Scott Garrigus's Sound Forge Power ($29.95) is a thorough guide to Sonic Foundry's digital-audio-editing software, Sound Forge. The book offers valuable insights for the novice as well as for the more experienced user. Sound Forge Power concentrates largely on version 5.0 of the software, which adds 24-bit, 192 kHz capabilities; mic modeling; mastering; and CD-ripping support. The book will also benefit users who have not upgraded to that version.
For beginners with sufficient patience, the first four chapters of the book offer a suitable primer about the basics of Windows-based audio and how to customize your environment for Sound Forge. Those who are familiar with Sound Forge can explore these chapters to take advantage of any useful tips that they haven't acquired on their own. The subsequent chapters, in which Garrigus steadily unveils the Sound Forge environment, are the meat of the book. Further on, the author puts some of the program's features into practice.
One particularly neat technique that Garrigus points out — and that is not evident from the Sound Forge Help files — is the ability to use WAV files as a resource for the Acoustic Mirroring effect included in version 5.0. Instead of using Sonic Foundry's Impulse files to simulate different acoustic environments, you can use WAV files to process audio data. For instance, placing a drum loop over a WAV file of plain speech weds the characteristics of one file to the other. That is a great tool for dance producers looking to quickly add rhythmic effects to a vocal line. Those looking to take advantage of Sound Forge's integration with Sonic Foundry's Acid should check out first of several appendices that Garrigus dedicates to that topic.
The book effectively details underlying concepts behind Sound Forge's spectrum-analysis capabilities. Garrigus offers tips about manually tracking down clicks and other glitches with the Spectrum Analysis tool, greatly reducing the painstaking guesswork that process involves. Placing the spectrum-analysis section in the context of the audio-repair techniques that appear earlier in the book, you can acquire a comfortable grasp of the software's far-ranging capabilities. You can skim some manuals for specific procedures and quick fixes; Garrigus's book is most satisfying when you digest it from beginning to end.
Garrigus's writing is comprehensible and knowledgeable. If this guide lacks anything at all, perhaps it is a demo version of the Sound Forge software and working examples for beginners. Apart from that, Sound Forge Power is an indispensable reference for anyone who relies on Sound Forge.