All Articles Synths & Sound Design
Peter Schwartz on Mon, November 7th 0 comments
Learn the essentials of subtractive / analog synthesis in this excellent four-part series with Peter Schwartz. Part two delves into the sound creation components of the analog synthesizer.
Read Part 1 of this series here.

Oscillators: Pitch and Timbre

Figure 1: Tuning and Waveform controls of an oscillator from Logic’s ES-2 synth plugin 


Figure 2: The irregular, random waveform of white noise 

Filters: for Timbre Modification

Figure 3: Highlighted in red, the filter section of the Arturia SEM plugin, modeled after an Oberheim synth from the 1970’s. Note the small mixer section at the bottom of the filter area for adjusting the incoming levels of two independent oscillators and a noise source (labeled “NOI”). 
Figure 4: Cutoff frequency and resonance controls of the lowpass filter in Logic’s ES-M 

Amplifier and Envelope Generator: Amplitude and Duration 

Figure 5: The audio signal path in a traditional analog synthesizer.
Figure 6: The amp sections of the Pro-53 (left) and Arturia Minimoog’s (right) 

The Amplifier 

The Envelope Generator 

Figure 7: A typical envelope shape. Just by looking at it we can tell the story of how it will control the amp’s volume: starting from silence, the volume gradually rises and reaches a peak. From there, the volume gradually decreases to about ½-volume, holds there for a while, and then gradually fades out to silence. This is our sound’s “loudness contour”.
Figure 8: Block diagram of the main components in a basic analog synth. 

The Envelope’s Influence on Duration

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