Top positive review
13 of 13 people found this helpful
A complex process made clear and accessible
on June 16, 2011
I have been working with digital audio, on and off, for quite a few years in my home studio. I've read some books and magazine articles about recording digital audio, and done a fair amount of hands on experimentation. So far I've managed to get mediocre-to-decent results. On the whole, I've been a little disappointed. Though I have some understanding of the process, I have always felt that I didn't have a real solid grip on it, and that there were gray areas in my understanding that were holding back the quality of the results I could achieve.
I was hoping that Steve Savage's new book on digital audio recording could help me fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge and help me improve my results. The pleasant surprise is that I have found so much more than that in this book. Sure, this book is filled with details about what is undoubtedly a complex process, and I got some great insights right away into areas where I was fuzzy such as dynamic processing like compression and limiting. And while I thought I had a decent grip on EQ, I quickly discovered from Steve Savage's ultra-clear exposition that I was missing some crucial subtle points.
But the biggest benefit I have received so far from this book is a much better grasp of the digital audio recording process as an integrated whole. What this book makes clear is the flow of the recording process from before microphone placement to after final mastering. Suddenly a bunch of seemingly disparate procedures make sense in the context of the whole recording process. I understand with much greater clarity how each procedure relates to all the others, and how each step in the recording process logically proceeds from what has come before and flows into what comes next. With a better understanding of tracking, for example, I can now more clearly see the logic of the editing process,
I think Steve Savage's great accomplishment with this book is to make a complex process comprehensible and accessible. I won't say simple - this book does not oversimplify. Instead it delves deeply into complex subjects such as editing and mixing. But it never loses sight of the flow of the whole process. I was already quite impressed with how clearly and logically this book flows when I noticed Elvin Bishop's comment on the back cover that "with Steve there are no technical problems to interrupt the flow of the music making". While Elvin Bishop was talking about working with Steve Savage in the studio, the same applies to the book - the flow of the recording process is never interrupted or made obscure by the need to expound in depth on the technical aspects of the process.
One feature that seems a little "cute" at first, but ends up being very substantive, are frequent little tips on "What not to do". These little sections, along with many other insights strewn liberally throughout the book, lift the highly technical process of digital audio recording out of the realm of theory into solving the real world challenges of getting the best possible recorded sound. In being made mindful of potential pitfalls, my attention was drawn to critical aspects of the recording process that had never before occurred to me.
One thing that is clearly noted in the book should probably be mentioned here too - that this book does not cover MIDI. As the title of the book states, the subject of this book is digital audio recording.
This book is thorough and detailed enough to get a beginner launched and off on the right track, and deep enough to add something to the arsenal of the most seasoned pro. Your DAW (digital audio workstation) manual will tell you how to operate the software. This book will tell you how to make great-sounding recordings with it. Highly recommended!