The Complete Guide to Hi End Audio, by Robert Harley covers the basics pretty well.
I just got and read: "High Performance Audio Systems" by Harley. It is a very good primer.
If you have been (like me) reading audio press for parts of the last 15 years then you will find it does not add anything new to your understanding. If on the other hand you want a book to give you a solid foundation this is the book for you!
Thanks everyone. Harley's book got both darts and laurels in the Amazon reviews and, like with seemingly everything audiophile, there is the temptation to believe none of it--or all of it. I think I will get a copy and read with a critical eye and, I hope, surely learn something about the physics, which I can then either abide by or ignore. I had a music teacher years ago who said you have to learn Bach in order to ignore him later, but you can't ignore him with authority until you learn him. JK
For a dose of reality...
The price listed has got to be wrong. Years ago I paid under $20 for it.
Do not read any of the propaganda. It's all opinion. Your ears hear differently than anyone else's. Don't forget that and just trust them. If you read anything, read the forums here on the Gon.
Harley's book is pretty matter-of-fact about foundational information and vocabulary, etc. It is not without some share of the author's opinions, though they are few and far between and so far from the point that I'd wonder why anyone would suggest it might be "propoganda" (perhaps that poster was referring to something else though). I'd certainly agree with the point that this stuff is entirely subjective as far as performance, and heartily applaud the advice to trust your own ears. But I'm not sure why I'd trust any of these Bozos posting here, myself included, over any other resource that portends 'experience'. I say take it all with a pound of salt and test the waters yourself with your personal interpretation of the best of those indications at your disposal. But truly, Harley's book is mostly informational, IMO, and is a very good basic resource.
Harley's book is mostly informational, IMO, and is a very good basic resource.Absolutely. There'd be far fewer misunderstandings based simply on proper terminology if more people would read Harley's book. It offer meaningful info on several levels. Any audiophile can benefit from reading just one chapter that interests them.
Try Nika Aldrich's Digital Audio Explained. It manages to avoid much of the math that you will find in engineering electronics text books and makes easy reading for a layman. Armed with Nika's long list of audio "myths" you can help protect yourself against some of the marketing hype of SACD, 24 bits etc. (Nika puts things in proper perspective starting from a scientific explanation of scientist's understanding of our auditory system)