Why would I read Shaping Sound– A Practical Guide to Audio Effects by Alek Palmersmith? Because I own a production company and I know how important sound is to any video or podcast. Though this isn’t for everyone, the book is comprehensive and a great guide for those who have an interest!
My review –
If you’re looking for a down and dirty direct guide this is the book. I’ve owned my own production company for two decades and it’s always been a known fact that audio can make or break a project. This is why we have people who are specialists or who have specific training work on our audio. For me, issues with compression are the big thing. This book addresses that on a lot of levels and is worth picking up just for that though it offers so much more practical information.
About the book– Imagine effortlessly using audio effects to sonically match what you hear in your head. Imagine a state of creative flow as you mix, with the tools simply acting as an extension of your creativity. Imagine confidently recognizing the effects used on commercial songs, and matching their tone and vibe.
This practical guide to signal processing dedicates a chapter to each audio effect, including EQ, Compression, Gating, Distortion, Reverb, Delay, and Pitch-Shifting, just to name a few. Numerous well-known songs are referenced throughout, with explanations of how these processors were used to shape them.
Go beyond using plug-in presets, tips and tricks, YouTube tutorials, and advice from strangers on audio forums. Filter out the noise so that you can focus on developing your sense of musical and sonic taste.
After dedicating some time to learn about and use each processor, you’ll create your own internal sound database to draw from, a sort of mental map. You’ll be better able to create an exciting experience for the listener, reaching them on an emotional level. Most listeners don’t even necessarily care how it sounds, but instead how it makes them feel. Does it make them want to keep listening, sing along, move their bodies, cry, or any other emotional or physical reaction to it?
Learning how to work with these audio tools effectively and internalize their sound will expand your potential. It will empower you to use whatever it takes to transform the sound into what you think it needs to be. If it sounds good, it is good.