Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science
Focal Press (www.focalpress.com)
319 pages, soft cover
Whether you want to learn mastering, not seem like an idiot when you work with a mastering engineer, or perhaps most importantly, want to create mixes that work well for mastering, this book demystifies some pretty advanced subjects in a surprisingly accessible manner. It covers bread-and-butter topics like monitoring, decibels, typical gear, and mastering techniques (dynamics, noise reduction, equalization), but then moves into more advanced concepts such as high sample rates (do we really need them?), jitter, and various useful appendices.
Aimed at intermediate to advanced users, what sets this book apart is the liberal inclusion of practical tips, real-world experiences, and knowledge gained from others during the course of a career dedicated pretty much to mastering. It’s one of those rare books that manages to be authoritative without being didactic, and clearly identifies opinions as opposed to verifiable facts. Bob also discusses a lot of myths, from the “warmth” of tubes (just because there’s a tube doesn’t mean it’s good) to the digital vs. analog debate.
Even if you already do mastering, this book will help you do it better. And if you anticipate getting into mastering — start here.