Learning synthesis

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mo_0kz
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Learning synthesis

Post by mo_0kz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:00 am

I'm trying to find a really good place/book/source to teach myself audio engineering basically...I feel that would be much more helpful to myself to know the technical details rather then watching tutorials on how to make sounds using a specific synth by turning some knobs. I want to literally master sound synthesis in every aspect, and use that knowledge to then master various VST synths. I couldn't find anything really good and I know some of you guys on here are gurus so a reference point would be great.

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Coolschmid
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by Coolschmid » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:07 am

Look into your mind, for you are blind, staring through eternity.

rusto
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by rusto » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:14 am

I dunno a particular source but.... some of it is basic physics of sound, some of it is understanding the intricacies of the synth you are using, and most of it is knowing through experience what certain shit does or sounds like. Its like making a salad dressing, you can follow a recipe exactly like a synth tutorial on youtube, or you can adjust the recipe by taste by adding certain ingredients that you know will effect the end result in certain ways. Its only through experience that you know what a saw wave sounds like.

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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by fragments » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:15 am

Welsh's Synthesizer Cook Book
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mo_0kz
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by mo_0kz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:17 am

rusto wrote:I dunno a particular source but.... some of it is basic physics of sound, some of it is understanding the intricacies of the synth you are using, and most of it is knowing through experience what certain shit does or sounds like. Its like making a salad dressing, you can follow a recipe exactly like a synth tutorial on youtube, or you can adjust the recipe by taste by adding certain ingredients that you know will effect the end result in certain ways. Its only through experience that you know what a saw wave sounds like.
Yeah I guess basically I want to learn audio engineering without going to school for it. I can teach myself better than any professor if you push me in the right direction. Why pay when I can teach myself?
fragments wrote:Welsh's Synthesizer Cook Book
Thank you, I was actually hoping someone would say this book, a friend of a friend mentioned this book to me a while back but I forgot the exact name.

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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by fragments » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:21 am

Yea. It covers the basic basics. Common parameters and wave forms. Also its self published by the author. Which gives it a bonus + 1 cool factor. Mine is well travelled...ive let many people borrow it and they all got something out of it.
SunkLo wrote: If ragging on the 'shortcut to the top' mentality makes me a hater then shower me in haterade.

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LilWUB
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by LilWUB » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:22 am

mo_0kz wrote: Why pay when I can teach myself?
I feel the same way too. There's so much good stuff out on the innerwebz.

Myself, I got a copy of Massive and watched a fuck ton of videos. Played around with it. Watched another fuck ton. Made a couple of patches. Watched more fuck tons. Now I feel like I understand it a bit and can make some fresh sounds. I have to hear it and play with the knobbies to get that hands on learning experience.

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SunkLo
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by SunkLo » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:30 am

The production bible is a good resource on here.

There's many types of synthesis so you'll be learning them in modules most likely. I'd recommend just getting a powerhouse synth and then learning what everything does bit by bit.

Start off with subtractive synthesis, learn filter types, amp and mod envelopes, lfos.
Practice thickening synths with unison detune, compression, split band and parallel processing. Experiment with some crazy effect routings in your daw and play around with modulation effects, distortions, etc.

>>While you're doing this, you should have a spectrogram and a waveform meter on your master or at the end of your plugin chain. There's plenty of free ones, you could go with voxengo span combined with smexoscope or grab this sexy Schwa one that handles both duties. It also has a stereo meter and allows you to run multiple channels in at once so you can do shit like compare pre and post compression. Like I said, sex.

So just observe what happens when you do certain things and correlate what's happening on the meters to what you hear. It'll take a while to be able to know what's happening to a sound by ear and how to reproduce it. Most people don't grow up depending on their ears nearly as much as their eyes so it'll take some time to sharpen your auditory senses.

After you get subtractive down you can move on to FM synthesis, and some other advanced stuff like AM, oscillator sync, wavetables, etc.

Additive synthesis is fun as well since you have pinpoint control over harmonic content.

Then you can get into the realm of sound design fuckery with something like Absynth, using comb filters, feedback, resonators, etc.

The key here is just experimenting and twisting every knob from 0 to 127. Map shit to a controller and move multiple things around at the same time to hear how they interact. Not only will it give you a better understanding of how the sound's being affected, but you'll learn how to make live sounding synth patches. Static synth tones sound like shit, you want something that breathes and moves.

Run through the bank of presets you've got and dissect them. Start at the finished sound and pull it apart until you're back to the bare init patch. Then try to rebuild it back to what it was from memory. Most synths come with patches designed by professional sound designers so take advantage of being able to play with their configurations. You probably won't be able to replicate their sounds but you'll come up with some cool patches by trying. And once that spark's been lit, it's downhill to tinker-town.

A good powerhouse synth is Alchemy. It has everything you could possibly need and then some. If you can master Alchemy, FM8 and Absynth, you'll be very well-equipped to be an awesome sound designer.

Good luck.
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mo_0kz
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by mo_0kz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:41 am

SunkLo wrote:The production bible is a good resource on here.

There's many types of synthesis so you'll be learning them in modules most likely. I'd recommend just getting a powerhouse synth and then learning what everything does bit by bit.

Start off with subtractive synthesis, learn filter types, amp and mod envelopes, lfos.
Practice thickening synths with unison detune, compression, split band and parallel processing. Experiment with some crazy effect routings in your daw and play around with modulation effects, distortions, etc.

>>While you're doing this, you should have a spectrogram and a waveform meter on your master or at the end of your plugin chain. There's plenty of free ones, you could go with voxengo span combined with smexoscope or grab this sexy Schwa one that handles both duties. It also has a stereo meter and allows you to run multiple channels in at once so you can do shit like compare pre and post compression. Like I said, sex.

So just observe what happens when you do certain things and correlate what's happening on the meters to what you hear. It'll take a while to be able to know what's happening to a sound by ear and how to reproduce it. Most people don't grow up depending on their ears nearly as much as their eyes so it'll take some time to sharpen your auditory senses.

After you get subtractive down you can move on to FM synthesis, and some other advanced stuff like AM, oscillator sync, wavetables, etc.

Additive synthesis is fun as well since you have pinpoint control over harmonic content.

Then you can get into the realm of sound design fuckery with something like Absynth, using comb filters, feedback, resonators, etc.

The key here is just experimenting and twisting every knob from 0 to 127. Map shit to a controller and move multiple things around at the same time to hear how they interact. Not only will it give you a better understanding of how the sound's being affected, but you'll learn how to make live sounding synth patches. Static synth tones sound like shit, you want something that breathes and moves.

Run through the bank of presets you've got and dissect them. Start at the finished sound and pull it apart until you're back to the bare init patch. Then try to rebuild it back to what it was from memory. Most synths come with patches designed by professional sound designers so take advantage of being able to play with their configurations. You probably won't be able to replicate their sounds but you'll come up with some cool patches by trying. And once that spark's been lit, it's downhill to tinker-town.

A good powerhouse synth is Alchemy. It has everything you could possibly need and then some. If you can master Alchemy, FM8 and Absynth, you'll be very well-equipped to be an awesome sound designer.

Good luck.
Thanks so much for this. I'm going to start with learning subtractive synthesis. Do you recommend Reason's Subtractor for this? I already have Alchemy, FM8, and Absynth, and pretty much every other synth. I plan on spending this whole summer playing with each synth until I master them. (I already do this every day with Massive).

The real problem for me is the technical aspect. I can turn the knob and listen to what happens to the sound, but I have no idea what they are actually doing. (for example, a bandreject filter. I do not know what it does exactly)

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SunkLo
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by SunkLo » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:50 am

Subtractor's alright, Thor's good to learn with as well if the interface makes sense to you. If I were you, I'd just pick one synth and master it, aka Alchemy. Dealing with a complex synth will bump the learning curve up a tad at the start but it'll pay off when you've grown really comfortable with it. The things you learn will apply to any synth though. FAW's Circle has a cool modulation system that let's you visualize what's going on.

As for learning the technical details, it's all about just googling every thing you don't understand. A lot of times you'll get hit with a super technical wikipedia page, but if you filter the google results to 'discussions' you're bound to find some forum posts somewhere talking about it.

For the record band reject does exactly what it sounds like, takes a band of audio and rejects it. Try running white noise through one with a spectrogram meter on the other side. Sweep the filter frequency up and down and you'll see the band move on the meter.

Fab Filter Pro Q is a great EQ and has a spectrum display built in (you have to toggle it on in the bottom right, set this as the default patch) You can set it to display the output to see the visual effect the EQ has on the spectrum. I should mention, the goal is to train your ears not your eyes. Eventually you want to be able to look away from the screen and dial a sound in, since the display can trick you a lot of the time. But when you're starting off it's helpful to have some visual feedback to hint at what's going on with the waveform.
Blaze it -4.20dB
nowaysj wrote:Raising a girl in this jizz filled world is not the easiest thing.
Phigure wrote:I haven't heard such a beautiful thing since that time Jesus sang Untrue
If I ever get banned I'll come back as SpunkLo, just you mark my words.

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NinjaEdit
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by NinjaEdit » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:56 am

There's a free ebook called "how to make a noise."

mo_0kz
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by mo_0kz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:15 pm

SunkLo wrote:Subtractor's alright, Thor's good to learn with as well if the interface makes sense to you. If I were you, I'd just pick one synth and master it, aka Alchemy. Dealing with a complex synth will bump the learning curve up a tad at the start but it'll pay off when you've grown really comfortable with it. The things you learn will apply to any synth though. FAW's Circle has a cool modulation system that let's you visualize what's going on.

As for learning the technical details, it's all about just googling every thing you don't understand. A lot of times you'll get hit with a super technical wikipedia page, but if you filter the google results to 'discussions' you're bound to find some forum posts somewhere talking about it.

For the record band reject does exactly what it sounds like, takes a band of audio and rejects it. Try running white noise through one with a spectrogram meter on the other side. Sweep the filter frequency up and down and you'll see the band move on the meter.

Fab Filter Pro Q is a great EQ and has a spectrum display built in (you have to toggle it on in the bottom right, set this as the default patch) You can set it to display the output to see the visual effect the EQ has on the spectrum. I should mention, the goal is to train your ears not your eyes. Eventually you want to be able to look away from the screen and dial a sound in, since the display can trick you a lot of the time. But when you're starting off it's helpful to have some visual feedback to hint at what's going on with the waveform.
Thanks again..I've pretty much mastered Massive (I'd rate myself as a 9/10 for that and I'm usually humble about things like this) so I need to move on something more complex. Massive is powerful but it seems too limiting in the sounds it can create. Just cracked open Alchemy and I'll see how I go from there.

edit: forgot this part out. I have a microKorg I have yet to begin using...learning how to work that should help me with the technical aspect as well correct?

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SunkLo
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by SunkLo » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:31 pm

Yeah it's kind of a bit fiddly compared to most nicely laid out soft synth interfaces but the same principles will apply.

Alchemy is the super hero synth. Once you know that inside and out you'll have a tight hold on synthesis. If you get into resampling it has lots of cool shit with that too. Really is a sound design beast.
Blaze it -4.20dB
nowaysj wrote:Raising a girl in this jizz filled world is not the easiest thing.
Phigure wrote:I haven't heard such a beautiful thing since that time Jesus sang Untrue
If I ever get banned I'll come back as SpunkLo, just you mark my words.

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futures_untold
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by futures_untold » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:03 pm

Some good books are listed in the following thread ---> http://www.dubstepforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=54804

+ check out this thread for lots of info ---> http://dubstepforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=159713

Good luck :)

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futures_untold
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by futures_untold » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:40 pm

The following links may help?

- http://www.audiosonica.com/en/course/post/2/Index
- http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/MusicAndComputers
- http://basicsynth.com/index.php?page=default

And also...
spencertron wrote:For those interested in getting deeper into DSP this was posted yesterday on music-dsp list, which i stumbled upon through Reaktor...

Prof. S.C Dutta Roy, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi

43 - 1 hour lectures on DSP at:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... CA3A66F299

not watched them myself, but apparently very well delivered...

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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by press » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:45 pm

futures bringing the knowledge once again! great links to great threads etc.
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SunkLo
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by SunkLo » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:47 pm

futures_untold wrote:And also...
spencertron wrote:For those interested in getting deeper into DSP this was posted yesterday on music-dsp list, which i stumbled upon through Reaktor...

Prof. S.C Dutta Roy, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi

43 - 1 hour lectures on DSP at:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... CA3A66F299

not watched them myself, but apparently very well delivered...
Might have to watch that assuming I get a free 27 hours or whatever.
Blaze it -4.20dB
nowaysj wrote:Raising a girl in this jizz filled world is not the easiest thing.
Phigure wrote:I haven't heard such a beautiful thing since that time Jesus sang Untrue
If I ever get banned I'll come back as SpunkLo, just you mark my words.

mo_0kz
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by mo_0kz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:38 pm

Everything is exactly what I was looking for...thanks a bunch guys.

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smalltock
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by smalltock » Wed May 01, 2013 1:04 am


test_recordings
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Re: Learning synthesis

Post by test_recordings » Wed May 01, 2013 8:32 am

The Microkorg is an arse to use solely on it's physical interface, use the software that allows you to assign midi controllers across all it's parameters in a more visual layout. I think it's better than a lot of soft synths though, especially as it has a line-level audio out and a physical keyboard with velocity sensing
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