The shape of a wave carries all information about the spatial and temporal structure of its source, given that the medium and its properties are known. Most modern imaging methods seek to utilize this nature of waves originating from Huygens' principle. We discuss the retrieval of the complete kinetic energy distribution from the acoustic trace that is recorded when a short ion bunch deposits its energy in water. This novel method, which we refer to as Ion-Bunch Energy Acoustic Tracing (I-BEAT), is a refinement of the ionoacoustic approach. With its capability of completely monitoring a single, focused proton bunch with prompt readout and high repetition rate, I-BEAT is a promising approach to meet future requirements of experiments and applications in the field of laser-based ion acceleration. We demonstrate its functionality at two laser-driven ion sources for quantitative online determination of the kinetic energy distribution in the focus of single proton bunches.