6 Best Books on Music Production

You can learn proper knowledge and get better at creating great music by studying the best books on music production. Practicing is always the best way to get better, but sometimes it’s important to sit down and dive into the theory. If you aren’t sure where to get a solid foundation in music production knowledge there are a lot of great minds in the production world that are worth paying attention to. Whether you want to know about the technical aspects of recording, mastering, or mixing, or the philosophy behind making good music, this list will help you a lot indeed.

Best Books on Music Production

Book Name & Author Image Rating Price
The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski 9.6 View on Amazon
Mixing with Impact by Wessel Oltheten 9.6 View on Amazon
The Recording Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski 9.5 View on Amazon
Modern Recording Techniques (Audio Engineering Society Presents)
by David Miles Huber & Robert Runstein
9.5 View on Amazon
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Sound On Sound Presents) by Mike Senior 9.5 View on Amazon
Music Production: Discover The Past, Present & Future of Music Production, Recording Technology, Techniques, & Songwriting by Tommy Swindali 9.0 View on Amazon

1. The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook

The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook has been the best-selling and most respected resource on the art of music mixing for seasoned professionals and enthusiastic beginners alike. Today’s home studio is just as powerful as any commercial studio, but it’s the techniques that the top mixers use that separate their work from what most musicians, songwriters, producers, or artists can produce without that knowledge.

You will find all the proven fundamental and advanced techniques that the pros use to help you take your music to another level. It will help you get a great mix regardless of your gear, playback environment, or the kind of music you work on.

This book covers the mix balance technique that sets levels so fast on even the most complicated mix that you won’t believe it. The EQ techniques of the pros will both separate your tracks and provide the utmost clarity. The “Magic Frequencies” make every mixed element sing. Moreover, the book comes with the following things you need to learn.

  • The secret to processing and enhancing loops, samples, and virtual instruments so they leap out of a mix
  • The way to set up a master mix buss to add more power and polish to your mix
  • The secret to pitch-correcting vocals so they sound so natural that you’ll never know they’re pitch corrected
  • Drum replacement and enhancement techniques for instant great-sounding kick and snare
  • The ultimate punchy drums secret that gives you the right compressor settings every time
  • The best way to use automation and sidechaining, the secret sauce behind modern mixes
  • The secret to clean sibilance-free vocals that sit perfectly in the mix without sounding shrill or strident
  • The editing tricks of the pros include track cleanup, adjusting track timing, and the secret to smooth endings.

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2. Mixing with Impact

Wessel Oltheten discusses the creative and technical concepts behind making a mix. Whether you’re a dance producer in your home studio, a live mixer in a club, or an engineer in a big studio, the mindset is largely the same.

The same goes for the questions you run into: where do you start? How do you deal with a context in which all the different parts affect each other? How do you avoid getting lost in technique? How do you direct your audience’s attention? Why doesn’t your mix sound as good as someone else’s? How do you maintain your objectivity when you hear the same song a hundred times? How do your speakers affect your perception? What’s the difference between one compressor and another?

Following a clear structure, this book covers these and many other questions, bringing you closer and closer to answering the most important question of all: how do you tell a story with sound?

The usual topics of effects, compression, and EQ are covered but in more realistic, hands-on detail than most vague mixing guides usually are fluffed up with. Special attention is given early on to the importance of phase, space, and time and how all these interrelate. One of the best features of this book is that Wessel doesn’t generally hand out specific names of hardware or plug-ins to use but instead educates the user about actual techniques, what type of gear will achieve the desired goals, and why it works.

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3. The Recording Engineer’s Handbook

The Recording Engineer’s Handbook has become a music industry standard, and this fully updated edition once again offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to the art of audio recording. Written with special emphasis on today’s technology and the evolving marketplace, The Recording Engineer’s Handbook includes a complete overview of recording as it’s done by most musicians and producers today in their home studios.

In the book’s first section, you’ll learn everything from how microphones work to specific techniques for recording drums, individual instruments, vocals, and much more. In the second section, you’ll benefit from the wisdom and down-to-earth practical advice offered by a host of recording professionals including all-time greats like Al Schmitt, Eddie Kramer, Frank Filipetti, and many other others.

  • You will get an overview of recording elements, including microphones, preamps, compressors, and DAWs.
  • Recording techniques and placement guidance for just about any musical instrument or vocal.
  • Prepping and recording drums and percussion.
  • Basic tracking and overdub advice and strategies, and stereo and immersive audio recording techniques.
  • Interviews with some of the world’s best hit-making engineers, and much more.

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4. Modern Recording Techniques

Modern Recording Techniques is the authoritative guide to sound and music recording. Whether you’re just starting out or are looking for a step up in the industry, Modern Recording Techniques provides an in-depth read on the art and technologies of music production. It’s a must-have reference for all audio bookshelves. Using its familiar and accessible writing style, this edition has been fully updated, presenting the latest production technologies and includes in-depth coverage of the DAW, networked audio, MIDI, signal processing, and much more.

  • Updated tips, tricks, and insights for getting the best out of your studio.
  • An introduction to Apple iOS in music production.
  • Introductions to new technologies and important retro studio techniques.
  • The latest advancements in DAW systems, signal processing, mixing, and mastering.

If you’re serious about recording whether you’re an amateur enthusiast, a student, a musician, or an audio professional, you’ll find this book an informative, in-depth, cover-to-cover read and a useful reference manual. It’s presented in a very user-friendly way, with a plethora of illustrations of everything connected with recording.

This way, the theory is broken down into easily digestible chunks. One of the best things in an already terrific book is the range of DIY tutorials, where you are presented with practical examples of principles and how they work. It covers the basics of everything, from room acoustics to running a session. If you’re a beginner, grab it now. If you think you know it all, you might still learn a thing or two.

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5. Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio

You can discover how to achieve release-quality mixes even in the smallest studios by applying power-user techniques from the world’s most successful producers. It talks about how to use the main effects like EQ, compression, and dynamics properly to create balance. It also has some good interviews placed throughout the chapters that are very insightful.

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio is the best-selling primer for small-studio enthusiasts who want chart-ready sonics in a hurry. Drawing on the back-room strategies of more than 160 famous names, this entertaining and down-to-earth guide leads you step-by-step through the entire mixing process.

On the way, you’ll unravel the mysteries of every type of mix processing, from simple EQ and compression to advanced spectral dynamics and “fairy dust” effects. This book is user-friendly explanations that introduce technical concepts on a strictly need-to-know basis, while chapter summaries and assignments are perfect for school and college use.

It is highly useful to learn the subtle editing, arrangement, and monitoring tactics that give industry insiders their competitive edge and master the psychological tricks which protect you from all the biggest rookie mistakes. The book is now extensively expanded and updated, including new sections on mix-buss processing, mastering, and the latest advances in plug-in technology.

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6. Music Production: Discover The Past, Present & Future

It’s a big question and one that has been written about endlessly in an attempt to reveal the “formula” for creating a worldwide, smash hit record. First of all, a good song speaks to you. You remember it, even if it’s just one really good line. It fills you with emotions, whether those be sad or happy ones.

Then there is something else. It’s the way the music was produced and its techniques that hook you in and enhance the listening experience. Music has come so far in the last four decades and is evolving at such a high speed. Such a shift has impacted not only the consumers but also the practicing artists and music producers.

Inside this book, you will find a timeless blueprint for making smash hit songs. It is a proven formula used by the legends of yesterday to make the stars of today. Discover this and much more including:

  • Over four decades’ worth of insider Secrets to Producing Smash Hits.
  • What makes a song great?
  • From Then to Now – Trends & Techniques in popular music.
  • Produce Your Best Music – no more wasting time on “How to Guides” or YouTube
  • Use this “Step by Step” guide to identify your favorite production techniques.
  • Learn what makes a bad mix and how to avoid it.
  • The proven way to put more feeling into your music is with technology.
  • Tips for the best band rehearsals & recordings.
  • Workflow tips in a “Do it Yourself” culture.

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Best Books on Music Composition

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