This paper presents a model of acoustic wave propagation in unconsolidated marine sediment, including compaction, using a concept of a simplified sediment structure, modeled as a binary grain-size sphere pack. Compressional- and shear-wave velocities and attenuation follow from a combination of Biot's model, used as the general framework, and two viscoelastic extensions resulting in complex grain and frame moduli, respectively. An effective-grain model accounts for the viscoelasticity arising from local fluid flow in expandable clay minerals in clay-bearing sediments. A viscoelastic-contact model describes local fluid flow at the grain contacts. Porosity, density, and the structural Biot parameters (permeability, pore size, structure factor) as a function of pressure follow from the binary model, so that the remaining input parameters to the acoustic model consist solely of the mass fractions and the known mechanical properties of each constituent (e.g., carbonates, sand, clay, and expandable clay) of the sediment, effective pressure, or depth, and the environmental parameters (water depth, salinity, temperature). Velocity and attenuation as a function of pressure from the model are in good agreement with data on coarse- and fine-grained unconsolidated marine sediments. (C) 2008 Acoustical Society of America.