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Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking Paperback – Apr 4 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 4 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415975921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415975926
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 17.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Here we have, at last, an electronics book that caters to people who have ideas first, and electronics second…Collins offers a splendidly integrative look into the history of "sound art," basic electronics, and junk revisioning." --Make Magazine

"Nicolas Collins wants to tear apart your CD player..." --Wired Magazine

"...a brilliant, hands-on guide to electronic music making....[Collins] never ceases to amaze me with his latest bit of music or techno-logical innovation." --TapeOp Magazine

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 37 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can do better.. Sept. 23 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Guess this is a great book if you really, reaaaally are a beginner. It teaches you soldering, and tells your about how to use a breadboard.

Yet if you were looking for a *real* book on "handmade electronic music" which tells you about circuits, opamps, various oscillator circuits, modulation etc, then this book is a real joke.

More than half of the book is full of extremely basic - and usually worthless - stuff, such as "Hacking the Clock" of a toy, which drives it to generate sounds at a higher frequency. It is clear that Mr. Collins understanding of music is a bit different than what most people have in mind.

Only after passing more than half of the book, there was a part about actually building some circuits. And no, it was not a complex, music generating circuit. It was just a bunch of oscillators wired together.

There are nearly no circuits in this book. Concepts such as modulation, empedence, loads, operational amplifiers, signals are non existant in this book.

Last but not least, it was really an expensive book. You can easily add something like 20 dollars more and get a *real* book on audio circuits, which I did after getting a refund on this one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to get your hands charged for the first time Feb. 13 2009
By Kuru - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is, apparently, compiled from course materials for what must be a very fun class. It mostly covers two broad topics. First, producing unexpected sounds from radios and the circuit boards in toys, and modifying those devices in simple ways, such as adding photoresistors or new circuit board connections. Second, building simple synthesizers from scratch. The skills taught are basic, and form the building blocks for infinite exploration. The tools and parts needed are all inexpensive (often costing mere pennies). The included CD is great fun, but best saved for later listening, since it contains "spoilers" of what some of the projects might sound like.

Because of the book's origination in a class situation, the explanations and pictures are not always ideally clear. There are a lot of typos. However, the writing is so engaging and the book is so much fun that it still deserves 5 stars. Where the book is incomplete ("how to I de-solder something?"), the Web is there.

The book is clearly aimed at musicians without any electronics experience. Nonmusicians might still enjoy it, but a joy in playing with sound is absolutely required. I suspect the book would be way too basic for people with any significant experience in electronics.

As sidebars, the book includes a considerable amount of history of electronic music -- who's who and what they've been up to.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Great For Novices & Experienced Alike March 30 2008
By R. L. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really fun book, with lots of projects for budding electronic musicians. But it goes beyond that: It's a solid intro to electronics and CMOS components. I went into this book thinking it might be too basic, yet I walked away with a lot of ideas, and some interesting new techniquess.

I wish that more electronics writers would cover the material with this author's style and accuracy. Also, kudos for providing parts sources and for using easy to find and inexpensive components. (I've seen many people, myself included, become frustrated by hard-to-find parts lists or the use of discontinued items. These projects suffer from neither of those problems.)

In the end, you'll be left wanting to know more about the components and techniques you've picked up. (You'll probably want to add Don Lancaster's classic CMOS Cookbook to your shopping cart. It will give you the details about many of these components.) Highly recommended. I'm looking forward to other books by this author.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Nov. 9 2006
By R. Duarte - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great great book - covers a lot of ground and is very accessible for someone with a fairly technical mind. Just enough information to spark some ideas of what could be done with this technology.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best musical circuit book ever Aug. 8 2011
By Analog Monster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Quite simply this book is fantastic. It starts off very simply, each project is explained in a way that is easy to understand. There is a logical progression and there is enough information provided that you can start experimenting yourself - I combined and modified some of the designs to make something of my own. The chapters are interspersed with inspirational descriptions of artist's related projects, and the included DVD allows you to see many of these.

This book has given me enough basic skills and inspiration that I have caught the bug. I have been to a few electronics/music workshops over the past couple of years and if the tutor does not recommend this book a fellow student does. I have since honed my skills and I am now running my own business designing and building guitar effects pedals and synthesizer kits. Get this book, you wont regret it