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A Required Reference Book
on January 11, 2012
I went to library and read an earlier version of this book before purchasing it. Despite taking copious notes, I felt it necessary to own a copy of Everest's classic. Why? Because it is clear and authoritative. The question you have to ask yourself is "Do I REALLY want to understand sound and acoustics?" The answer may be "no". In that case, this book may not be your best choice. A lot of people don't have the time, patience, or need to know exactly why sound acts as it does. Everest has many examples of how to build studio rooms, control rooms, diffusers, and so on, but the principal approach is theoretical. Acoustics is a specialty within physics, but is also an applied science within audio engineering and architecture. There is a spectrum of books on acoustics, each with its own preferred context. For example, Don Hall's book is largely a physical explanation of musical instruments, while covering other topics well but to a lesser degree. Bill Gibson's books are mostly concerned with sound engineering using a DAW, but he covers acoustics because its unavoidable. Phil Newell's book (Recording Spaces) is great if you want to understand issues of studio design.
The advantage of Everest's book is other books will tell you "it's like this" or "it's like that", but never get down to why. You scratch your head and scribble diagrams trying to sort it out. If you read Everest first -- and understand him -- you can breeze by all those tortured half-explanations. You can see how they are correct and what they are overlooking. You'll get more out of other books by having this one. If you are responsible for sound at live concerts, then you know how convenient it is to quickly understand the hall you just arrived at. Deep basic knowledge is an asset at times like that.
Bottom Line: Everest's book gives you a solid grounding, but is probably not enough by itself. It is a valuable reference. You can turn to it whenever you get thrown by some technical argument about the behaviour of sound in an internet article, at gearslutz, or in someone else's book. If you are really in this game, how can you not have a copy of Everest?