The Book of Audacity
While I was still basking in the warm, colorful glow of my Polyvinyl package, I received a copy of The Book of Audacity, written by Carla Schroeder and published by No Starch Press. This 359-page guide promises to help “build that home recording studio that you’ve been talking about for years.”
Inside, there are 15 chapters, including “Audacity from Start to Finish,” “Building a Good Digital Sound Studio on the Cheap,” “Transferring Vinyl LPs to CD,” “Authoring Super High-Fidelity Audio DVDs,” and “Configuring Windows for Best Audio Quality,” in addition to appendices on audio hardware, a glossary, and digital audio myths. Throughout, the layout is clean, bright, and welcoming, with lots of graphs and images, and equally welcoming text. In the opening chapter, Schroder encourages:
Let’s fire up Audacity and make a recording. We’ll begin with a quick-start tutorial and make a simple recording to demonstrate basic usage. Then we’ll cover the fundamental Audacity functions from start to finish….We’ll deal with fancy audio hardware later; for now, all you need is any Linux or Windows computer with an ordinary sound card and either a microphone with a 1/8” mini-plug or a USB microphone or headset.
My review of the Music Hall USB-1 turntable, which utilizes Audacity’s vinyl-ripping software, will appear in our May issue. Though I found Audacity friendly and intuitive, I didn’t get into any of its more advanced features, but simply converted a few vinyl tracks to WAV files for quick comparisons. My hope is that Carla Schroeder’s The Book of Audacity will simplify Audacity's more daunting features and lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of home recording.