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12 Books That Audiotuts Readers Love


Making music can be both intuitive and technical, emotional and rational, so there is always something to learn. In a recent Open Mic, Audiotuts readers shared which books have been most useful in their musical education.

Here is a list of 12 books - actually there are more, since some recommendations are sets of books - that were recommended in the comments to that Open Mic. With the comments, I've included a brief summary of each book, and a link to Amazon (or elsewhere) where you can buy the book. Buying from Amazon helps support Audiotuts in a small way.

1. Bobby Owsinski's Audio Books

Bobby Owsinski's books are well-known. We gave a copy of each book away earlier in the year, and many of you expressed your appreciation for his books in the comments of those competitions. Learn more about them from Bobby's site.

Bobby's books include:

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "Bobby Owsinski’s books are the absolute best for me. I always find them a good read." (Robert)
  • "Bobby’s The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook is a great read as well." (Björgvin)

2. "The Golden Ears Audio Ear Training Program" by Dave Moulton

An audio ear-training course for recording engineers, producers and musicians.

Buy it at KIQ Productions.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "I’ve been looking at the Golden Ears program from Dave Moulton and I have to say it’s helping here and there in different situations in sessions." (Robert)
  • "Yeah, I’m a big fan of the Golden Ears program. They’ve helped me out immensely, although I haven’t gotten the chance to complete it. Those last few chapters look intimidating though, recognizing reverb and delay times." (Björgvin)

3. "Modern Recording Techniques" by David Miles Huber & Robert E. Runstein

"The authors, both industry professionals, explore everything from microphone placement and studio design to desktop CD recorders and signal processing." (Book News, Inc.)

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • A favorite book of Björgvin.

4. "Behind the Glass" by Howard Massey

In this prime collection of first-hand interviews, 37 of the world's top record producers share their creative secrets and hit-making techniques - from the practical to the artistic. George Martin reveals the technical and musical challenges of working with The Beatles, while Phil Ramone, producer for such artists as Billy Joel, discusses studio wall treatments. Offering real-world advice on everything from mics to mixing to coaching a nervous singer, producers interviewed include Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin), Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Alan Parsons (Pink Floyd) and more.

There are two books in the series:

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "Howard Massey’s Behind the Glass I & II are inspiring to say the least." (Björgvin)
  • "Anyone thinking about recording popular music should read “Behind the Glass”. (Sam)
  • "Behind the Glass by Howard Massey – a must read." (The Modest Brothers)

5. "The Hal Leonard Recording Method" by Bill Gibson

Bill Gibson has created the only full recording course you'll ever need, in plain-English, with easy-to-understand explanations of the entire recording process using both classic equipment and the latest state-of-the-art recording technology. Each of the six books has hundreds of pages of text, full-color photographs and illustrations, plus dozens of audio and video examples to aurally and visually illustrate everything taught across the entire course.

The series of books includes:

  1. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.1 Microphones and Mixers
  2. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.2 Instrument and Vocal Recording
  3. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.3 Recording Software and Plug-ins
  4. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.4 Sequencing Samples and Loops
  5. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.5 Engineer and Producing
  6. Hal Leonard Recording Method Vol.6 Mixing and Mastering

You can also purchase these books together as a 6-pack:

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "The Hal Leonard Recording Method by Bill Gibson are amazing guides too, for easy to understand information." (Björgvin)

6. "Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools" by Roey Izhaki

Mixing remains one of the most illusive arts of recording practice and can take a life time to master. Looking at practices, concepts, tools and mixing instruments the author provides a comprehensive insight to the art and science of mixing.

The book is accompanied by the website www.mixingaudio.com, featuring a sample chapter, illustrations, audio and a user forum.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "I’ve always been fond of 'Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools' by Roey Izhaki. It’s not terribly in-depth, but gives a good foundation and pretty much instantly made my mixes better. It gave me a better understanding of how certain things work (compressors, expanders, modulation, etc.) which definitely helped more than simply knowing what they do and how to use them (if that makes sense)." (David)
  • "Great book. It helps me clarify and learn a lots of things. The compression part really helped." (LC)
  • The Modest Brothers also recommend this book.

7. "Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science" by Bob Katz

"In the book's 22 chapters and 13 appendices, Katz presents a text that is clear and easy to understand with just enough mathmatics and 'technical jargon' to explain the technology behind the theory, philosophy, and methodology of the mastering processes, but without overwhelming the reader." (Ron Streicher, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society)

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "My number one choice is easy: Mastering Audio: The Art and Science by Bob Katz. Lots of fundamentals, certainly not just for mastering engineers." (ngarjuna)

8. "Mixing With Your Mind" by Michael Paul Stavrou

"Two years in the writing, 20 years in the making. At last, Stav's book of Closely Guarded Secrets of Sound Balance Engineering. Browse through the pages, have a look and a sniff."

Foreword by Sir George Martin: "a remarkable insight into the most important piece of equipment in the recording studio - the human brain."

Buy it at www.mixingwithyourmind.com.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "I’m currently enjoying 'Mixing With Your Mind' by Michael Paul Stavrou. Interesting ideas and a slightly different approach to the norm. Not finished yet, but quite inspiring." (Pipecock Jackxxson)

9. "Quick Guide To Analogue Synthesis" by Ian Waugh

Even though music production has moved into the digital domain, modern synthesisers invariably use analogue synthesis techniques. The reason is simple - analogue synthesis is flexible and versatile, and it's relatively easy for us to understand. The basics are the same for all analogue synths, and you'll quickly be able to adapt the principles to any instrument, to edit existing sounds and create exciting new ones.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "A book that catapulted me over some of the hurdles of my understanding of music production was the ‘Quick Guide To Analogue Synthesis’ by Ian Waugh. If anybody reading this is really new to production and are just messing with samples, get looking into simple guides to analogue synthesis because this fundamental knowledge is the the key to making original sounds." (Phil Blunt)

10. "Good Vibrations: A History of Record Production" by Mark Cunningham

From Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" through "Telstar", Pet Sounds, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Dark Side of the Moon, "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Vienna", "Two Tribes", Zooropa, Older, to Britpop albums from Oasis, Kula Shaker, Cast and Radiohead, Good Vibrations follows the development of popular music recording from the perspective of the producers, engineers and session players.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "Absolutely love Good Vibrations by Mark Cunningham a history of record production with great recording techniques." (The Modest Brothers)

11. "Temples of Sound: Inside the Great Recording Studios" by Cogan and Clark

All great music has a birthplace. Temples of Sound tells the stories of the legendary studios where musical genius and a magical space came together to capture some of the most exciting jazz, pop, funk, soul, and country records ever made. From the celebrated Southern studios of Sun and Stax, to the John Coltrane/Miles Davis sessions in producer Rudy Van Gelder’s living room, to Frank Sinatra’s swinging cuts at state-of-the-art Capitol Records, each of the 15 profiles in this book brings great music to life at the moment of its creation. With a trove of never-before-seen photographs and fascinating, all-new interviews with the musicians and producers who made the records, Temples of Sound is a rich inspiration for music fans.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • "Temples of Sound by Cogan & Clark – another great one on the original techniques used in studios." (The Modest Brothers)

12. "Production Mixing Mastering with Waves" by Anthony Egizii

Master the signal process techniques and learn the tricks for professional production in contemporary musical styles, including: R&B, Rock, Country, Alternative and Urban. This book offers a complete interactive training course featuring a 7 CD set of session files for use on Mac or PC with these popular applications: Pro Tools, Logic Audio, Cubase, Nuendo, and Sonar.

Comments from our Open Mic:

  • Recommended by The Modest Brothers.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Open Mic and gave these recommendations. Have you read any of these books? Did we miss your favorite book? Let us know in the comments.

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