Terry Hancock [reviews]

Book Review: Sound Effects Tips and Tricks by Eddie Bazil

fsmsh.com/3703 [audio] [audacity] [ardour] [vst] [ladspa] [movies]

Not so much a software book as a book on theory and technique of sound processing, "Sound Effects, Tips and Tricks" is a concise look at what can be done with good signal processing software. I found the book interesting, occasionally frustrating, and enlightening. In the end, it mostly taught me to have a better understanding of what I didn't know -- but that's useful.

This book is quite small and thin (at just 164 pages), so there's not a lot of clutter. Yet before I'd read even 10 pages, I had already learned a lot and dispelled some of my earlier misconceptions.

The book explores some of the physics of sound at a conceptual level and applies it directly not only to modern digital tools, but also to the analog systems they are often designed to emulate. The audio file examples are provide via a link to the publisher's website.

Annoyingly, the book routinely uses abbreviations without expanding them -- a very annoying habit that unnecessarily limits the readership. Presumably the author assumes that I am already an audio professional and so a term like "VST" will seem familiar. But of course, I had to look it up. It turns out to be a proprietary (but widely-supported) plug-in standard for audio signal processing software originally designed fo Cubase.

This is not a showstopper, though -- it turns out that VST plugins are supported by some versions of Ardour and Audacity, so it's possible that the particular plug-ins refered to in the book will run on free software platforms (though some of them are probably "non-free" software).

More importantly the book is really about the concepts behind the plug-ins, and there are plenty of LADSPA plugins which are better supported on GNU/Linux platforms.

The book also got me thinking about how to write new plugins if I needed them. So I'll say this book is a good source of ideas and better understanding of theory, but it falls a little short on clarity and it has no direct support for free software audio applications.

In short:

Title Sound Effects Tips and Tricks
Author Eddie Bazil
Publisher PC Publishing
ISBN 978-1906005-160
Year 2011
Pages 164
CD included No
FS Oriented 1
Over all score 5


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.