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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Digital Audio Processing
Doug Coulter
0 89730 566 5
413pp + CD @ 38-9
James H. Clark
Appeared in:

This book is intended to aid fairly experienced software developers and hardware designers to learn about audio effects processing in computers. It is not for the novice programmer, nor for those completely unfamiliar with DSP. For further reading, 12 additional books are recommended and summarised; covering various topics from MFC to the psychology of music.

The author has worked for many years in the audio industry and has been involved in the development of parts of the popular 'Cool Edit' waveform editing package (which is often mentioned throughout the book). His style is very chatty with words like 'zowie' not uncommon; although not to all tastes, this does help to convey his enthusiasm.

The book is organised into two sections. The first covers psychoacoustics, analysis and synthesis of sound, programming-related issues and a DSP and filter primer. The second contains 6 chapters on different kinds of effects. The appendices include an overview of the WaveEd program (supplied on the CD) and SDK documentation for the Cool Edit effect plug-in format.

The quality of the book is generally excellent, but there are occasional non-critical typos and some of the diagrams are almost invisibly faint. It is not packed with code examples; it is not a book on coding. Where required, code listings are given which range in size from single lines to multiple pages and anyone familiar with C/C++ should be able to follow these with ease.

The accompanying CD, on the other hand, contains example code, reusable modules and applications with full source and executables, which includes such joys as optimised Intel assembly modules for DSP, an S-Domain filter explorer and the WavEd waveform editor. Although these appear to be of high quality, some of the applications are (in the author's words) of research (rather than commercial) quality and I experienced a couple of Fatal Exceptions. Nevertheless, the tools on the CD are very useful and help the reader to get the most from the book.

The book is intended as an introduction to Digital Audio Processing and it does this remarkably well. Complex ideas are explained in a relaxed, chatty manner, which does seem to get the message across and enhance reader interest. If you are interested, but not experienced in audio DSP, then this is a must-buy book. More experienced readers may prefer to peruse a copy before purchase. I would buy this book and I have already recommended it to others (although they had problems sourcing it in the UK).