Book Reviews

With all the technical information on line, I still like books. You’ll find some pointers to some good reading material here. More will be added as I catch up with my reading.

  • Total Recording, David Moulton – To start the ball rolling here, this is a review I originally wrote for Recording Magazine in 2001. Ten years later, I still think it’s a valuable resource.
  • Audio Metering, Eddy B. Brixen – This is an amazingly comprehensive book for its size starting from the ground up – principles of sound, hearing, perception, lots of principles and formulas, but kind of shy on practical applications. A tough read, but a decent reference book.
  • Sound and Recording Sixth Edition – Francis Rumsey & Tim McCormick – This is the one to have if you’re having only one. A long time desk reference for audio topics, it’s complete, accurate, detailed, and easy to understand even for complex subjects. Highly recommended.
  • Self on Audio (3rd Edition), Douglas Self – An informative book on analog audio design problems and their solutions. The basis is a collection of project design articles written by the author over the past 40 years, with each article having a newly written and extensive preface that gives good background on why the project was undertaken and how it developed. It can be pretty complex at times, but anyone with a basic knowledge of electronics can understand it. Note that it’s all about solid state circuitry. You’ll need to look elsewhere for your “phat toob” designs.
  • Recording Unhinged, Sylvia Massy with Chris Johnson – Not a highly technical book, no recording secrets of famous engineers, but an enjoyable read of philosophy, session stories, geeky gear, gadgets, and some useful tips on how to get the best out of a song and an artist. In addition to Massy’s own writing and artwork, there are many short (1-2 paragraphs) articles contributed by engineers and producers that she’s known and worked with over the years. Being strictly an acoustic music engineer myself, it’s a little hard for me to relate directly to most of her projects where are pretty hard rock, but the advice is sound, the technology is straightforward, and you don’t have to read it all at once.
  • Practical Audio Electronics – Kevin Robinson   –  From the synopsis, I really wanted to like this book because I thought it was a good thing that one like this existed. Unfortunately, when I got into it, I found it organized in a way that just didn’t make sense. There’s a lot of good information scattered throughout, but there’s just not a good flow that starts with basic principles and then moves on to their applications. Sorry, but I can’t recommend this book other than its value as a reference.
  • The Mackie Compact Mixer Reference Guide – It’s not fair for me to review this because I wrote a good bit of it and compiled it for Mackie. It’s a really good reference, though, so I wanted to include it here. Mackie’s concept for ths book was that, instead of a standard manual, it would serve as both a master manual for their full compact mixer line and a reference explaining, in more detail than a conventional manual, anything you’d want to know about mixers and how to use them. They ultimately decided that it was too expensive to include with every mixer, so they made it available for purchase in printed form ($29.95) or downloading (one PDF per chapter) for free. December 2015 update – Unfortunately Mackie has taken this off line. The link at the top of this paragraph now takes you to a PDF here, which is the latest copy of this book that I have.