Book Recommendation: Julian Colbeck – KEYFAX Omnibus Edition

Admittedly, there aren’t many encyclopedias around that are dedicated to synthesizers. One of those few is Julian Colbeck’s KEYFAX. To be exact, we’re talking about a series of books that started in 1986 with “Keyfax 1”. The “Omnibus Edition” introduced here is a compilation of synthesizer history between its beginnings at the end of the 60s and publication in 1997.


The HOT 100 synthesizers are described in detail. Excellent test reports give an in-depth view into the individual instruments. There’s also background information about each synth manufacturer and some important “fax data” associated with each instrument (type of synthesis, dimensions, weight, number of instruments made, period of production, …). Not all details are absolutely correct (e.g. some data considering the number of instruments made), but this is definitely outweighed by the correct information.









Since the Hot 100 represents only a small part of total synth production, there is a PRODUCT DIRECTORY at the back of the book with short informative captions describing instruments which didn’t find more room in the main body of the book.








The good news: this book is still available (for example at The bad news: it has become a rather expensive item …

Nonetheless a MUST (!) for all of you synth freaks out there.


KEYFAX – Omnibus Edition

Series: Mix Pro Audio Series
Paperback: 203 pages
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation; Omnibus ed edition (June 1997)
Language: English

ISBN-10: 0918371082
ISBN-13: 978-0918371089


Filed under 2015, Books

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman,, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP,, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.