New Book

Mixing & Mastering in the Box by Steve SavageMixing & Mastering in the Box, Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Steve and I have worked on countless records together; he’s mixed and mastered most of the records I’ve produced, including my own. He also taught me a lot about mixing and mastering – he’s one of those rare guys who works at a very high level but can also explain what it is he’s doing and why. If you want to know more about making your recorded music sound better, get this book!”

Bonnie Hayes
Songwriting Chair, Berklee College of Music

“Steve Savage is not only a superb music producer, mixer and mastering engineer, but also an excellent educator and communicator. His books manage to cover the most complex aspects of music production in a manner that is engaging and clear, bringing expert insight to both beginners and advanced music makers. Steve manages to find a perfect blend between discussing the creative and technical aspects of music technology, whilst keeping things concise, relevant and up to date.”

Dr. Rob Toulson
Music Producer and Director of the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK

Current Books

The Art of Digital Audio Recording: A practical guide for home and studio by Steve SavageThe Art of Digital Audio Recording, Oxford University Press, 2011.

“Steve Savage is the best – his mellow, positive personality makes him a pleasure to work with. I’m very happy with the two projects we’ve done together. He’s very together in the studio, and with Steve there are no technical problems to interrupt the flow of the music making. He’s a smart guy and his musical opinions are solid. I’m glad he wrote this book.”

Elvin Bishop
legendary recording artist

“Savage succinctly sums up the digital do’s and don’ts, ties the techniques and terminology back to their analog roots and relates it all to the needs of the music and musicians. Great book!”

Richard James Burgess Ph.D.
author of The Art of Record Production and The Art of Music Production

“Steve Savage’s combination of industry and academic experience give this book the huge advantage of bringing together the rigor of his research and theoretical knowledge with his practical grounding in the technicalities, social dynamics, and psychology of how the recording process works. I loved it.”

Simon Zagorski-Thomas
Chairman of the Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production
and Director of the Art of Record Production Conference

Publisher’s note

Making great audio recordings requires striking the right balance between technical know-how and practical understanding of recording sessions. Even in the digital age, some of the most important aspects of creating and recording music are non-technical and, as a result, are often overlooked by traditional recording manuals. The Art of Digital Audio Recording teaches readers what they really need to know in order to make great sound recordings with computers – both the practical and the technical information.  As a whole, The Art of Digital Audio Recording is an essential resource that gives recordists the tools they need to let technical understanding serve greater musical goals.

Purchase The Art of Digital Audio Recording at

See a recent review in the “Journal on the Art of Record Production”


Bytes & Backbeats: Repurposing Music in the Digital Age,  The University of Michigan Press,  “Tracking Pop Series”

Bytes & Backbeats: Repurposing Music in the Digital Age by Steve Savage

“Instead of focusing solely on legal aspects, as many authors have done, Savage takes the time to study not only how technologies have altered the way we make and consume music, but also how technology relates to culture. This balance between ‘empirical’ and ‘critical’ approaches is powerful.”

Serge Lacasse
Université Laval


“Savage sheds new light on concerns that have been around since the beginning of recorded music. His extraordinary insights into improvisation in recorded music add new dimensions to composition, performance, listening and more.”

William D. Moylan
University of Massachusetts Lowell


“Steve Savage’s book is a compelling argument for the recordist as musician. Firmly grounded in his own professional practice and illustrated with concrete examples, Bytes and Backbeats shows how technology has created new modes of working together and reshaped the basic concepts through which we think musically. Positioning the recordist at the heart of music and music at the heart of digital culture, Savage has whipped up an intellectual as well as a musical feast.”

Nicholas Cook
Cambridge University


Publisher’s note

From Attali’s “cold social silence” to Baudrillard’s hallucinatory reality, reproduced music has long been the target of critical attack. In Bytes and Backbeats, however, Steve Savage deploys an innovative combination of designed recording projects, ethnographic studies of contemporary music practice, and critical analysis to challenge many of these traditional attitudes about the creation and reception of music. Savage adopts the notion of “repurposing” as central to understanding how every aspect of musical activity, from creation to reception, has been transformed, arguing that the tension within production between a naturalizing “art” and a self-conscious “artifice” reflects and feeds into our evolving notions of creativity, authenticity, and community.

An integral part of the work are the three original audio projects, drawing from rock & roll, jazz, and traditional African music. Through these projects—and with the aid of newly imagined techniques of computer-based recording—Savage is able to target areas of contemporary practice that are particularly significant in the cultural evolution of the musical experience, from the point of view of composers, musicians, and listeners. Each audio project includes a studio study providing context for the social and cultural analysis that follows. All of this work stems from Savage’s more than twenty years of work as a professional recording engineer and record producer.

Steve Savage teaches musicology in the Humanities department at San Francisco State University and is an active record producer and recording engineer.  He has been the primary engineer on 7 records that received Grammy nominations.



“‘It Could Have Happened’: The Evolution of Music Construction”
The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music
By invitation of the editors.  Published, Spring 2009.

“Strip Silence: Tool for creation or destruction?”
Nutida Music, 3/2009.

“Ignorance is Blisss: Capturing the Unintentional Performance”
Journal of Populuar Music Studies.
Issue 18.3:2006
Journal of the IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music).

“Creating the hyperreal in classical recordings,” CHARM (Center for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music) Seminar, Published online at:


“Why Music is Easy: Hit Song Science,”  Joint IASPM/SAM conference, Cincinnati, OH. 2011.

“The Scrubber Tool: Analog Antecedents of the DAW,” The Art of Record Production conference, Wales, UK; 2009.

“Creating the hyperreal in classical recordings,” I gave this paper by invitation at the Creative Production for Classical Music seminar in London, 2006.  The seminar was sponsored by the research institute CHARM (Center for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music). This is a .pdf with embedded audio files is available at:

“Lipsmacks, Mouthnoises and Heavy Breathing,” The Art of Record Production conference, London, England; panelist with noted musicologists Simon Frith and Paul Théberge, 2005.

“The Benefits of Fraud:  Art & Artifice in Popular Music Recordings,” IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) biennial conference, Rome, Italy, 2005.

“Ignorance is Bliss:  Why the Best Recordings are Unintentional,” The Pop Conference, The Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA. 2005.


Earlier Books

The Rhythm BookThe Rhythm Book – ArtistPro Publication.

Publisher’s note: The one and only guide any musician needs to the world of rhythm.  A complete guide to drum programming, including information on the latest trends in computer-based music, electronic drums and percussion, and the making and recording of the latest kinds of rhythm tracks.


The Billboard Book of Rhythm – Billboard Books.

Publisher’s note: An updated percussionist’s guide for the new century, Savage covers all the bases of drum instruction, from basic rhythm to the advent of electronic music technology.  For drum machine users, songwriters, producers, arrangers, percussionists, and owners of home recording gear, here’s the book that gets deep inside the beat.


The Drummer’s Workbook – Consolidated Music Publishers.

Publisher’s note:  Play and analyze basic models in Pop, Rock, Reggae, and Disco.  Write your own exercises and work with your own ideas.  All examples carefully explained, developed, and expanded.  A sourcebook for style and improvisation.  With a foreword by Ginger Baker.


Rhythm: Notation and Analysis – Consolidated Music Publishers.

Publisher’s note:  Practical theory for the contemporary musician.  Offers the student both a study guide and a reference book on a basic musical element: rhythm.