An apparatus for time‐resolved measurements of the birefringence induced in a particle suspension by an acoustic wave pulse is described. Efficient acoustic coupling is obtained by operating near the transducer resonant frequency and by matching the acoustic impedances of the cell constituents. An almost‐overdamped acoustic configuration can alternatively be employed whenever a faster response is needed. Careful design of the optical setup and of the detection unit minimize diffraction and stress‐birefringence parasitic effects and yields a good responsivity at fairly low acoustic intensities. A test of the apparatus on a colloidal suspension of PTFE rodlike particles is presented and discussed.