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Synth Gems 1: Exploring Vintage Synthesizers | Podcast

Interview with book author Mike Metlay By Rob Puricelli
Published December 2021
Synth Gems 1 book author Mike Metley

Synth Gems 1 is the first Bjooks publication to be authored by their Editor-in-Chief, Dr Mike Metlay, and sets out to document, both visually and in words, some of the most incredible keyboard synthesizers ever made. In this podcast, we dig into the selection process, find out what it took to document these instruments and ask how this book came into existence.

Show Notes


00:00 - Introduction
01:00 - What was the inspiration for this book?
03:12 - What was the process of whittling your list down?
07:24 - Why no modular synths?
09:59 - Were there any synths that you wanted but couldn’t find decent examples of?
12:24 - How did you check and verify your accuracy?
20:06 - How did you come up with the essay format?
22:56 - What challenges did you face when photographing the synths featured?
28:40 - What prompted the inclusion of an introduction to synthesizers?
37:24 - Which is the one instrument in this book you had to have in there?
43:36 - Did you ever consider including audio examples?
45:17 - Can you offer any insights into what may appear in Synth Gems 2?

Synth Gems1 BookForeword by Vince Clarke

Mike Metlay - Biog 

After attaining a Ph.D in Nuclear Structure Physics, and eschewing a career in that most technical of scientific fields, Dr Mike Metlay worked for Recording magazine, for over 20 years, the last five of which were as Editor. It allowed him to indulge in his passion for electronic music, and the making of it, through many mediums such as writing, creating and performing. This eventually led him to become Editor-in-Chief at Bjooks, a highly-respected publishing house specialising in luxurious and detailed tomes on the subjects of synthesizers and music technology.


Interviewer: Rob Puricelli - Biog

Rob Puricelli.Rob Puricelli is a Music Technologist and Instructional Designer who has a healthy obsession with classic synthesizers and their history. In conjunction with former Fairlight Studio Manager Peter Wielk, he fixes and restores Fairlight CMIs so that they can enjoy prolonged and productive lives with new owners. He also writes reviews and articles for his website,, and other music-related publications, as well as hosting a weekly livestream on YouTube for the Pro Synth Network and guesting on numerous music technology podcasts and shows. Rob also works alongside a number of manufacturers, demonstrating their products and lecturing about music technology at various educational and vocational establishments.

Twitter: @failedmuso
Instagram: @failedmuso

About the Electronic Music podcast channel

On this channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians and talk about retro and current gear.

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