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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Audio Expert: Everything You Need to Know About Audio
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The introduction says "This book is for everyone who wants to truly understand audio but prefers practical rather than theoretical explanations" and also that it's for people who've been around audio for awhile and want to know how it really works. That's me, and it met my needs perfectly. However it would not be appropriate for those who don't already have a sense of what decibels are and how electronic gear works or who are not technically inclined because the whole books is about the science, engineering and art of audio equipment and its use. It's friendly and approachable, simplified without being dumbed down, but it's still a technical book.

This book is written in a very straightforward, plain language manner. Moving logically from one topic to another and treating each in detail without being either dry nor falsely humorous. I got the impression that Ethan is a friendly, straightforward, knowledgeable and no-nonsense guy. He's honest in his mention of areas where there is controversy in the industry (e.g. are oxygen-free copper cables better?), unapologetic about his opinions (no!) and rational in supporting them (because you can't measure any difference). He's also really good at explaining what really matters (e.g. without proper treatment the acoustics of your listening room make even the best speakers sound bad, and even the best speakers have far more distortion than any competent, inexpensive amp) -- and again he explains why in ways that make sense.

I bought the book primarily for the material in three of its 23 chapters and ended up reading eight because I enjoyed it so much. There are other chapters I'm holding in reserve until I get to those points in my audio journey.

Thank you Ethan for sharing your knowledge so generously and writing such an approachable book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is an excellent book book for three main reasons: (1) Mr Winer can comment convincingly on all aspects of musical reproduction (performance, recording, and playback); (2) the nice balance that the book places on breadth and depth; and (3) the book is approachable by many (I daresay it's an enjoyable read).

Many in the industry know Ethan Winer from his substantial web presence, both on his own sites and on the audio forums. Many also know him as the CEO of RealTraps, a leader in the field of acoustic treatments. And a lot of folks know him for his critiques of audiophile fetishes and "golden ear" listening abilities. Far fewer know him as a cellist. But anyone looking at his body of work in the audio field would surely acknowledge his expertise, passion, and experience. And his contributions.

As to the book itself, I think that if you review its table of contents and a few sample pages you can readily decide if it's for you. Said another way, all the topics represented in the Contents are delivered at moderate depth and equal authority. There are neither weak sections nor seminal treatises - this book can be a primer and/or encyclopedia depending on your needs.

I approached it as an audiophile and home theater owner (who is in the process of a DIY treatment of my listening room). I own many great books in the category (e.g., Toole). For me, AUDIO EXPERT was a welcome addition to this fine little library.

Highly recommended.

Bob
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
For a title like that I would expect more. Not to mention it's really expensive, even in the Kindle format. Many great readings on the subject are much more affordable.

The author is definitely knowledgeable and is successful explaining a lot of audio concepts and techniques, but his authority is compromised when you find some fundamentally wrong information, such as the difference between +4dBu and -10dBV - which is NOT 14dB.

Maybe it's irrelevant as an isolated piece of info, but that certainly touches the "expert" and "trust" side of the book. I found some chapters to be really shallow. The "pan law" paragraphs are a good example of a confusing text, perhaps exposing not the best areas of expertise of the author.

Looks like the book is trying to touch every single aspect of audio (and even video production) to get more authority. It would be better if edited, perhaps to half the content, twice the depth. I would have focused on advanced topics only.

This is not a intermediate/advanced book as proposed somewhere. This is more of a beginners/intermediate reading, illustrating things like how to manage tracks in a DAW.

I particularly don't enjoy the defensive tone all over as if trying to prove everyone else wrong.

I value the hard work and intentions, but I would wait until the price is down.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic foundation in audio concepts and practices. I am a professional audio engineer, and have been for 12 years. I found something new and helpful in every single chapter. After following Ethan's advice, my home studio has NEVER sounded better. I LOVE all the myths he debunks, as well. Thanks again for telling the truth!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A few years ago, I ordered and viewed a DVD on the subject of recording by Ethan Winer. It had a LOT of information, but Winer proved he had a talent for making the complex understandable without "dumbing down" the content. He has proved that talent once again with his new book, The Audio Expert. This is an exhaustive look at every facet of audio, that somehow manages to remain digestible, and even entertaining, to anyone interested in sound. Winer uses only as much jargon and acronyms as is mandated, and does a great job of not losing the point in the verbiage, or in pages of mind numbing math. I also like that although the book is huge, it can be approached piecemeal by reading individual chapters in any order that appeals to you. It has been said that the test of whether you know a subject is if you can teach it to someone else. Ethan Winer easily passes that test. Oh, yeah... the drawings are excellent as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Comprehensive, in depth, and understandable. There might be more in depth books on specific subjects for audio professionals, but this book is a great audio 101 book. I'm a home audio enthusiast and this has helped me understand some terms I've heard bandied about by professionals I know.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I had heard very positive things about Ethan's books and 'The Audio Expert' completely affirmed that. It's incredibly informative for anyone interested in recording, playing or listening to music, regardless of what prior knowledge you have of these subjects. It spans a broad range of topics within the field of recorded music as well as information on electronics and other audio related subjects. I very much liked the tone in which the book was written; Ethan cleverly used scientific backup to present to the reader a common sense analysis of what aspects of audio fidelity should or should not be worried about. It's great that he puts to rest many 'audio myths', claims that companies, audio reviewers and professionals may make without any evidence to suggest that it's actually true or even relevant. He also manages to present the information in a clear and interesting way which makes for an eye-opening, compelling read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in audio, whether working within this field professionally or undertaking as a hobby.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Audio Expert is simply the best source of anything you want to know about the subject. Well-organized and indexed, you can immediately find all things audio instead of spending hours pouring over magazines, web content, or seeking (often conflicting and confusing) advice from self-professed authorities. My new copy fell open to page 211 "Thin Your Tracks", so I did, and it worked wonders. Just start with the table of contents or the index and from there you can get practical value from almost any page in the book. Everything is there, and even complex audio concepts are explained in logical and easy-to-understand terms. You won't want to keep this on your bookshelf. When I'm not reading it, my copy is in the bathroom where members of the lay public have noted its clear language and entertaining presentation. A fabulous book from Ethan Winer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book covers a broad set of audio topics, however the author is certainly not an expert in all the topics. The author comes off a bit too opinionated for my taste. He continues to reference his personal experience, but does not provide much perspective into industry standards or trends. The only DAW and associated tools/plug ins that he references is Cakewalk. This is a good reference, but I am not sure it lives up to its title.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I can honestly say that this is the most valuable book I have ever read pertaining to audio in all its forms, from mixing and recording to home theater setup. The breadth of information in this book is nothing short of stunning, as is Ethan's ability to tie all of the different facets of audio together so you can see how everything interrelates. I am probably fairly unique in that my background includes work in both the consumer and professional audio fields, so Ethan's clear-headed explanations of how the exact same concepts apply whether or not you are setting up a home studio or home theater are invaluable to me. In my work straddling both fields, it has always amazed me how consumer and pro don't even seem to speak the same language. Ethan's book goes a long way toward correcting that problem. A speaker is a speaker, and a room is a room, and how they interact affects your home theater setup just as much as they do my home studio.

Kudos also for the clarity of explanations and the "included" web examples and demonstrations. It is one thing to assert something in a book; quite another to actually demonstrate the concepts in action. Unlike the one reviewer here, I find the "myth-busting" sections of Ethan's book some of the most interesting. And valuable, for that matter. With all of the conflicting information one gets on the internet and from well-meaning (but misinformed) friends and "experts," it is absolutely wonderful to have someone cut through all of the b.s. AND back it up with facts and examples. When I first started putting together my home studio for film scoring and surround mixing applications, I was so overwhelmed that I almost froze. Ethan's book could not have come along at a better time for me.

This book is worth every penny, not only for all of the information contained within its many pages, but for all of the supplemental material I outlined above. It says something when one of the things I most look forward to every evening is curling up with a big, fat book on audio :)
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