E4896: Music Signal Processing


The following is a list of annotated reference material that will be used throughout the course. Students are encouraged to review as much of this as possible. Abbreviation codes are provides here, and used in the Syllabus page.

Required Books

Total Recording, Dave Moulton (distributed by KIQ Productions, www.kiqproductions.com, ISBN 0-9674304-0-2).
A great overview of sound recording and engineering, with a substantial amount of non-trivial engineering detail.

Make sure you also get my list of corrections. [Abbreviation TR]
DAFX – Digital Audio Effects, U. Zolzer, Editor, Wiley, 2002 (ISBN 0-471-49078-4).
Excellent book about digital audio effects, full of Matlab examples. This grew out of a European research project on digital audio effects that has resulted in an ongoing series of conferences (DAFX).

[Abbreviation DAFX] You can download the Matlab code from the book's web site.

Recommended Reading

Digital Signal Processing

A Digital Signal Processing Primer (with Applications to Digital Audio and Computer Music), K. Steiglitz, Addison-Wesley, 1996 (ISBN 0805316841).

If you are not very confident about your understanding of digital signal processing, or you would like to get a good and quick overview this is an excellent book. The fact that is focusing on audio and music for its application examples is a big plus.

[Abbreviation DSPP]

Digital Signal Processing: A Computer-Based Approach, 2nd Edition, S. Mitra, McGraw-Hill, 2001 (ISBN 0-07-232105-9).

This is the textbook that is used for our Digital Signal Processing course (E4830). It is a comprehensive and very well-written book, and it uses Matlab extensively.

[Abbreviation DSPC]

Introduction to Digital Filters, J. O. Smith III, 2003.

This online book, developed at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) is an excellent introduction to the subject, and includes a lot of advanced material as well.

[Abbreviation DF]

Mathematics of the Discrete Fourier Transform, J. O. Smith III, 2003.

Also available online, this is a great introduction to the DFT and its applications. It even includes chapters on the definition of the various dB scales used in audio, as well as numbering systems. [Abbreviation MDFT]

Dither Explained , N. Aldridge, 2002.

This online article provides a nice overview of the origin and effects of dithering, including spectral plots that demonstrate the dither's effect on quantization noise. The article is weak, however, in its discussion of probability concepts (it seems the author may confuse Gaussing and white). Still, the diagrams and overall discussion are useful. In case the article is no longer online, a PDF version is available as well (thanks to Uday Arya).

Sound Engineering

Sound Reinforcement Handbook, 2nd edition, G. Davis and R. Jones, Hal Leonard, 1990.

This book grew out of sucessful technical manuals written for Yamaha systems. It's very technical, but from an applied perspective. A must-read. [Abbreviation SRH]

Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science, B. Katz, Focal Press, 2002 (ISBN 0240805453).
One of the best books on audio from one of the most well-respected mastering engineers. Although it addresses primarily the mastering process, it includes very good discussions of a number of topics of general interest in audio. Although the author is not an engineer, he demonstrates a very good grasp of important engineering concepts (that are often misunderstood by practicing audio engineers). Some of my favorites are the need for standardized/calibrated monitoring, issues of quality of digital systems, and the effects of jitter. [Abbreviation MA]
Sound System Engineering, 2nd Edition, D. Davis and C. Davis, Focal Press, 1997 (ISBN 0-240-80305-1).

This is definitely one of the modern “bibles” for the design, performance analysis, and optimization of acoustic spaces. [Abbreviation SSE]

JBL Professional: Sound System Design Reference Manual, John Eargle, 1999.

An excellent booklet (about 100 pages) summarizing all the basic concepts of acoustics and sound reinforcement. It also includes numerous sample designs. Another must read. It is available online by JBL and its free (download Part 1 or Part 2). [Abbreviation JBL]

Professional Microphone Techniques, D. Huber and P. Williams, MixBooks, 1998 (ISBN 0-872886-85-9).

An extensive discussion of microphones and the various different miking techniques for all sorts of different instruments. The book has a companion CD with good examples of the results of different miking approaches. [Abbreviation MIC]

Computer Music

The Computer Music Tutorial, C. Roads, MIT Press, 1999 (ISBN 0-252-18158-4).

One of the best books on computer music, and one of the most comprehensive too. It includes a section on mixing and signal processing.[Abbreviation CM]


It is highly recommneded that every student checks out at least one copy of either of the following two magazines. It will provide a good overview of current technology trends, information about available manufacturers and products, current state of the art systems, and so on.

Electronic Musician Magazine - http://www.emusician.com
Emphasis on synthesizers and computer-based systems.
Mix Magazine - http://www.mixonline.com
The focus here is on audio recording, but of course computer-based systems are covered extensively as well.

Web Sites

The following is a preliminary list of interesting web sites, listed alphabetically. The list is not intended to be exhaustive - it just provides a set of entry points for technical and product related information. More links with research-related sites will be added shortly.

Audio Engineering Society (AES) - http://www.aes.org
This is the principal technical organization for sound engineering. It publishes one of the most authoritative journals in the field (AES Journal) and runs what I consider to be the best conference on the subject (AES Convention). The reason is that, like the ACM SIGGRAPH, it also includes an exhibition of products. Most of the seminal papers on the subject have appear in this journal. Student membership is only $20, which includes access to the online version of the Journal (information is on the AES web site).
Chesky Records - http://www.chesky.com
"Audiophile" quality CD recordings and test CDs.
Cycling ’74 - http://www.cycling74.com
Max/MSP and other computer-based synthesis software packages.
Digidesign - http://www.digidesign.com
Makers of Pro Tools. In addition to the very interesting products section, the site's DigiZine often has interesting "Tech Talk" sections.
Mark of the Unicorn - http://www.motu.com
Makers of Digital Performer and numerous other software and audio interface hardware products.
Mastering WebBoard - http://webbd.nls.net:8080/~mastering/login
A WebBoard frequented by some of the best names in audio/mastering.

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A. Eleftheriadis, eleft@ee.columbia.edu
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