Music Production – Synthesizers

MinimoogSynths are at the core of any track with electronic instruments. It is basically an electronic instrument, capable of producing a large array of sounds, with plenty of options to alter the output sound.
Developed in the late 19th century, sythesizers have come a long way from the large analog machines they used to be.

Analog machines are still occasionally in use today, due to there raw, unaltered sound.

More commonly now, digital synthesizers are seen, often built into popular DAWs.

When getting started using a DAW, you may choose to use preset instruments. Many of these instruments will be generated from a synthesizer, along with a number of effect plugins. All of this can be altered to fit your required sound.

Synthesizers give the user a choice of oscillators and waveforms to form the basis of the sound. Sine, square, triangle, sawtooth waves are common starting points. Multiple waveforms can be combined to give a new sound.

LFOs give an effect to the waveform by producing a low frequency below 20Hz that cannot be heard be the human ear.

Modulation routers are often found within synthesizers, these give the ability to affect certain parameters of the synth, such as pitch, cutoff, oscillator waves etc.

ADSREnvelopes within a synth consist of 4 elements – ADSR. A stands for ‘Attack’, this is the amount of time from a note being pressed, until the full sound has been generated. ‘Decay’ is a reduction in amplitude over time until ‘Sustain’, where the main part of the sound is heard and will continue at this volume, until the note is let go. ‘Release’ is the time between this and no sound being heard.

Finally, filters, effects and distortion can be applied within some synths to further alter the sound.

A great synthesizer to get started with in Logic Pro, is the ES2. It contains the basic features found in all synths, as well as some advance ones to move onto as time goes on. There are plenty of in-depth tutorials on controlling the ES2, as well as other synthesizers, on YouTube.

ES2

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