Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

Refining Sound is a practical roadmap to the complexities of creating sounds on modern synthesizers. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of learning to create sounds on a synthesizer is understanding what all the individual synthesizer components contribute to the complex finished sound. Author and veteran synthesizer instructor Brian K. Shepard draws on his years of experience in synthesizer pedagogy in order to peel back the often-mysterious layers of sound synthesis one-by-one. The result is a

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3 thoughts on “Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers

  1. 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A New Standard For Synthesis Instruction, October 26, 2013
    By 

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    This book does not disappoint. I will be using Refining Sound as the sole textbook for my electronic music class next semester. Brian Shepard has written an easy-to-understand yet amazingly thorough book on the complex processes of synthesis. Shepard always keeps the focus of the book on the performer/student, preventing the theory and math of these complicated topics from getting in the way of real-world applications. And, if the content wasn’t good enough, the book is priced at a level that my students can actually afford (a serious concern when teaching at a community college).

    Shepard does a great job of acknowledging the many forms that synthesis takes in the year 2013, allowing the book’s relevance to remain regardless of how the reader plans on applying the concepts (hardware synthesizer, VST, etc). Shepard also supplies plenty of footnotes throughout, allowing the curious reader to further explore a theoretical concept or primary-source treatise if they wish.

    If you are interested in learning how to control all of those knobs and sliders on your favorite synth or plug-in, this is THE book. With the arrival of Refining Sound, synthesis will no longer be an area dominated by the elite, but by the composer, the arranger, and the performer, and I am very excited to see the results.

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  2. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent introduction to Synthesis and Synthesizers, January 28, 2014
    By 
    Len

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    This review is from: Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers (Kindle Edition)
    Absolutely excellent text! This is one of the best books I have bought on Amazon in a very long time. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about synthesis and synthesizers. There is a little mathematical content, but not very much. The text is quite comprehensible with or without this content. The theoretical content is very concise, and easy to understand. And there are plenty of practical recommendations for applying the theory to practical synthesis tasks. In fact, every chapter ends with a series of simple recipes for applying the theory to an actual synthesizer. There is a free software synthesizer to accompany the text which can be used to explore the examples in the text, but both the examples and the software must be downloaded separately from the publishers website. Be warned, the synthesizer can make some really harsh sounds when you start learning with it, so make sure to turn your speakers or headphones down as low as you can, at first. All in all, money very well spent!

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  3. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Live Life and Make a Noise, January 25, 2014
    By 
    B. Eibisch (Australia) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

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    Refining Sound

    Now retired I’ve just taken up an interest in synthesizer music and needed a book to help with the basic concepts of sound creation and use. I hit the nail on the head with this one! Brian takes you through the very basics of natural sound and electrically generated sound explaining how different sounds can interact in various ways or just plain cancel each other out. There are also explanations of the various pieces of hardware in analogue and software synthesizers. In fact I didn’t know it but there are whole families of different types of synthesizer technologies. There are a couple of down-loads associated with this book so be careful to follow instructions closely. There is Maxitime 6.1, Crystal Soft Synth, and some chapter files relating to the book from University of Oxford site (passwords are in the book) to download. One thing that I missed was to download a “host” otherwise things won’t work (so I downloaded Savihost suggested on the Camel Audio site, who by the way, have a very good freebie synth called Alchemy). There is a sound generating programme called Maxitime 6.1 that relates to the subject matter of the chapters in, “Refining Sound”. It is a must have to get this working because there is like audio laboratory examples from University of Oxford that you will need to hear and play with in Maxitime 6.1. You are also lead to a fantastic software synth called, “Crystal Soft Synth” at a site called Greenoak.com. Once again make sure that you get all the bits and pieces. The manual (PDF)on the Greenoak site is also very useful for understanding the Crystal Synth and also gives definition to some of the acronyms used in synthesizer music and technology. There is also a book called simply, “Synthesizer” by one Mark Vaill and I hope to get this at Amazon when it is released. Also a handy thing to have is a midi keyboard so as to be able to properly use the software synths but make sure that you have the right “driver” for your operating system. I bought a Roland midi keyboard for windows 8. My machine has Windows 8.1 and guess what, the enclosed software didn’t work and I had to go to the Roland site for a Win8.1 Driver. I’ve bought a Casio XW-P1 synthesizer and am having a great time with it and thanks to Brian Shepard understanding the noises that I’m making.

    If you are new to synthesizer music or sound creation I’d recommend this book to you.

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