The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader

Published by Thomson Course Technology PTR

11 years of essays from Mix magazine, plus extended columns, columns Mix couldn’t print, and over 20 pages of jokes!

ISBN: 1-59863-208-6

Sadly, this is out of print! Order a used copy here.

Some Reviews

May, 2007

Book Review: The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader
by Matt Houghton

For a music book, the title of this one certainly stands out from the crowd, and its approach is equally refreshing. This book is apparently intended to be read in the bathroom, because you can dip in and out of it, digesting small sections at a time. However, if I limited myself to that usage, I’d spend years in the bathroom, as I found I couldn’t put it down!

Paul D Lehrman is a multi-talented guy: musician, composer, film-maker, music technologist and, most importantly here, a writer. The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader is a collection of a decade’s worth of his musings on the industry in the pages of Mix magazine, covering a period of massive change and significant world events. At times you wonder where he’s heading, but at the end of each article, you find yourself feeling that little bit more enlightened about music and often life more generally. His style is distinctive and he travels along some delightful tangents. As with the best books, you’re not just enjoying the author’s opinions but feel as though you’re being taken inside his head and are seeing the world from his perspective. There’s plenty of humour (including one of the best collections of guitarist/ drummer/ vocalist/ [insert other musician here] jokes I’ve seen.

But it’s not all lighthearted: the book is designed both to entertain and to educate, and there are some excellent factual articles exploring issues such as aural health, as well as various practical tips. He also explores many of the big issues facing the music business: the endemic nature of post-modernism in modern pop music, or the ‘loudness wars’ in mastering, for example. He also takes time out to reflect on 9/11 and other non-audio issues that seemed to touch him personally, such as the passing of Douglas Adams.

Dry, satirical and beautifully crafted, this refreshing book reveals Lehrman to be something of a Swift of the audio world and the fruits of his decade’s labour form one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. If you ever feel as though you’re being suffocated by a huge, commercial, inaccessible audio industry, this book will soon help you put the world to rights. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

March, 2007

What’s New
by Geary Yelton

After more than a decade in print and straight from the pages of Mix, Paul Lehrman’s monthly “Insider Audio” column is arguably that magazine’s most popular read. It’s almost inevitable, then, that Thomson Course Technology PTR ( would compile the best of those columns into a book.

The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader ($24.99) is filled with insightful interviews, humorous anecdotes, heartfelt eulogies, questionable speculation, adamant opinions, and plenty of jokes about musicians. The 430-page anthology delivers an entertaining romp through the audio industry as seen from many angles, virtually all of them skewed by Lehrman’s unique outlook. Beginning with a hilarious foreword by the Firesign Theatre’s Phil Proctor, The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader tackles subjects ranging from politics and social issues to software upgrades and vintage recording gear, complete with new introductions and updated commentary by the author.
—Geary Yelton

5 stars by Alina Oleynik from the Noun Project

November, 2006

Not just for the bathroom!,
By W. Holab

I was truly surprised by this book, both by the breadth of subjects that Lehrman covers and how much insight he brings to the topics. Since he writes for Mix Magazine I thought the book would be a bit heavy on tech talk relating to pro audio. There is a fair amount of coverage in that area, but also some wonderful gems like an interview with Tom Lehrer, an article about George Martin, and objective discussions about digital downloading and the problems associated with the ever-changing landscape that seems to have brought down giant retailers like Tower Records. A lot of time and care went into writing these essays and the book is a must-read for anyone who works or is interested in music, technology, or likes jokes about musicians that really make you groan!


January, 2007

Make room in your bathroom’s magazine rack for this one…
By Scott B. Metcalfe (Director, Music Production and Technology, The Hartt School, University of Hartford )

5 stars by Alina Oleynik from the Noun Project

For more than a decade Paul Lehrman has become a fixture in the field of audio and music technology. His monthly column in Mix magazine has become a must-read for many audio professionals, myself included. When I first heard about the book I thought: What could possibly be in there that I haven’t seen already? Turns out quite a bit! Other than the months in recent years that, regrettably, I’ve missed the column, and those in Paul’s earlier days with Mix that I wasn’t the regular reader that I would later become, the book also contains articles that were never published — some that were a bit too “colorful” for a family oriented magazine such as Mix, unabridged versions of articles that were “abridged” for publication, and music jokes you can file away for those lulls during recording sessions.

The bite-sized articles are perfect for those of us without a lot of time for pleasure reading. If you have read Mix over the past decade you will enjoy revisiting some of Paul’s best work and even, perhaps, be inspired by some of the topics Paul himself clearly gets excited about. My personal favorite—which I didn’t immediately recall reading in Mix—is the article from May of 1999 written after attending a lecture given by Sir George Martin at Berklee.

I recommend this book to anyone working in the music technology or audio production fields. Every studio lounge needs to have a copy on the coffee table! And every bathroom, well…you know.

Table of Contents

Foreword…into the Past!, by Phil Proctor of the Firesign Theatre

Introduction: Who is this Guy?/About the Jokes

What We Do Makes a Difference — Whether We Believe it or Not

A Tale of Two Countries

Vintage? You Don’t Know Vintage!

Short Cycles: How Fast Can We Make People Buy Into New Technology?

Careers from Hell

Revisiting Tom Lehrer + extended interview

A New York Minute: Grumpmeier Goes to AES

Course Catalog for the Real World: In This School, You’ll Learn What Truly Matters


I Had Nothing to Do with Titanic: But I’ve Had a Sync’ing Saga All My Own

In Memoriam: Three Pioneers of Electronics and Information

My Favorite Vintages: Good Old Gear Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune

A Personal Journey into the Heart of Darkness

Recalling a Legendary Playpen: A Revisit with Bell Labs

04/01/Y2K: What Really Happened

George Martin: Doing It on the Road

Perils of the Free Market: Grumpmeier Goes Looking for a Bargain


Making the Most of Audio 101: An Address to the Incoming Class of 2003

It’s a Large and Confusing World, After All: Dealing With a Global Industry

A Couple of Audio Moments: Fidelity Isn’t Always in the Specs

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Adventures in One of the World’s

Great Concert Spaces

Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This! Why You Should Be Worried About RSI

Caught Napstering: Why We’re Missing the Real Problem with Digital Downloading

Who Will Fix Our Stuff?

Ask Grump: Advice from the Dean of Curmudgeons


Morons, Oxymorons, and Technology Patents

SMPTE-ed Off! Why we can’t drop drop-frame

RIP Douglas Adams

Living on Borrowed Culture

Hardware, Software, Wetware

I Ought to Have My Head Examined: Adventures in Ontological Existentialism

Insider Interview: Son of Grumpmeier

The World Above 20kHz: What Are We Missing?

The RIAA tires to outrun the hackers

WAR STORIES: Readers’ Reports from the Front Lines of the Industry

Hacking and Hijacking: What’s he building in there?

Posting and Beaming into the Future: Grumpmeier Builds His Dream Studio


The Kids Are Alright: Learning from the Next Generation

In the Shadows of Motown: You Know The Hits, Now See the Movie!

Audio Products Go Wild! What You Won’t See at AES

Bungling In the Jungle: A Third-World Memoir

In A Silent Way: Why is Everything So Loud?!?

Alone Again, Virtually: The ups and downs of all-in-one production

A Law Unto Itself: Misusing the Legal System Hurts Us All

Out of the Garden: One Man’s Trip to Woodstock

Back to the Future: Ancient Tomb Reveals Low-Cost Audio of Tomorrow!


A talk with John Chowning

On the Road with Kronos: Chamber Music That’s Eclectic and Electric

Do You Hear What I Hear? Learning to Listen in a Mediated World

“Bikes, Harps, and Yo-Yos

Teaching Engineers and Artists to Talk to Each Other”

Tomorrows Musical Instruments and the NIME Conference

To Preserve and Protect: The Library of Congress Gets Busy with Our Recorded Heritage

Marketing to Myself: The promise of the Web…the reality of the business

False Sense of Security: How Not to Get Caught in the Web

Two Hearts: Do Musicians and Audiences Beat as One?

New columns, never before published: 

For the Benefit of Mr. Harrison

A Ray Bradbury Moment

Remembering Stephen St. Croix