I couldn’t be more proud to share this one: over a year in the making, my book Real World Digital Audio is now hitting shelves:

Real World Digital Audio [Official Book Site]

I launched this project with Peachpit Press because we wanted to compress the broad range of skills you need to master music production with computers — from synthesizing sounds to recording to producing scores to DJing and playing live — into a single book. There are superb books out there on individual topics and individual tools, but I found many of the general books were either out-of-date, had limited coverage of computers, or assumed too much about what you already knew.

Of course, as the production deadline slipped back from January to March, to June, to August, to October, I realized just how big a challenge this would be. Thankfully, there are some incredibly patient people at Peachpit Press, particularly my production editor Cary Norsworthy, who supported the project even as it grew in scope, size, and schedule.)

(More on the book after the jump)

What’s in the book: I’ve just posted the complete Table of Contents on the book site. We survey the basics of how sound works, choosing, setting up, and and optimizing your hardware and software, making quick songs with loops, recording, effects, MIDI, synths and instruments, mixing and mastering, scoring and notation, working with video, and live performance. I don’t get to cover some of the wacky and off-beat stuff I do on CDM, but I still sneak in some some unusual items and advanced tricks.

What’s on the DVD: I have a complete listing on the site, which I’ll update as software updates are released, but I’m most excited about a few items: a folder of my favorite Mac and Windows tools, a free full-functioning copy of the SoundSchool Analog synth from Reaktor (shown below) that accompanies synthesis walkthroughs in the book, and a set of sounds and loops for various programs.

Why I’m so excited, and why I say “we”: I’ve probably learned more from this process than I have from anything else I’ve done. One of the reasons is the fantastic people I got to work with. The production team at Peachpit worked incredibly hard on the details of how the book reads and looks, and I really couldn’t be happier with how it came out. I also was lucky enough to have Jim Aikin as my technical editor; he’s one of my personal heros, one of the best writers in the business, and his name should be in bigger print on the cover because there’s a lot of his knowledge and expertise inside. Jim has some great books of his own, which you can check out on his site, and is a talented musician, to boot. (Amazingly enough, he’s also a published science fiction writer.) Yes, I learned along the way that writing a 584-page book is a wonderfully efficient way to ruin over a year of your life and demolish time for actually making music, but thanks to the efforts of our production team, I can confidently say it was worth it.

Stay tuned: As usual, I’m not happy just releasing a book and being done with it. I’ve got a whole bunch of content that didn’t make the cut for the book as we ran out of space, including interviews with people ranging from digital pioneer Max Mathews to South Park music director D.A. Young; I’ll be posting these over the coming weeks. And I also expect to have some parties and events here in New York and in Los Angeles soon, because I’m up for any excuse for a party.

Thanks for letting me share the culmination of this intensive project, and do let me know what you think of the results. (And thanks for the plugs to Tom at Music thing and Matrix!)


CDM’s friend James Grahame has his own book out on retro tech — looks like it’ll be great fun to read!