Pro Audio Reference


Pro Audio Reference (Book)

Pro Audio Reference Books

Last Updated August 2016



Beranek, Leo L. Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954; Reissued 1986 by Acoustical Society of America ISBN 0-88318-494-X). [The classic text. Long out-of-print, but now available. Difficult, but definitive.]

---  Music, Acoustics & Architecture (Wiley , New York, 1962). [Another gem from Dr. Beranek — this time in non-technical language — the essential meaning of acoustics to the performance and appreciation of music.]

---  Noise Reduction (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1960). [Written in 1960, for a special MIT summer program, this book went on to become the foundation for modern noise control.]

Blesser, Barry & Linda-Ruth Salter Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture (MIT Press ISBN 978-0-262-02605-5, Cambridge, MA, 2007). [The authors coin the term "aural architecture" to describe the human perception phenomenon that allows us to identify spaces in far more complex ways than just their classic acoustics. Fascinating.]

Chanaud, Robert, Ph.D. Sound Masking Done Right: Simple Solutions for Complex Problems (Magnum Publishing and Atlas Sound ISBN 978-0-9818166-0-9, Ennis, TX, 2008). [The most thorough source on this subject to be found anywhere. Amounting to 237 pages, it's expensive but worth it if you are serious about understanding sound masking. Contact Atlas Sound about purchasing.]

Cox, Trevor The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World (Norton ISBN 978-0-393-23979-9, New York 2014). [A totally fun book. The author travels all over the world exploring and documenting strange sounds.]

D'Antonio, Peter and Trevor J. Cox Acoustic Absorbers and Diffusers, Third Ed. (CRC Press ISBN  978-1498740999 London, 2016). [Everything known about diffusers (less about absorbers) by the inventor, along with a professor of acoustics engineering at Salford University. Practical as well as theoretical; learn how to measure, model, design, optimize and apply diffusers and absorbers. There is no better book on these subjects.]

Everest, F. Alton & Ken C. Pohlmann Master Handbook of Acoustics, 5th ed. (McGraw Hill ISBN 978-0-07-160332-4, New York, 2009). [A true classic, offering an excellent real-world practical intro to acoustics. This edition done by Ken Pohlmann after Everest's death.]

Hänsler, Eberhard and Gerhard Schmidt Acoustic Echo and Noise Control: A Practical Approach (Wiley Inter-Science ISBN 0-471-45346-3, New Jersey, 2004). [Essential theory and proven techniques for acoustic echo and noise suppression. The best reference so far on this difficult topic.]

Harris, Cyril M. Handbook of Acoustical Measurements and Noise Control, 3rd ed. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1991 ISBN 0-07-026868-1) [Classic reference on the analysis and solution of all things noise.]

Olson, Harry F. Acoustical Engineering (Van Nostrand, New York 1957; reissued 1991 by Professional Audio Journals, Inc., Philadelphia, PA). [Along with Beranek's Acoustics above, these two form the definitive bookends for all later acoustics books.]

---  Musical Engineering (McGraw Hill, New York 1952) Revised and re-named Music, Physics and Engineering, 2nd ed.(Dover, New York 1967)  [An audio master presents the first unified engineering treatment of all the elements that enter into the production and reproduction of music.]

Rayleigh, J.W.S. The Theory of Sound, 2nd Revised Ed. (Dover, New York 1976, in two volumes: Vol. 1, ISBN 0-486-60292-3 and Vol. 2, ISBN 0-486-60293-1). [This second revised edition was first published in 1896 and is the real deal, but difficult to read with lots of mathematics. Included here because it is the major work of a Nobel Laureate and considered the first classic coverage of sound theory.]

Biographies and History of Audio

Alexander, Robert Charles The Inventor of Stereo, The Life and Works of Alan Dower Blumlein (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51577-3 Oxford, England, 1999). [At last, a magnificent biography of a man finally restored to his rightful place in history.]

Alexander, Robert Charles  Michael Gerzon: Beyond Psychoacoustics (Dora Media Productions ISBN 978-0-9560160-0-3 Lincolnshire, England, 2008). ["I think that he's the only genuine genius that I have ever met." Professor Stanley Lipshitz, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. There is no better endorsement.]

Brewster, Bill and Frank Broughton Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey (Grove Press ISBN 0-8021-3688-5 New York, 2000). [Just about the only but certainly the best source of the history of the modern DJ. Very highly recommended.]

Clark, Mark Magnetic Recording: The Ups and Downs of a Pioneer - The Memoirs of Semi Joseph Begun. (Audio Engineering Society, New York, 2002). ["The engaging story of one of magnetic recording's most respected pioneers begins in pre-World War I Germany, moves through the 1930s with the early development of the Lorenz steel tape machine, and on to the activities at the United States' Brush Development Company during World War II. A rare personal insight into the emergence of a major audio technology by one of its most impressive contributors."]

Holmes, Thom Electronic and Experimental Music, 2nd ed. (Routledge, ISBN 0-415-93644-6, New York, 2002) [Wonderful and complete synthesizer history, with great photos, but not nearly enough].

Levey, Jane Freundel NAMM 100th: A Century of Service to the Music Products Industry. (Carlsbad CA: NAMM-International Music Products Association, 2001). [Beautiful coffee-table book capturing the history of the National Association of Music Merchants. Check to find one.]

Steinweiss, Alex, Jennifer McKnight-Trontz and Steven Heller For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover (Princeton Architectural Press ISBN 1568982240, Princeton, NJ, 2000). [A great glimpse into one of the America's original art forms and the life of its pioneer. Fun, fun, fun and he designed the book cover - of course.]

Welch, Walter L. and Leah Brodbeck Stenzel Burt, From Tinfoil to Stereo (University Press of Florida ISBN 0-8130-1317-8, Gainesville, FL, 1994). [The most comprehensive history of the phonograph and sound recording, starting with its inception in 1877 to the time of the Great Crash in 1929. Considered the fundamental reference book of sound recording history.]

Dictionaries & References

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th ed.(Houghton Mifflin ISBN 978-0547041018, Boston, 2011). [If you only own one dictionary, make it this one.]

Barber, David W. Better Than It Sounds (Sound And Vision ISBN 0-920151-22-1, Toronto, 1998). [Humorous musical quotations.]

Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes (Little, Brown & Co. ISBN 0-316-08267-8, New York, 2000). [Fun stuff; I don't know how many are true, but fun anyway.]

Bierce, Ambrose, The Devil's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-195-12627-0, Oxford, 1998). [Originally published in the late 1890s by "The Wickedest Man in San Francisco" — this is better than therapy.]

Crystal, David & Hilary Crystal, Words on Words (The University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-12201-8, Chicago 2000). [Great collection of quotations about language and languages.]

Décharné, Max, Straight From The Fridge, Dad (Broadway Books ISBN 0-7679-0840-6, New York, 2001). [Fun dictionary of hipster slang.]

Hale, Constance, Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose (Broadway Books ISBN 0-7679-0308-0, New York, 1999). [By the author of Wired Style and a former editor of Wired magazine, a must-have guide that goes way beyond the "rules" of modern language and good writing.]

IEEE 100: The Authoritative Dictionary of IEEE Standards Terms, 7th ed. (IEEE ISBN 0-7381-2601-2, New York, 2000). [The answers for electrical & electronic terminology disputes.]

IEEE Standards Dictionary: Glossary of Terms & Definitions (IEEE ISBN 978-0=7381-57399, New York, 2009). [Very handy and convenient CD-ROM.]

Kacirk, Jeffrey, The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten (Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-684-85761-8, New York, 2000). [Fascinating review of English words that quietly disappeared over time.]

Kamp, David, The Rock Snob's Dictionary : An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge (Broadway Books ISBN 0-7679-1873-8, New York, 2005). [The title says it all — you have to have this book -- at least lying around the john.]

Lynch, Jack, ed., Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (Levenger Press ISBN 1-929154-10-0, Delray Beach, FL, 2002. [Selections from the 1755 work that defined the English language. Fun stuff.]

McCleary, John Bassett The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia (and Phraseicon) of the 1960s and 1970s (Ten Speed Press ISBN 1-58008-355-2, Berkeley, CA 2002). [If you were there this will help you remember. Fantastic and valuable compilation.]

McQuain, Jeffrey Never Enough Words (Random House ISBN 0-679-45804-2 New York, 1999). [Wonderful source for Americanisms. Where else are you going to find out that "teetotaciously exflunctified" means "totally worn out." Sports figures are accused of "talking trash," well, this is what is called "talking tall."]

Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary [Best Windows 7 dictionary since Houghton Mifflin refuses to allow the AHD to install.]

Morfey, Christopher L. Dictionary of Acoustics. (Academic Press ISBN 0-12-506940-5, San Diego, CA 2001). [Wonderful and thorough reference for the many terms unique to the study and practice of acoustics.]

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Special Publication 811: Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) [The authority on this subject. There is none better.]

Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter), 6th ed. (Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-923324-3, 2007). [Everyone needs at least one OED.]

Pinker, Steven The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (Perennial Classics ISBN 0-06-095833-2, New York, 2000.) [Language is usually audio and so this book belongs here. The author is THE world's leading expert on language and he tells the tale with brilliant, witty and refreshing humor. You will like this book far more than you could ever imagine.]

Sadie, Stanley, ed., The Norton/Grove Concise Encyclopedia of Music (Norton ISBN 0-393-03753-3, New York, 1994). [The title says it all.]

White, Glenn D. and Gary J. Louie, The Audio Dictionary, 3rd ed., (University of Washington Press ISBN 0-295-98498-8, Seattle, 2005). [None better. You need this book, and with this latest edition its even mo' better.]

---  The Audio Dictionary, 2nd ed., CD-ROM Version (University of Washington Press ISBN 0-295-97540-7, Seattle, 1998). [Very useful CD-ROM version of the above, complete with color graphics and sound. There is also a combo book and CD-ROM version ISBN 0-295-97541-5.]

Digital Audio

Greenebaum, Ken and Ronen Barzel, eds. Audio Anecdotes II: Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Digital Audio (A K Peters ISBN 1-56881-214-0, Wellesley, MA, 2004) [So far, there are three books in this useful series: Audio Anecdotes I, II, & III. Recommended for anyone working or interested in digital audio. Includes a CD-ROM with demos, source code and examples.]

Pohlmann, Ken ed. Advanced Digital Audio (Sams ISBN 0-672-22768-1, Carmel, IN, 1991). [Difficult subjects clearly explained by this acclaimed professor of music engineering at the University of Miami — an accurate, authoritative digital audio resource.]

--- Principles of Digital Audio, 6th ed. (McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-0-07-166346-5, New York, 2011). [The latest edition of THE classic book on digital audio.]

Rumsey, Francis and John Watkinson The Digital Interface Handbook, 3rd edition (Focal Press ISBN 0240519094, Oxford, England, 2003). [One of the best references on this complex topic.]

Watkinson, John The Art of Digital Audio, 3rd ed. (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51587-0, Oxford, England, 2001). [The title says it all. One of the best digital audio references you can own.]

---  The Art of Sound Reproduction (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51512-9, Oxford, England, 1998). [Don't even ask; if John wrote, you need it. Outstanding overview of the entire audio field — all the theoretical background necessary to understand sound reproduction.]

---  Compression in Video & Audio (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51394-0, Oxford, England, 1995). [Want to know all about MUSICAM, Dolby AC, JPEG and MPEG? This is your book.]

---   An Introduction to Digital Audio (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51378-9, Oxford, England, 1995). [Less rigorous than the one above, but no less valuable. An excellent first book on digital audio.]

Electronic Engineering

Agans, David J. Debugging: The Nine Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems (AMACOM ISBN 0-8144-7168-4, New York, 2002). [The title says it all.]

Agarwal, Anant and Jeffrey Lang Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits (Morgan Kaufmann ISBN 978-1558607354, Burlington, MA, 2005). [While not a new book, it presents a new approach to learning electronics by two MIT professors. Highly recommended. Classroom lectures available on YouTube here]

Ashby, Darren Electrical Engineering 101, 2nd. Ed. (Newnes ISBN 978-1-85617-506-7, Oxford, England, 2009). [If you find yourself wanting to remember how such and such works, give this title a chance. It may have just what you want.]

Billings, Keith, Abraham I. Pressman and Taylor Morey Switching Power Supply Design, 3rd Ed. (McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-0-07-148272-1, New York, 2009). [An industry standard on all things that switch and twitch.]

Croft, Terrell, The American Electrician's Handbook, 2nd ed. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1921). [A gem of a book: leather bound, all edges gilt, wonderful!]

Feucht, Dennis L. Handbook of Analog Circuit Design (Academic Press ISBN 0-12-254240-1, San Diego, 1990). [A rare find: a textbook that is truly useful and practical. Which isn't surprising once you know that he was a real world Tektronix engineer. Particularly good at giving insight into circuits. His book is also available in CD-ROM format; see his website.]

Frederiksen, Thomas M., Intuitive Analog Electronics (McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-021962-1, New York, 1989). [Only a very few technical writers have the real gift — Bob Pease, John Watkinson, Jim Williams, and more recently, Clive Maxfield, all come to mind, but before any of them, came Tom Frederiksen; Tom has true gift. I was most fortunate to have learned directly from Tom, as were a couple of the other aforementioned. It simply cannot be written or said clearer or more interestingly than the way Tom does it. (FYI: He has a whole "Intuitive" series -- five titles that I know of. Find them, search them out; you won't be disappointed.)]

Horowitz, Paul & Winfield Hill The Art of Electronics, 3rd ed. (Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0521809269, London, 2015.) [This book, along with Scherz & Monk's book, are the two best books on practical, day-to-day electronics that you will find. Both five-star books.]

Jung, Walt, ed. Op Amp Applications Handbook (Newnes ISBN 978-0-7506-7844-5, Burlington, MA, 2006. [Compilation of all Analog Devices' ap notes since 1965, including a new section on the history of the op amp.]

Kordyban, Tony Hot Air Rises and Heat Sinks: Everything You Know About Cooling Electronics Is Wrong (ASME Press ISBN 0791800741, 1998). [A collection of myths, mistakes, and "lessons learned" from practicing engineers involved in the field of electronic equipment cooling. In between headaches, Tony Kordyban joyfully explains why everything you know about cooling electronics is wrong. A MUST-HAVE book for anyone involved in cooling electronics.]

Lurch, E. Norman Fundamentals of Electronics, 3rd Ed. (Wiley ISBN 979-0471034940, New York, 1981). [Particularly good book for the new DIY enthusiast.]

Maxfield, Clive. Bebop to the Boolean Boogie, 3rd. Ed. (Newnes ISBN 978-1856175074, Oxford, England, 2009). [Try it; you'll love it. Really great stuff.]

Maxfield, Clive. The Design Warrior's Guide to FPGAs. (Newnes ISBN 978-0-7506-7604-5, Oxford, England, 2004). [ Another great title by this gifted educator/writer. Highly recommended. You will learn something.]

Pease, Robert A. Troubleshooting Analog Circuits (Butterworth Heinemann ISBN 0-7506-9184-0, Boston, 1991). [Bob Pease is legendary among analog circuit designers, and his monthly column, "What's All This ... Stuff, Anyhow?" in Electronic Design magazine was one of the most read and loved columns of all time. No better book on analog troubleshooting than this. "In all my years of designing/building/fixing audio gear, whenever something goes wrong, the right answer is always in this book (virtually no math, either)," writes Bill Coe, Sluggo Audio. It was an honor, a privilege and an education to have worked with him. RIP, Bob. ]

Scherz, Paul & Simon Monk Practical Electronics for Inventors, 3rd ed. (Tab Books, ISBN 978-0071771337, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, 2013). Don't be put off by the title, This book, along with Horowitz's book, are the two best books on practical, day-to-day electronics that you will find. Both five-star books.]

Williams, Gerald E. Practical Transistor Circuit Design and Analysis (McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-0070703988, New York, 1973). [A classic in real world discrete transistor design. One of the best]

Williams, Jim Analog Circuit Design. (Butterworth Heinemann ISBN 0-7506-9166-2, Boston, 1991). [A must-have for anyone interested in analog circuit design by one of the analog gurus of all time.]

Williams, Tim EMC for Product Designers, 3rd Ed. (Newnes ISBN 0-7506-4930-5, Oxford, England, 2001). [The best practical book dealing with achieving EMC immunity and emissions for CE marking. Also check out his new book below.]

Williams, Tim and Keith Armstrong, EMC for Systems and Installations (Newnes ISBN 0-7506-4167-3, Oxford, England, 2000). [The best practical book dealing with achieving EMC immunity and emissions for CE marking. Also check out his first book above.]

Film Sound

Holman, Tomlinson Sound For Film And Television, 3rd ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-81330-1 Oxford, UK 2010) [From the man who invented and developed Lucasfilm's THX® program, and now a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.]

Weis, Elisabeth and John Belton Film Sound: Theory And Practice (Columbia University Press ISBN 0-231-05637-0, New York, 1985). [More historical and theoretical than Holman's book above, thus a nice complement.]


Borwick, John, Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook, 3rd ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0240522760, Oxford, UK, 2001). [Excellent compilation of articles by leading experts in the field.]

Colloms, Martin, High Performance Loudspeakers, 6th ed. (Wiley ISBN 0-470-09430-3 Chichester, England 2005). [My favorite of all the books on loudspeakers for theory.] 


Beckmann, Petr, A History of Pi (The Golem Press ISBN 0-911762-18-3, Boulder, CO, 1977). [If the origin of key mathematical symbols interests you, then you'll love this.]

Kaplan, Robert The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero (Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-512842-7 New York, 2000). [If the origin of key mathematical symbols interests you, then you'll love this.]

Livio, Mario, The Golden Ratio (Broadway Books ISBN 0-7679-0815-5, New York 2002. [Forever fascinating look at this wonderful number.]

Maor, Eli, e: The Story of a Number (Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-03390-0, Princeton, NJ, 1994). [If the origin of key mathematical symbols interests you, then you'll love this.]

Nahin, Paul J.  An Imaginary Tale: The Story of [the square root of minus one] (Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-02795-1, Princeton, NJ, 1998). [If the origin of key mathematical symbols interests you, then you'll love this.]

Neugebauer, Otto The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, 2nd. Ed. (Dover Publications ISBN: 0486223329, NY, 1969). [Deep investigation of Mesopotamian mathematics and astronomy. Hey! What's not to like? Although it is dry and you have to read the notes to get some of the best stuff.]

Transnational College of LEX Who Is Fourier? A Mathematical Adventure (Language Research Foundation ISBN 0-9643504-0-8, Belmont, MA, Third Printing 1998). [A very different book, deceptively simple in style — almost comic book-like — but, I believe the best book on Fourier ever. Buy it; give it a chance -- don't be put off by the style. I bet you learn something and tell all your friends to get a copy. It's that good.]


Borwick, John Microphones: Technology and Technique (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51279-0, Kent, England, 1990). [Includes a wonderful section on how the human voice works.]

Eargle, John (update by Ray A. Rayburn) The Microphone Book, 3rd Ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0240820750, Oxford, England, 2011). [My pick for the best book on microphone technology and classical techniques from an award winning recording engineer with multiple degrees in music and engineering.]

Vear, Tim, Rick Waller and Gino Sigismondi Microphone Techniques for Live Sound Reinforcement (Shure Publications, Niles, IL, 2014). [Hit the link to download your free copy. Absolutely the best free information on mics, just loaded with great stuff.]

Power Amplifiers

Baxandall, Peter and Self, Douglas Baxandall and Self on Audio Power (Linear Audio ISBN 978-94-90929-03-9, Hoensbroek, The Netherlands, 2011). [A collection of papers done by both men on audio power amplifiers published in Wireless World magazine between 1978-1979 (Baxandall) and 1993-1994 (Self). Valuable stuff from two of the experts.]

Cordell, Bob Designing Audio Power Amplifiers (McGraw Hill ISBN 978-0-07-164024-4, New York, 2011). [This is another must-have book for anyone designing power amplifiers. A great complement to Doug Self's book below.]

Self, Douglas Audio Power Amplifier Design, 6th edition (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-52613-3, Burlington, MA, 2013). [For all the books written on audio, there are surprisingly few on power amplifiers. Of the few seen, I prefer this one, and it just keeps getting better with each edition. Written by a real-world, experienced, working, multi-degreed (Cambridge & Sussex) engineer, it is rational, reliable, accurate and truly useful. Highly recommended. Also recommended is his book on small signal audio circuits listed here and another on designing active crossovers found here.]

Slone, G. Randy High-Power Audio Amplifier Construction Manual (McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-134119-6, New York, 1999). [A very valuable do-it-yourself book; highly recommended.]

Pro Audio, General

AES  Shields and Grounds: Safety, Power Mains, Studio, Cable and Equipment (special excerpt), Jour. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol 43, No 5, June 1995. [This reprint forms the foundation of understanding the Pin-1 Problem and other nuisance grounding & interconnection issues.]

Ballou, Glen, ed. Handbook For Sound Engineers, Fifth Edition (Focal Press ISBN 9780415842938, Oxford, UK, 2015). [Very uneven reference, but contains good information. The book is divided into chapters written by multiple authors, resulting in great differences in treatment, tone and thoroughness of subject matter. Some sections are excellent and useful to a sound engineer; some are not. A fully-searchable and hyperlinked CD-ROM would help.]

Benson, K. Blair, ed. Audio Engineering Handbook (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1988). [This is a great compilation of articles written by some of the best in the business. Too bad it is out of print. A lot of the material is done at an advanced level and quite difficult, but valuable. Contains the best article I've found on audio standards, written by the late Daniel Queen, long-time AES Standards Manager. See Whitaker for revised edition.]

Blesser, Barry "An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Reverberation Viewpoints," J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 49, pp. 867-903 (2001 October 2001). [This is the best overview available describing the enormous complexity of reverberation, showing how various disciplines contribute to our understanding.]

Bohn, Dennis A., "Operator Adjustable Equalizers: An Overview," The Proceeding of the AES 6th International Conference: Sound Reinforcement (Audio Engineering Society ISBN 0-937803-13-8, New York, 1989). [Hey, you have to promote yourself at least once — that's a rule.]

Brixen, Eddy BØgh, Audio Metering, 2nd ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-81467-4, Oxford, UK, 2011). [This is the best of what little published information exists on audio metering. Highly recommended.]

Davis, Don & Carolyn Davis Sound System Engineering, 2nd ed. (Sams ISBN 0-672-21857-7, Indianapolis, 1987). [The textbook written by the husband and wife team that founded Synergetic Audio Concepts (Syn-Aud-Con), and pioneered sound system seminars.]

Davis, Don & Eugene Patronis, Jr. Sound System Engineering, 4th ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-81846-7, Oxford, England, 2013). [This is the latest edition of the above, but different enough to warrant a separate listing.]

Davis, Gary & Ralph Jones, Yamaha Sound Reinforcement, 2nd ed. (Hal Leonard ISBN 0-88188-900-8, Milwaukee, 1989). [It's hard to find affordable, useful and accurate pro audio references— this is all three. The best $/page/information-content value around.]

Geddes, Earl and Lidia Lee Audio Transducers (GedLee Associates ISBN 0-9722085-0-X, Novi, MI, 2002). [THE definitive book on audio transducer design theory — graduate level, very mathematical, for serious pursuits. "The emphasis is on the theory, not the practical production of transducers." The two authors have between them over 50 years of work in transducers and psychoacoustics. This is not an easy book but if you want to know how a transducer works, how it REALLY works, this is the book.]

Giddings, Philip Audio System Design and Installation (Howard W. Sams ISBN 0-672-22672-3, Indianapolis, 1990). [Don't let the title fool you, this is the book on interconnection wiring, grounding, shielding and AC power.]

Harada, Kai Sound Handbook. [This one is different and only available off the Web. Hit the link and enjoy; definitely a great and fun introduction to sound and audio. Highly recommended.]

Jones, Douglas R. Sound of Worship: A Handbook of Acoustics and Sound System Design for the Church (Focal Press ISBN 979-0-240-81339-4, Oxford, UK 2011). [An excellent introductions into the intricacies of church audio including an interesting overview of church design history. There is a companion website,, with sound examples. ]

Lampen, Stephen H. Wire, Cable & Fiber Optics for Video & Audio Engineers, 3rd ed. (McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-038134-8, New York, 1998) [Trust me, you need this book — there is none better on this subject.]

Langford-Smith, Fritz Radiotron Designer's Handbook, 4th ed. (Originally published by the Wireless Press for Amalgamated Wireless Valve Company Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia in 1934; revised three times to produce the 4th (and final) edition in 1952; reproduced and distribute by RCA Electronic Components, Harrison, NJ for the last time in May, 1968; resurrected and reissued as a 1,000 page paperback by Newnes (Butterworth-Heinemann) ISBN 0-7506-3635-1, Oxford, England, 1997) [Along with Tremaine's book below, this is another of the ancient-audio sacred texts. This tome is a comprehensive reference covering basic audio principles and the practical design of all types of classic radio receivers, audio amplifiers and record-producing equipment up to the invention of the transistor. This is the book you consult to learn how they did compressors in the very old days, for instance.]

McCarthy, Bob. Sound Systems: Design and Optimization, 3rd. Ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0415731010, Oxford, England, 2016). [This is a massive 500+ page sound system optimization guide resulting from the author's many years as an instructor and installer for Meyer Sound. Thorough treatment of using dual channel FFT analyzers, acoustic prediction programs and DSP boxes to set up any sound system. Lots of very useful full-color images and diagrams. Already a classic, methinks.]

Metzler, Bob. Audio Measurement Handbook (Audio Precision ISBN 978-9994569885, Beaverton, OR, 1993). [Just how do you measure transient intermodulation distortion, anyway? Bob explains.]

Moses, Bob "Asynchronous Serial Communications," The Proceedings of the AES 13th International Conference: Computer-Controlled Sound Systems (Audio Engineering Society ISBN 0937803251, NY, 1994). [A great primer on all things asynchronous, from the originator of Rane's website.]

Self, Douglas Audio Engineering Explained (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-81273-1, Oxford, UK, 2010). [This is an excellent compilation of chapters taken from contemporary books on audio engineering, edited by Douglas Self, author of my favorite books on power amplifier and small signal audio design. He has done a great job of gathering in one place all the truly relevant information about audio engineering.]

--- Small Signal Audio Design, Second Edition (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-415-70973-6, Oxon, England, 2015). [Complementing his book on power amplifiers referenced above, this is without question the best book on audio circuits to date. There are woefully few books on analog audio circuit design as it is, but this is truly a monumental work. If you do any analog audio circuit design you MUST OWN THIS BOOK!]

--- The Design of Active Crossovers (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-81738-5, Oxford, UK, 2011). [Another masterpiece from the audio guru. Only Self could fill 580 pages on this topic—and not one word too many! BUY IT.]

--- Self on Audio Third Ed. (Focal Press ISBN 9781138854468, Oxford, UK, 2015) [A collection of design articles by Douglas Self previously published in Elektor, Linear Audio, and Electronics World.]

Streicher, Ron & F. Alton Everest The New Stereo Soundbook, 3rd ed. (Audio Engineering Associates ISBN 978-0-9665162-1-0, Pasadena, CA, 2006). [The best book so far on miking and recording stereophonic sound.]

Talbot-Smith, Michael Audio Engineer's Reference Book, 2nd ed. (Focal Press ISBN 0-240-51528-5, Oxford, England, 1999). [Perhaps this book is best taken literally, i.e., if you already are an audio engineer then this your reference book. However, if you are not an audio engineer, then I think this should not be your only reference book. It covers a lot of ground, from the math and physics of audio, all the way through digital audio transmission and standards. Too much, I think, for any one volume. The info is there, but it is quite sparse and difficult in places. This book takes work, but has value.]

THAT Corporation Design Notes  [The best free design info on audio dynamics processors that I know of, and free is such a good price. Hit the link and download away.]

Tremaine, Howard M. Audio Cyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Howard W. Sams ISBN 0-672-20675-7, Indianapolis, 1973). [One of the ancient-audio wonders. Although terribly outdated, and long out-of-print, this is still the best all-around pro audio reference for the fundamentals. And, if you dig, you can still find copies in used bookstores and online.]

Uzzle, Ted and Robert A. Bushnell and Thomas G. Bouliane Technical Fundamentals of Audio (NSCA ISBN 0-87288-701-4, Cedar Rapids, IA, 2000). [The must-know fundamentals by the best audio teacher ever, with a little help from his friends.]

Whitaker, Jerry C. and K. Blair Benson, Standard Handbook of Audio and Radio Engineering, 2nd ed. (McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-006717-1, New York, 2002) [Updated, revised and expanded edition of Benson's book. Whitaker took over responsibility for revising after K. Blair Benson's death in 1990. This edition is so different from the original that it is best treated as a different book complementing rather than replacing the original. A complete audio reference library will contain both. A very useful CD-ROM (including many chapters from the original first edition omitted from the print version of this second edition — very nice and useful touch, is included.]

Whitaker, Jerry C., Signal Measurement, Analysis, and Testing (CRC Press ISBN 0-8493-0048-7, Boca Raton, LA, 2000). [Finally a good textbook on these topics. From theory to practical, great book.]

Winer, Ethan The Audio Expert: Everything You Need to Know About Audio (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-82100-9, Oxford, UK, 2012). [In spite of the title, this book could just as easily have been cataloged in the Recording section since its orientation is toward the recording engineer; however, it does a wonderful job in covering a wide range of audio fundamentals, including a great section on exposing audio myths. This alone makes it worth the investment. Plus it has a companion website that offers audio, video and extra chapters to augment the printed material. All in all, a very fine package, highly recommended for the basics.]

Psychoacoustics — Hearing: Psychology & Physiology

Blauert, Jens, Spatial Hearing; The Psychophysics of Human Sound Localization; Revised Edition (MIT Press ISBN 0-262-02413-6 Cambridge, MA, 1997). [Everything known about human sound localization, between two covers.]

Bregman, Albert S. Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound (MIT Press ISBN 978-0-262-52195-6 Cambridge, MA, 1994). [Best source yet for understanding how we separate sounds. The author is the leading pioneer in this subject, having spent over twenty years studying it. Reading just the first and last chapters is worth the price of the book.]

Helmholtz, Hermann On The Sensations of Tone (Dover ISBN 0-486-60753-4, New York, 1980). [One of the world's greatest scientific classics — a genuine treasure. Written in 1885, and still considered one of the best sources for physiological acoustics.]

Howard, David M. & James Angus, Acoustics And Psychoacoustics, 4th ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0—24-052175-6 Oxford, UK 2009) [A beautiful blend of acoustics and psychoacoustics from musical and scientific perspectives. Minimal math. This latest edition includes a CD-ROM giving examples supporting the text. ]

Lass, Norman J. & Charles M. Woodford, Hearing Science Fundamentals (Mosby Elsevier ISBN 978-0-323-04342-7, St. Louis, 2007) [Easy to read with lots of clear, detailed illustrations. Great intro book on hearing.]

Moore, Brian C. An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing, 6th ed. (Emerald ISBN 978-1780520384, UK, 2012). [Uncommonly clear explanations of the most complex hearing issues, from the leading researcher in the field.]

--- Hearing, 2nd ed. (Academic Press ISBN 0-12-505626-5, San Diego, CA 1995), [Very academic graduate and post-graduate text that is one of the most thorough sources available on all aspects of human hearing.]

Pickles, James O. An Introduction to the Physiology of Hearing, 2nd ed. (Academic Press ISBN 0-12-554754-4, San Diego, CA 1988). [An excellent complement to Moore's book above on the psychology, this covers the physiology of hearing.]

Roederer, Juan G. The Physics and Psychophysics of Music, 4th ed. (Springer-Verlag ISBN 0387094709, New York, 2008). [Originally written in 1970 and now in its fourth edition, this is one of the first, and my all-time favorite book on psychoacoustics, or the "music of science," as professor Roederer prefers.]

Zwicker, E & H. Fastl Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models, 2nd ed. (Springer-Verlag ISBN 3-540-65063-6, Berlin, 1999). [Difficult, but thorough; a must-have reference for anyone serious about psychoacoustics.]


Henney, K., Radio Engineering Handbook (McGraw-Hill ISBN 978-0070282087, New York, 1959. [Contains much more than just radio engineering, including a great section on loudspeaker mutual coupling.]

Krauss, Herbert L., Charles W. Bostian & Frederick H. Raab, Solid State Radio Engineering (John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-471-03018-X, New York, 1980). [Written in 1980, this is still one of the best books ever penned about classic analog radio.]

Rutledge, David B. The Electronics of Radio (Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-64645-6 New York, 1999). [From the introduction: "This innovative book provides a stimulating introduction to analog electronics by analyzing the design and construction of a radio transceiver." Including lab exercises, this useful book is clearly written by a Cal Tech professor with wonderful illustrations by Dale Yee and includes a diskette with the microwave circuit simulation program, PUFF.]

Terman, Frederick Emmons Radio Engineering, 3rd Ed. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1947). [THE classic text on this subject; another volume in the amazing McGraw-Hill Electrical and Electronic Engineering Series. Long out of print but well worth finding.]


Bartlett, Bruce and Jenny, Recording Music on Location: Capturing the Live Experience. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-80891-8, Oxford, UK, 2007). [An invaluable aid to recording in the field by an industry veteran and luminary. Includes a CD-ROM that demonstrates the principles.]

--- Practical Recording Techniques: The Step-By-Step Approach to Professional Audio Recording, 6th ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0240821535, Oxford, UK, 2012). [I'm not a recording expert but I can't imagine anyone needing more from a how-to book than this one. Own it.]

Eargle, John, Handbook of Recording Engineering, 4th ed. (Springer ISBN 0387284702, New York, 2006). [One of the first and still the best book for aspiring recording engineers. Each revision keeps it fresh and current.]

Holman, Tomlinson Surround Sound: Up and Running, 2nd ed.. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-240-80829-1, Oxford, UK, 2008). [Excellent reference on monitoring, mixing and recording surround sound from the man who invented the 10.2 surround sound system.]

Huber, David Miles, Modern Recording Techniques, 8th ed. (Focal Press ISBN 978-0240821573, Oxford, UK, 2013). [The best book I've found on project studio recording. Get it; you won't be disappointed.]

Johnson, Heather If These Halls Could Talk: A Historical Tour Through San Francisco Recording Studios (Thomson Course Technology ISBN 978-1598631418, Boston, 2007). [The author describes her first book as "... basically a history of the recording studios in and around SF, including the life of the spaces themselves, the music made in them, and a bit about the evolution of recording technology from the mid '60s to present. (With a little bit of info on mid- to late '50s.)" Good stuff, especially if you were lucky enough to have been there.]

Izhaki, Roey Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools (Focal Press ISBN 978-0-2405-2068-1, Oxford, UK, 2008). [Great coverage of all things necessary to understand the mixing tools and processes, and it includes a DVD with great sample mixes illustrating points of the text. Remarkably clear explanations of complex things; I really like this book.]

Morton, David. Off The Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America (Rutgers University Press ISBN 0-8135-2747-3, New Brunswick, NJ 2000). [Great history full of surprises especially regarding dictation and answering machines.]

Read, Oliver, The Recording and Reproduction of Sound (Sams, Indianapolis, 1949; 2nd ed. 1952). [Another of the almost mythical early texts on audio. Illustrated with fantastic photographs. Long out-of-print but available through used book services and stores.]

St. Croix, Stephen Life in the Fast Lane: Selected Works of Stephen St. Croix (Mix Books ISBN 978-1-59969-226-5 Emeryville, CA 2008). [Read Stephen St. Croix for entertainment value, if for no other reason.]

Thompson, Daniel M Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio (Berklee Press ISBN 0634009591 Boston, 2005) [Well illustrated, well written and used as a textbook at Berklee College of Music — plus it is affordably priced. Thompson teaches audio recording at Berklee -- you will not be disappointed.]

Turnidge, Steve Desktop Mastering: Fundamental Tools & Techniques for Mastering in the Box (Hal Leonard ISBN 978-1458403742, Milwaukee, 2012). [Real world techniques from a veteran desktop mastering pro—and (disclaimer) a long time colleague and friend.]

--- Beyond Mastering: A Conceptual Guide (HAL Leonard ISBN 978-1458474513, Milwaukee, 2013) [More from the mastering master.]

Voers, Ric The Sound Effects Bible: How to Create and Record Hollywood Style Sound Effects (Michael Wiese Productions ISBN 978-1932907483 Studio City, CA 2008) [If you need to know what microphone to use to record that bowling ball rolling down the alley, this is your book.]

Woram, John M. Sound Recording Handbook (Howard W. Sams ISBN 0-672-22583-2, Indianapolis, 1989). [Among the dozens of recording books this one stands tall, from another of the audio-teaching masters.]


Newton, Harry Newton's Telecom Dictionary, 30th ed. (Telecom Publishing ISBN 978-0979387388, New York, 2016). [Telecommunication's magnum opus — there is nothing else like it.] [Fascinating history here.]

Tubes and Valves

Deketh, J. Fundamentals of Radio-Valve Technique (Philips Technical Library reprinted by Audio Amateur Press ISBN 1-882580-23-0 Peterborough, NH, 1999). [First published in English in 1949, this handy book has been reprinted by Audio Amateur Press ). [This is one of the classic tube texts, and deserves a place on your shelf if you have any vacuum tube, or valve, interest at all.]

Pittman, Aspen The Tube Amp Book: Deluxe Revised Edition (Backbeat Book ISBN 0-87930-767-6, San Francisco, 2003). [Complete details and photos of all the great tube guitar amplifiers. Coffee table edition; gorgeous production. This is THE gift for all guitar amp geeks.]


Compiled by Dennis A. Bohn

AES - Audio Engineering Society