Working in the sound industry requires advanced knowledge, and even if you’re in film or sound school, it’s always helpful to keep yourself informed about new methods, tools, and plug-ins as you advance in your career. Getting insider advice from experts is also advantageous.
Everything changes very quickly, so it’s important to keep learning even if your knowledge is already extensive. Sometimes, you’ll learn a new technique that you never considered using, one that could save your life or a lot of time in difficult recording situations.
Here, Softbook is providing you with the top 10 books on sound design, which can help you boost your sound design knowledge and help you stand out effectively.
Written by Ric Viers, a well-known expert in the field and the founder of Blastwave FX Sound Libraries, who frequently lectures at Full Sail University in Florida, USA. Ric Viers said it and did it. He shares everything he knows about sound effects in this book, from fundamental concepts to sophisticated advice on how to produce sound effects.
Everything from studio tools, digital audio, and software to methods for field recording and sound design will be covered. The Commandments Chapters are excellent and contain a fantastic “Sound Effects Encyclopedia” section with guidelines for producing a wide variety of sound effects.
This book offers numerous examples of how to record and create sound effects, as well as numerous anecdotes (often with a lot of humour) about the sounds he’s made. It also includes a very brief introduction to sound theory, which is useful but not very thorough. This book is more geared toward those who want to work in the field of sound design than it is for those who are already in it.
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2. The Computer Music Tutorial By Curtis Roads
Although this book is pretty dated, this is considered some sort of a bible as a reference book.
It’s not the most interesting book when it comes to explaining “how to”, but, it does an incredible job of explaining how things work in sound designing.
The book discusses several important computer music topics in addition to synthesis, including pure acoustics, composition, mixing, signal processing, and sound analysis, as well as MIDI, DSP hardware, and data flow.
Whether you are a music producer, a synth nerd, a sound designer, or a programmer this book is still a must-read no matter your level of expertise in the field.
3. Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema: By David Sonnenschein
This book covers everything about the subject of sound design. This book differs from the others mentioned in the article in that the author starts with a wonderful theoretical section on the physics of sound and its impact on the brain.
Instead of demonstrating how to use a specific device or plugin effect, he describes the methodology to use when creating soundtracks and includes numerous anecdotes about popular box office films (Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, and The Matrix, to name a few).
The combination of sound and image in this book, more so than the sound design alone, adds to its interest. David Sonnenschein also had the brilliant idea to offer a variety of exercises to use to comprehend each chapter more fully.
4. Sound-On-Film: Interviews with the creators of Film Sound– by Vincent LoBrutto
One of my favorites is this. The sound that was captured on film came from nowhere. The work of numerous sound masters has led to what we have today. In this book, some of the most significant figures in the development of sound in cinema are profiled along with their experiences, stories, and theories.
5. Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers- By Andrea Pejrolo & Scott B. Metcalfe
The most popular types of music synthesis are covered in-depth and practically in Creating Sounds from Scratch. To assist sound designers and electronic music producers in efficiently manipulating presets and creating new sounds, it provides historical context, an overview of concepts in sound design, hearing, and real-world training examples.
All of the major synthesis methods—including analog subtractive, FM, additive, physical modeling, wavetable, sample-based, and granular synthesis—are covered in the book. Although the book is theoretically sound, it uses real-world examples and modern production methods to demonstrate to the reader how to use electronic sound design to enhance and maximize their work.
The best people to read Creating Sounds from Scratch are those who work in sound design, composition, editing, and modern commercial production. The book is reasonably simple to read, well illustrated, and undoubtedly more comprehensive and up-to-date than “the computer music tutorial” in terms of synthesis and synth sound design.
6. Sound Theory, Sound Practice By Rick Altman
This book is excellent for learning about the basic theory of sound in movies, from historical perspectives to in-depth theory and fantastic information on various perspectives, genres, and approaches to film sound. One of the most recent books that I read was phenomenal. The book is full of “try this” sidebars, which are short experiments meant to stimulate your thinking and provide you with approaches to approaching sound in movies.
This book is especially targeted at the motion picture industry. A lot of my preconceived notions about what sound design as a production element can add to a show were challenged by the book’s topics, which I found to be interesting insights into the craft of theatre sound design.
7. Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures: A Guide to the invisible art By John Purcell
One of the most important but unnoticed aspects of filmmaking is dialogue editing. Bitter truth: If you do it smoothly right, nobody will notice but if you get it wrong, your movie or video will sound clumsy, annoying, and unrealistic. Anyone who needs to edit production sound for film, television, or video but has never received instruction on how to do so should read this book.
Everything needed for dialogue and sound editing is in this book for sound editors and sound designers. It covers all the workflows you are likely to encounter and walks you through the process step-by-step. All throughout, efficient working techniques are emphasized, teaching you how to avoid repetition and save time.
While demonstrating how one must use independent judgment to come up with solutions to particular problems, interact with other members of the sound department, the director, and the actors, and realise the film’s vision, John Purcell explains the industry norms and standards in a clear and concise manner.
Sometimes, people don’t consider dialogue to be a crucial component of a film. With theory, methods, and tips to make the most of the dialogues in your productions, this book takes you on a journey through the world of dialogue recording and editing.
8. The Location Sound Bible By Ric Viers
The Location Sound Bible: The topic of sound design and recording for filming, including dialogue, is covered by Ric Viers. Ric Viers covers a wide range of necessary pieces of gear for film sound recording and all price points in this book on sound design.
It features a display of various recorders, microphones, microphone suspensions, poles, wireless systems, and necessary accessories to ensure successful recording sessions. But more importantly, the author provides illustrations in the form of pictures and diagrams that show where to place your pickups (such as a boom or other microphones) to get the best sound.
His remarks are interspersed with lots of entertaining anecdotes. Any novice or even seasoned sound recordist and boom operator must read this book. Viers offers some exercises for you to try out at the end of each chapter to help you become familiar with the methods discussed.
9. The Sounds of Star Wars By J.W. Rinzler
The Sounds of Star Wars is a must-have for anyone who enjoys the work of Star Wars sound designers! In this imposingly large book, Ben Burtt, the sound designer of the most well-known sci-fi franchise in the world, describes the methods used to produce more than 250 sound effects for the movie, each of which is more amazing than the last (it will not be chosen as a bedside book).
Each of the sounds mentioned in the book’s tiny audio player can be heard; they are numbered and are easy to identify in the images that serve as the book’s illustrations. This will make it easier for you to recall the sounds.
10. Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance By Charles Dodge & Thomas A. Jerse
The most important thing about this book is that it doesn’t only focus on subtractive synthesis; it also covers other types of synthesis like granular and physical modelling. This book is very old, but it still contains some very useful chapters that, despite their age, still contain information and techniques that can still be used today.
Reverberation and the use of distortion techniques are a couple of nice extras for synthesis sound design that can be very interesting and motivating when making sounds.
The Final Thought
This compiled list of the best books for the sound design series takes a thorough and multidisciplinary view of the field of sound design across linear, interactive, and embedded media and design contexts.
Today’s sound designers may work in a variety of fields, including software development, installation and performance, auditory displays, and interface design. Also, if you are solely into music and sound, you can check out galantnaija.com, they have pretty interesting content about sound and music.
The series aims to represent and promote the diverse array of technologies and techniques that these forms and practices continuously cross-pollinate and produce for audiences and users.
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Sourabh Sharma is a hobbyist book reader, Entrepreneur, and a literature student at Delhi University. A blog writer by day and a book reader by night, he is oathed to discuss himself in a third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.