Skip to main content

Alan Parsons And Julian Colbeck: Art & Science Of Sound Recording

One of the masters gives an insight into the studio process.

If you’re going to read a book about a technical subject, you want the author to be an expert, and to be experienced and successful in the field they’re discussing.

To dip into another area of the arts, that’s why Stephen King’s On Writing is one of the most valuable insights into the craft of fiction that a budding author could ever read. And it’s why, if you have any interest at all in the recording process, you should want the person to guide you through that foam-walled world to be Alan Parsons. His credentials are beyond reproach, and even the most cursory listen back to Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon or absolutely anything laid down by the Alan Parsons Project will remind you that the man really, really knows his shit. Along with his co-writer/co-producer Colbeck, he recently drew on his vast experience to produce a series of DVDs in which he gave his own overview on production. Topics included everything from the history of recording to building a studio, employing specific equipment, recording techniques and even dealing with disasters, from the prosaic (snapped tape, duff hard drive) to the abstract (bad vibes in the live room). In this beautifully presented, richly detailed hardback, Parsons and Colbeck go back through the course, fleshing out the advice with photographs, diagrams (on monitor placement etc) and extended discussions on, for example, the relative merits of certain digital audio applications, and when to use compression. While clearly written, it’s not a light read and, to paraphrase our beloved editor as he threw this tome at my head, you can live your whole life as a contented music fan without getting involved in all this. Yet for the nerdier among us, who really want to get their head under the bonnet and see what makes a record sound great, this is a must-read guide from one of the very best in the business.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.