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Art of Digital Audio [Hardcover]

John Watkinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Dec 2000
Described as "the most comprehensive book on digital audio to date", it is widely acclaimed as an industry "bible". Covering the very latest developments in digital audio technology, it provides an thorough introduction to the theory as well as acting as an authoritative and comprehensive professional reference source. Everything you need is here from the fundamental principles to the latest applications, written in an award-winning style with clear explanations from first principles.

New material covered includes internet audio, PC audio technology, DVD, MPEG audio compression, digital audio broadcasting and audio networks.

Whether you are in the field of audio engineering, sound recording, music technology, broadcasting and communications media or audio design and installation, this book has it all. Written by a leading international audio specialist, who conducts professional seminars and workshops around the world, the book has been road tested for many years by professional seminar attendees and students to ensure their needs are taken into account, and all the right information is covered.

This new edition now includes:

Internet audio
PC Audio technology
MPEG Audio compression
Digital Audio Broadcasting
Audio networks

Digital audio professionals will find everything they need here, from the fundamental principles to the latest applications, written in an award-winning style with clear explanations from first principles.

John Watkinson is an international consultant in audio, video and data recording. He is a Fellow of the AES, a member of the British Computer Society and a chartered information systems practitioner. He presents lectures, seminars, conference papers and training courses worldwide. He is the author of many other Focal Press books, including: the Kraszna-Krausz award winning MPEG-2; The Art of Digital Audio; An Introduction to Digital Video; The Art of Sound Reproduction; An Introduction to Digital Audio; TV Fundamentals and Audio for Television. He is also co-author, with Francis Rumsey, of The Digital Interface Handbook, and contributor to the Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook, 3rd edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 3 edition (14 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240515870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240515878
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 18 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'It's hugely informative, well illustrated and an essential source of reference.'
Malcolm Nelson in Line Up magazine

'...a full dissection of all things digital... accessibility is one of this book's strong points.'
Future Music magazine

Reviews of previous editions

'Once in a while, someone writes a technical book which becomes the definitive work or industry bible. John Watkinson has done that with The Art of Digital Audio'.
New Scientist

' As a bridge between introductory text and technical dissertations or papers, The Art of Digital Audio remains highly recommended.' Studio Sound

' Watkinson writes clearly and makes frequent use of diagrams, what he has produced here is an authoritative text book. As a reference work, this book is superb. In short, an essential reference work for any modern recording facility. Sound Engineer & Producer

'Since digital audio has become a commercial reality there has been a need for a comprehensive textbook on the subject; a need fulfilled by John Watkinson. ... The Art of Digital Audio is highly informative but approachable and refreshing at the same time, hence widening its appeal outside the university campus to DIY-ers and enthusiasts alike. Highly recommended. Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News

'Mr Watkinson's work commands pride of place amongst the publications on digital audio techniques.' EBU Review (European Broadcasting Union journal)

Selected by Choice - the magazine of the American College Libraries Association - as one of their OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC BOOKS.
'For some time there has been a need for a comprehensive book on this subject. This book covers both the essential theory of all aspects of audio reproduction and a good deal of its practice. Highly recommended as an acquisition for libraries serving either technical groups or the public who require an authoritative overview of digital audio reproduction.'

'The Art of Digital Audio by John Watkinson remains the best in its field.'
David Josephson, Sound & Communications

'It's a must for all audio engineers interested in complete digital fluency. ' Radio World

From the Publisher

Following feedback from delegates to the author's very successful series of seminars and training courses, a completely new chapter has been added which introduces readers to basic audio principles - before leading them into essential digital principles and the more complex material covered in later chapters.A completely new chapter on Sound Quality Considerations has also been added.More has been included on:7 Audio in PCs7 Internet audio7 DVD7 Compression/MPEGWhat has not changed is the approach. Every subject is explained from first principles, because if the mechanism is understood it can be applied to many problems. This is an introductory book, a theory book, an applications book and a reference book all in one.John Watkinson is an international consultant in audio, video and data recording. He is a Fellow of the AES, a member of the British computer Society and a chartered information systems practitioner. He presents lectures, seminars, conference papers and training courses worldwide. He is the author of many other Focal press books, including MPEG-2, The Art of Digital Video, An Introduction to Digital Video, The Art of Sound Reproduction, An introduction to Digital Audio, TV Fundamentals and Audio for Television. He is also co-author, with Francis Rumsey, of The Digital Interface Handbook, and a contributor to The Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook, 3rd edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The applications of audio technology are numerous, but generally the goal is to reproduce sound at a later time, at another place or both. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A. Saul
This book has everything you need to know about digital audio. All concepts that are introduced are described from first principles, with no prior knowledge of digital electronics, sampling theory or error correction techniques assumed. At the same time, it is a comprehensive reference text for popular digital audio formats such as AES/EBU. Mathematical formulae are provided where needed, but the emphasis is placed on describing phenomena in plain English.

At nearly 700 pages, it may be daunting for the novice, but this is essential reading for anyone in the digital audio industry.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for interested amateurs 28 Nov 2005
I suppose I've only got myself to blame buying a 'bible' when what I needed was an introduction, but looking at the reviews for Watkinson's introduction book, I think I would have been equally disappointed.
Watkinson has an almost complete inability to identify with anything other than the fully informed reader, and in that case, you wonder why they need a book at all. Subjects are introduced without any context whatsoever, and the examples chosen are almost wilfully confusing. Why on earth, in a book on digital audio, would you use a square wave as an example to illustrate the issues surrounding filters ?
Maybe that's why people use the word 'bible' to describe books such as this, I suspect it joins the list with the bible, the origin of the species, and das kapital as one of the books most read in the title alone.
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5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of Digital Audio 28 Sep 1998
By A Customer
The most comprehensive book to date on Digital Audio.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars copyright 1894^H^H^H994. 7 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This book has all the details of doing digital audio, starting with banging two rocks together to start a fire, and quickly progressing to the development of western civilization. ... ok, it's not *quite* that bad. But there is precious little relevant information to any modern project. When your car's mp3 player is running Linux, who cares that Gray codes are the way to go for digital tape positioning? Who needs to be told that you might want to think about doing a calculation in RAM instead of with discrete digital components? There's a good chapter on "advanced digital audio processing". And it explains basic things about dithering, mixing, gain control, etc. But on the whole this book is very geared toward antiquated hardware, rather than presenting theories or algorithms that are relevant to all digital systems. I guess that's why it's the "art" and not the principles of digital audio. In the index you will find "cylinder transducer", but not "pitch" or "tempo".
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written technical overview, short of the computer age 25 May 2000
By joe_n_bloe - Published on
The Art of Digital Audio is well written and informative technical overview of digital audio, except that being a mid 1990s book, it almost completely omits detailed coverage of some topics (like MPEG audio compression) that would nowadays have to be considered critical. It is nonetheless an essential component of the well informed digital audio engineer's library. There is a *lot* of stuff in this compendium that you would otherwise have to find scattered over a dozen other books. One hopes a revision for the twenty-first century is in the works.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the beef? 20 July 2006
By S. Cole - Published on
Too much outdated irrelevant information. Watkinson IS extremely knowledgable on the subject of digital audio. I guess I expected something different. Too much esoteric (and much outdated) theory and very little if any practical information, unless maybe your job is to service 1980's digital audio systems.

Want to know about revectoring, soft sectoring, and rotary positioners as they pertain to magnetic disk drives? How about DASH-M and DASH-S interleaving in stationary head recorders? If so then BUY THIS BOOK. Interesting reading to be sure, but don't expect your "art" to benefit. This review is based on the second edition.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Digital Audio 24 Feb 2014
By Lawrence10009 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're looking to understand the building blocks of digital audio, this book is for you. The books treats in depth the entire process of recording, processing and creating digital music.

As noted elsewhere, the book was published in the nineties and does not include some of the most up to date information. But if you've ever wondered what a sampling rate is, or why it's set at 44,100 samples per second, this is the book for you.

For a technical book, it is also clearly written. It's a bit challenging, but well worth the effort.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Digital audio demystified 11 Nov 2007
By Stefan Kengen - Published on
If you are interested in the secrets of digital audio, then this book is a must read. As a music producer and computer musician, I often find myself wondering about what lies beneath the surface of my digital hard- and software, partucularly since there seems to be an abundance of misinformation, heresay, and plain old rubbish floating around in the community.

Understanding the principles of how audio gets digitized, and moreso what happens after this process can greatly improve the sonic results of ones work. However this topic is very complex and hard to grasp, so plowing through technical manuals and college-grade material puts a serious strain on the creative process. Correction - it kills creativity altogether.

Rising to the occasion, John Watkinson has succeded in bringing these difficult to understand matters down to a graspable level, even though it is an impressively comprehensive piece of work. The book truly helps put an end to myths and misunderstandings, as it can be equally read as an encyclopedia for looking up specific topics, or back to back.

At times it can even seem too thorough (most of us don't really need to know exactly how data is handled), but this depends on what you want to learn. You can rest assured it's all in there, whether you're looking to learn how to bulid digital circuits from scratch, or need to understand what dithering and A/D/A conversion is all about.

In short - If you are serious about digital audio as an electronic musician in any form or as an audiophile in general, this book will not dissapoint.
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