Book Review: The Studio Builder’s Handbook

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Best-selling author and engineer/producer Bobby Owsinski and Grammy-nominated engineer/producer Dennis Moody recently released a new book, The Studio Builder’s Handbook (How to Improve the Sound of Your Studio on Any Budget).

Full disclosure.  Yes, that is a picture of my studio on the front cover and Owsinski did send me a signed copy.  Thanks Bobby!

All that being said, I found the book to be an easy and enjoyable read.  Contained within is a wealth of information for anyone interested in the how-tos of studio construction and ownership.  The authors walk readers through all phases of studio design and construction, from initial conceptualization to booking that first session.  Topics include acoustics, determining the listening position, construction techniques, wiring, monitor and gear selection, and more.  

I particularly found the chapter on DIY acoustic panels and bass traps extremely useful and informative.  The included interviews with industry luminaries was an added bonus.

Even if you think you know everything about studio design and have thought of everything, READ THIS BOOK!  It just could save you from making a costly mistake.

Recommended Reading For Complete Audio Domination!

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If you are interested in audio recording and have a desire to learn more and hone your craft, these books are an excellent start.  Listed in no particular order.

Mixing With Your Mind by Michael Paul Stavrou

A bit pricey at $80 USD, but worth every penny. This book is such an entertaining read and full of real world tips for obtaining great sounds in the studio. If you’re struggling with getting great guitar and drums sounds, are completely baffled by all those knobs on your compressor, or wondering why you would ever want to mix in mono, this book is for you. Highly recommend.

The Home Studio Guide to Microphones by Loren Alldrin

Loren recorded my college band Able Cain in 1992 or 1993, back when ADATs ruled the world. A few years later, he wrote this excellent primer on microphones. The book is a must read from anyone curious about how microphones work, wonders how to choose the right microphone for the job at hand, and wants some guidance for correct microphone placement. Even all these years later, I still refer to this book for ideas on how to mic instruments I don’t normally encounter. A great reference to have on the bookshelf.

Mastering Audio, Second Edition: The art and the science by Robert A. Katz

Hands down, the best book on mastering I’ve read to date. In fact, the Berklee School of Music uses it as the textbook for their mastering course! This book is a must read for anyone interested in digital audio and mastering. Full of technical information you won’t find elsewhere. Deep, but still an enjoyable read.

The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook: The Audio Mastering Handbook by Bobby Owsinski

A great introduction to mastering and related technology. If you’ve already read Bob Katz’s book, this one will seem a bit elementary, but the included interviews with ten top mastering engineers is absolutely priceless.