here’s an introduction to synthesizers, if you want to skip the introduction and go to playing synthesizers on your drum set click here (coming soon).
The intention behind these articles is to give you enough information to be able to understand a synthesizer and be able to use it on your drum set. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
All Synthesizer consist of a few (but mostely the same) different sections, the generated sound runs through the signal path in an order that let’s you create the sound you like. From a simple saw lead sound to a more complex wobble bass sound.
Synthesizers tend to scare us with all the knobs and faders. But once you break down the interface of a synthesizer to its different sections, it get’s much easier to understand!
Sythesizer main sections:
- Sound generator/Oscillator: First we have a sound generator. On most synths this is an oscillator. An oscillator oscillates (=generates a sound wave) with a particular frequency, depending on the note you’re playing on the keyboard. The lower the note, the lower the frequency and vice versa.
?You find the sound generator by locating the following: Waveform/wave, octave, tune, frequency.
- Filter: your sound runs through the filter, where you can design the sound relative to the frequency spectrum, less bass (high pass filter), less high end (low pass filter) , only mids (bandpass filter) and so on…
You find the filter section by locating the following: Frequency, cutoff, resonance, LPF (low pass filter), HPF (highpass filter).
- Envelope(s): here you can change your sound preferences in relation to time. This is very important for a drummer, who wants to control a synth via midi from his/her sampler such as the SPD-SX. Here you can set the length of your notes and the way your sound responds after you let go of a key.
You find the envelope section by locating the following: Attack, sustain, decay and release
- Modulation: this is simply like having a third “robot” hand helping you move a knob in a constant manner over time! So you can change the volume of your synth over time, this effect is called tremolo. You can change the filter frequency on a bass sound thus creating a side chain / wobble sound.
You find the modulation section by locating the following: Waveform/wave, source, destination, LFO, rate
- Effects: some synths have an effects section with the usual suspects; chorus, phaser, delay and/or reverb.
Ready for playing a synthesizer on your drum set? (coming soon)