This article will discuss the best books on Audio Synthesis in 2023.
A synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals and can create a wide range of sounds. They can emulate traditional instruments, such as pianos and guitars, and create new and unique sounds. They can be played using a keyboard or other controller and in various musical genres, such as pop, rock, electronic, and experimental music.
Synthesizers can be classified into different types, such as analog, digital, software synthesizers, and more. Books can be a great resource for synthesizers, as they provide in-depth information and explanations that can be studied at one’s own pace.
They can also serve as a reference guide for later use. Some books may focus on the technical aspects of synthesizers, such as how they work and how to create different sounds. In contrast, others may focus on more creative aspects, such as how to use synthesizers in music production or composition.
We have created a comprehensive list of the best audio synthesizer books for creative learning, technical learning, history, or anything else. So let’s dive right into it.
Top 12 Books On Audio Synthesis 2023 (Various Types)
1. Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers By Andrea Pejrolo
“Creating Sounds from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers” is a book by Andrea Pejrolo that provides a comprehensive introduction to the techniques and concepts of music synthesis for producers and composers.
The book covers a wide range of topics, including the history of synthesis, the physics of sound, and the different types of synthesis methods, such as subtractive, additive, and granular synthesis. This provides you with a broad understanding of the field of synthesis and the various techniques and concepts involved.
- Practical examples and exercises
The book includes practical examples and exercises to help you apply the concepts covered in the book. These examples and exercises help you understand the material and develop your synthesis skills.
- Accessible writing style
The book is written in an accessible and easy-to-understand style, making it suitable for you with a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels. The book can be useful even if you have little or no experience in the field.
- Focuses on music production
The book is specifically written for music producers and composers, so it is tailored to this audience’s unique needs and interests. The book is designed to help you understand how synthesis can be used in music production and composition.
- Emphasis on sound design
The book emphasizes the sound design aspect of synthesis, with a special focus on how to create and manipulate sounds. This can help you understand how to create unique and interesting sounds for your music production and composition.
As the name suggests, after reading the book, you can create your sounds by using different synthesis methods explained in the book, or by using any synth or plugin.
- Wide range of applications
The book covers synthesis techniques like additive, subtractive, Frequency Modulation or FM, samples-based, Physical Modeling, Wavetable, and Granular, which covers almost every synthesis technique. Hence, this will allow you to access and control synths of various types, including hybrid models.
By learning these techniques and practices, you can use popular softsynths like Omnisphere, Nexus, Serum, and more.
Overall, the book is a comprehensive guide to music synthesis that provides a solid understanding of the theory and practice of synthesis, with a focus on the sound design aspect, and provides practical examples and exercises to help you apply the concepts covered.
However, it is designed for readers with some basic knowledge of music production and synthesis, but it can also be useful for those with little or no experience in the field.
2. How to Make a Noise: Frequency Modulation Synthesis By Simon Cann
“How to Make a Noise: Frequency Modulation Synthesis” is a book written by Simon Cann that explores the topic of frequency modulation or FM synthesis.
FM synthesis is a method of creating complex sounds and timbres by modulating the frequency of one waveform by another. The book provides an in-depth look at the theory and practice of FM synthesis, including detailed explanations of the various techniques and tools used, as well as practical examples and exercises to help you master the art of FM synthesis.
It is intended for musicians, sound designers, and anyone interested in learning more about this powerful synthesis technique.
- The theory and history of FM synthesis
The book provides a detailed look at the origins and development of FM synthesis and an explanation of the underlying mathematical concepts.
- Techniques and tools for FM synthesis
The material covers a variety of techniques and tools for creating sounds using FM synthesis, including the use of operators, modulators, and envelopes. It also includes information on using software and hardware instruments for FM synthesis.
- Practical examples and exercises
The book includes a variety of practical examples and exercises designed to help you master the techniques and tools of FM synthesis. These include examples of creating specific sounds and timbres and exercises that encourage experimentation and exploration.
- Tips and tricks for advanced FM synthesis
The text also includes tips and tricks for advanced FM synthesis, such as creating complex modulation schemes and using FM synthesis for sound design. You can use it to create bells, horns, pads, bass, keys, organs, etc., which can be used in a range of genres like dubstep, house, pop, retro, etc.
- Applications of FM synthesis
The book also covers the various applications of FM synthesis in music production and sound design, including how it can be used to create realistic instrument sounds and how it can be used in combination with other synthesis techniques to create unique sounds.
“How to Make a Noise: Frequency Modulation Synthesis” is intended for a broad range of readers, including musicians, sound designers, electronic music enthusiasts, anyone interested in music technology, and students of music technology or sound engineering. It provides a comprehensive introduction to FM synthesis and its techniques, making it a useful resource for anyone interested in learning more about FM synthesis and its possibilities for creating new and unique sounds.
3. How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis By Simon Cann
How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis by Simon Cann is an excellent introduction to analog synthesis.
The book provides comprehensive coverage of the fundamentals of analog synthesis, from the basics of setting up a synthesizer to the more complex concepts of sound design. The examples used in the book are informative and easy to understand, and the accompanying software emulators make the process of learning analog synthesis approachable.
- Analog synthesis
The author specifically distinguishes between Analog Synthesis and Analog Synthesizer, and such that the book covers concepts like frequency modulation, Analog Synthesizers, and samples-based synthesis.
- Discusses legendary synths
The book takes examples from some of the greatest analog synthesizers Mini Moog, Moog Modular, Taurus, Little Phatty, Oberheim OB-8 and OB-X, Roland SH-1000, Juno-6, Jupiter-8, Jupiter-4, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, ARP 2500, and ARP 2600.
- Comprehensive Content
The book has chapters like sound sources (which discuss oscillators and their parameters), Filters, Envelopes, LFOs, Specialized modulation sources, FX, sound sculpting, and more topics covering the basics of synthesizers. Lastly, it also discusses creating danceable movements using modulators.
- Software synths
The book discusses hardware analog synthesizers and virtual analog synths like Twin 2 (modular softsynth) by FabFilter and Massive (wavetable synth) by Native Instruments.
How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis by Simon Cann is a book designed to help musicians create sounds using analog synthesis. It covers the sound creation process using analog synthesis and provides step-by-step instructions on how to do so. It is written for both beginners and experienced users.
It also includes advice on creating unique and rich-sounding tones with care and precision. Finally, it is an essential guide for anyone interested in learning more about analog synthesis.
4. SYNTHESIZER EXPLAINED: The Essential Basics of Synthesis You Must Know as a Digital Music Producer By Screech House
“Synthesizers Explained: The Essential Basics of Synthesis You Must Know as a Digital Music Producer” by Screech House is a book that is designed for digital music producers who are looking to expand their understanding of synthesis.
The book covers the fundamental concepts of synthesis, including the basics of oscillators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, modulation, and effects. It is aimed at those who want to take their music production skills to the next level by learning how to create unique and interesting sounds using synthesis techniques.
These are the basic building blocks of a synthesizer’s sound. They generate audio signals in sine, sawtooth, square, and triangle waveforms. The book covers them and discusses waveform shapes, phase inversion, volume, pan, and its other parameters in great detail.
These shape the sound by cutting or boosting certain frequency ranges. Common filters include low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch filters. The book talks are in-depth about the filters, their principles, their applications, and their parameters.
The book discusses modulators like LFOs and Envelopes, which are quite essential in the synthesis process to create interesting effects and movements.
- Great for covering basics
The text is great for learning the fundamentals of sound design and its modules. For example, in almost every synth, you can find parameters and controllers for portamento, polyphony, oscillators, filters, and modulators. The book discusses all these concepts expansively.
The book is suitable for beginners and intermediate-level producers who want to understand synthesis more deeply and effectively use it in their music production workflow. After reading the book, you can use, control, and tweak any hardware or software synthesizer.
5. Analog Synthesizers By Mark Jenkins
Mark Jenkins is the author of the book Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying- from the legacy of Moog to software synthesis.
This book is a comprehensive guide to appreciating, playing, and purchasing analog synthesizers. It covers the technology, instruments, designers, and musicians associated with its three major historical phases: invention in the 1960s-1970s, re-birth in the 1980s-1990s, and software synthesis.
- Historic Explanations
The book includes sections on the explosion from 2000 to the present day in affordable, mass-market Eurorack format and other analog instruments. It gives a detailed history and explanation of analog synths, their applications, and programming.
- Interviews from experienced and renowned professionals
The book includes interviews with major artists such as Hans Zimmer, Mike Oldfield, Isao Tomita, Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, Nick Rhodes, Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein, Paul Haslinger, Suzanne Ciani, and Adam Lastiwka.
- Talks about softsynths
The book also includes information like “Programming using virtual analog hardware and software,” which helps you navigate through modern synthesizers in addition to the analog classics.
- Other features
It starts with an introduction of the physical properties of sound, instrument interface, sound design aspect, purchasing, and synth repair. It also has a companion website featuring hundreds of examples of analog sound created using dozens of classic and modern instruments.
The book is great for synthesists, sound designers, and composers who want to learn about analog synth instruments, as the book gives an in-depth explanation of their evolution, sound, technology, and use. This could be the last book you have to read in order to understand analog synthesizers.
6. The Synthesizer By Mark Vail
“The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide” is a book by Mark Vail. It is considered a classic reference guide to synthesizers and electronic music.
The book covers the history of synthesizers, the different types of synthesis techniques, and their various components and features. It also includes information on how to use and program synthesizers and the different manufacturers and models of synthesizers. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in electronic music and its technology.
- History of synthesizers
History is the map towards the future! The book provides an overview of the development of synthesizers, from early electronic instruments to modern digital synthesizers. That helps you understand the evolution of electronic music and helps you with creating various electronic sub-genres.
- Types of synthesis
The book covers various synthesis techniques, including subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, and more. These techniques help you use any synth plugins and operate hardware synth units, as they are derived from these techniques or are directly based on them.
- Components of synthesizers
The book explains the different parts of a synthesizer, such as oscillators, filters, envelopes, and more, and how they work together to create sound. These components are the basic building blocks of any synthesizer and are included in every synth, and knowing them thoroughly will help you as a synthesist, sound designer, and music producer.
- Manufacturers and models
The book includes information on the different manufacturers and models of synthesizers, as well as their unique features and capabilities. It also provides information on how to program and use synthesizers, including tips and techniques for creating your own sounds.
- Ease of access
“The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide” by Mark Vail is a book that is intended for a wide range of readers who are interested in electronic music and the technology behind it. The book is written in a way that is accessible to both beginners and professionals, making it a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about synthesizers.
It is suitable for musicians, producers, audio engineers, students, and enthusiasts. Musicians can use it as a guide to expand their electronic music skills, producers can use it to learn more about various synthesis techniques, and engineers can use it to understand the different parts of a synthesizer and how they work together to create sound.
Students can use it as a resource to understand the history of synthesizers and the different types of synthesis techniques and enthusiasts can expand their knowledge on the topic and the inner workings of the synth. Overall, anyone interested in electronic music, audio engineering, or synthesizers can benefit from reading this book.
7. SOUND DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS: How to Make Jaw-Dropping Sounds for Your Song by Discovering the Essential Basics of Synthesis & Sound Engineering By Screech House
SOUND DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS is a book written by EDM artist and renowned author Cep from Screech House.
The book discusses the necessary fundamentals of synthesizers that you must understand first to achieve a high-quality sound design. It explains the most important synthesizer settings to make your sounds as quickly as possible and how to use any synthesizer to make amazing sounds for your song. You can also get a free high-quality sample pack when you purchase the book.
- Great for beginners
The book explains basic synthesizers work, what an oscillator is, what a filter is, what modulators are, how to use LFOs and envelopes, and more. these are the basic building blocks of any synthesizer, and learning these controls will enable you to get started with any synth.
- Sound Design techniques
It covers synthesizer settings, ambiance, mixing, editing, implementation, and more. It also includes tips, books, articles, and resources for learning synthesis and sound design.
- Easy read
The book is 180 pages long and may not take a couple of days to finish, and it is written in a simple and easy-to-follow language, as it is intended for beginners. In addition, it’s available in Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover book formats.
- Other features
It also includes tips, books, articles, and resources for learning synthesis and sound design. Additionally, Syntorial is featured as a program to help learn sound design quickly and interactively. It includes tutorials, challenges, and sound libraries to help you make sounds.
SOUND DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS: How to Make Jaw-Dropping Sounds for Your Song by Discovering the Essential Basics of Synthesis & Sound Engineering is a beginner’s guidebook to synthesis and sound engineering by Cep from Screech House. It is designed to help beginners learn the essential basics of synthesis and sound engineering so that they can create great sounds for their songs.
8. The 4 Element Synth: The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis By Rob Papen
“The 4 Element Synth: The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis” is a book by Rob Papen, a Dutch music producer and sound designer.
The book provides an in-depth look at subtractive synthesis, a technique used to create sounds by filtering out certain frequencies from a waveform. The book covers the different elements of subtractive syntheses, such as oscillators, filters, envelopes, and modulation, and provides tips and tricks to create a wide range of sounds.
- An in-depth explanation of the elements of subtractive synthesis
The book covers the four key elements of subtractive synthesis, which are oscillators, filters, envelopes, and modulation, and provides detailed information on how each element works and how to use them effectively.
- Tips and tricks for sound design
The book includes a wide range of tips and tricks for creating various types of sounds using subtractive synthesis. It also includes examples of how to use the different elements to create different types of sounds, such as basses, leads, and drums.
- Easy-to-understand explanations
The book is written in an easy-to-understand language and includes diagrams and illustrations to help explain the concepts. That makes an interactive, easy, and engaging read for you.
- The chapter on software synthesizers
The book includes a chapter that focuses on the use of software synthesizers, such as how to navigate the interface, how to load and save presets, and how to use the different features of the software.
The book is targeted at music producers, sound designers, and anyone interested in learning more about subtractive synthesis. It is suitable for individuals of all skill levels who are interested in creating sounds using subtractive synthesis, whether it’s for music production, sound design for film and video games, or for creating sound effects.
The book is also useful for music teachers and students who want to deepen their understanding of sound creation techniques.
9. Synthesizer Technique By Bob Moog
“Synthesizer Technique” by Bob Moog is a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of synthesizer technology.
The book covers the history and development of synthesizers, as well as the various components and techniques used in their operation. Moog’s writing is clear and concise, making the book accessible to both experienced synth users and those new to the instrument. The book also includes a variety of helpful illustrations and diagrams to aid in understanding the concepts discussed.
- History and development of synthesizers
The book provides a detailed overview of the history of synthesizers, from early experiments in the 1950s to the development of modern digital synthesizers.
- Components and techniques
The book covers the various components of synthesizers, such as oscillators, filters, and envelope generators, and explains how they work and how they are used to create sound. It also covers various techniques used in synthesizer programming, such as modulation, sequencing, and patching.
- Clear and concise writing
Moog’s writing style is easy to understand and makes the technical information accessible to readers of all levels of experience. It includes a variety of helpful illustrations and diagrams that aid in understanding the concepts discussed. The book includes hands-on examples, which give you the opportunity to apply the concepts discussed in the book.
- Comprehensive guide
The book is a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of synthesizer technology, making it an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about synthesizers and the technology behind them.
- Legendary Author
Bob Moog is an electronic music pioneer and engineer who is behind some of the most historic synthesizers in music history. He has put his expertise and experience into the book, and also his piece of mind, which can give you a great mental model as a reader.
The book is well-suited for musicians, sound engineers, electronic music enthusiasts, and students or educators in electronic music or sound engineering programs who want to learn more about synthesizer technology, its history, components, and techniques used in sound production.
It is an in-depth and well-rounded resource that provides a solid foundation for understanding synthesizer technology, from analog to modern digital synthesizers.
10. Make: Analog Synthesizers By Ray Wilson
“Make: Analog Synthesizers” is a book by Ray Wilson that provides instructions and guidance on building your analog synthesizer.
The book covers the history and basics of analog synthesis and the tools and components needed to build a synth. It also includes step-by-step instructions for building several synth circuits, troubleshooting advice, and modification suggestions.
- History and basics of analog synthesis
The book provides an overview of the history of analog synthesis, including the development of early electronic instruments and the advent of modular synthesizers. It also covers the basic concepts of analog syntheses, such as oscillators, filters, and envelopes.
- Step-by-step instructions for building synth circuits
The text includes detailed instructions and schematics for building various synth circuits, including a basic synth voice, a sequencer, and a drum machine.
- Tools and components
The material covers the tools and components needed to build a synth, such as soldering iron, a multimeter, and various electronic parts like transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc.
- Troubleshooting advice
The book advises troubleshooting common problems that may arise during the building process, such as incorrect wiring or faulty components. It also includes suggestions for modifying and expanding the synth circuits, such as adding additional oscillators or filters.
- Aimed at electronic enthusiasts and musicians
The text is written for electronic enthusiasts and musicians interested in building their synths, assuming you have some basic knowledge of electronics and soldering.
- Hands-on approach
The book is designed to be a hands-on guide to building synths, with clear instructions and detailed illustrations that make it easy to follow. Hence, the text is quite practical and easily applicable.
The book is written to be of interest to people interested in the history and basics of analog synthesis and those who want to learn more about the inner workings of synthesizers. If you are an electronic hobbyist, musician, or simply a person who is fascinated by the technology behind analog synthesis and wants to learn how to build your own synth, this book is for you.
11. Analog Synthesis: The Newbie Guide to Synthesizers and Sound-Design
Analog Synthesis: The Newbie Guide to Synthesizers and Sound-Design by Reinhard Schmitz.
It is a concise introduction to all the bits and pieces necessary to understand subtractive electronic sound synthesis. It explains essential terms such as oscillators, filters, and envelopes. Audio examples accompany the explanations of all operations to illustrate exactly what you are up to.
- Synthesizers covered in detail
The book covers sound synthesis techniques and synth parameters like oscillators, filters, and envelopes. It also discusses digital signal processing techniques, including filtering, modulation, and time-domain processing.
- Great tips and tricks
The book also covers various historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of electronic music, including the history of electronic music, and focuses on the creative aspects of electronic music production, with tips and techniques for composition, improvisation, and live performance.
- Comprehensive content
In just 84 pages, the book covers some of the most important aspects of sound design. It also covers the physics of sound and psychoacoustics, which will help you to understand the context of electronic music and sound design.
The book is intended for beginner or entry-level musicians, producers, sound engineers, and anyone who wants to learn about electronic music production, sound design, and synthesis quickly. You will learn how to analyze synthesizer sounds, modify them, and create your own.
12. The Prophet from Silicon Valley: The Complete Story of Sequential Circuits By David Abernethy
“The Prophet from Silicon Valley: The Complete Story of Sequential Circuits” is a book by David Abernethy that tells the story of Sequential Circuits.
Sequential Circuits is a company that was a pioneer in developing electronic music instruments during the 1970s and 1980s. The book covers the history of the company, its founders, and its impact on the music industry. It also delves into the technology and innovations that made Sequential Circuits’ instruments so popular and influential.
- Detailed history
The book provides a comprehensive look at the history of Sequential Circuits, including information on the company’s founding, early years, and key milestones. That lets you see the music industry through an entrepreneurial and technological lens. For example, it talks about the company being a Silicon Valley startup and discusses when it launched one of its legendary products, The Prophet.
- Focus on technology
The book delves into the technology that made Sequential Circuits’ instruments so popular and influential. This includes information on the company’s innovations in synthesis and sequencing, as well as the design and functionality of its instruments. It discusses The Model 1000, its accessories, and its eventual digital transition.
- Profiles of key figures
The book includes profiles of the people who played a key role in the company’s history, such as the founders, designers, engineers, and other key figures. That also gives you a good mental model to follow if you see yourself on the cusp of music, commerce, and technology.
- Impact on the music industry
The company’s instruments have significantly impacted the music industry, its evolution, and its sound. The text explores the effect of Sequential Circuits on the music industry, including how its instruments influenced electronic music and popular culture.
- Personalities and Business Strategy
The author also highlighted the personal and business strategies of the company that led to its success and eventually to its downfall.
The book is for anyone interested in the history of synthesizers or fascinated by the music industry and technology. It tells a courageous and inspiring entrepreneurial journey that aided the evolution of electronic music. However, the book doesn’t get into audio synthesis or teach sound design.
1. Patch & Tweak with Moog Book By Kim Bjørn
“Patch & Tweak with Moog” is a book by Danish musician and author Kim Bjørn.
It is a comprehensive guide to using and programming Moog synthesizers, including the Minimoog, Moog Modular, and more recent models like the Moog Subsequent 37 and Moog Matriarch. The book covers everything from basic synthesis concepts to advanced sound design techniques and includes over 100 patch diagrams and tips from professional musicians.
- Basic synthesis concepts
The book provides a solid foundation in synthesis basics, including oscillators, filters, envelopes, and modulation, making it accessible to readers with little or no prior experience.
- Advanced sound design techniques
The book covers more advanced techniques for sound design, such as granular synthesis, wavetable synthesis, and frequency modulation. These help you explore various types of modern and hybrid hardware and software synths.
- Patch diagrams and tips from professional musicians
The book includes over 100 patch diagrams and tips from professional musicians, which provide a hands-on approach to learning how to use Moog synthesizers.
- Interviews with Moog engineers and designers
The book includes interviews with Moog engineers and designers, which provide insight into the development of Moog synthesizers and the creative process of sound design and explore the history and legacy of the Moog brand.
- History and legacy of the Moog brand
The book explores the history and legacy of the Moog brand, providing context and background information on the development of Moog synthesizers and their impact on the music industry. It is focused exclusively on Moog Synths, which makes it a great resource for those who want to specialize in using and programming Moog Synths.
- Suitable for both beginners and advanced users
The book is suitable for both beginners and advanced users, as it provides a comprehensive overview of Moog synthesizers and their capabilities and delves into more advanced topics for those with more experience.
“Patch & Tweak with Moog” is suitable for a wide range of readers, including beginners, musicians and producers, fans of Moog, electronic music enthusiasts, and anyone interested in sound design. It provides a solid foundation in synthesis basics, making it accessible to readers with little or no prior experience with Moog synthesizers. It also provides more advanced techniques for sound design and delves into the history and legacy of the Moog brand.
2. Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer By Trevor Pinch
Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer is a book written by Trevor Pinch, a professor of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University.
The book explores the history and impact of the Moog synthesizer, an electronic musical instrument that was invented by Robert Moog in the 1960s. The book discusses the development of the Moog synthesizer, its impact on the music industry, and its influence on the broader culture of the time.
It also examines the role of the Moog synthesizer in shaping the sound of popular music in the 1970s and beyond. The book was published in 2002 by Harvard University Press.
- Exploration of the development of the Moog synthesizer
The book examines the history of the Moog synthesizer, from its invention by Robert Moog in the 1960s to its widespread use in popular music in the 1970s and beyond.
- Analysis of the impact of the Moog synthesizer on the music industry
Pinch looks at how the Moog synthesizer revolutionized the way music was produced and performed and how it influenced the sound of popular music in the 1970s and beyond. The book explores the broader cultural impact of the Moog synthesizer, including its role in shaping the sound of popular music, its influence on the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, and its impact on the development of electronic music.
- Discussion of the technology of the Moog synthesizer
Pinch provides an overview of the technology of the Moog synthesizer and how it differs from other electronic musical instruments of the time. That gives you a great insight into the music tech world and is great for you if you’re into plugin programming.
- Comparison of the Moog Synthesizer with other electronic instruments
The book compares the Moog Synthesizer with other electronic instruments like the Buchla and RCA Synthesizers and how they were used in music production.
- Personal stories and anecdotes
The author includes personal anecdotes and stories from musicians, engineers, and other figures involved with the Moog synthesizer, which adds a unique perspective to the book.
Due to the wide range of content covered in the book, it is great for musicians, music producers, EDM enthusiasts, composers, scholars, and researchers as the book provides a detailed examination of the Moog synthesizer, fans of Moog synths, people interested in popular culture, and people interested in science and technology.
3. Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back)
Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back) is a book by London-based musician Oli Freke that celebrates the impact of synths on music and culture.
The book is a 128-page paperback from Velocity Press (UK) which includes an introduction and potted history of each synth, as well as a longer general introduction to the history of synthesizers, covering early history, decade-by-decade trends, musical impact, the shift from analog to digital (and back), a basic introduction to how synths work, different synthesis types, associated technologies, and a handy glossary.
- Knowledgeable content
It provides a comprehensive and meticulously researched directory of every major synthesizer, drum machine, and sampler from the 1960s to the 1990s, such that it is hand-illustrated and features various stats, key features, and trivial functions of the instrument.
- History of synths
The book is great for anyone interested in the history of synthesizers and how they evolved. It explains various abbreviations and keys and gets into a brief explanation of the technology behind the instruments.
- Explains various types of synths
The book explains everything from modular synths to string synths, vector synths, synths with DCOs and VCOs, Semi-modular synths, Linear Arithematic synths, samples-based synths, analog modeling, additive synthesis, and way more. It also takes you through techniques like Waveform Plotting, Frequency Modulation (FM), Divide down, etc.
- Structured information
The book consists of synthesizers’ product descriptions and sketches, such that they are ordered in the alphabetical order of their manufacturer’s names. It consists of launch years and provides concise and consistent information on each instrument.
The book is an absolute joy for synth lovers and enthusiasts, as it takes you to the diverse and evolving world of synthesizers and covers synths by AKAI, Access Music, Arp Instruments, Casio, Crumar, Cheetah, ELM, Formanta, Ensonique, Hitachi, Kawai, Korg, Moog Music, and more.
4. SynMag Verlag A Guide To Modular Worlds
SynMag Verlag A Guide To Modular Worlds is a book about various aspects of modular synthesis.
It covers sound sources, synthesis techniques, filters, modulators, clocks, analog amplifiers, sequencing, waveshaping, Frequency Modulation, Amplitude Modulation, polyphony, MIDI, FX, and more. There are also interviews with big industry names and rising stars such as Dieter Doepfer, Dave Smith, Stephan Schmitt, Dave Rossum, Gene Stopp, Jean‑Michel Jarre, Boris Blank, Richard Devine, Daniel Miller, and Vince Clark.
- Great presentation
The book is edited and laid out excellently and provides plenty of diagrams and pictures to support the technical explanations. It’s divided into seven different parts, all of which are well-structured and precise. The book can be purchased from many online retailers.
- Grasping introduction
The book gives an on-point and interesting introduction by briefly describing electronic synths, modular, nonmodular, and semi-modular synths, introducing east and west coast synths concepts and more interesting information.
- Ultimate control
The book explains various controls like Gates, Clocks, Triggers, Envelopes, LFOs, signal fusion, and other modulators. In addition, it explains user interfaces and how to interact with a synth visually, use arpeggiators, quantizers, sequencers, and more to create interesting movements and variations in your music.
- A detailed explanation of oscillators and other sound sources
The book deeply explains oscillator and waveform concepts, noise, Amplitude Modulation, Ring modulation, Wavetables, samplers, granular technology, and physical modeling. It also explains analog waveforms like sawtooth, triangles, squares, etc.
- Music-making tricks
The book consists of parts labeled to make them sing, cry, and dance based on oscillator parameters, harmonic processing, and rhythm generation, respectively. That gives you a great insight into composing electronic music and exactly which parameters, effects, or modulations to use for which quality.
- Explains virtual synths
The book also covers modern technology of virtual synthesizers and dives deep into them, as its sixth part is dedicated to them. It compares hardware and software synths, suggests how to use DAWs to control your sound, and gives tips on using a hybrid model.
The book is great for electronic music producers, sound designers, and synthesists, as it explains almost every synthesizer style. After going through it, you can operate any synthesizer or at least tweak the presets or patches to your sensibilities. Lastly, the interviews with industry professionals in the book help greatly with aiding your music production process.
If you are a sound designer looking for a well-rounded textbook for learning all aspects of synthesis, “Creating Sounds from Scratch” by Andrea Pejrolo and “SynMag Verlag A Guide To Modular Worlds” are great options, as they cover everything from a digital, and analog, granular, wavetable, and various other synth techniques.
On the other hand, “How to Make a Noise: Frequency Modulation Synthesis” and “How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis” by Simon Cann teaches about FM synthesis and Analog synthesis in detail. Other books about analog synthesis are Analog Synthesizers by Mark Jenkins and “Make: Analog Synthesizers” by Ray Wilson.
Further, The Prophet from Silicon Valley is a great book about technology, entrepreneurship, and building a music tech startup. Suppose you are a beginner and want to learn the basics of synthesizers and sound design. In that case, I recommend going for SOUND DESIGN FOR BEGINNERS and How to Make a Noise: Analog Synthesis, as they cover the essential fundamentals needed for sound design.
Lastly, Make: Analog Synthesizers, Patch & Tweak with Moog, and SynMag Verlag A Guide To Modular Worlds are great for learning modular synthesis, as they provide an in-depth and focused guide into the subject. I hope the article was of help. Thank you for reading.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.