I've come from a background of education in sound design that was focused mainly on the creative applications of sound within media. More and more, I've found myself intrigued by the trades and skills of those involved in live sound engineering, mainly in the field of electronics and maintenance.

My question to you all is: what's the best way to teach yourself the basics in electronics. I'd love to be able to solder my own cables and diagnose electrical faults in my equipment but I don't even know where to start learning.

I'd be interested if anyone has any resources which have helped understand this area more.

4 Answers 4


In terms of theory, the bible for electronics (and also the book I'd recommend) is The Art Of Electronics. It's big, covers most of the important aspects for sound engineering and is nicely written. It will address all information you need in terms of physics, all electricity and electronics-specific terminology, and much more.

Besides that, I'd second georgi in recommending some simple simulation tool (indispensable for checking your answers in exercises and answering the "and what if" questions).

Then you'll probably want to get some hands on experience. I would suggest starting with one of the many electrical education toys (e.g. this one), which will spare you the necessity to solder things but will allow to perform actual experimentation and learn how to measure signals.

Finally, I would strongly recommend getting an inexpensive oscilloscope early on. It will give you a lot of understanding of what's actually happening. Luckily, sound frequencies are very low from the modern electronics perspective, so a decent device can be found for a very modest price. And it will immediately let you not only measure signals, but also "see" them—very helpful in learning. The last but not the least, it is the only inexpensive way [I know] to quantify noise and distortions.


Back in the dim and distant past when I used to teach electronics I would recommend the following book to my first year students:

Electronics Fundamentals: Circuits, Devices & Applications by Thomas L Floyd

This covers the theory from the basics although you'll need to practice the practical side in conjunction with the theory. If you have no experience whatsoever you will probably be best to start with:

Electronics for Dummies


I'd look into getting an electronics circuit simulator as well.

I gather LTSpice is free and people use it: http://www.linear.com/designtools/software/

I studied this in college. There's a lot of physics and math (including complex numbers) to it, but many concepts translate well in audio, plus you get an instant grasp of anything that has a signal flow to it. Arm yourself with patience, it's a very exciting subject, but can go very deep.

Also http://www.youtube.com/user/mjlorton/search?query=electronics and http://www.youtube.com/user/00retrobrad00/search?query=electronics+tutorial while you're waiting for the book to arrive..

  • Do you have any experience or know of anyone who has used the Arduino kits at all? They look fairly interesting and perhaps a little more "hands-on" than their software counterpart.
    – Will Tonna
    Dec 17, 2013 at 0:42

This is one of the best books published on the basics of Electronics. It is straight and to the point and is written in a way that makes it easy to grasp concepts for beginners. I posted the link below. I used this book to learn the basic concepts of Electronics in just one months time. Best of Luck!

Getting Started in Electronics


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