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Audio Engineering 101: A Beginners Guide to Audio Production

Audio Engineering 101: A Beginners Guide to Audio Production, by Tim Dittmar is a really great book, both for novices interested in getting into audio work, and for enthusiasts who want to do a better job editing audio with video.

Dittmar covers the technology of audio engineering with clear explanations and friendly illustrations, and also spends significant time on the business and practice of being an independent producer, sharing his knowledge and skills as a teacher and from his more than twenty years as a professional sound engineer, producer, songwriter, and musician.

The book starts with the basics of sound and how the ear works, and then immediately turns practical with advice on how to listen to music, with ear training tools and techniques, including sample audio and video clips provided on the companion website.

Another chapter on the details of equalization and frequencies is then followed by advice on people skills, including tips on how to handle yourself when working with sometimes difficult clients in the recording studio. Dittmar is particularly good at describing the lingo used in the field and in the studio, to help you better communicate how the sound may be a bit too muddy or fuzzy or shiny or wet.

The middle of the book then is filled with practical advice on microphones, mixing consoles, and signal processors, including extensive details on specific equipment and numerous tips on solving problems, like using a chorus effect to help out-of-tune vocals.

Dittmar then brings these elements together in a wonderful pair of chapters -- one on signal flow, working through typical end-to-end recording scenarios, particularly for laptop recording, and then the second on studio recording sessions, full of practical advice on planning and executing a full recording session, including lists of tasks and sage advice on details of each step in the process.

The book then takes a step back, delving into the basics of acoustics, and the impact of science on making your recordings sound better, including ingenious do it yourself projects for making diffusers and baffles. There's also a section with perspective from the history of audio, including recognition of the contributions of Les Paul and others, and considerations of analog vs. digital sound.

If you've gotten this far, you might be serious about getting into audio production, so Dittmar concludes with three chapters of practical advice: on taking advantage of internships (including a tip on how to roll up a mic cable so you look professional); different types of jobs in the field, including starting your own home studio; and a final chapter of frequently asked questions on gear, skills, and the industry, with answers from a variety of working pros.

This is a fun, friendly book that reads like the warm-hearted audio master passing on his wisdom to a favored pupil -- with not just the facts, but the practical advice from long experience. It's worth listening.

Order Audio Engineering 101 from Amazon.com

Details ...

Audio Engineering 101, A Beginners Guide to Audio Production

    by Timothy Dittmar

    Focal Press, December 2011

    Paperback, 244 pages, ISBN 9780240819150

    List $29.95, street $19.77

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - What is sound? Seven Important Characteristics
Chapter 2 - How to Listen, Remember When Your Parents Told You to Listen? Well, You Should Have Listened!
Chapter 3 - EQ Points of Interest. Frequencies Made Easy.
Chapter 4 - People skills. Recording Isn't All Technical!
Chapter 5 - Microphone Guides and Their Uses. Hey, Is This Thing On?
Chapter 6 - Mixing Consoles. So Many Knobs, So Little Time.
Chapter 7 - Signal Processors. Toys You Could Play with for Days!
Chapter 8 - Signal Flow. The Keys to Directing Audio Traffic.
Chapter 9 - Studio Session Procedures: How a Recording Session Happens and in What Order.
Chapter 10 - Basic Acoustics… How to Make Your Recording Space Sound Better.
Chapter 11 - The History of Audio: It Helps to Know Where You Came From.
Chapter 12 - Now That I Am Dangerous, Should I get an internship?
Chapter 13 - Jobs. What Can I Do With These Skills?
Chapter 14 - FAQs. Hear it from the Pros.

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