There is a lot of free info on the web but nothing beats a book.

The Art Of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill. Not specifically an audio book, just one of the best all round texts on electronics engineering that has ever been written. I have had my copy for about 20 years and it’s seen a lot of action. A third edition has been rumoured for some time. Not a cheap book (good technical books often aren’t), but a great investment.

Mastering Audio by Bob Katz. Although this book is aimed at mastering engineers, it has a wealth of information on audio in general, how sound is perceived, and what makes a record sound good. It is of interest to anyone that loves well recorded sound, musicians and technicians alike. A new addition to my library.

The Art Of Digital Audio by John Watkinson. Although I tend to be more involved with the analogue end of things, when I need to have some aspect of digital sound explained, this is where I look.

Small Signal Audio Design by Douglas Self. A few decades ago, I was lucky enough to spend a year or so working at Soundcraft Electronics in North London - it was my first job in the pro-audio industry. After I had been there a bit, I noticed a tall bearded man walking around, often looking quite distracted. I found out that this was Doug, who was then one of the key people in the design department. Since then, I have more than once looked at circuits that he designed, and wondered why he did things as he did. Well, now there is a book in which he explains all. It’s not a light read, but he has been generous with the details, and his explanations are comprehensive and clear. Moreover, there are many actual measurements that he has made, comparing performance of various topologies. Discussions a simple seeming element, such as a line input stage, display a depth of thought and appreciation of the subtleties that explain why he has become regarded as something of a guru in the world of analogue audio design. Absolutely essential reading for anyone who is seriously interested in the subject.

Valve Amplifiers by Morgan Jones. This book is widely acknowledged as the “bottle bible”. I have found myself working on valves again recently (which makes me quite happy), so I’m waiting for this one to arrive.

Introduction to Loudspeaker Design by John L. Murphy. Loudspeakers tend to be something of a black art. The theory around them is similar in some ways to electronics theory, but is applied in quite different ways. This book strikes a nice balance between explaining theory and practice (with some ingeneous tips such as using a stethoscope to check an enclosure for tiny air leaks).

Other Web Sites

Rod Elliott’s audio pages : lots of audio kits, and some very good articles on audio engineering.

Doug Self : lots of interesting and eclectic info from one of the most respected audio designers.

Ethan Winer Ethan is a fine musician as well as a leading expert in acoustics and audio. Information about DIY acoustic treatment as well as audio projects, and a host of other stuff.


Kicad is a very nicely featured PCB design package. You can design boards of up to 16 layers, do schematic capture and so on. And all open source and free. UPDATE: Kicad is nice, but I switched to a paid version of Diptrace, which I am very happy with.

Veecad is software for doing board layouts of veroboard. When you only want to make a small quantity or a one-off, veroboard is the way, and this software is a great help in planning the layout. You can do schematic capture with Kicad (but you need to use the libraries that come with Veecad) or other programs. There is a free version, and a quite inexpensive paid version.

Ltspice is a SPICE modelling package which is free from Linear Technology, and it works very well. You can teach yourself to use it in just a few hours, and it is very helpful in seeing how small changes in a circuit design affect performance, without doing all the hard work of prototyping.