What recording geek doesn't have a soft spot for analog synths? All those knobs and patch cables! All those textured sounds! Running audio through filters and ring mods! Good analog synths are a valued paintbrush in many an engineer's tool kit. This is the best book to date I've seen on analog synthesis, and it made for several enjoyable mornings reading it with a good cup of coffee. It covers the theory and operation, as well as the players who introduced the synths to the public, and the designers and builders like Bob Moog, Tom Oberheim, Dave Smith, and Alan Pearlman who took synthesis as a concept and developed it into real instruments. It's a thorough and well-organized survey that starts with Mr. Moog, travels around the world, and ends with today's new breed of analog synths and the virtual instruments that emulate them. The appendices are thorough and well-researched and will help people search out vintage synths. One appendix breaks down old synths into six categories: usually overpriced, expensive but worthwhile, excellent value, good value, undesirable, and service problems. Mark Vail's book, Vintage Synthesizers (Tape Op #45) is also really fun, and while it has more nice pictures than this book, because it's essentially reprints of articles from Keyboard Magazine, it's not nearly as coherent and comprehensive as this book is. Jenkins's book is clear, well-written and logically structured. ($39.95 MSRP; www.focalpress.com)
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.