I’ve read the Sound Effects Bible by Ric Viers, which I would heartily recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it, Mixing practices: Tips and tricks, I can’t remember the exact title or the author of that book, but it’s very good anyway. It breaks down all the different effects and how they can be used in music, complete with a diskography of examples as illustration.
I’ve also read Mastering Music at Home and a book about critical listening, which came with an accompanying MP3 CD.
I was wondering what other books on sound design people have read that they would recommend.
I second DiegoC’s recommendation of The Master Handbook of Acoustics;
Principles of Digital Audio, by Ken C Pohlmann is definitely a good read;
The Soundscape: The Tuning of the World, by R. Murray Schafer;
Understanding Audio, by Daniel M. Thompson
Story, by Robert McKee. This book is actually about scriptwriting and is very useful for the understanding of a story’s structure and it can be tremendously helpful in editing and designing.
If you’re also interested in other aspects of audio, have a read through the WFAE (World Forum for Acoustic Ecology) website, as well as the INCEUSA (Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA) website, Sound on Sound magazine and, of course, the AES (Audio Engineering Society) materials. There are very good content in all of them!
Definitely recommend “Sound Design” by David Sonnenschein. It’s an easy read, and full of inspiration.
On the technical side, “Mastering Audio” by Bob Katz was recommended to me by several people. I never finished it, but hope to at some point. It’s pretty dry, but was very informative at the time.
The “How To” books mentioned in the thread are all great, but they’ll start to loose some of their appeal when your sound editing skills stop being so much of a limiting factor in your work. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a life long pursuit – but there’s a definite leap you make from clueless to somewhat clued after a few years.
With all due respect to the recommendations here, I feel quite strongly that the worst thing you can do at this point in your development is read Michel Chion – the books are written in an impossibly dense academic style which makes them hard work to digest. Audio Vision was the first book recommended to me when I initially showed an interest in sound design and it just about put me off (seriously!). To be fair, there weren’t that many books on the subject 15 years ago, but transitioning in to the conceptual side of things doesn’t need to be so rough these days. I guess what I’m saying is – everybody is different, so don’t feel bad if you find yourself hating these books – come back to them when you’re ready, because they contain some wonderful concepts you wont find anywhere else 🙂
Books by practitioners rather than theoreticians, that aren’t so focused on “How To”, are probably a good next step – Sound-On-Film: Interviews with Creators of Film Sound that Jeff mentioned, would be my top recommendation. It used to be hard to get hold of and stupid expensive, but it looks like it’s available on Amazon at the mo. It’s just a really nice blend of interesting people talking about interesting work on interesting projects, and it’s a great half-way house between the low level practical stuff and some higher level conceptual ideas.
There are some classic/must-read articles by Walter Murch and Randy Thom on filmsound.org – I would read those first before you spend more money on books, but if you connect with them then, at that point, I think everything else is fair game 🙂
Here are some other books that I’ve enjoyed but I don’t think have been mentioned yet, some of which are more on the periphery but might be of interest to people looking for something new to read…
Soundscape – The School of Sound Lectures 1998 – 2001. Also worth noting – I’m not sure where you are based, but if you have the facility to go to The School of Sound in London, do it. It was an important part of my development and really inspired me, and I know that that holds true for many other professionals from this neck of the woods.
Film Sound: Theory and Practice – like the above, it’s a collection, so it’s easy to skip the ones that send you to sleep 🙂
The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film – if you liked In The Blink Of An Eye then you’ll probably dig this too!
Silent Film Sound – this book is so dense and thick with minute detail, it’s insane. Almost too hardcore for me, but it’s an important piece of work if only for dispelling the myth that silent films weren’t silent (news flash – evidence suggests that they often were)!
Echoes From The Sky: A Story Of Acoustic Defence – I think Ben Minto dug this one up – it’s the story of acoustic amplification as the precursor radar.
How To Wreck A Nice Beach – a wonderful mashup of technological and social history
A Brief History of Whistling – hey, why not 😉 I randomly came across this in a book shop a few years ago and had to have it!
If It’s Purple Someone’s Going To Die – Rob Bridgett made this recommendation – a few people have mentioned the idea of reading up on other disciplines – that’s useful both for spotting parallels to inspire your own work, but also an aid to understanding and collaborating with the other people.
Ric Viers – Sound Effects Bible
Ric Viers – The Location Sound Bible
Vanessa Theme Ament – The Foley Grail
Gordon Hempton – Earth is a Solar Powered Jukebox a Complete guide to listening, Recording and Sound Designing with Nature
I recommend all the above books. All easy reads and informative. Always enjoy reading from different industries perspective. Check em out!
Field Recording: From Research to Wrap by Paul Virostek is a good read. Lots of good ideas for getting out and recording your own sounds. (Paul is a regular on this forum so I better get an up vote from him for this!)
The Foley Grail is a fun book too.
I will second Walter Murch’s In the Blink of an Eye. I really love that book and re-read every couple of years – it holds up to multiple run throughs.
“The Master Handbook of Acoustics” by F. Alton Everest.
Not strictly about sd, more on acoustic and audio basics, diffusion, absorption and such, but it made my mind positively switching and evolving on how to deal with audio when I read it many years ago.
And a couple of book about video editing and script writing always for movie, but useful if translating some of the concept into sound editing too, when building stories with audio. But as they are from Italian authors (I’m from Italy) I guess not worth mentioning here as you wouldn’t be able to read them 🙂
However similar books in your native languages can be very useful. I found reading about video and photography making/editing can be translated often to audio/sound recording-making-editing-designing too, at least conceptually. Or give inspiration. “Cross-disciplines” so to speak.
Books are good, but nothing beats watching well crafted movie before beggining or in the break during my work time, that always gets me going better
Having said that, Chions – Audio-Vision is very important to me, The Contemporary Hollywood Film Soundtrack: Professional Practices and Sonic
Styles Since the 1970s is also nice🙂