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Learning Synthesis

An Introduction

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.

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Waveshapers

A Guide to Destructive Sound Processing and Waveform Design

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.

Oscillators

The Voice Of The Machine

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

A Guide to Sweeping Success

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

Developing Dynamics and Modulating Modulation

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 P1

Part One: ADSR, AD, AR, & Friends

Envelopes are one of the most common tools used for shaping sounds in a synthesizer.

Envelopes P2

Part Two: Complex Envelopes, Arbitrary Functions, & Beyond

Traditionally, envelopes have fairly simple shapes—two, three, four, and five stages are relatively common. However, things don't have to be this simple.

LFOs

The Tides of Modulation

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.