Re: [AH] recommend a book for me please!

From john mahoney
Sent Sun, Jan 15th 2006, 02:48

Short answer: I forgot to mention "Synth Secrets" by Gordon Reid. Awesome!
More on that, below.

Long answer follows...

> That Roland book was geared toward the old modular, but is still quite
> useful.  They are not easy to come by (it's a four book set usually - 4
> different books - not 4 vlumes of 1 book).  The particular book you are
> thinking of is Practical Synthesis for Electronic Music....

My Roland set is simply called "The Synthesizer (2nd Edition)." The 4 books
-- A Foundation for Electronic Music
-- Practical Synthesis for Electronic Music, Volume One
-- Practical Synthesis for Electronic Music, Volume Two
-- Multichannel Recording for Electronic Music

It's an excellent set which contains (among other things) numerous patch
charts. The book shows both generic flowcharts and the System 100M settings
for each patch, which is nice. The Multichannel Recording volume will prove
very useful if you decide to do your recording on a 4-track reel-to-reel
deck. ;-) It's the thinnest of the 4 volumes, though, so it's not a big
waste. Besides, it's fun to read about how things were done in the olden
days. [ducks] ;-)

Allen Strange's book ("Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and
Controls"), Herb Deutsch's book ("Synthesis"), and several other books are
long on theory but short on patching specifics. No "fwonk" patches, here.

ARP published "Learning Music with Synthesizers," which covers the theory of
sound and synths and also includes many patch charts. It's based on the ARP
Odyssey for fairly obvious reasons. This book is more practical than Strange
and Deutsch but cheaper than the Roland set.

"A Synthesist's Guide to Acoustic Instruments" by Howard Massey is pretty
good for its stated purpose, if you are into that sort of thing. It would be
better if it were all analog, but it covers analog subtractive, Yamaha DX,
and Casio Phase Distortion synthesis, so there are compromises. Which brings
me to...

The "Synth Secrets" series of articles by Gordon Reid in Sound On Sound
magazine ( These are all about analog and go
deeply into sound analysis (Physics, anyone?) and patch design; people have
wished for a book of these articles, that's how good they are (IMHO).
Although the primary focus is on reproducing the sounds of other
instruments, Gordon covers a lot of ground, as you'd expect from a 5-year
series. But even he doesn't tell you how to make a nice "fwonk." ;-)