Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Producer's Manual by Paul White

Product: The Producer's Manual: All You Need to Get Pro RecordingsAnd Mixes in the Project Studio
Author: Paul White
Publisher: Sample Magic
Price: £29.95

Last year when I reviewed Sample Magic's first book release, Secrets of House Production, I was excited to see what their next effort would bring. At last we have our answer in the form of The Producers Manual, penned by Sound On Sound's Paul White.

Music production can seem like an impossibly complex world to those trying to get started. As technology advances and production styles and tools change, it only becomes more complex. The tools make things easier, but there are more tools to learn than ever before. There are some tried and true books on recording and production out there, but it's been a while since something truly noteworthy and comprehensive has been released, especially to cover the ways in which music production has evolved. That's where the Producer's Manual comes in.

Weighing in at well over 300 pages, this book is about as comprehensive as they come. Learn what the basic tools of audio production are, read up on microphone technique, find out how to record guitars and other non-electronic instruments, how to use EQ and compression correctly, learn how to mix drums, how to get better sounding vocals - I could go on and on. Each chapter is filled with easy-to-understand, clearly written chapters, brief and easy tutorials, and even bite-sized bits of information printed throughout, so you can learn something valuable even if you don't have a ton of time. If you've read Sound on Sound magazine, you know the quality of their writing is excellent, and Paul White's writing in the book strikes a perfect balance of being informative without talking down to you. Indeed, even intermediate and advanced producers might find this a fun read. (I've always wanted to learn about miking a drum kit, for example.)

When I was first starting to learn about music production, I kept a 3-ring binder with interesting or helpful articles I came across. I divided into sections by topic, so I could find what I needed quickly. It proved to be an invaluable reference to me in those early days, especially when I felt a lot of the books I had on recording and production were a bit dated. The Producers Manual is the 3-ring binder I wish I had back then. Everything you need to know is there, easy to understand, and immaculately organized. If you can't make a decent sounding recording after reading this, the problem is with you, not the book. Highly recommended! [10/10]

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