Transform Your Rough Recordings Into Released Records, Even If You Only Have a Home Studio

The Top 10 Must-Read Music Production Books to Make Your Next Record Sound Amazing


Read as many music production books as possible, and you’ll know more than most people calling themselves “music producers” online.

Having devoted most of my life to pursuing audio engineering knowledge, I’ve read a small shipping container’s worth of audio engineering information over the years.

But some stand out from the rest.

The following books are my all-time favorite music production books, full of audio engineering techniques that I couldn’t have lived without when I was starting out.

It’s my hope that you’ll find the shortcuts you need inside these books and that they help you transform your demos into finished records you’re proud to release.

Modern Recording Techniques

modern_recording_techniques_ music productionThis is the recording bible. If you want to get one book that has a broad overview of everything you need to know, this one comes closest.

I grew up on the fifth edition, but it’s continuously updated. It can get quite technical at times, but don’t get put off by the equations.

Most of the info in this book is easy to understand and the techniques are easy to implement.

Instrument and Vocal Recording

instrument and vocal recording musicI use this book as a reference book whenever I’ve forgotten how to approach a specific recording situation.

This book is a part of the greater Hal Leonard Recording Method of books, each book teaching a specific subject. Instrument & Vocal Recording goes into details of how to record the most common instruments, such as drums, vocals and guitars.

The coolest thing about this book is how it gives you different solutions for different possible scenarios, like how to record drums if you only have one microphone. Definitely a great read for a solid understanding of the various recording techniques. 

The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook

Mixing Engineers Handbook for Better Music Productions

The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook is a goldmine of great mixing information.

It has a bunch of awesome interviews and great go-to starting points for compression and EQ’ing. The handy EQ charts are great for understanding the EQ spectrum as well as the jargon that goes along with it.

It really helped me out when I started mixing because it lays everything down in simple to understand terms.

The Art of Mixing: A Visual Guide Recording, Engineering, and Production

the-art-of-mixing-a-visual-guide-to-recording-engineering-and-productionThis book is awesome! Whether you like text or diagrams, this book combines the two for a much easier understanding.

It combines the mixing jargon with diagrams to show you how each genre is mixed differently. Just the diagrams in the middle are worth the price of the book, and it has so much more to offer!

By using a three-dimensional diagram you can better understand how various genres are mixed and how they all fit together in a 3D sound scape. A great book for a different perspective on mixing.

Master Handbook of Acoustics

master-sound-handbookAll of the books in this round-up are books that I have read and recommend highly. This book is on this list due to the recommendations of others. I bought it after a few engineers recommended it as the great bible of acoustics, and it’s a wealth of dense information about acoustics.

Acoustics is definitely one of the more important things to get right in your studio. If you record in rooms with lousy acoustics, your sound will suffer. Similarly, if you mix in a control room with lackluster acoustics, you are more likely to EQ incorrectly, add too much(or too little) bass or generally create an unbalanced mix.

The Master Handbook of Acoustics explains all the aspects of acoustic environments and teaches you how to create your own. Yes, it has a bunch of math, but it also explains everything well. It’s an excellent read for those looking into creating their own studio and wanting to know how to treat their rooms.

Behind the Glass: Top Record Producers Tell How They Craft the Hits

behind-the-glass-top-record-producers-tell-how-they-craft-the-hits.--largeThis book is stock-full of great information from the leaders of the field. It’s filled with insightful information from famous producers who share their secrets and approaches to making some of the greatest records of modern music.

It’s a pure interview book; there are no diagrams, equations, or complex techniques to understand. It’s just a dialog between Howard Massey and some of the greatest producers of all time. Inspirational and insightful, it’s definitely one of my favorite books about audio.

There’s also a Volume II that’s equally awesome and has some of the newer producers responsible for the more recent hits in history.

Unlocking Creativity

unlocking creativityThis one is the newest on my list.

It’s one of my favorite books on music production because it bypasses all the technical crap that’s irrelevant to creating art. It’s not about the pre-amps or the microphones.

It’s about how the soul of the performance and the right artistic mindset can create truly great art.

I read this book immediately when it came out. I then gave it away to someone, I forget who. I immediately bought it again. I wouldn’t be surprised if I repeated this process multiple times over my lifetime.

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

creative act a way of being rick rubinRick Rubin is the zen master of music production, and his book is a valuable insight into his thought process.

I recommend this book for anyone wanting to become a more creative person and it is NOT limited to people working on music.

Although Rubin draws most of his examples from his experience with music production, it is a book about creativity and personal development.

A must-read, or better yet, listen to the audiobook version narrated by the author if you want to feel like you’re being mentored by a master of the craft.

Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques

recording unhingedSylvia Massy’s excellent coffee table book is a joy to read and belongs on the desk of every music producer.

Not only is it full of incredible stories and invaluable insights into the recording process, but the drawings make the book even more enjoyable to read.

Massy challenges you to let go of traditional and rigid recording techniques and gives you ideas on how to craft your own sound to make music your way.

Step By Step Mixing: Great Mixes With 5 Plug-ins

I’d be selling myself short if I didn’t add my very own book to the list: Step By Step Mixing: How to Create Great Mixes With Only 5 Plug-ins.

It regularly tops the best-seller lists on Amazon, and it’s helped thousands of musicians, producers, and engineers make better mixes.

It has ranked higher than books by both Geoff Emerick (the engineer of the Beatles) and Mike Senior (one of the brightest minds in home studio mixing), so I think it can safely belong on this list.

Selling Better than the Beatles!

It’s flattering, to say the least, and getting reviews like these ones really hit it home for me as well:

Discover the Proven Step By Step Mixing Process

  • Simplify your mixing process to create better mixes in less time
  • Understand EQ so you can make all your tracks fit in a busy mix
  • Discover how to hear and use your compressors to create punchy and tight mixes
  • Add space and depth to your mixes with reverb and delay without making your mix sound washed out.
  • Use the saturation secrets all the pros use to make your mixes stand out (without distorting or destroying your songs)

Once you’ve mastered the five plug-in processes, you’ll be ready to make an awesome mix in your home studio, whether working on your band’s demos or mixing records for your friends and clients.

Get the Step By Step Mixing digital bundle, and you’ll get the PDF, Kindle, and audiobook versions, along with some amazing bonuses to help you make better mixes.

Get your copy of Step By Step Mixing right here: www.StepByStepMixing.com

What’s Your Favorite?

I think all the books above are some of the must-read music production books on the market. However, you might have a favorite I didn’t list, and you’re probably cursing me for it.

What music production books am I missing?

Leave a comment and let me know what should get on the list!

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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

We help musicians transform their recordings into radio-ready and release-worthy records they’re proud to release.

We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use immediately to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

Björgvin’s step-by-step mixing process has helped thousands of musicians confidently mix their music from their home studios. If you’d like to join them, check out the best-selling book Step By Step Mixing: How To Create Great Mixes Using Only 5 Plug-ins right here.

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