on January 10, 2010
This book is excellent! I have been interested in the subject of home recording for more than 30 years. Some may say I am a slow learner and they may be right, but given that this is for me a hobby and that the technology allowing one to produce great results at home is not that old, my interest has encouraged me over the years to read many books and articles on the subject. One thing that seemed to come out consistently in these texts is that musicians should concentrate on creating the music and leave the recording aspect to the engineers. I always found this statement rather annoying and although it is certainly true that specialists are better prepared to do this job, I always felt that the authors were also trying to protect their turf and justify their existence, somehow.
The music creation process also involves arrangement and arrangement, to me, includes instrument separation, application of effects, control of dynamics, etc. For example, can you imagine U2's The Edge recording a dry guitar track and leave to the engineer the task of adding the delay? The delay he uses is part of his sound, it is not an afterthought. This is because music creation is essentially trying to reproduce what you hear in your head which is mostly a "finished product". I always felt uncomfortable handing over my tracks to someone that has no clue about what I am hearing, what I want to create and I have often been disappointed with the end result.
This is why I was really happy to come across this book. For once, someone was approaching the music as a whole and contrarily to some other review I have read on this book, I personally think that the title is quite appropriate. It talks, among other things, about the practical aspect of compression, separation, effects as part of the music creation process. It does not focus on the equipment but rather on how you can use this equipment, whatever it is, to get the results you want, musically. The author uses a down to earth, no nonsense approach and explains why you do certain things and demystifies some of the concepts. For example, I always thought that it was best to record "dry" and add effects later; the author explains why, but goes on saying that effects are like "spices" rather than the "icing on a cake" and as such can be pre-planned and sometimes printed during tracking. I really liked the chapter on instrument separation in space, time and frequency (frequency slotting); I knew all these concepts but the way the author presents it just puts it all together in an easy to understand practical package.
I would conclude by saying that of all the books on home recording I have read, this is the best. It has been written by a musician for musicians. Thank you, Karl Coryat!
I bought this book because I was looking to make my basement recordings better. Friends were saying they couldn't "hear" vocals. I bought this book to learn how to mix. After reading this book, I realized I not only needed to learn how to mix properly - I needed to learn how to record properly. This book traces through the fundamentals in a VERY reader-friendly way, and provides excellent how-to guidance for home recordings. It won't bog you down with high tech lingo, but the upper level ideas are there.
The book has a bias for hardware (compression/expansion, reverb, and EQ) in favour of plug-ins. I've been told by people in professional audio that software compression works just as well in good DAWs, and there are as many VST reverb plug-ins out there as there are outboard processors/pedals. The book also veers towards MIDI drums dedicating a chapter to it, but even if MIDI drums is not your thing, it goes into good detail of how to record live drums well.
The best advice the author gives is to "get over yourself". After reading some audio forums, I can see there are a lot of very polarized views. The author presents a fresh, ingenuitive, and practical angle to recording with what you've got rather than spending thousands of dollars for state-of the art equipment.