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26 Reviews
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference for electronics engineers
First off, this book is in its fifth edition, and Amazon has lumped together reviews of all editions of this book. So the oldest review shown, written in 1998, is speaking of the 3rd edition, and reviews written prior to 2005 are talking about the 4th edition.

This book is more about the principles of digital audio hardware design than anything. The author,...
Published on April 11, 2006 by calvinnme

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Book
The author does a great job in covering all broad aspects of digital audio. The perceptual coding chapter is specially useful in that the author gives mathematical models that you can implement for your work (equations related to masking, bark conversion, spreading functions, thresholds, etc). My only concer with this book is that too often the information is just simply...
Published on August 26, 2005 by Ikaro Silva


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference for electronics engineers, April 11, 2006
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First off, this book is in its fifth edition, and Amazon has lumped together reviews of all editions of this book. So the oldest review shown, written in 1998, is speaking of the 3rd edition, and reviews written prior to 2005 are talking about the 4th edition.

This book is more about the principles of digital audio hardware design than anything. The author, also a college professor, starts with the absolute beginning and the binary number system, sampling, quantization, aliasing, and dither and then moves into all of the topics that you need to design and analyze modern digital audio systems. However, if the information in the first two chapters is news to you, chances are the rest of the book will be over your head. The book is full of flow charts, frequency response diagrams, and detailed block diagrams of actual systems. What it is lacking in is any kind of signal processing mathematics to explain the detailed theory behind what is being covered. There is a chapter entitled "Digital Signal Processing", but it barely introduces and defines the terms. It does show some assembly code for performing some simple filtering tasks, though, but that's the extent of the coverage. If you didn't know DSP before you read this chapter, you certainly won't know it after you read this chapter. The book does a pretty good job of discussing some of the more popular audio standards including MP3. I think this book is best suited for someone with an electronics/electrical engineering background that already knows the theory of digital signal processing and wants to apply that knowledge to the actual design and analysis of digital audio processing systems. Amazon shows the table of contents from the 4th edition, so I show the detailed table of contents for the 5th edition here:

Sound and Numbers

Fundamental Theory

Digital Audio Recording

Digital Audio Reproduction

Error Correction

Digital Audio Tape

Optical Disc Storage

Compact Disc and SACD

Recordable CD

Interconnection

Perceptual Coding: Theory and Applications

MPEG-1 and MPEG-2

MP3 Codec

MPEG-4 and AAC

Psychoacoustic Models

Surround Sound Coding

Lossless Coding

DVD-Video and DVD-Audio

Recordable DVD

HD-DVD and Blu-ray

Minidisc

Desktop Audio

Network Audio

Downloadable and Streaming Internet Audio

File Formats

Digital Rights Management

Watermarking and Encryption

MPEG-7

Digital Radio and TV Broadcasting

HD Radio

Satellite Radio

Digital Audio Workstations

Digital Signal Processing: Theory and Applications

Sigma Delta Conversion and Noise Shaping
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Compromize Between Theory And Practice, January 4, 2000
This book is an excellent primer for current technology in digital audio systems. He keeps the obscure mathematics to a minimum, and introduces you to the great amount of technique available in the field today. I found this book, 1st edition, in the library -- and soon after bought the latest edition. An excellent value for the money, and useful to anyone trying to keep up with the digital techniques.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent survey of the digital audio landscape., April 23, 1998
By A Customer
An excellent intermediate survey of the digital audio landscape. This text covers conversion, signal processing, channel coding and storage as well as current implementations of the technology. Good illustrations are included for visual reinforcement. Pohlmann's breezy writing style guides the reader from basic physics through dense theoretical discussion to practical examples. A freshman college background in physics and mathematics is useful though not essential.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He was wrong....happily, May 5, 2000
This review is from: Principles of Digital Audio (Paperback)
Professor Pohlmann tried to frighten us in the 1995 edition, he said: I promise I will never write a fourth edition of this title. After laping up the third edition in two woderful weeks, I had to wait for the decision. In 1999 I was hopelessly desperate, but Mr. Pohlmann left a "loophole in (his) vow", as he claims. So, a new gift came to us. Thanks to him, his dedication, and his talent, audio and electronics engineers have a text that covers the totality of the current science of digital audio. For those who read the previous editions, some obvious changes will come up. Some technologies are dead, because it is impossible to resurrect technnologies that the market or the customers have killed (imagine a book about vinile LPs or Betamax VCRs), and other technologies are very alive. Some new features you will find in this edition: DVD (finally an understandable treaty is in our hands), Internet Audio (very topical), new developments in DSP, and some changes made inside previously written chapters (i.e.: the Hoffmann Coding now is in the DVD chapter). For those who have not read the previous editions, this is a very good start in the science of digital audio. If you read the first four chapters very carefully, you are ready to read every single book on the subject that might fall in your hands. I used to recommend the third edition in my college course at Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria. Now my students are encouraged to acquire this new edition, which is indeed the main textbook for my course. I still think that we need a spanish translation of this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Book, August 26, 2005
The author does a great job in covering all broad aspects of digital audio. The perceptual coding chapter is specially useful in that the author gives mathematical models that you can implement for your work (equations related to masking, bark conversion, spreading functions, thresholds, etc). My only concer with this book is that too often the information is just simply thrown at you, the reading does not flow well and sometimes its seems like the topics are out of place, or at least, they could have been transitioned more smoothly.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cut and Paste, June 24, 2005
This review is from: Principles of Digital Audio (Paperback)
This book seems to be comprehensive in its treatment of digital audio but unfortunately much of it is simply cut and paste from more technical articles with little attempt being made to digest and explain the material in a more accessible fashion. For example the material on error correction on CD's hits the reader over the head with equations that come out of the blue and the reader couldn't hope to understand in a month of Sundays. The material on analog to digital conversion is much the same.

Nonetheless this book serves as a compilation of relevant topics in digital audio but fails to provide the reader with the intuition to really internalize the material.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing - has errors, January 30, 2012
By 
the olde professor "<< the truth will... (<< everybody has to be someplace. I am under the radar or over the rainbow >>) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Principles of Digital Audio (Paperback)
.
pohlman has street cred and as a professor knows his stuff

i wish he had told me more of what i needed
and less of everythign he could think of to throw into the book
.
his statement of nyquist was erroneous
close enough for govt work perhaps
but still wrong

the sample rate *must* be strictly greater than the value of the highest frequency in a band limited signal. being equal fails. but since nyquist also says that you need an infinite time duration signal, which is only approximated in real life this is a mathematical issue not an engineering one.

however, from an engineering perspective, you need at least 10x that rate so that real life circuits can do a good quality a/d/a. up to the limit of voltage resolution due to linearity and thermal noise, and the time resolution due to clock jitter and errors due to time truncation, the higher the sample rate and the bit depth the more accurate the a/d/a will be.

gear with rates of 384KS/s is not just some golden eared stereophile's myth like coating the edges of cdroms with green magic marker or cryogenically freezing cable, but actually provides better quality = a lower mean square error between the original and recreated signal.
.
lots of space dedicated to obsolete gear.
he has 6 chapters on assorted tape types and various disk types, as well as internet audio.
one chapter on cd/dvd would have been plenty.

better editing and this book could be half the size
a lot cheaper
and cover the pertinent content better
.
he mentions sample rate conversion but does not really tell how it works.
.
the index is humongous but i did not find SRC = sample rate conversion
sample rate conversion was listed under sample for page 459.

if there is more about this, the index obscured its existence.
.
depending what you need, a single book that was focused on that topic would be a lot more useful.

if you just want a general reference with a quick overview of any topic then this book is good. but so is wikipedia.
.
not worth $55 for what you get unless you have dial up and wikipedia is too slow.
.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "bible" of Digital Audio, September 16, 2005
By 
M. Beitchman (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Mr. Pohlmann's book is the most encompassing treatise on Digital Audio that is available today. As an employee at Dolby, I can tell you that you won't find an engineer at Dolby who does not own a copy of Digital Audio. The book can be used in many different ways. Whether you are an expert or a novice, this book will come in handy. I would equate this book to drinking directly from the source of a mountain spring. Don't think about it, just buy it.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor. Choppy read. (4th ed), October 16, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Principles of Digital Audio (Paperback)
I was really disappointed with this book. I am an EE and have some background in a few of the topics, and have always hoped to become a proffessional audio engineer. I was hoping this book would get me revved up. It did not. I don't know about previous editions, but I get the feeling the chapters have been through too much cut and paste - there is little consistency between subsections. Subjects are either glossed over superficially, or driven into the ground with over-emphasis on details. On another note, I got a (mint condition) used paperback. It was bound very poorly and started to fall apart by chapter 2.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, April 11, 2006
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This book really deserves to be called 'The Ultimate Digital Audio Bible'. It has anything and everything. From basic DSP to video, it's not limited to audio topics. When I read the reviews, I would not hope to read the book from the start, just use it as a reference to explain specific standard highlights. But this book is very readable. I loved it. If you are a computer eng. major who wants to dwell in DSP in any field, this book is great. I don't agree with the prejudice that the book is not very readable. There are sections that are more difficult, but the author explains things in very good analogies and examples. I must mention that I'm a comp. eng. a few months away from MS, so I may not be doing justice to the average reader. But I would never expect to find myself reading through that 700+ book with pleasure. Don't think, buy it. Then try and conceal this secret gem from others.
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Principles of Digital Audio
Principles of Digital Audio by Ken C. Pohlmann (Paperback - February 15, 2000)
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