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Make: Analog Synthesizers [Paperback]

Ray Wilson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
Price: £13.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 May 2013

Dive hands-on into the tools, techniques, and information for making your own analog synthesizer. If you’re a musician or a hobbyist with experience in building electronic projects from kits or schematics, this do-it-yourself guide will walk you through the parts and schematics you need, and how to tailor them for your needs. Author Ray Wilson shares his decades of experience in synth-DIY, including the popular Music From Outer Space (MFOS) website and analog synth community.

At the end of the book, you’ll apply everything you’ve learned by building an analog synthesizer, using the MFOS Noise Toaster kit. You’ll also learn what it takes to create synth-DIY electronic music studio. Get started in the fun and engaging hobby of synth-DIY without delay.

With this book, you’ll learn:

  • The differences between analog and digital synthesizers
  • Analog synthesizer building blocks, including VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, and LFOs
  • How to tool up for synth-DIY, including electronic instruments and suggestions for home-made equipment
  • Foundational circuits for amplification, biasing, and signal mixing
  • How to work with the MFOS Noise Toaster kit
  • Setting up a synth-DIY electronic music studio on a budget

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Maker Media, Inc; 1 edition (27 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449345220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449345228
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 20.9 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

Make Electronic Sounds the Synth-DIY Way

About the Author

Ray has been interested in analog synthesizers since the first time he heard "Switched On Bach" back in 1968. That magic box on the cover of the album with all of the knobs, switches and patch cords grabbed his attention and never let it go. After working at U.S. Steel, Intec Systems, Siemens Pacesetter, and Telectronics, he now runs his popular web site Music From Outer Space full-time. Most of his electronics learning has been hard won and experiential with hundreds of hours devoted to reading, bread-boarding, experimenting and appreciating analog synthesis.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One really for MFOS aficionados 2 July 2013
By Bilbob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've occasionally glanced at the 'Music From Outer Space' website, but I've never been tempted to make any of the projects on offer as everything seems a bit old school in terms of circuit design and end appearance. Olivier Gillet's Mutable Instruments is considerably more cutting edge and the kits produced are refined. But coming back to modular synths after many years in the VST wilderness, I thought I'd buy Ray Wilson's book and see whether it helped me get back into the mindset of circuit design. Sadly, I found the book rather limited. An awful lot of space is devoted to MFOS's own 'Noise Toaster', which doesn't interest me and there's nothing I learnt about analogue synthesizer design either. Another chapter bizarrely becomes an instruction manual for the freeware 'Audacity' sound editor. I waited for some mention about eurorack modules but there's nothing in the book about this or even the US frac-rack standard. Overall, the book felt very bitty without a clear narrative driving the chapters forward and a haphazard structure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be so much better 20 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book after reading it for a week. On the positive side there is some good general advise and interesting areas covered.

However, overall I think this book is a missed opportunity. Once past the first couple of chapters the author starts to cover building the one of the Synths from the website, but much of the detail you would want to know about how 'exactly' the modular parts of the synth work you are left wanting.

In fact there is much more information on the website than what you get in the book, so in some ways buying the book is rather a waste. For example you don't even get a copy of the full schematic, for that you need to go an download it.

Also the whole of the synth is built in one fell swoop, surely it would be better to have built this one module at a time to firstly simplify the process and also for the reader to really understand what is going on and to build on their knowledge.

So not a terrible book but certainly not the "bible" on DIY synth building I had hoped for and I will have to continue looking. To any authors with a good knowledge of Synth building, there is a real gap in the market here that is crying out to be filled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Explained Well 22 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is excellent and the author explains the concepts well. The first few chapters go into detail about what tools are required as well as the theory behind analogue synthesisers before heading into a project. The book can be quite America-centric at times when referring to places to buy parts or how to save money on certain items but I didn't find this to be a problem as the tips are still useful and many of the websites mentioned have UK sites as well.

The author has an enjoyable style of writing which I enjoyed and which helped me get through the book. Informative, well written and great value for money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tough but worth it 24 July 2013
By Aidan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all this book is very generously priced - you get a lot of good information for £11.50, I think I would happily pay double that.

If you are a fan of Nicolas Collins book "Handmade Electronic Music" and are looking for something new and more advanced to get into, then this is the perfect book for you. If you want to get into circuits and building electronic music from the ground up then I would read Collins book first:

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking

I gave 4 stars because at times I thought the layout of the book was poor, it could have done with a little more editing in my opinion to make some concepts easier to grasp.

My only other criticism is that I found Ray's language impenetrable at points, but you shouldn't let that put you off, build the circuits in the book, modify them and adapt them, you will find that they are very flexible!

One more note, I noticed another review here that criticised the book for having a large section on the Noise Toaster instrument, but really, this section is great as Ray explains the instrument part by part, and I will let you in on a secret - you can pull each module out of the Noise Toaster and build it as a stand alone - I have made a standalone active low-pass filter from the notes that runs from a single 9v battery!

(Edit: I decided to bump to 5 stars, there really is nothing else like this book on the market to my knowledge, my negative points don't detract from the useful content in this book)
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