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Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying- from the legacy of Moog to software synthesis Paperback – 29 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; Pap/Cdr edition (29 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780240520728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240520728
  • ASIN: 0240520726
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'This is the best book to date I've seen on analog synthesis..' Tape Op#62

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 6 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great little book if:
- you're new to synthesizers and want to know what the heck is going on
- you're curious about the old analogue products
- you're curious about the bands that used them, and what they're up to now
- you're thinking of purchasing a synth, whether analogue or virtual

Mark Jenkins' knowledge of some amazingly obscure details is a little worrying but he's clearly fascinated by this subject and it shows. He's written a very accessible book that has helped me actually figure out and start to play my recent synth acquisition, and in that sense the book has completely met my objectives. The icing on the cake (for this eighties music buff) are the little (synth-related) facts on and interviews with bands like The Human League and Duran Duran.

On the downside:
- a little too much repetition of facts and opinion, but nothing a slightly more rigorous re-edit couldn't handle
- could expand more on the playing and performance side
- the section on virtual synthesis and h/w and s/w products could be more informative

In summary though I thoroughly recommend this book and appreciate the fact that someone with a deep level of knowledge has taken the time out to produce something so accessible and informative.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By THM on 11 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
As an analog synth freak (with a great vintage analog synth collection and some interesting but also some less interesting analog synthesizer books in my library), I can only recommend this one to all electronic music addicts, especially the ones with a special favour for analog synthesizers.

The book starts with a short and actually less interesting description of how analog synthesis (or better subtractive synthesis) very basically works (what's a VCO, a filter, etc...) - but this chapter is far too compact to be good. There's also a late chapter added about the history of VA (virtual analog) - for real analog artists that one may be somewhat boring too. However, everythings what's in between these chapters is a real must-read !!

There are great descriptions of common and less common facts (even some great anecdotes) in analog synthesizer history, and especially how the synths (and whát synths) where used for certain tracks or part of tracks by great bands and artists like ELP, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Jean-Michel Jarre, and many many more...

Everything is written in a great narrative way, and for any synth freak it's great to know a lot of these things.

So finally I'd say this is a great reference book for a collection of known and less known facts in analog synthesizer history.

Have fun !!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Genzel on 25 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
As someone who is interested in synthesis and owns several virtual analog synthesisers rather than analog instruments, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Mark Jenkins brings the history and evolution of the analog and later virtual analog instruments alive with quotes from the people who designed them, artists who used them and records they can be heard on.

Whereas I am a novice keyboardist, Mark Jenkins is clearly an expert and I particularly enjoyed the insight into how the multitude of features available can be used to make sounds more interesting. For those not so familiar with the subject the book also includes useful sections introducing what synthesis is and the modules typically used but this is more to set the scene than provide a comprehensive explanation of the subject.

The book also includes an audio cd with sounds and sequences to illustrate some of the synthesizer techniques and the actual instruments covered, which helps understand what the text is describing. And if you are interested in buying an analog synth there are some tips on doing so plus an extensive list of models and likely prices.

Overall an excellent, well written and researched book that compliments and usefully adds to other texts available on the subject.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nick Braithwaite on 2 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in Analogue Synthesis. It is full of fascinating information and is well written by someone who obviously knows what he is talking about. There is a great wealth of detail on the history of the subject and several interviews with those who have helped make the analogue synthesizer the instrument it is today.(In spite of the digital revolution, analogue is having quite a revival and there are actually more companies making Modular synths, the enormous ones festooned with patch cables, than there were in Bob Moog's heyday.) These pioneers include many, such as Bernard Szajner and Irmin Schmidt, who are less well-known today, as well as those such as Rick Wakeman, Wendy Carlos and Keith Emerson, who are perhaps more familiar.
As someone who is not only interested in synthesis but also has an analogue synth and wishes to learn more about actually using them, I found it a superb addition to my bookshelves and one I am sure I shall return to often. However, your impression about this book may well depend on what it is you actually want from it. If that is a comprehensive history of the instruments, their designers and many of their users, in an easily digestible and entertaining form and with plenty of pictures and diagrams, then I would happily advise you to buy it. If however, like me, you are really looking for a book which will guide you into the mysteries of actually making your own sounds on your own analogue synthesizer, then you may be a little disappointed. Not because it is not a very good book indeed (which it is) but rather because it really gives you little more than a couple of tasters in this direction and is not therefore really a guide to how to use your synth.
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