A guy I know is migrating to Pro Tools from another application. He asked me if I had any suggestions for a primer. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone and his dog has written a book on Pro Tools lately, and it's hard to sort through all the titles. I was about to tell him "no dice" when I heard that Mitch Gallagher had written a book called Pro Tools Clinic (published by Schirmer Trade Books, an imprint of Music Sales Corporation). Mitch has written countless articles and reviews over the years, and I am comfortable with his style. I ordered a copy to satisfy my interest.
There are a bunch of things this book does right. First, there are tons of pictures (bless the poor layout artist who had to deal with the project!). Many people use recording software because you can see what's going on with audio. It makes sense that example photographs are welcome. Second, the writing is clear, concise, and down-to-earth. For example, Gallagher explains the differences among the four Pro Tools edit modes in a few sentences. (Other books might take a whole chapter-and even then are not as lucid.) Another treat is the explanation of digital audio concepts in the opening chapters. These parts help to create a logical bridge from traditional recording approaches to the workflow concepts used with DAW systems. Finally, a sample CD containing the sessions used in the book is included. Some people learn by doing, and having the actual files is a nice touch.
Of course, this book isn't for everyone. Power users won't find any groundbreaking coverage. And at a few hundred pages, there isn't room to go into very deep discussions on obscure issues. Nonetheless, I recommend this book, especially if you are new to digital audio or switching to Pro Tools from another package. If you need to get up to speed in a hurry, there is simply no other book on the market that can help you as elegantly as Pro Tools Clinic. At around $25, it's a very fair deal. ($24.95 MSRP; www.musicsales.com)