In 2005, Matt Warshaw, a well-known surf journalist who had written for just about every surfing publication that exists, published The Encyclopedia of Surfing, which became the definitive reference on the subject of wavesliding. With his new book, The Synthesizer, Mark Vail, who has written for just about every electronic music publication that exists, has published a similar book on synthesizers, even if it's not called "The Encyclopedia of Synthesizers."

As a staff writer for Keyboard magazine from 1988 to 2001, Mark had a ringside seat to the evolution of many of the classic synths, but his roots go all the way back to earning an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, which has a long history in the 'West Coast School' of electronic music. Mark's decades-long involvement with synthesizers during their formative years is apparent here, as no stone is left unturned.

Packed with tons of photos, footnotes, and anecdotes, he covers it all — from analog to digital, Theremins to Ondiolines, modulars to MIDI, TR-808s to Linns, plug-ins to iPads, Space Echoes to echo chambers, string synths to noise boxes. If it has anything to do with synthesis or processing synthesized sounds, it's in here! At 400+ pages, this is a significant book; the appendix and index alone clock in at over 40 pages! Long-time synth nerd or just getting into synths — this book has something for everyone. 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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