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on February 24, 2014
If you're looking to understand the building blocks of digital audio, this book is for you. The books treats in depth the entire process of recording, processing and creating digital music.

As noted elsewhere, the book was published in the nineties and does not include some of the most up to date information. But if you've ever wondered what a sampling rate is, or why it's set at 44,100 samples per second, this is the book for you.

For a technical book, it is also clearly written. It's a bit challenging, but well worth the effort.
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on November 11, 2007
If you are interested in the secrets of digital audio, then this book is a must read. As a music producer and computer musician, I often find myself wondering about what lies beneath the surface of my digital hard- and software, partucularly since there seems to be an abundance of misinformation, heresay, and plain old rubbish floating around in the community.

Understanding the principles of how audio gets digitized, and moreso what happens after this process can greatly improve the sonic results of ones work. However this topic is very complex and hard to grasp, so plowing through technical manuals and college-grade material puts a serious strain on the creative process. Correction - it kills creativity altogether.

Rising to the occasion, John Watkinson has succeded in bringing these difficult to understand matters down to a graspable level, even though it is an impressively comprehensive piece of work. The book truly helps put an end to myths and misunderstandings, as it can be equally read as an encyclopedia for looking up specific topics, or back to back.

At times it can even seem too thorough (most of us don't really need to know exactly how data is handled), but this depends on what you want to learn. You can rest assured it's all in there, whether you're looking to learn how to bulid digital circuits from scratch, or need to understand what dithering and A/D/A conversion is all about.

In short - If you are serious about digital audio as an electronic musician in any form or as an audiophile in general, this book will not dissapoint.
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on July 20, 2006
Too much outdated irrelevant information. Watkinson IS extremely knowledgable on the subject of digital audio. I guess I expected something different. Too much esoteric (and much outdated) theory and very little if any practical information, unless maybe your job is to service 1980's digital audio systems.

Want to know about revectoring, soft sectoring, and rotary positioners as they pertain to magnetic disk drives? How about DASH-M and DASH-S interleaving in stationary head recorders? If so then BUY THIS BOOK. Interesting reading to be sure, but don't expect your "art" to benefit. This review is based on the second edition.
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on May 25, 2000
The Art of Digital Audio is well written and informative technical overview of digital audio, except that being a mid 1990s book, it almost completely omits detailed coverage of some topics (like MPEG audio compression) that would nowadays have to be considered critical. It is nonetheless an essential component of the well informed digital audio engineer's library. There is a *lot* of stuff in this compendium that you would otherwise have to find scattered over a dozen other books. One hopes a revision for the twenty-first century is in the works.
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on July 6, 1999
This book has all the details of doing digital audio, starting with banging two rocks together to start a fire, and quickly progressing to the development of western civilization. ... ok, it's not *quite* that bad. But there is precious little relevant information to any modern project. When your car's mp3 player is running Linux, who cares that Gray codes are the way to go for digital tape positioning? Who needs to be told that you might want to think about doing a calculation in RAM instead of with discrete digital components? There's a good chapter on "advanced digital audio processing". And it explains basic things about dithering, mixing, gain control, etc. But on the whole this book is very geared toward antiquated hardware, rather than presenting theories or algorithms that are relevant to all digital systems. I guess that's why it's the "art" and not the principles of digital audio. In the index you will find "cylinder transducer", but not "pitch" or "tempo".
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on September 27, 1998
The most comprehensive book to date on Digital Audio.
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