Mstation Book Reviews
Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Sound Recording

Bruce and Jenny Bartlett, Practical Recording Techniques:
The step-by-step approach to professional audio recording, Focal Press

I haven't looked at one of these sorts of books for a while, not since an early edition of John Borwick's Sound Recording Practice which I'll have to look at again some time. Times have changed quite a lot since then. Nowadays, through computers and software, quite reasonable recording facilities are available to most everyone. Going for broke will still cost a small fortune. Just a proper sound-deadened, accoustically treated room would frighten most bank managers especially when you need to keep out wandering bass frequencies.

This book is aimed squarely at the home or small studio market and does a very good job of that. Nicely, the first topic is about the joy of music and what it is and does. There's no doubt at all that having a feel for music will help anyone trying to record it, and while mentioning it certainly won't give it, it's a help.

The book looks at the recording chain, sounds and signals, studio accoustics, equipping the studio, monitoring, microphones and their techniques, digital recording, effects and DSP, mixers, computers, session proceedures, and a whole lot more including a section on surround sound. There's even a little bit about putting your music on the web.

It's all presented in an accessible way and there's an accompanying CD with all sorts of audio examples. If there any criticisms, they relate to places where a little more depth might be useful. In the computer section, for example, there is only a basic sketch of what a minimum setup might have and really, in that world, things are very software oriented. If you want to be semi-pro, you will need to be able to swap files with Pro Tools and Logic users, and you'll need to know the software. And if swapping doesn't matter much, it's worth mentioning some of the Linux applications which could be an absolute boon to someone who wants to get started say, recording their own band, and doesn't have much cash floating about. If you are interested in the Linux option you can check out my article at O'Reilly's on the subject.

Anyway, that is a little beside the point. This book takes you through the basics very well and its real strong point is that it shares numerous nuggets gleaned from experience to do with all sorts of little things that become quite big things when you're faced with a problem.

[] permanent link