Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking Paperback – Apr 4 2006
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"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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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
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