In this thorough introduction to the technology behind audio workstations, Dr Francis Rumsey explains not only how digital audio works but also how to make best use of its capabilities. A combined revision of his two successful titles, MIDI Systems and Control and The Audio Workstation Handbook, this new book covers recent developments such as surround sound formats, direct stream digital, new audio project formats, new interfaces and alternatives to MIDI. Desktop Audio Technology begins by setting out principles of digital audio and how these are applied in recording, replay and editing within workstations. MIDI and synthetic audio control is then covered, looking at the means by which artificial sounds can be controlled and manipulated. This is followed by explanations of hardware, including storage devices, buses, computer interfaces and audio processing options. Dr Rumsey then focuses on transferring audio between systems, including coverage of audio interfaces, networking and file formats. The next section examines audio software, providing working examples of different commercial packages that exemplify some of the concepts previously described. The final chapter considers operational issues such as recent spatial reproduction formats, consumer format mastering and quality control issues, as well as troubleshooting and systems issues. If you are a student, lecturer or practitioner in the field of audio and are looking for an authoritative technical guide to the underlying principles of digital audio and MIDI, this book is for you. Dr Francis Rumsey is a Reader in Sound Recording at the University of Surrey (UK) and a Visiting Professor at the School of Music in Piteå (Sweden). He is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society and a regular contributor to the AES Journal. Dr Rumsey is also author of Spatial Audio and co-author of Sound and Recording (with Tim McCormick) and The Digit

Key Features

* Complex issues are covered in a lucid manner, accessible for those with little prior knowledge of the subject * Explains how to get the best results from your equipment and includes advice on troubleshooting when things go wrong * Written by a leading academic and Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society


Students of music technology, audio engineering, broadcast engineering, multimedia and related courses, as well as audio professionals, eg. audio engineers, broadcast engineers, post-production staff.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to audio technology for computers: About this book; Audio workstations; Audio and the computer industry; Audio and quality; 2. Digital audio principles: Analogue and digital information; Binary number systems; Basic A/D and D/A conversion of control information; A/D conversion of audio signals; D/A conversion; Sound quality versus sample rates and resolutions; Direct Stream Digital (DSD); Changing the resolution of an audio signal(requantisation); Dynamic range enhancement; Error correction; Introduction to digital audio signal processing; Audio data reduction; Further reading; 3. Recording, replay and editing principles: The sound file; RAM buffering; Disk drive performance issues; Allocation units or transfer blocks; Multichannel recording and replay; System latency; Principles of audio editing; 4. MIDI and synthetic audio control: Background; What is MIDI?; MIDI and digital audio contrasted; Basic MIDI principles; MIDI messages in detail; MIDI control of sound generators; MIDI tuning control; General MIDI; Scalable polyphonic MIDI (SPMIDI); Standard MIDI files (SMF); Downloadable sounds (DLS) and Soundfonts; RMID and XMF files; SAOL and SASL in MPEG 4 Structured Audio; MIDI and synchronisation; MIDI machine control (MMC); MIDI over USB; MIDI over IEEE 1394; After MIDI?; Further reading; Web sites; 5. Hardware and systems issues Storage media; Peripheral interfaces; Filing systems and volume partitions; Formatting, fragmentation and optimisation of media; Audio processing and synthesis hardware; External synchronisation interfaces; User interfaces; Serial control interfaces; Drivers and audio I/O software; Further reading; Useful websites; 6. Audio formats and data interchange: Audio file


No. of pages:
© 2003
Focal Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the editor

Francis Rumsey

Professor of Sound Recording at the University of Surrey (UK) and a Visiting Professor at the School of Music in Piteå (Sweden). Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society and a regular contributor to the AES Journal.


Published reviews (of 'MIDI Systems and Control'): 'Superb ... we thoroughly recommend it. It should prove a valuable addition to any musician's library, be they beginner or seasoned midiphile' Sound on Sound 'Invaluable to the engineer.' Studio Sound 'A very readable and not overly technical exposition of this fascinating subject.' Line Up 'Invaluable for reference to any student of audio engineering or of music technology.' Image Technology 'Very strongly recommended.' Musicus