Synth Programming Tutorial

Synths Explained®

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25 Videos | Length: 2hr 4min 13sec
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Subtractive Synthesis Fundamentals

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    Tutorial 1

    Waveforms

    4:02

    Discover the basics of synthesis and get a guided tour of the synth and the waveforms used to create sounds.

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    Tutorial 2

    Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)

    2:15

    Explore what pulse width modulation is and how it works, as well as how you can use it when creating sounds.

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    Tutorial 3

    Filters

    5:30

    Learn how to use filters to shape the character of your sound. Explore the different types of filters and how they work and discover how an envelope can bring a filter to life.

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    Tutorial 4

    ADSR

    3:18

    Learn what an amp envelope is and how it helps in sound creation. Explore the ADSR of synths and see how they bring movement and motion to a sound.

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    Tutorial 5

    Filter Modulation

    7:09

    See how filter modulation can transform a static sound and give it a new lease on life using envelopes and modulation sources.

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    Tutorial 6

    Amplitude Modulation

    4:49

    Watch how to create space and energy in your sounds using amplitude modulation. This is where sounds come to life and have almost magical qualities.

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    Tutorial 7

    Velocity Effects

    2:19

    Learn to use velocity to give different timbre and shapes to your sound.

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    Tutorial 8

    Scaling

    2:35

    Discover what scaling is and how it can add another level of realism to your sounds.

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    Tutorial 9

    Stacking & Detuning

    3:05

    If you want fat basses, soaring leads and huge pads, then stacking and detuning is the way to go. See how in this video!

Other Synthesis Types

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    Tutorial 10

    FM Synthesis

    4:24

    FM synthesis may be a mystery to many, but in this video, FM gets demystified and gives you the power to create sounds with real edge.

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    Tutorial 11

    Wavetable Synthesis

    5:42

    Made popular by PPG with their Wave synth, wavetable synthesis brings another unique sound source to synthesis - here it is explained.

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    Tutorial 12

    Granular Synthesis

    4:24

    Granular synthesis is an ideal way of creating soundscapes by morphing sound sources in new and unbelievable ways. Russ shows you how in this video!

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    Tutorial 13

    Sample Based Synthesis

    3:18

    See how to turn your samples into brand new sounds using sample based synthesis.

Creating Sounds

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    Tutorial 14

    Creating a String Pad

    7:08

    Dive in and create a string pad from scratch using many of the principles used in earlier videos.

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    Tutorial 15

    Creating a Brass Sound

    3:17

    Get a big fat brass sound in less than 3 minutes.

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    Tutorial 16

    Creating a Bass Sound

    6:23

    Earth shaking, big bass sounds are just minutes away after watching this tutorial.

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    Tutorial 17

    Creating a Synth Lead

    3:50

    See how to throw everything but the kitchen sink in to create a dirty sync lead sound.

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    Tutorial 18

    Creating an Arpeggiator Sound

    4:34

    There's nothing like a nice arpeggiator to drive a track along - find out how to make one here!

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    Tutorial 19

    Retro Drum Sounds

    7:09

    Get back to the roots of the first drum machines and create your own kick, snare and hi-hat using subtractive synthesis.

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    Tutorial 20

    Build Your Own Retro Beat Box

    7:03

    Discover how to take all your retro drum sounds and create your own vintage beat box in minutes.

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    Tutorial 21

    Create an FM Bass Sound

    6:03

    Learn to get deep and unique bass sounds using FM synthesis.

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    Tutorial 22

    Create an FM Bell Sound

    4:11

    The perfect use for FM synthesis is rich and bright bell sounds - here's how!

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    Tutorial 23

    Create an FM Piano Sound

    8:48

    Perhaps the most famous use of FM synthesis in the 1980s was the FM piano sounds; find out how to make one in this video.

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    Tutorial 24

    Create a Granular Choir

    4:32

    See how to mangle, morph and manipulate sound beyond your wildest dreams to create a granular choir.

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    Tutorial 25

    Create a Synth Soundscape

    8:25

    Discover how to stack, reshape and effect more than one synth to make your very own soundscape.

Have your ever wanted to get under the hood of your synths? Are you tired of using presets and wished you knew how to make the changes needed to get the sound you want? Well look no further. "Synths Explained" is aimed at the beginner who wants to understand what synths are, how they work and how to program them to get the sound you want.

This awesome series by synth master Russ Hughes covers everything from the basics right though to complex sound design including subtractive, FM, wavetable, granular and sampled based synthesis. The series is aimed at anyone who lacks the confidence to start taking control of their synths.

This collection is useful to anyone using synthesisers in their productions and is not limited to any one product. Even better, much of the training is done using the Fxpansion DCAM: Synth Squad synths, specifically so that users can download a fully working 30 day trial and use them to follow along with the video examples.

By the end of this series you will be creating your own sounds and pimping your presets, so get "Synths Explained" today!

imjones
Submitted 2 months ago

Just what you need if you are new to synthesis

Combine this with the program Syntorial and you will be ready to shape any sound that you can imagine in your mind.

I am a: Student, Hobbyist, Musician, Beat Maker, Audio Engineer, Ableton Live, Reaper

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Cynsity702
Submitted 6 months ago

SYNTHS, YES PLEASE!

Ive been looking for tutorials like this. PERFECT, only thing is that I was transferring what I learned here to SERUM. Make more tutorials like this...

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garethbee
Submitted 9 months ago

good info

good

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer, Ableton Live, Studio One

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LAW HAV MERCY
Submitted 1 year ago

There's something here for everyone.

I'm fairly new to the art of synthesis / sound design so from my point of knowledge this series was pure gold. This course is a gem for beginners and intermediates especially but I believe there's something here for the advanced crowd as well. It won't take you long to observe that the instructor KNOWS HIS STUFF he's very well studied and practiced on the topic at hand. This course was designed to cover a diverse range of topics in synthesis so it kind of serves as an overall primer into the world of synthesis but I assure you it's not just another run-of-the-mill tutorial course it most definitely succeeds in scratching more than the surface. I especially enjoyed the bits on granular synthesis and I'm now anxious to delve deeper into that particular method. I'm confident that anyone who views this course will most definitely learn at least a few new things from it. Many thanks and much appreciation to the instructor for taking your time to share your valuable knowledge I enjoyed this course.

I am a: Beginner, Hobbyist, Beat Maker

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Sami
Submitted 1 year ago

More playing around than explaining

The course starts out by saying it will explain how synths work, and that while this specific synth is used for the course, the same principles can be used on any synth. It starts out well, explaining what different waveforms are and how filters work, but it pretty quickly starts skipping things. "We'll go through LFOs in a later video, but let's just do this and this and this with it..." Another video or two later the explaining part seems to have disappeared altogether, and the session now consists of the narrator very quickly doing a gazillion things (that seem to be very specific to this particular synth) to a sound, like "and if you do this and this and this, then it sounds really cool..." By now any beginner will be pretty much lost, and the videos have become more about playing around with all the cool stuff you can do with this synth than about actually explaining how synths work. Great for getting new ideas if you're already familiar with synths, I guess, but hardly "synths explained".

I am a: Producer, Musician, Hobbyist

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Philip
Submitted 2 years ago

Interesting & enjoyable.

I bought this just a few days ago, and today got around to watching it in full. As somewhat of a synth beginner, I found the course interesting, and easy enough for me to understand. I also felt it to be thorough enough, such that I definitely intend watching in full again soon.

I am a: Hobbyist, Beginner

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1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started young. My father was a Jazz piano player who would play Oscar Peterson on the piano, I would go in as a kid and sit and listen to him in wonder. When he left the room I would try and knock out tunes myself. When I was 15 I swapped my bike for a really bad electric guitar which I went home and plugged into my sister's hi-fi, she was not impressed. From there I started having bands in the garage and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. What training have you had?

As a musician, no formal training, I just picked things up by ear. Over the years I've been lucky to work and play with some of the best musicians around, that rubs off on you, playing with great people means you either get better or get a different job! As a trainer I've done a lot of public speaking, presentations and seminars to groups of anything from 10 to 3,000 people. Again, you either get good or get hungry.

3. When did you get into recording?

When I was 17 I bought myself a Tascam 244 Portastudio, that was a 4 track cassette based recording system that cost around $1800! In those days that was a miracle being able to record and mix on separate tracks. Once I got that then I was hooked, in fact I forgotten the stuff I've bought over the years, I just look music and technology and so recording ticks both of my passion boxes!

4. People you have worked with/for?

It's a long list and to name drop would sound like throwing pans down a stone staircase. I've worked with and for, in a technical and programming capacity UB40, T-Pau, Elton John, The Beat, New Order, Jools Holland, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Duran Duran, and Japan to name some of those blasts from the past... I'm old!

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I didn't know I was, perhaps it's the combination of my passion for the music and the gear coupled with a genuine desire to help people to use their gear without any barriers. I read the manual as a last resort (often because they are so badly written) so I guess that other's may feel the same, so I try to find a way of making things as simple as possible, I try not to pretend to be an expert, more a guy who's just figured it out. I also have a terrible sense of humour, which means when I train live there are a lot of laughs.

Products by Russ

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    tutorial video

    Alloy 2 Explained

    iZotope just made the mixing world way better! DAW master Russ Hughes shows you all there is to know about iZotope's amazing new Alloy2 essential mixing tools. Get ready to make your tracks and mixes sound even better.

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    tutorial video

    BFD Eco Jump Start

    Learn how to use BFD ECO fast! In this no-nonsense series by DAW master Russ Hughes, you'll learn all the important basics and not so basic features and functions of the incredibly powerful BFD ECO virtual drum instrument by fxpansion.

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    tutorial video

    Hybrid Explained

    Updated for version 2.0, Pro Tools Instrument legend Russ Hughes is back with this highly anticipated 'Explained' title. Russ takes you through the Hybrid power synth plug-in from start to finish, exploring every part of the synth and finishing off with some sound creation examples that will get your creative juices flowing.

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    tutorial video

    Iris Explained

    A new Synth is born! Russ Hughes takes you deep inside the revolutionary iZotope Iris virtual synth plug-in. Unlike other synthesis types, iZotope has created something very special and this series will teach you the ins and outs of the unbelievable new technology.

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    tutorial video

    Loom Explained

    Untangle the creative possibilities of additive synthesis and produce something amazing with Loom. Synth master Russ Hughes takes you on a journey and helps unlock the synth secrets of this cool new take on additive synthesis. This series includes a full, in-depth explanation of all the features and some practical sessions on designing sounds from scratch.

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Synths Explained® is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 6.
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Just what you need if you are new to synthesis Combine this with the program Syntorial and you will be ready to shape any sound that you can imagine in your mind.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from SYNTHS, YES PLEASE! Ive been looking for tutorials like this. PERFECT, only thing is that I was transferring what I learned here to SERUM. Make more tutorials like this...
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from good info good
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from There's something here for everyone. I'm fairly new to the art of synthesis / sound design so from my point of knowledge this series was pure gold. This course is a gem for beginners and intermediates especially but I believe there's something here for the advanced crowd as well. It won't take you long to observe that the instructor KNOWS HIS STUFF he's very well studied and practiced on the topic at hand. This course was designed to cover a diverse range of topics in synthesis so it kind of serves as an overall primer into the world of synthesis but I assure you it's not just another run-of-the-mill tutorial course it most definitely succeeds in scratching more than the surface. I especially enjoyed the bits on granular synthesis and I'm now anxious to delve deeper into that particular method. I'm confident that anyone who views this course will most definitely learn at least a few new things from it. Many thanks and much appreciation to the instructor for taking your time to share your valuable knowledge I enjoyed this course.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from More playing around than explaining The course starts out by saying it will explain how synths work, and that while this specific synth is used for the course, the same principles can be used on any synth. It starts out well, explaining what different waveforms are and how filters work, but it pretty quickly starts skipping things. "We'll go through LFOs in a later video, but let's just do this and this and this with it..." Another video or two later the explaining part seems to have disappeared altogether, and the session now consists of the narrator very quickly doing a gazillion things (that seem to be very specific to this particular synth) to a sound, like "and if you do this and this and this, then it sounds really cool..." By now any beginner will be pretty much lost, and the videos have become more about playing around with all the cool stuff you can do with this synth than about actually explaining how synths work. Great for getting new ideas if you're already familiar with synths, I guess, but hardly "synths explained".
Date published: 2016-09-12
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Interesting & enjoyable. I bought this just a few days ago, and today got around to watching it in full. As somewhat of a synth beginner, I found the course interesting, and easy enough for me to understand. I also felt it to be thorough enough, such that I definitely intend watching in full again soon.
Date published: 2016-05-12