A system for determining properties of settling suspensions includes a settling container, a mixer, and devices for ultrasonic interrogation transverse to the settling direction. A computer system controls operation of the mixer and the interrogation devices and records the response to the interrogating as a function of settling time, which is then used to determine suspension properties. Attenuation versus settling time for dilute suspensions, such as dilute wood pulp suspension, exhibits a peak at different settling times for suspensions having different properties, and the location of this peak is used as one mechanism for characterizing suspensions. Alternatively or in addition, a plurality of ultrasound receivers are arranged at different angles to a common transmitter to receive scattering responses at a variety of angles during particle settling. Angular differences in scattering as a function of settling time are also used to characterize the suspension.