What people are saying about Sound Recording Advice:
"This is a very, very impressive book. Your book is much more than home recording. It is a very good reference book. If we could get our professional sound men to know 1/2 of the knowledge in your book we would have better and faster dubbing sessions. That was really good work!
former Chief Engineer of Sony Pictures
"This book is unlike any of the other dozens of recording book I have looked at through my days as an engineer. Not only does this book, like every other, explain the ins and outs of setting up a home studio, how to arrange the furniture, and how to best tune a room. It also discusses a lot of do-it-yourself projects that make some handy additions to a studio at a very reasonable price. I was quite impressed with some of the simple tools he explained how to build including tape deck remote control, master faders, simple mixers and more. Though some of the projects require some skills that not everybody has, I am quite surprised how simple some are."
"I personally have read a few books in the same group, but got a lot more out of this one by the outside the box thinking. The best part in my mind is the fact you list recommended gear lists for different budgets not assuming everyone has money burning holes in their pockets. It's perfect for the aspiring studio owner and intermediate people. My congratulations on a well-done book."
"Within my generation's lifetime, we have witnessed an incredible number of technological advancements. The ones that I feel are most notable for musicians, have been in the area of recording equipment and its accessibility for home use. It's not uncommon for even a weekend warrior, to now have the kind of gear in their basement that would have made George Martin green with envy back when he was recording Sgt. Peppers. So much new gear becomes available each year, in so many formats, in such a variety of price ranges that it's even hard for the guys in the music stores to keep up.
Books like John Volanski's Sound Recording Advice are handy because they give you a user's perspective on some of these products, as apposed to a marketing department or sales guys perspective, but not all these books are useful or even useable. Lets take a close look at this book to try to determine its value.
The first and foremost thing to check out with any book that deals with any aspect of technology is just inside the front cover. It's the date of publication. These books have a short shelf life... sort of here today, gone later on today. This is a 2003 book so it was written through 2002. Anyone needing the kind of general information, from a book like this will be all right here because all of the really ground breaking equipment is commonly at the more high end pro market level.
The other important element to check out with a book on a topic like sound recording is the credentials of the author. I want advice from someone with some solid academics but also some substantial practical experience in the field. John has a whole whack of degrees and has clocked in his hours in the studio, both as a musician himself, from an engineering designer standpoint, and as a bit of a computer whiz.
Inside the book you will find that it has five unofficial aspects to it:
1. Stuff to buy
2. Stuff you can make yourself (yes, really)
3. Setting up your recording environment
4. Laying down tracks
When it comes to the stuff you buy, John's advice is right on the money. He knows his gear and he knows how to describe it much like the guys in a really good music store do, but he also knows how to explain it much like a really qualified teacher would. He also prices most of the gear out for us which I think is really helpful.
There are some trips to Radio Shack for parts, for the stuff you are going to make yourself and John has provided parts numbers, photos, wiring diagrams and simple explanations for the electronically challenged like myself. This part really scared me at first but I now think I am at least going to make a break out box for my master faders. It looks really easy and very cool.
The section on setting up your studio deals with acoustics, setting out your furniture, and even making your own custom racks with, once again, tons of photos and diagrams.
The section on recording, handles issues like miking vocals, recording various instruments, bouncing tracks and even the tricky stuff I'm not that great at right now like mixing and mastering.
The miscellaneous section is always my favourite part of any book and this one is no exception. This is where John deals with cool tips on burning CD's, noise reduction, working with guitar effects, shielding your monitors (also an issue in my studio right now) and other handy stuff you might not think of yourself like installing a telephone ringer/signaller in your studio for those important calls from Sony Music or from your kids' daycare.
Throughout the book you really get a sense for John's love of gear and the potential it can bring to your home or small project studio.
Obviously this book would be invaluable for anyone just starting out who wants some insights into setting up a studio and finds him or herself unfortunately not related to Phil Ramone, Don Was, David Foster, John Leventhal or Quincy Jones. It would also be a tremendous resource for anyone who is like me and constantly needs help demystifying the studio I've already got. This book will not replace the owners manuals, specifically published for you to learn how to work the gear you buy or the talent and imagination you need to make good music once you are up and running, but it may well bring those elements to their full potential. And who knows? Maybe there is greatness looming in your basement studio just waiting for a book like John's to coax it out."
James Linderman for The Musess Muse
"OK, so you're into Blues . . . if you are also into making music & recording the events then you can trot along to your local professional sound studio and pay an absolute fortune for a few hours of undivided attention . . . OR you can put together a home recording studio and take a more unhurried approach to recording your great works. John J Volanski, an electrical and audio engineer as well as a musician, shares his 20 years of sound recording experience in this very informative book. Read about what equipment to buy based upon your budget, where to find the best deals on new & used equipment, how to modify items of equipment for improved performance, how to build simple items of gear for your studio and every aspect of setting up & equipping a home recording studio. This book is a complete reference for the home studio owner or for anyone contemplating home recording."
Blues Freepress (UK)
"This is an excellent book for those of us who enjoy producing music out of our own homes. It could easily work well as a text or a reference for a college music technology class. The author has exhaustively covered the waterfront when it comes to understanding and doing home studio recording. This book is especially valuable when it makes suggestions about the equipment composition one should use for different budget levels. No serious recording musician should be without this extremely complete reference and how-to book. It is filled with tips, shortcuts, and valuable hints. As an example, a paragraph about burning ones own CDs was easily worth the cost of the book. We rated it five hearts."
Publisher and Chief Reviewer
"At first glance it looks like a heavy in-depth textbook but first impressions arent always what they seem. Being a music tech graduate, I found it to be a very useful revision guide that was packed to the hilt with a wealth of very useful information including a vast list of downloadable PDF reference files and website addresses. The author, John J. Volanski really understands and explains the key points of setting up, using and producing music in your own studio. He provides excellent ideas for sound-proofing if you need to reduce pick-up noise etc. Many of the microphones and gadgets are ones that I am familiar with for example, John refers to the AKG series of mics that many of us tend to use. Sound Recording Advice is a very 'real time' type of read which can get you bogged down in some aspects of audio production but nevertheless is a very worthwhile reference book for everyone from beginners to the advanced audiologist. Buy it, use it and keep it on hand."
Metalliville (UK Rock & Metal Webzine)
"Subtitled An instruction and reference manual that demystifies the home recording studio experience, this is a book whose time has come. Now that anyone with a good PC can set themselves up with a couple of mics and a couple of programs, there is a crying need for home instruction to help the would-be autoproducer. <Volanski> has done an outstanding job of presenting information, and, best of all, he really knows what he is talking about. There are some tips about microphone placement that even professional engineers would do well to note, yet the book is aimed at the complete neophyte and spells everything out in simple terms. Volanski shows how to get started for as low as $500, and since its very difficult to get out of the cheapest studio, CD in hand, for under $2,000, the price of this book may be the biggest bargain in the entire process."
Dirty Linen Magazine (folk & world music)
"Beginning with the elements of a home sound recording system and the various choices for onee.g., tape, CD, DAW plug-insVolanski moves on to the more complex topics of selecting appropriate equipment, putting all of the parts together, and operating and upgrading a system. He gives guidelines for systems from $500.00 to over $5,000.00. Volanski, an electrical and audio engineer, provides a thorough and expert manual for one interested in setting up an advanced, state-of-the-art home recording system."
The Small Press Book Review, January 2003
"Here we have an educational book I feel is excellent! Sound Recording Advice For the Home Recording Studio covers many facets that concern not just recording studios. This book has good information on various recording formats (CD, DAT, reel-to-reel, etc.) power distribution, cabling, and also basic system recommendations and much more. While the system recommendations are for recording studio owners, the chapters concerning studio layout and modifying equipment should more than make up for the content that may not be directly geared towards high-end home audio reproduction. Furthermore, this book will give a good glimpse to those who are not familiar with the techniques in capturing and recording sound."
Steven R. Rochlin
(web site for Audiophiles)
"Sound Recording Advice by John J. Volanski takes you through every stage of setting up a home studio from whether you want a 4 track Cassette Studio, Digital Set Ups such as mini-disk or a Midi system on your home computer. It then takes you to the technical aspects of recording your vocals and instruments and how to get the best sounds out of them. For instance how would you attempt to get the raw blues sound of a band like the White Stripes in a home studio and what would change if you wanted to get polished sounds ala Garbage or U2. This book really aims to give a complete overview on Home Studios for beginners as much as those who already have a background in sound recording. For example, I know the ins and outs of recording on my 4 track cassette studio so in that respect this book taught me nothing new in that specific area. However if I was looking to change my set-up to digital format or Midi then this book would be a god send and would give me a grounding in how to achieve the best set-up and quality recording. If your looking to change dreams into reality and live the rock & roll dream you could certainly do with reading this book to help you on your way."
Alex McCann, Designer Magazine
"Sound Recording Advice is a straightforward reference manual and instructional guide to the ins and outs of creating and operating a home sound recording studio. Focusing on the dedicated musician who may not be completely up-to-date on the latest technical jargon, Sound Recording Advice offers an invaluable series [of] tips, tricks, and techniques for getting the most out of ones equipment. Written in accessible and easy-to-understand terms, Sound Recording Advice is very highly recommended for novice home sound recorders who aspire to professional performance standards in their work."
The Midwest Book Review, January 2003
"Established semi-pro performers and amateurs interested in expanding their recording horizons to the home arena will love Sound Recording Advice, author Volanski's tour-de-force, A-Z reference for the home recording artist. Packed within is advice on electronic studio equipment (basics galore), studio layout and furniture (discussion of everything acoustic), modifying equipment (adding power switches, headphone jacks, master faders), capturing sound recordings (miking, mixing and mastering), and tool choices plus miscellaneous thoughts on media backup, rubber cleaners, home studio security and insurance. It's a keeper: Solo stars in the making and garage bands everywhere will sing a joyous tune for Volanski's excellent effort."
The Boox Review
"Congratulations on a very well written piece of work. I think you have truly nailed down what it means to 'do things on a budget.' I have already recommended your book to a few people. BTW - I'm glad you summarized the links in your book on your website. LOTS of great information."
Jeff D. Szymanski, Chief Acoustical Engineer
"Lots of great information in this volume. The author is not afraid of using specific models and brands as examples, and the references to websites scattered throughout the book is worth the admission price."
Richard Paulsen, Technical Support
(music and recording web site resource)
"Not surprisingly, musicians ask a lot of questions about setting up home studios. So, when someone comes up with a book that sorts it all out, handles the subject with an informed, do-it-yourself, hands-on mentality, covers all of the main bases with loads of tips and detail thrown in, and emphasizes getting the biggest bang for your buck - well, we can only applaud. Overall, this book succeeds in doing what the author set out to do. It is a highly useful guide and reference for studio setup, designed to be easily understood even by beginners and those without a technical background. It will get you off to a solid start in setting up your studio (or improving your current setup), and it can prevent you from investing a lot of time and money in the wrong equipment and in creating technically bad recordings. Those savings alone are worth far more than the price of the book."
James A. Putnam & Dennis L. Trunk,
Musician's Tech Central
(music and recording web site resource)
"Congratulations! I am really impressed. Your style is very close to what mine would be if I wrote a book. It is perfectly placed on the ladder of technical depth. In short, I like your work very much."
Dr. Robert Lackey
Professor of Electrical and Audio Engineering
Ohio State University
"As I was poring over the usual batch of letters we receive here at Tape Op, I realized that a lot of our question-laden readers would do well to read a book about recording with a real basic, straight-up approach. John Volanski recently wrote and self-published just such a book, and it's called Sound Recording Advice. All the information is presented very clearly, with simple, logical real-world options for the low to medium budget home recordist. There's great info on buying new and used gear, recommendations for studio setups at different price points, some simple DIY projects...just about everything you need for reference when recording at home. I wish this book was around 10 years ago, because it would have saved me a lot of time."
Larry Crane, Editor
Tape Op Magazine
"When you are producing and especially recording music in your own home studio it can be a bit hard to find the right kind of advice. And this book written by John J. Volanski is a real source of the right kind of advice. I have read the book with great interest and it kept me reading till the end. Much advice on how to construct your home studio is available in the book. I really advise anybody who works around the studio to get hold of this book
it only costs $19.95. Which is a very low price for a book like this. More than 300 pages of information about how to set up a studio that works. This book will certainly satisfy your need for knowledge about how to set things up in a right way. Great material!"
(music & synthesizer web site)
"Great book! I am going to offer it for sale on my site."
Kathy Peck, Executive Director of H.E.A.R.
"Sound Recording Advice reads very easily. Perfect for the non-technical musician. I had heard many of these technical terms before, now I know what they mean!"
Mitch Wilson, leader of the band No Knife
"A bang-up job! I have learned a lot from it. No struggle at all to follow you. Very smooth writing style. Congrats are definitely in order!!
Kirk Gramcko, musician and home studio owner
"Just what I'm looking for in our recording section."
John L. Barton, Inventory Manager
"I do believe that "Sound Recording Advice" is an excellent and valuable reference, and it's our pleasure to help share it with our readers."
Matt Mrowicki, Publisher
Chorus and Verse
"If you have the space (and a bit of spare dosh), starting up a home studio is not only rewarding but a creative and ear-opening experience. The main advantage to starting up a home studio is that it allows the individual to go it alone - without the need to rely upon dodgy sound engineers, over-priced studios, angsty producers and a wealth of other pitfalls and problems. It also means there is no necessity need to "get signed". At atoms we are all for the "do-it-yourself", "avoid the middleman" approach and long for the day when the music we buy isn't just the product of a company whose only concern is making money. Going solo allows a more creative flow and lets face it; everyone enjoys twiddling with nobs and pushing buttons. But starting up such a studio is not without it's difficulties which is why J J Volanski's book "Sound Recording Advice" seems to be something of a minor Godsend..."
atoms, UK music e-zine
"If you are interested in reading more about this topic (Sound Engineering), I recommend John J. Volanski's Sound Recording Advice For the Home Recording Studio; An Instruction and Reference Manual That Demystifies The Home Recording Studio Experience (San Diego, CA: Pacific Beach Publishing, 2002)."
Dr. John V. Richardson, Jr.
UCLA Dept of Information Studies