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The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:01 am
by hfinn
Just a recommendation to anyone who has a DX7 or other FM synth, track down this book as it's indispensable.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:15 am
by Summa
What makes this book that valuable?

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:35 am
by Esus
Last time I looked, a used copy was going for about $90US on Amazon. Ouch.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:05 pm
by minime123
ive got both versions of this book. not that ive ever had the time/interest to read them, but they do look quite complete. theyre like 2.5" thick. thats a lot of blabbing about dx7s. so i imagine that if you own a dx7 and you want to get really familiar with it, this book is the way to go. ;)
mini

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:32 pm
by Summa
It's rather that I'm working on my own modern (covering the functions of the more recent FM-Synths) FM-Synthesis tutorial maybe even a book so it's good to know what ppl. prefere and other concepts for such a book...

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:36 pm
by bluedad
Summa wrote:What makes this book that valuable?
Well, the price is relative to how bad you want I geuss.
It's actually a textbook for a class Howard used to teach, and it goes into detail about everything on the dx7 giving an enormous amount of theory and exercises.
Looking for it on Amazon a few yrs ago, nobody had one in stock, so I was given the option to state the price I would pay and maybe a reseller could fill the order eventually. Sometime later (Halloween 2003 to be exact) I came home to find a package, and having completely forgotten about the order, was delighted to find a copy of the book. I paid $40

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:13 pm
by Bitexion
The book is hard to find because it went out of print in 1986 I suppose. It is like a bible for DX7 owners. You will learn how to use and program every single little detail on the synth in very easy to follow tutorials (press Edit, then algorithm, 1, etc). I learned more about my DX7 in three weeks than I'd learned in 5 years of owning mine. Now I feel like I can start from scratch with an idea, analyse the idea to decide what Algorithm I should be using, and build the sound from simple sine waves.

It shows you HOW the DX7 implements FM synthesis, laying down all the important main principles first then expanding on them and implementing them into sound making. You'll have made dozens of sounds when you finish the book.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:25 pm
by Summa
Does it include using Operators at fixed frequency as Carriers or between Carrier and modulator? Since this is information is hard to find and hardly used among DX presets...

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:31 pm
by Bitexion
Yes there are lots of examples and theory of that aswell. It's the DX7 Bible in many ways.

Basically, the book is divided into one short chapter for every menu function, with the theory first, then some practical use examples. You'll be building a 60 second evolving sound using just the EG's in the EG part for instance.
If there is a feature in the DX7 menu, it's in the book. And of course, the examples later in the book use the parts on the synth you've already learned, sometimes repeating the theory so you don't have to flick back and forth.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:00 pm
by Summa
Would be the first FM book covering waveshaping on the DX, thought I might be the first to do that ;) Still their should be enough for me to explain using that function on modern FM-Synths to create distortion and PWM, what needs at least a TG77 to work...
I might reverse the theory/practise order, since ppl. tend to understand things easier after they did it in practice...

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:47 pm
by bluedad
Hey Summa, I think with the Massey book being out of print, there would be a market for your project.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:14 pm
by Bitexion
Sure would, it's nearly hopeless to track down a copy, even on eBay or amazon.com (where I found mine just by luck). Massey states in the foreword why he wrote the book, it was because the DX7 was all the new rage in the mid-eighties, every artist and their grandmas bought one, but didn't have a clue about how to program it. He used to hold DX7 programming classes, and were tired of musicians coming in that had no clue what he was talking about, so he wrote the book as course material basically.

More or less the entire "sound cartridge" industry of the 80's came about because people didn't program their own DX7 sounds, so these companies hired skilled people to churn out presets and put them on cartridges to sell.

And thankfully, almost all of them are available for free online as sysex files for direct import via MIDI.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:13 pm
by droolmaster0
For a cheaper copy - http://www.markglinsky.com/ManualManor.html . Looks like he has this one. I dealt with Mark once, and his prices are reasonable.

I"m curious - would this book be helpful with an sy99, or is it too dx specific?

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:41 pm
by Bitexion
The examples are very DX7 specific (go to this menu, alter that value etc) but the overall principles should be appliable to any FM synth. FM is a difficult thing to just discover on your own.

Re: The Complete DX7 by Howard Massey

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:20 am
by Summa
bluedad wrote:Hey Summa, I think with the Massey book being out of print, there would be a market for your project.
It will take a while anyway, so far I needed a year for contents collection and table of contents and I hope to find the time for making music again this year.
Other than that I'll see if my english is good enough for the job, german would be a lot easier, but at the end one get better results when writing it in foreign language and translating into native language afterwards...