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Mastering Audio Book

Mastering Audio, The Book
A Focal Press Book, $39.99. Autographed copy (by request) available direct from Digital Domain.
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Become a Master of Audio
This book is for everyone who wants to increase their mastery of digital and analog audio: musicians, producers, A&R, mastering, recording and mixing engineers. It is suitable for all levels of professionals and students. To master audio you must become a master of audio. Producers and Mix Engineers: Find out the best ways to prepare your files and mixes for further mastering.
What Is Mastering?
Mastering is the last creative step in the process of producing an album. Bob Katz unravels the technical mysteries and explains the artistic techniques. Don't leave for the studio without this book! Mastering Audio discusses audio philosophy and art: sequencing, leveling, processing: how to make an album radio-ready; mixing as it relates to mastering.

New in the Third Edition

  • The audio bible just got better! iTunes, iTunes Radio, the Internet, loudness normalization, new disc formats and other events have radically changed the face of the audio world and are fully covered in Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science, Third Edition.
  • Foreword to the third edition by Bob Ludwig, who says, "Even if you own a copy of Mastering Audio: The Art and Science, it's time to learn new things again! Bob Katz has re-written the book with new chapters, new information on every page, and it has been reorganized and re-fact-checked by audio authorities, because so much has changed in the audio world!"
  • Completely reorganized: focused on workflow. Sheds light on the mastering process step by step. Begins with practical techniques and basic theory, then moves on to advanced theory and practice. This is a perfect study curriculum for a two-term course in audio.
  • 408 fact-filled pages in "Cinemascope" format answer the secrets of audio mastering
  • For the first time, printed in full color on glossy stock
  • Beautiful new graphic look with evocative theme photos by Mary Kent, that mirror the audio subject of each chapter.
  • Fact-checked by audio authorities. Contributions by a noted psychoacoustician, audio experts and other audio engineers.
  • Newest approaches to equalization with discussion of more curves.
  • New Monitor Setup Chapter with a leading edge approach to monitor response measurement and correction.
  • Advanced discussion on the psychoacoustics of clipping, both in the linear PCM and coded domains.
  • Three new chapters cover loudness measurement and assessment and how this affects mixing and mastering engineer's current and future practice. This is the first book to explain these leading edge loudness concepts. We demonstrate how mastering engineers must integrate loudness measurement and PLR assessment in their mastering techniques as the loudness war winds down.
  • First publication of (significant excerpts) of scholar Rudolph Ortner's Masters thesis with statistical analysis of the loudness war from 1951-2011.
  • Updated Surround Mastering chapter with the latest developments, including Pure Audio BluRay.
  • Extended discussion of restoration and noise reduction techniques.
  • Extended set of listening examples in the Earientation chapter, to prepare the student for critical listening as a lifelong activity.
  • Foreword to the first edition by Roger Nichols
  • an ear-opening investigation of the mysteries of jitter
  • managing dither and wordlengths
  • high sample rates
  • distortion, headroom
  • monitor calibration
  • metering
  • depth perception
  • compression and expansion
  • sequencing, spacing and leveling and album
  • equipment interconnection
  • and much more

Browse the Index of the book. (Adobe Acrobat)

Book Errata and Links to Additional Topics (including K-System Meters, etc.)
Click here for this!

Published Reviews (second edition)

Tape Op (March 2008) see below. Other reviews have appeared in Stereophile (June 2003), Tape Op (#38 Nov/Dec), Sound on Sound (Oct 2003), The Audiophile Voice, Electronic Musician, and audioXpress.

Tape Op Review April 2008 by Garrett Haines (


Larry covered the first edition back in Tape Op #35.  But there is so much updated content in this second printing that a second review is merited. The tile, Mastering Audio, is clearly a double entendre, as the book is covers both audio mastering and mastering audio.  It is a comprehensive look at the state of contemporary digital audio technologies, standards, and practices.   Doubtless mastering engineers of all experience levels will enjoy this edition.  As will anyone interested in the ‘dark art,’ but the second half of the text (starting with Part III: Advanced Theory and Practice) is devoted to taking control of digital audio.  These pages are loaded with information aimed at audio engineers of every discipline. Candid discussions about hot topics such as jitter, level calibration, and analog summing make this a not-to-be-missed read.

The audio production world is one of the last frontiers, an unregulated, barely standardized new horizon.  Hardly a month goes by when I don’t encounter format, jitter, sample rate or other technical concerns from my mastering clients. Its not uncommon for more experienced mix engineers to have issues, too.  The fact is, much of the information about how and why things work, especially with PCM digital, is fragmented, disjointed, and poorly documented.  In Mastering Audio, Bob Katz presents all of this information in a straightforward manner.  I have no reservations when I recommend that every engineer working with audio purchase a copy of Mastering Audio.  From broadcast to film, live to studio, Mastering Audio provides a complete foundation for understanding and working with sound in the digital age.

Here's what a few people have to say about Mastering Audio


Bob Katz's well thought out book on mastering is indeed a welcome addition to anyone that works in the production of music and who wants to understand all aspects of this so called mysterious stage of music production & there is enough information here for filling in gaps that even seasoned mastering engineers might have.
Bernie Grundman, Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA

Bob Katz is a true Jedi Knight of Audio.
A.T. Michael MacDonald, Mastering Engineer, Algorhythms, New York City

An excellent reference for anyone interested in CD Mastering. I don't know of another single source with as much detailed information on the mastering process. Even industry veterans are guaranteed to pick up something they hadn't known or were unsure of.
Ted Jensen, Chief Engineer, Sterling Sound, New York City

The first piece of equipment [you] should buy is Bob Katz's Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science.
Roger Nichols, Roger Nichols Mastering (from the Foreword) , Miami

Bob is a master of the technology changeover from analog to digital. His book covers areas that none other have touched.
George Massenburg, Producer/Engineer, Nashville

Master this book!
Glenn Meadows, Mastering Engineer, Nashville

When I first picked up this book, I couldn't put it down until I had read it all! This book should be required reading for all audio professionals--and not just in mastering. Every studio owner and engineer needs to know about this stuff.
Mike Collins, author of Pro Tools For Music Production, London



More reviews of Mastering Audio

Bob Katz's Bio
(Adobe Acrobat)



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