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Synthesizers

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    Sound Modules

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    Synthesis / Sound Design

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    Synth Secrets

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    Figure 1: [top] The output from an envelope follower. Figure 2: [bottom] A more sophisticated envelope follower.

    From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (1)

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid introduces the synthesis modules that allow you to create a number of commonly used 'random' effects, and their close relatives — analogue sequencers.

    Techniques Aug 2000
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    Figure 1: A typical setup for processing an external signal using a Minimoog.

    An Introduction To ESPs & Vocoders

    Synth Secrets

    We turn our attention to the effects that can be achieved when subtractive synthesis components are applied not to the output from oscillators, but to real-world sounds — such as human speech.

    Techniques Jul 2000
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    Figure 10: [top]. Figure 11: [bottom].

    An Introduction To Additive Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Every pitched sound can be thought of as a collection of individual sine waves at frequencies related to the fundamental. Gordon Reid introduces a powerful method of synthesis that works by manipulating these individual harmonics.

    Techniques Jun 2000
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    Yamaha's flagship FM synthesizer, the DX1.

    More On Frequency Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    Last month, we examined the frankly scary maths allowing you to predict the audible effects of Frequency Modulation. This time, although the maths gets even tougher, Gordon Reid relates the theory to the practical implementation of FM synthesis on Yamaha's digital synths, as well as modular and non-modular analogues.

    Techniques May 2000
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    An Introduction To Frequency Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    As explained last month, audio-frequency modulation of the amplitude of a signal can be a powerful synthesis tool. The possibilities expand still further when we consider what happens when you use one audio-frequency signal to modulate the frequency of another...

    Techniques Apr 2000
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    Figure 9: [top] Amplitude Modulation of Signal 1 by Signal 2. Figure 10: [bottom] The harmonic spectrum of the waveform in Figure 9.

    Amplitude Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    Last time, we examined the concept of modulation at low frequencies. This month, we speed things up a bit. The result is not just faster versions of the same modulation effects, but a new type of synthesis...

    Techniques Mar 2000
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    Figure 1: [top] A simple synthesizer. Figure 2: [bottom] Applying this control voltage to the oscillator frequency would result in a short burst of vibrato.

    Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    In this month's instalment of his series on the basics of subtractive synthesis, Gordon Reid considers the magic ingredient that makes all the other elements sound interesting...

    Techniques Feb 2000
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    An Introduction To VCAs

    Synth Secrets

    Having laid bare the inner workings of oscillators, contour generators and filters, Gordon Reid turns his attention to something which at first sight seems entirely self-evident. Can the humble voltage-controlled amplifier really hold any Synth Secrets?

    Techniques Jan 2000
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    Figure 1: A swelled brass loudness contour.

    More About Envelopes

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid reveals some of the limitations of the 'classic' ADSR envelope with reference to a practical synthesis example, and explains some of the different types of envelopes found on 'classic' analogue synths, from AR envelopes right up to highly flexible digitally controlled EGs.

    Techniques Dec 1999
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    Figure 1: [left] An irregular, non-repeating waveform.

    Envelopes, Gates & Triggers

    Synth Secrets

    You press a key on your synth. It plays a note. That's it, right? Wrong. We explain the role of envelopes, gates, and triggers in this deceptively simple process.

    Techniques Nov 1999
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    Of Responses & Resonance

    Synth Secrets

    As Parts 4 & 5 of Gordon Reid's series showed, even the simplest analogue filters mess with your sound in complicated ways. In this Part, he considers what happens when you make the design more sophisticated...

    Techniques Oct 1999
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    Figure 1: A simple low-pass filter.

    Further With Filters

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid continues his series on the theory of subtractive synthesis by delving deeper into the amazingly complex world of the analogue audio filter.

    Techniques Sep 1999
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    Figure 1 [top] and Figure 2.

    Of Filters & Phase Relationships

    Synth Secrets

    Having dealt last month with the concepts of envelopes, oscillators and LFOs, Gordon Reid moves on to the subject of filters, and the havoc they wreak on the signals that pass through them.

    Techniques Aug 1999
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    Figure 1.

    Modifiers & Controllers

    Synth Secrets

    We move on from discussing the harmonic components of sound to explaining how they change over time, and some of the tools subtractive synths give you to emulate this process.

    Techniques Jul 1999
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    Figures 2(a) and 2(b).

    The Physics Of Percussion

    Synth Secrets

    In Part 1 we explained how the tones of most real instruments can be reduced to patterns of harmonics, which can be generated using sine, saw, square or pulse waveforms. This month, we consider the sonic raw materials needed to imitate unpitched percussion.

    Techniques Jun 1999
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    Reproducing Theremin Sounds Using A Synthesizer

    Sound Design

    The theremin is one of the oldest electric instruments around, and its distinctive sound is instantly recognisable. However, real ones are hard to find, and even harder to play. Sam Inglis tries to work out a way of cheating.

    Techniques Jun 1999
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    Synth Secrets logo

    Synth Secrets: all 63 Parts on Sound On Sound site

    Gordon Reid's Guide To Synthesis

    How to find this classic multi-part 'synthesis explained' tutorial series on the current Sound On Sound site.

    Techniques May 1999
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    Figures 7, 8 and 9: Shown from top to bottom.

    What's In A Sound?

    Synth Secrets

    In Part 1 of this (63-part) series exploring the world of subtractive synthesis, Gordon Reid goes right back to basics. What are waveforms and harmonics, where do they come from, and how does the theory relate to what we actually hear?

    Techniques May 1999
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    Yamaha VL70m

    Breath-controller Sequencing Workshop

    Paul White finds a few ways around the restricted breath-control facilities of the Yamaha VL70m.

    Techniques Jan 1998
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    Making The Most Of Your Emu Proteus: Part 2

    Tips & Techniques

    Paul Farrer looks at ways of using Proteus 2 samples to create a convincing orchestral arrangement.

    Techniques Oct 1995
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    Making The Most Of Your Emu Proteus: Part 1

    Tips & Techniques

    In the first of a 2-Part series, Paul Farrer offers some hints and tips for improving the sounds you can coax from Emu's popular Proteus range.

    Techniques Sep 1995

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