Don't Take My Word for It...Take Theirs: The Best A/V Books and Courses

Something's in the air - it must be time for some summer reading. Earlier this week we told you about the new edition of the Rotel Ultimate Guide to High Performance Home TheaterAnd a reader recently asked me what books he should read to learn more about audio and video. I am unabashedly stealing this idea for an article.

After all, we all learned this stuff somewhere.

From entry level to advanced, here's a list of many things for the book learnin'.

Intro to HT

Before we move on to the harder stuff, we've got to lay down the fundamentals.

Practical Home Theater by Mark Fleischmann

Mark is the audio editor for, ahem, a different magazine. We won't hold that against him, though. His is one of the few books on this subject updated yearly.

Secrets of Home Theater by Mike Wood

The man, the myth, the legend Mike Wood produced this tome in 2004. While some of its info is be a little dated, the fundamentals are still sound. It's sort of out of print, but you can pick up a used copy for next to nothing, so why not?

Disney WOW: World of Wonder

Not remotely a book, this Blu-ray has some of the best tutorials about all things A/V I've seen. Also, it has some excellent test patterns. Highly recommended for all levels.

College Level

Now we step up to the more advanced courses, the real meat of it.

The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill

It's massive and massively expensive, but here's what Brent has to say about it: "If you really want to learn about electronics, there's no better place to start than The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill. It's a textbook so it's pricey, and it's somewhat out of date at this point, but still, IMHO no other book broadly covering the subject is as good or as easy to read."

Engineer's Mini Notebook Volume 1

Another of Brent's picks: "Great introductory guide for beginning circuit design. It's where I started."

Loudspeaker Design Cookbook by Vance Dickason

While ostensibly about building your own speakers, you'll learn a lot about how and why speakers work the way they do.

ISF and/or THX Training

Also not a book. The Imaging Science Foundation and THX both offer TV calibration training. They're available in different areas throughout the year. Beyond learning how to calibrate a TV, you'll learn all about how TVs work, how to set them up, and more. Walk in knowing what a remote is, walk out with the ability to calibrate a TV. Even if you never plan on calibrating TVs professionally, these are excellent courses to learn all the Is and Os.

Graduate Level

Not enough? Want something more hard core? Brace yourself for the advanced courses.

Digital Video and HD: Algorithms and Interfaces by Charles Poynton

This reads like a graduate level textbook, and probably is. Incredibly in depth, and one of the best resources on the subject of digital video. I've used it as a reference countless times. Other times I stare at it and drool as my brain seizes up.

Master Handbook of Acoustics by F. Alton Everest and Ken Pohlmann

One of the best resources on the acoustics of rooms. The latest edition has contributions from our very own Ken Pohlmann.

Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms

A fantastic book by one of the most respected legends in the speaker world. The hows and whys of speakers, rooms, listeners, and listeners in rooms with speakers. A must-have for anyone looking to learn about the amazing world of acoustics. Better, by the way, than the textbooks I had on the subject in college.

Any books you've read that were helpful in your quest for audio/video knowledge?