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Any complex system is as complex as the sum of its parts, hence the key to understanding it lays in breaking the whole thing down to the core elements.
Waveshaping is a term that is often used to describe particular types of distortion effects, yet the actual scope of this technique far exceeds this common understanding.
If synthesizers were made out of organic matter, in all likelihood sound generators would take up a central place in the speech apparatus of the given soma.
Filters have the capacity to dramatically transform simple sounds, and being familiar with their various forms and techniques provides the potential for powerful sound design.
VCAs are a core synthesis element, most commonly used to handle dynamics—though we'll quickly see that they are capable of much more.
Envelopes are one of the most common tools used for shaping sounds in a synthesizer.
Traditionally, envelopes have fairly simple shapes—two, three, four, and five stages are relatively common. However, things don't have to be this simple.
It is always thrilling to talk about novel sound sources and crazy effects, yet often humble modulation sources are exactly the ingredients that make synthesis exciting and make sounds rich and complex.