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The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument (Anglais) Broché – 19 février 2014


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Revue de presse

Synthesizers are wonderful musical instruments that cover a very wide range of implementations and uses. Mark Vails The Synthesizer is a must-read for anyone who has interest in learning about these engineering marvels. It is a great introduction if you are new to synths, but also very informative and up-to-date for the seasoned synth player. (Dave Smith, Dave Smith Instruments)

A hugely detailed, exhaustively researched and splendidly idiosyncratic work which nails its extensive subject matter. Mark Vail enthusiastically charts the development of the synthesizer from the Trautonium to the latest software instruments, and also gives us valuable insights and tips from leading electronic composers, including legendary synth pioneer Wendy Carlos. (Dave Stewart, Keyboardist)

In the past few decades, the synthesizer has finally come of age. Mark Vail's extensive work documents this journey from its austere and rarified beginnings to its present technologically sophisticated state. His well-illustrated book is filled with anecdotes and insights, amazing successes and ridiculous flops, expert advice on how to roll your own, lots of commentary on artists, their gear and their methodology, and finally, a guide to recording and disseminating your own musical masterpieces. Stash this volume where its easy to get to; you'll be using it a lot. (Don Buchla, Composer and Instrument Designer, Berkeley, California)

Mark Vail is the best explainer and historian of music synthesizers that I know. I highly recommend this book, which is a whole lot of fun to read. (Roger Linn, Roger Linn Design)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Electronic music instruments werent called synthesizers until the 1950s, but their lineage began in 1919 with Russian inventor Lev Sergeyevich Termen's development of the Etherphone, now known as the Theremin. From that point, synthesizers have undergone a remarkable evolution from prohibitively large mid-century models confined to university laboratories to the development of musical synthesis software that runs on tablet computers and portable media devices. Throughout its history, the synthesizer has always been at the forefront of technology for the arts. In The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument, veteran music technology journalist, educator, and performer Mark Vail tells the complete story of the synthesizer: the origins of the many forms the instrument takes; crucial advancements in sound generation, musical control, and composition made with instruments that may have become best sellers or gone entirely unnoticed; and the basics and intricacies of acoustics and synthesized sound. Vail also describes how to successfully select, program, and play a synthesizer; what alternative controllers exist for creating electronic music; and how to stay focused and productive when faced with a room full of instruments. This one-stop reference guide on all things synthesizer also offers tips on encouraging creativity, layering sounds, performance, composing and recording for film and television, and much more.


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44 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A decent book that totally fails at its stated mission. 5 mars 2014
Par Jacob S Nunn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought this book recently with the intention of further augmenting my synthesis techniques. What I got was a pleasant enough read, but keep in mind, the title of this book is "A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument". What it *SHOULD* have been titled is "A Comprehensive Guide to Technical Details of Gear That You are Unlikely to Ever Own".

It's, basically, a coffee table book of synth porn for enthusiasts. Dozens and dozens of synthesizers, modular synths and other gear are listed, photographed, and technically detailed with breathless enthusiasm. But what kind of cords should I use to record my results? What are the steps to synthesize a snare drum? How can I use an LFO to add rhythmic variation to the timbre of a synth?

The book answers none of these questions. Since I bought the book with the explicit purpose of "Understanding, Programming, Playing and Recording" a synthesizer and not to drool over gear, it turned out be an expensive and useless waste of time.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great Book Tons of Research 2 mars 2014
Par ADHD Boy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Mark's book covers EVERY and I mean EVERY synth in the universe. Mark highlights all of the different synth techniques (subtractive, additive, FM, physical modeling, sampling, etc. etc.) as well and explains them nicely. Can you believe a synth can cost $500,000.00? Yikes - you'll just have to get the book to find out which one. I love the references to the really early synth pioneers in Russia, the UK and the states. The things they accomplished with early electron tube technology was amazing. Plenty for the virtual synth and DAW crowd too. Tons of photos and stories and lots of synth history. I'm glad I bought it and I highly recommend it.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
If you love synth hardware, you will love this book ...but ... 26 janvier 2014
Par FRO - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Mr. Vail has put together a sumptuous feast of "synth porn". All the historical hardware breakthroughs, Mini Moog, Moog Modular, DX7, D-50,M1, Korg Wavestation and a custom array of contemporary modular synth hardware descriptions are listed with care. But that is primarily what this book is about ... lists and mini profiles. Hardware configurations abound along with 30% of the Kindle book being uninformative website lists and an index. A handful of modular synth owners//designers and musicians are profiled. Photos of the same rooms of equipment proliferate the volume. Note: There is very little programming guidance, signal and audio path manipulation prescriptions or examination of the broad array of software based synths/DAWS available today. All that being said, the arcane world of modular hardware (no analysis of virtual modular synths like NI Reaktor or Tassman) is fascinating and if you love synthesizers you must buy the book just for these setup descriptions ... and the subjects of the funky quality B&W photos will make you drool.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Completely misleading title - useless for learning, good as a directory of historical synths 9 juin 2014
Par HDaddict - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The title is completely misleading - I'm surprised Vail got away with it.

The book is a historical directory / timeline of expensive synths from the past and present - not a guide on programming & playing as it is falsely titled.

Vail is obviously knowledgeable and passionate, but if you want to actually learn about using synthesizers as an instrument, look elsewhere. This book covers only the "what", leaving the "how" completely out of the picture.

I'm a fan of Vail but this book misses the mark (no pun intended) entirely.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great book, misleading subtitle 19 juin 2014
Par Vsyevolod - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
All the reviews I've read on this site are spot on. The subtitle is rather inaccurate. Hopefully this was not Mark's choice but an over enthusiastic, clueless subordinate in the hierarchy of the publishing company. And even though there are no colour photos, it's synth-pr0n at its finest. The early history of synths in the 20th century are especially well researched and written.

If you've enjoyed his previous book "Analog Days", you will most likely be the target audience for this one as well.

"The Synthesizer" is a great overview of the synth world as it stands in 2012-2013. It covers analog and digital, as well as computer based VST's and softsynths. It's very light on the recording side of things, and offers little to no details on the programming side. I've been involved in the modular world of synthesizers since 1977, and I can open up this book to any page and learn something I had not yet known. I do wonder how this book will hold up in 10 years time. How much is the synth world going to change by 2024? Probably quite a bit. So buy it now if you're going to get the most out of it. :)

A personal note, when I was reading the parts about soft-synths, my eyes started glazing over and my stomach heaved a little. I understand why these are mentioned in such detail, as that's where the world of synthesis has branched out to, it's just me... I can't stand that shiite. :) Fortunately there's plenty of info about the real world of synthesizers, both analog and digital.

I also understand that it's only 432 pages and therefore can't go into great detail about each manufacturer. That being said, I did feel at times that Mark was glossing over rather commonly known details of company troubles. Many manufacturers have gone under (or almost have) due to human error, greed, hostile takeovers, etc. Not that this has to be discussed in great detail, though the omission of even the most well known failings in the industry feels a bit too "Reader's Digested"... At its best, these 'glossing overs' are sanitized and clean, good enough for Disney. At its worst, it comes dangerously close to factual inaccuracies. And this hurts the credibility of the book IMHO. When I buy a synthesizer, I want to know more about the company, both the best and the worst. You'll only find the best in this book.

Full disclosure: I did not buy this book, rather I borrowed it from my local library where I requested them to purchase it. I find that I read a book more thoroughly when I'm under a time line to finish it...

Also, Mark Vail is an acquaintance of mine. He's a great guy who has put in a few lifetimes of research into the book and I'd love to see this book do really well. Hopefully my critique can be taken constructively and make future versions of the book even better for us all.
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