Buy Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming: The Ultimate Reference for Sound Design Book/CD-ROM

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Product Description
From hit records to home studios, synthesizers are used in almost every genre of music. This book fills the know-how gap left by skimpy or garbled owner’s manuals. It maps out the components of contemporary synths in clear, concise detail, and discusses how they can be harnessed to achieve specific musical effects. Each chapter presents hands-on projects that help musicians hone their skills. The companion CDROM contains audio examples that teach techniques…. More >>

Click here: Buy Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming: The Ultimate Reference for Sound Design Book/CD-ROM

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  1. Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming is a handy reference resource for musicians who want to learn about the ins-and-outs of sound synthesis. While most of the information in the book can be obtained online and in music magazines, it’s very convenient to have it all in one well organized, well written book.

    Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming explains the processes behind all the major (and not-so-major) forms of synthesis, including subtractive, additive, granular, and wavetable. You get chapters on oscillators, filters, LFOs, envelopes, modulators, etc. The included audio CD gives handy examples of the phenomena being described (such as oscillator beating, aliasing, filter sweeps, etc.).

    Although every chapter has one or two exercises at the end, it should be stated that this book is not a patch recipe book or primer in synthesis technique (despite the subtitle “The Ultimate Reference for Sound Design”–surely a subtitle contributed by the publisher’s marketing department). The concepts and technology are explained in detail, but there is very little here by way of “tips and tricks.”

    Hopefully, Mr. Aikin will publish a sequel to this title that gives some hands-on instruction on how to produce specific types of sounds. There are literally hundreds of practical sound design questions that such a sequel could answer: How can I create a patch emulating the dynamics of a wind instrument? How can I make string patches sound more alive? How can I make really biting lead sounds? How are different drum and percussion sounds synthesized? I think a book that answered these and similar questions would sell very well indeed.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  2. I was really impressed by this book. It gives a very good background on synths/audio/nature of sound etc etc. It covers many issues. It will help newbies grasp the synth “language” very easy and quick

    I have used synths for more than 10 years and i learned new stuff from this book. It is a “must” for beginners !!!

    I wish that Mr Aiken will write a “ADVANCED” book on this…but as in really advanced in synthesizer programming

    I can recommend this book to anyone interested in Synthesizers from beginners to advanced users.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. this is a great book. i am a composer of trance music. i have relied on tons of hardware/software/sample discs and presets. the task of being my own sound designer seemed far-fetched. a few other amazon books didn’t make it seem any less opaque.

    but this little book goes through the practical basics of oscillators, subtractive, additive, granular and fm synthesis, then lfos, envelopes and modulation matrices pretty much in that order. it has two or three homework problems (patch design problems) at the end of each chapter. Take your chosen weapon and work through the problems, and you’ll be on your way to the basics of synthesis. comes with a nice example cd too. great deal. cool, basic little book.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. This book is almost as bad as the manual that came with my synthesizer. It is extremely poorly organized, and the author’s writing style is verbose and unnecessarily technical. For example, the author’s explanation of Keyboard Tracking in the Filters chapter is written backwards, with the most basic information presented last.

    Throughout the book, the author references a concept or term explained in a future chapter, but then continues as if that concept is understood. It’s maddening!

    This book does not lay a foundation, is not laid out in a logical fashion, and is full references to what synths of the past could and could not do. In all, I’ve found it to be very difficult and boring to read.

    I’m sure the author is very knowledgeable about his topic, but all of this information could be MUCH better presented, in a much more logical fashion.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  5. If you are new to synthesizers, and would like to learn the nuts and bolts on how they work, I do NOT recommend this book.

    Seriously, it boggles my mind how any editor could have allowed this book to hit the printing press without a complete and total overhaul. Aikin seems to know his stuff when it comes to synths, and the idea to include audio samples was a good one (and a reason I bought the book). What neither Aikin (nor his editors) know how to do is to organize and present this information in a meaningful, understandable how-to book. The book is divided into chapters that look in detail at the various components that make up a synth. A big problem rears its head with the very first component he discusses: he refers extensively to components that are introduced in later chapters. How can any novice reading about oscillators in Chapter 4 understand all the discussion of how LFOs effect them when that component isn’t introduced until Chapter 6? Throughout this book, Aikin insists on discussing, IN DETAIL, synth components that he hasn’t introduced or even discussed, nor has he said what they do or what they are. He’s taking his own knowledge for granted, a novice error when it comes to teaching others.

    On top of this, even when he gets around to defining terms he does it in an awkward and almost backassward way. Just for one example, when he introduces Oscillator Sync, he goes off on a slew of unrelated tangents as to what synths had them, whether it was “true,” and what NOT to confuse it with for almost two long paragraphs before he finally gets around to actually defining what the term means. None of the verbiage that comes before the definition makes much sense to the beginner, because, hey, they have no idea what Aikin is talking about yet.

    I suppose that this book might be a good reference if you already know at least the basics, but anyone who is coming to the table with no prior knowledge of synthesizers isn’t going to find any help here. Aikin probably knows synthesizers, but he knows absolutely NOTHING about teaching.
    Rating: 1 / 5

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