BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

Download PDF BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

Download PDF BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

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BasicSynth, by Daniel Mitchell

Books on music synthesizers explain the theory of music synthesis, or show you how to use an existing synthesizer, but don’t cover the practical details of constructing a custom software synthesizer. Likewise, books on digital signal processing describe sound generation in terms of complex equations and leave it up to the reader to solve the practical problems of programming the equations. BasicSynth takes you beyond the theory and shows you how to create a custom synthesizer in software using the C++ programming language. The first part of the book explains the basic computer algorithms used to generate and process sound. Subsequent chapters explain instrument design using actual synthesis instruments. The example instruments are then combined with a text-based scoring system and sequencer to produce a complete working synthesizer. Complete source code to the C++ classes and example programs is available for download from the Internet.

  • Sales Rank: #308096 in Books
  • Published on: 2008-10-25
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.00″ h x .72″ w x 6.00″ l, .94 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 288 pages

Most helpful customer reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
An extremely valuable resource
By Y. Dreyband
I don’t normally write reviews for products I buy but I thought that I would put in my two cents about the book Basicsynth. I started studying the beginnings of digital signal processing (DSP) because I was fascinated with the idea of constructing a software instrument, yet every book on DSP was either a lot of technical jargon or made you say “Okay, so how do I use this practically?” Similarly, those of us who aren’t the best at translating real life equations into code will find most books on programming to be equally unhelpful. This book is that intermediary that bridges the gap between digital signal processing and computer programming, and it does a fine job of it.

I have not used the book to its full potential, since I’m still a novice with both the equations and concepts of actual DSP as well as programming. However it has helped tremendously to understand some of the basic concepts of DSP without unnecessary jargon as well as given me a clearer look into how a computer program actually represents some of the seemingly complex equations.

The later chapters can get extremely complex in subject, but keep in mind this book is not meant as a replacement for DSP books, but rather a supplement. For a good place to start I recommend Richard G. Lyons “Understanding Digital Signal Processing”.

One of the really great aspects of the book is that the code is presented in a very clear fashion such that it is easy to identify what the functions in the excerpts are doing. Not only that but frequently Mitchell provides example code that is a literal representation of the equation, followed often by multiple versions of that same code in some simplified fashion. This can either be code that is more computationally efficient or other times it’s just presented in a way that’s easier to read and understand for the would-be programmer. Since programs are not always written with diligent attention to useful comments and formatting, browsing existing code may not be that helpful.

As the other review by Dan Mitchell explains, the book covers many topics including the most common forms of computer generated sound, including FM, subtractive and additive synthesis, as well as filters and common processors like reverb and chorus. There are numerous other topics in the book that are definitely worth your while if the subject matter interests you.

My solitary complaint about the book is that it is currently only fully available in print format. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, for a field that is as fast moving as programming software instruments and effects, it is helpful to be able to update code and concepts if necessary. In defense of the book however, most changes in C++ are minor at this point and unlikely to affect the content of the book and second the subjects the book covers are well-trodden and “old” enough that new innovations in the field will also have little or no effect on what are tried and true methods of sound synthesis.

All in all a fantastic book and make sure to get the example code at […] when working with the book.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Unless you love reading about equations pertaining to synth I wouldn’t recommend …
By Amazon Customer
Unless you love reading about equations pertaining to synth I wouldn’t recommend this book. The author zeros in on the math that makes up parts of a synth and includes some code, but its the dryest presentation ever. Also there is no big picture discussion on how to try in the parts. Don’t buy this book

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
Good Introduction – Please remove the optimizations hints 😉
By Maxterm
Pretty much what the others already said…

Since I am a system software developer trying to understand how instruments can be synthesized, I had no previous exposure, even though very advanced algorithms, math and physics understanding. This book will tell a software developer anything he needs to know ;), so it doesn’t throw you in cold water. But beaware that it will only go through the basics. I read through it in a few hours and mostly its a lot of templates to generate various stuffs and mix it together. Its good to have such a bird-view feeling over topic. After that I would suggest what I am doing now, reading “Designing Sound, by Andy Farnell” which goes into the great detail of how the physics work behind the scenes and how to simulate it.

BUT, I am a bit annoyed by the outdated optimzation hints. Especially in 2008… If that was a book from 2000 OKAY! But its not.
Your compiler, especially a C++ compiler knows all the tricks. You don’t need to pull out loop invariants, you don’t need to do some bit-shifting ( x*=2 will actually be done as x

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