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Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio Paperback – February 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berklee Press (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634009591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634009594
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Daniel M. Thompson is Assistant Chair of Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music. An independent writer/producer and recording engineer, his credits include work for major films and television including ER and The Sopranos. He is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

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Customer Reviews

All of these topics are covered in sufficient detail, but presented in a very clear and understandable way.
T. J. Brodeur
I definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking about building their own studio, or for anyone who is interested in learning more about the way sound works.
Damien White
Even after I read the entire thing, cover to cover, I find myself going back to it often, using it as a reference or a refresher whenever I had a question.
Nonfiction Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Burkhardt on June 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Begin (and end) your quest for audio knowledge as it relates to a studio and modern recording with one book. It delivers what the title promises, an understanding of audio (even if you're not building a studio). I found UNDERSTANDING AUDIO an immensly practical and comprehensive volume explaining "everything you needed to know about audio", whether you're a layman, student or professional. From start to finish, the explanations of concepts, processes, and technical definitions were abundantly clear and free of unnecessary techno-babble. This is used as a text at Boston's Berklee College of Music, but don't let that scare you, rather embrace it. (especially since you won't have to pay the tuition fee) The writing is concise with well chosen words and the information is top notch stuff. Designed to give you a complete overview of the various and interactive components of "audio", it more than does so and in my opinion, better than any other comparable book on the market today at any price.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kristofer Rodgers on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Through friends I heard about Berklee Press' books and decided to check out a few titles at the local bookstore. I was very impressed and requested a catalog, and in the catalog I found Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio. Being a novice in the sound recording world, I decided to risk the $25 and buy the book. Let me tell you it was $25 well spent. This book explains, in a very understandable way, basic and advanced audio techniques. One thing I found most useful was it explained how putting a microphone at different angles produces a different type of sound. It also goes as far as showing the history of recording studios and their technology. This was a perfect book for me because it is not only a handbook for intermediate to advanced level sound engineers, but it also serves as a beginners guide to sound as well. The graphic examples are extremely accurate and helpful, and the in depth detail of every topic is excellent. This is a great book for anyone currently working or planning on working in the recording field.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Damien White on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I recently embarked on the adventure of transforming my basement into a functioning recording studio. Shortly after beginning the process I realized I was way in over my head. However, after reading "Understanding Audio", all of my questions have been answered. After providing you with a basis for understanding how sound works, Thompson gives several suggestions and techniques for setting up your equipment for optimal sound quality. Project guidelines are given at the end of each chapter which help you apply the techniques discussed. I'm happy to say that my studio is nearly finished and I am thoroughly pleased with the sound quality it is producing. I definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking about building their own studio, or for anyone who is interested in learning more about the way sound works.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By drbob on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
drbob says:
I perceive Sakkas' review as pretty harsh. While it may be true this is not a book for experienced, accomplished recording engineers, it's the best introductory work I've encountered. I liked the book's organization and the author's writing style. For those of us who are non-experts, this book is well worth the price, imho.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nonfiction Steve on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am the guy at the mixer when music is recorded or performed live. I'm one of those who need to know WHY and HOW things are done so I can produce the best sound. This book answered those questions about both analog and digital audio with clear descriptions and simple yet effective graphics.

This is NOT a simple generic overview; it is a solid "get this concept into your head" kind of audio engineering reference (with only a touch of optional illustrative math) useful for non-engineers who want to do a better job of producing or recording music. It will definitely help you avoid mistakes and get better results when recording in a studio or mixing live.

It walks you from the origination of sound, through the mics and DI boxes, into the mixer components, through parametric or graphic equalizers, to effects, recorders, amplifiers and speakers. It even explains electricity, decibels, meter scales, sampling rates, A/D and D/A conversion, studio acoustics and playback concerns. Each detail is explained in language that lets you understand what is going on. I'm confident now when I walk up to a mixer board or recording deck.

This book transforms an audio signal from a nebulous sound to a visual and mental object that I can manipulate. Even after I read the entire thing, cover to cover, I find myself going back to it often, using it as a reference or a refresher whenever I had a question. It will never be far from my DAW and encourages me to read more Berklee Press books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mommatomany on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know stuff now that I didn't even know I needed to know. I really understand the basics of sound and can now make better informed decisions while recording and mixing. This book is a must have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Hess on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book really helped me to get a good understanding about audio. Some chapters really dive into audio theory a lot, I didn't get all of it the first time. But it is a practical book to come back to, when you run into audio troubles and want to know about the physics behind it. In a future release I would recommend newer, fresher pictures and diagrams.
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