Digital Audio Essentials

Digital Audio Essentials $34.95 is another great book from O’Reilly, but as it was published in 2005 it is understandably dated. This didn’t detract from the value to me, but it may do for you so you may want to consider reading it online at Safari.

Book description

Join the digital audio revolution! Whether it’s downloading music, ripping CDs, organizing, finding, and creating higher quality music files, buying music players and accessories, or constructing a home stereo system, Digital Audio Essentials helps you get it done. For music enthusiasts, digital archivists, amateur musicians, and anyone who likes a good groove.

Tens of millions of users are embracing digital music, and with Digital Audio Essentials, you can, too. Nearly every personal computer built in the last few years contains a CD-burning drive; MP3 and other portable player sales dominate the consumer electronics industry; and new networkable stereo equipment lets you use your digital music collection to power your home entertainment system. Whether it’s downloading music, ripping CDs, organizing, finding, and creating higher quality music files, buying music players and accessories, or constructing a home stereo system, Digital Audio Essentials helps you do get it done. An indispensable reference for music enthusiasts, digital archivists, amateur musicians, and anyone who likes a good groove, Digital Audio Essentials helps you avoid time-consuming, costly trial and error in downloading audio files, burning CDs, converting analog music to digital form, publishing music to and streaming from the Web, setting up home stereo configurations, and creating your own MP3 and other audio files. The book–for both Mac and PC users–includes reliable hardware and software recommendations, tutorials, resources, and file sharing, and it even explains the basics of the DMCA and intellectual property law. You may (or may not) already know the basics of ripping CDs or downloading music, but Fries will show you so much more–including advice on the multitude of MP3 players on the market, stereo options, file formats, quality determinations, and the legalities of it all. Both a timely, entertaining guide and an enduring reference, this is the digital audio handbook you need to make the most of your expanding digital music collection.

My Thoughts

I wanted this book as I needed to develop the limited knowledge I had of ‘audio’. The book did that very well. One thing it really made me realize though was how quickly things move forward – written in 2005 with no mention at all of podcasting and featuring a 40GB 3rd Generation iPod for $399, any references the books makes to equipment, software or configurations is at best an interesting look back in history, but to be honest as far as relevance to today goes it has little value.

The book is divided into 5 sections:

1. Going Digital – covers the first three Chapters on Digital Audio and the Computer, The Right System for the Job, and Connect Your Computer to Your Stereo. Interesting background but of little relevance to today, but well written and easy to understand.

2. Listening to Digital Music – covers four Chapters on Organizing and Playing Music, Music on the Web, Listening to Internet Radio, and Music on the Move. A little basic and somewhat outdated this is a good introductory section for anybody that wants to know “what all the fuss is about.”

3. The Nuts and Bolts of Digital Audio – covers three Chapters on Understanding Digital Audio, Digital Audio Formats and MPEG Audio. This is a really good section that clearly and succinctly gets over a lot of really good information.

4. Capturing and Editing Audio – comprises four Chapters on Recording and Ripping, Make Your Own MP3 Files, Editing Audio and Digitizing Your Records and Tapes. A great section. Current software has made these processes even easier but it is still a great read to improve your understanding of these processes.

5. Sharing and Distributing Your Music – the final three Chapters are Burning Your Own CD’s and DVD’s, Setting Up an Internet Audio Station and Digital Audio and Copyright Laws. Never likely to be the most exciting section nevertheless it does a solid job.

The book is really well laid out with good notes and clear diagrams. By the end of the book I knew more than when I had started, and it hadn’t been hard work – so that makes it a good book in my opinion.

Because of the price and the date (2005) is would only get 3 our of 5 if I was rating it now. As an aside you can pick it up on amazon for $24 where it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 which is about right in terms of price and content.

Book details

Title: Digital Audio Essentials
Subtitle: A comprehensive guide to creating, recording, editing, and sharing music and other audio
First Edition: April 2005
ISBN 10: 0-596-00856-2
ISBN 13: 9780596008567
Pages: 374

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