensitivity of piezocomposite hydrophones is found to be constant over the frequency range studied. The flat frequency response suggests that the 3-3 piezocomposites are useful for wide-band hydrophone applications. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.