Subtractive Synthesis: An Understanding

Subtractive Synthesis: An Understanding


Total Length: 1.1 hrs

Join musician and producer David Alexander as he breaks down the basic concepts of subtractive synthesis, the basis of most electronic music. Subtractive synthesis is achieved by “subtracting” the harmonic content from a source signal via sound synthesis and then applying different filters to the audio signal to generate a richer more complex or interesting tone.

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By understanding how the different elements of the synthesizer work together and learning how to manipulate and modify those parameters, you’ll become more creative in your approach to making music.

Sample clip

Course outline

Chapter 1: Introduction (2 min)

  1. Subtractive Synthesis Introduction
Chapter 2: Oscillators (18 min)

  1. Wave In Harmonic Content, Sine Wave – No Harmonics, Saw Tooth – All Harmonics Even and Odd, Square Wave – Odd Harmonics, Triangle
  2. Selecting Wave Shapes, Basic Pitch Controls
Chapter 3: Filters (10 min)

  1. Cutoff, Resonance, Keyflow, LP, HP, BP, Notch
Chapter 4: Amplifier Envelope (10 min)

  1. Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Chapter 5: Filter Envelope (6 min)

  1. Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Chapter 6: Modulation Envelope (5 min)

  1. Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Chapter 7: LFO’s (11 min)

  1. What Is A LFO, Rate, Depth, Assign
Chapter 8: Putting It All Together (9 min)

  1. Techniques for Learning Sound Design

Presenter Info

David AlexanderDavid Alexander is a multi-talented recording artist/producer whose career includes producing, mixing, scoring, remixing, programming, and co-writing. A co-founder of a digital music production school in downtown Los Angeles called Icon Collective, David seeks to empower and educate electronic artists in an environment that blends technology with creativity. His credits include scoring music for some of the top video games such as “Quake II” and “Terminator 3” and his music has been featured in major motion pictures including “Rush Hour” and “Friday.” Currently working with DJs and artists in the dance and electronica scene, David is producing several albums including working on the latest release by DJ Irene, a leading female turntablest. In addition, David has toured the States while playing keys for The Gap Band, George Clinton, Chaka Kahn, as well as many others. He is a frequent contributor to BPM Magazine. When not mentoring other musicians, David performs in his live audio/visual electronica band called Icon Underground thats a unique blend of technology and soul with hypnotic visuals.