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Make: Analog Synthesizers Paperback – 27 May 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Make: Analog Synthesizers
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  • Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking
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  • Make: Electronics: Learning Through Discovery
Total price: £65.97
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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: 20.3 x 0.7 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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

4.1 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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Was actually a little disappointed by this book. I read the reviews and thought id still give it a go but they are mostly right.

The appendices at the back were the most useful bits and I already knew half of them.

I was really hoping for schematics and building block diagrams and components for building basic noisemakers, vco vcf, lfo etc and then things like pre-amp and amp and then midi in and midi cv etc then pointing us how to put all these together to create our own devices.

Yes one could reverse some of the stuff mentioned in the book but as its on pcb etc already this is really a glorified manual for building one device with info on how its made. Not deep enough for my liking and probably most who are sucked in by the click bait title.

I guess ill continue my quest without using the knowledge I have.. Might have to put together an ebook myself.
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By jamo on 28 Sept. 2016
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The book has some good tips and circuits in it and will be good for those who are either advanced in electronics or dont care how anything works. The probems with it is that theres is hardly any derivations or formulas for things like Gain or oscillation frequency. The circuit descriptions are fine but I wish they would at least print a few basic calculations so that the reader would know how to adjust the parameters themselves. Also the chapter on music software is a complete waste of time. This chapter would have been better if it contained some of the above instead. Worth looking at for sure but dont expect a proper tutorial
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