The use of acoustic velocity for different purposes is becoming widespread in the forestry industry. However, there are conflicting reports on how well this technology reflects the mechanical properties of trees. In this study, the prediction of timber quality using acoustic technology was evaluated on mature standing trees of three softwood species. The velocity in 490 standing trees was measured in several directions (longitudinal, radial and tangential). A sub-sample of trees was felled and the acoustic velocity was measured in 120 logs which were then sawn into structural-sized timber. A total of 1383 boards were tested for bending, as were small clear specimens extracted from the structural-sized boards. The mean tree values of the timber grade-determining properties (elastic modulus, bending strength and density) of both specimen sizes were related to the acoustic velocities and tree slenderness. The correlations between the mean tree mechanical properties and acoustic velocities were relatively low, most likely due to a high ratio of diameter to measurement distance. The transverse directions showed similar correlations with mechanical properties in larger-diameter trees to the longitudinal direction, as did tree slenderness. The results suggest that while the acoustic velocity in the longitudinal direction can reflect the mean tree mechanical properties in small-diameter trees, alternatives are needed to achieve the same in larger-diameter trees.