I have read two great books that have helped me better understand audio and music. They are:
(i) Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story Of Recorded Music by Greg Milner
(ii) How Music Works by David Byrne
What are your favorite books about audio and music?
I’ll throw out a few I like. The first one is a great guide to improving the sound of your system without spending money. The others are interesting thoughts on the science & philosophy of music.
- “Get Better Sound” by Jim Smith
- “Zen Guitar” by Phillip Toshio Sudo
- “This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” by Daniel J. Leviten
- “The Jazz Of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe” by Stephon Alexander
Here are a few favs:
“This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession”, Daniel J. Levitin
“The Path To The New Music”, Anton Webern
“Notations”, John Cage
“Essays Before a Sonata”, Charles Ives
The Poetics of Music Igor Stravinsky
Musicophilia Oliver Sacks
The Rest is Noise Alex Ross
Are there any good books that offer a basic history of the HiFi industry or the evolution of stereo components?
I’ve only read books on Jazz and a couple of my favorites are:
“As Serious as your Life” by Val Wilmer
“Blue Note Records the Biography” by Richard Cook
The Absolute Sound has a series of three volumes of oversize 12” x 12” coffee table size books. Vol 1-Loudspeakers Vol 2-Electronics Vol 3-Turntables & Sources. I think each volume is $50-60. The first volume is out of print, the second you can buy direct and I don’t think the third has been published yet.
Here’s a descriptive link of the first volume from YouTube:
I’ve never seen them in the paper. This is something that I think I would rather have as a pdf…
You might want to take a look at Robert Harley’s book, “The Complete Guide to High-End Audio”. I believe the Fifth Edition is the most recent. In addition to being a decent survey of the high end audio as of 2015 it has a fair amount of historical background on the development of audio components.
“Valve and Transistor Audio Amplifiers” by John Linsley Hood is a pretty good history of the evolution and principles of amplifier design through about 2000.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (about the role that music plays in our lives.)
Songbook (31 Songs) by Nick Hornby (explores our emotional relationship to music.)
Robert Palmer: Deep Blues (1982) and Rock & Roll: An Unruly History (1995)
On the subject of music history, particularly rock, folk & folk rock in the 60’s and early 70’s anything by Richie Unterberger is pretty good
You’re most welcome.
It is probably out of print at this point though I am sure you will be able to find used copies online, but Good Sound by Laura Dearborn from 1987 is an excellent book for those looking to get in to high quality music playback.
I’m most of the way through Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century now, and it’s great. Can get a bit academic at times, but if you like jazz, you’ll definitely learn more about your favorite musicians and probably about some you may not have ever heard of. Author knows his stuff and offers interesting connections, analysis, etc without being pedantic. Highly recommended.