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Understanding and Crafting the Mix: The Art of Recording Paperback – 12 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (12 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240807553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240807553
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 19 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 601,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"While there have been numerous books published about the various technical and theoretical elements of recording, very few have addressed the more artistic and craft-based aspects of creating the mix.

I enjoyed reading Moylan's book, mainly for the way it presents familiar ideas and concepts in a completely new light, but also because it introduced me to new ways of thinking and new approaches to recording and production. Thoroughly recommended." - Sound on Sound (May 2007)

Praise for previous edition:
'Dr Moylan's methods and techniques for training of the ear for artistic and technical evaluation of sound, and his development of parameters for a common "language" should be adopted by all professionals and aspiring professionals in the field.'
Raul Valery, Valencia Community College

About the Author

Dr. William Moylan is currently Professor of Music and Coordinator of Sound Recording Technology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. A Leading educator in audio and an active recording engineer and producer for over 20 years, Moylan has worked with leading artists across the full spectrum of jazz, popular and classical genres. His recordings have been released by major and independent record labels and have resulted in wide recognition, including several GRAMMY Award nominations.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Nolan on 2 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book without hesitation. I was fed up with being told in every book what a compressor does, and what a noise gate does. Theres no technical information here. If you can't use a compressor or understand what a Mic Pre amp does look elsewhere, this is not about how a mixing desk works. This is about how audio works and how your ears and brain perceive audio and how to listen to what you are truely hearing. Applying this will allow you to understand spacing of instruments, their placement within the stereo field and finally how to actually mix a song artistically and therefore professionally.

not only that its a fascinating journey to read what you know to be true but to finally have someone say it and compair it to professional recordings. If you have wondered how yo get a larger than life sound, or to make that vocal line appear in the mix, you need to read this book. I believe Moylan has hit the nail on the head decribing the art and he's one of the first to do it properly.
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By JOHN TSIOKOS on 24 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great information if you are looking to improve your critical and analytical listening skills. The exercises and the cd that the book includes are worth the money alone. Now, this is not an easy read, and it is not written in a "friendly" way. The author tries to establish a vocabulary by which sound can be evaluated which unavoidably leads him to create a set of standards that may not be your standards (high vs. low, very dynamic vs not, etc.). Although you would have to learn this stuff by heart if you want to communicate in the author's language, most readers might no bother and will only benefit by following the author's instructions on how to improve their listening.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Stevenson on 4 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as an amateur home recording artist looking for help but was disappointed - the information is mostly theoretical about the properties of sound, but there is no practical application of the information herein.
I think perhaps a professional studio engineer may be able to make some use of it
and anyone who would like help on knowing the best place to stand in a room in relation to the speakers, but don't buy this book if you don't really know much about sound engineering.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Revsamp on 8 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
If you went into a mix situation knowing only what this book tells you - you might struggle. I'm personally treating it as more of an additional reference book. It seems to aiming at the engineer who has already gained the nitty gritty of recording and mixing but wants to fill a hole in their producer knowledge. It looks down at a piece of music from above - all aspects regarding the flow of the piece.

There are some little gems in there - but once you've found them - you need to have the technical knowledge in place to expedite them. Difficult book to dip in and out of. Ideally it wants to be read as a dry academic tome.

To be fair to it, I'm finding a hard book to get into. Others may have more patience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
only for those who are serious about this. 14 Aug. 2007
By Stephen R. Paddock - Published on
Format: Paperback
there are many books out there that are full of information, but few that are actually "life-changing." if you are serious about music, i highly recommend this book. this book was very intimidating for me at first. most of the first chapter seemed to be over my head. but it made me dig deeper into the text, which i believe is what the author intended. he admits himself that this is not a book full of quick tips and tricks that most of us often look for. it is designed to teach concepts, principles, and practices that promote better understanding of the whole recording process. it even goes into to talking about human perception of sound and how the brain interprets it. knowing how to get into the very heads of the consumers is an obvious advantage for an engineer who wants to guarantee that his mixes are pleasing to the ear. also, each chapter comes with a list of exercises designed to develop critical listening skills. to sum it up, consider this to be a college-level course that will serve as a foundation for everything you will be doing in the recording world.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Exactly What It Says It Is 26 Feb. 2011
By Alan J - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book basically has three parts. Part 1 is background knowledge, including the physics of sound, psychoacoustics and perception, and song structure. Part 2 is a guide to methodically deconstructing recordings. Part 3 describes the process of creating your own recordings, from sound source selection, to recording, to processing, to mixing, to editing, to mastering.

The book is obviously chock full of information, but it can definitely be long-winded. My biggest complaints are in Part 2. It's clear that Moylan's goal was to provide the ultimate guide to the methodical and objective deconstruction of a recording--an ambitious undertaking. In pursuit of this goal, Moylan invents a lot of terminology and splits hairs when defining terms that are actually quite abstract. He also makes some pseudo-scientific assertions about what can be perceived in a recording. For instance, he asserts that every recording has a "reference dynamic level", which cannot be measured, but can be unambiguously identified by listening.

As any music fan knows, music is inherently subjective, especially in modern studio recordings, in which natural sounds have been artfully altered beyond their original dimensions. In reality, all aspects of sound fall into two categories: those which can be measured by instrument or algorithm, and those that are subjective. I don't care what you tell me: if something can't be seen or calculated, it is not objective and cannot be defined without ambiguity.

Ultimately, going through Moylan's exercises will undoubtedly make you a better and more analytical listener, but understand that no matter how hard you try to remain objective in your analysis, your results will be colored by your own perception. The exercises are a useful start to a "golden ear"-style training sequence, but it would be nice if it were more comprehensive. It's a very solid book and very useful book, but it would be more of a joy to read if written with a little less hubris.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Probly not what you expect 25 April 2014
By T. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book should have been called "My Philosophy of Engineering/Producing".

The book is focused on everything *besides* turning knobs and setting up microphones. It reads like a textbook for a "Mixing for People Who Don't Know Anything About Music or How to Play an Instrument" class. He spends a lot of time drawing different types of charts and graphs representing the sound, all of which I found utterly useless (after reading this I imagine the author spending hours everyday in the studio drawing charts of the track's "Pitch Definition" and "Spectral Envelope"), then spends a huge amount of time discussing his ideas about recording and working with artists, but somehow manages to never give any useful tips. No exaggeration - I didn't learn a single useful studio technique from this entire book.

Example chapter titles:

Ch. 2 - "The Aesthetic and Artistic Elements of Sound in Audio Recordings"

Ch. 3 - "The Musical Message and the Listener"

Ch. 10 - "Complete Evaluations and Understanding Observations"

Ch. 11 - "Bringing Artistic Judgment to the Recording Process"

Ch. 13 - "Preliminary Stages: Defining the Materials of the Project"

I don't mean to bash the book so much as suggest that if you are interested in a book about the "art of recording" but that has no actual details about the recording process, this book is perfect for you. I found it less informative than an average Gearslutz thread.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
fantastic 4 Feb. 2007
By M. Golubitsky - Published on
Format: Paperback
while it may be a little dry and hard to understand at first, it is well worth the time investment necessary to get this stuff. entirely life-changing material. 20 million stars.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hard to Read 25 Nov. 2012
By Brendan Bernicker - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really good book with a lot of information, but it is very wordy, very scientific, and pretty much requires a masters degree to comprehend.
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