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Beginner's Guide to Synthesis

Video Courses by ProducertechAlso available in a bundle

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With the huge range of synthesisers available today, comprising both DAW factory instruments and 3rd party synth plugins, a knowledge of how to use them is an essential part of modern production. This course aims to give you all of the fundamental skills and confidence to tackle sound design with any synthesiser with ease, to enable easier patch editing and creation of your own presets from scratch.

The tutorials work through all of the main sections of a synth, including oscillators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, arpeggiators and more, explaining the function and control set of each one. To make the course as universal as possible, a wide range of synths are featured in the tutorials, with many of the most popular synth plugins and DAW built-in instruments shown.

The tutorials are punctuated with whiteboard demonstrations, to help convey the main synthesising principles, combined with numerous examples of patch creation every step of the way. Students will learn how much can be done with relatively little on a synth, whilst also absorbing a wealth of techniques that will provide a solid foundation for designing many different types of sound. Although the course is primarily aimed at beginners, due to the technical nature of sound design, the level is mostly intermediate with an occasional foray into a more advanced territory in one or two places!

Purchasing the course provides immediate access to 3 hours of streamed tutorials, as well as an included assessment, to provide some interactive feedback on students’ synthesising knowledge. As with all Producertech courses, free sample module(s) are available to enable viewing of excerpts before signing up, for an example of the course style and content, which will have you mastering synthesis in no time!

Sample Module

Making a Sweeping Pad

Course Modules

Module 1 - Introduction

Rob introduces the course, with an overview of the basics of synthesis, explaining the structure and main sections on a synth, with audio examples along the way. Then, he provides a demonstration of how oscillators can be layered to create different sounds.

  • Lesson 1 - What is synthesis?
  • Lesson 2 - Layering Oscillators

Module 2 - Waveforms Demo

A guide to the main types of waveform available in most oscillators, how they sound and what they are normally used for.

Module 3 - Oscillators

A thorough look at the foundations of the synthesiser, the sound-generating oscillators, beginning by working through the basic controls and then exploring additional features that are commonly found.

  • Lesson 1 - Oscillator Controls I - Waveform and Tuning
  • Lesson 2 - Oscillator Controls II - Blending, Sync and Unison

Module 4 - Designing with Oscillators I

2 examples of patch creation using only the oscillators, one that shows how to create intervals and chords and another showing how to make a detuned patch.

  • Lesson 1 - Creating Chord and Interval Patches
  • Lesson 2 - Creating Detuned Patches

Module 5 - Designing with Oscillators II

2 further examples of patch design using just the oscillators with increasing complexity, layering multiple waveforms together and combining many of the techniques introduced so far on the course.

  • Lesson 1 - Simple Layered Patch
  • Lesson 2 - Layered Bass with Unison

Module 6 - Filters

A guide to filtering on a synth, explaining the most important considerations and unique aspects of filtering presets.

  • Lesson 1 - Filters Overview
  • Lesson 2 - Serial and Parallel Filtering
  • Lesson 3 - Filter Routing & Keytrack
  • Lesson 4 - Filter Blend

Module 7 - Envelopes

An introduction to a fundamental part of synthesis, the ADSR envelope, beginning by looking at the amplitude and then filter envelope.

  • Lesson 1 - Amplitude Envelope
  • Lesson 2 - Filter Envelope

Module 8 - Classic Envelope Patch Design

Two examples of using filter enveloping to create classic synth presets.

  • Lesson 1 - Simple Pluck
  • Lesson 2 - Old School Mwarp Bass
  • Lesson 3 - Emerging Pad

Module 9 - Quick Simple Synth Focus - Maschine’s Bass Synth

A look at a cutdown synth, to emphasise the most important controls seen so far on the course, and show how much can be done with a relatively limited control set.

Module 10 - LFO Modulation

How LFOs work on a synth, beginning with an overview and then walking through the creation of a popular LFO-modulated synth preset, the wub wub bass, before showing how to modulate pulse width and the sound it creates.

  • Lesson 1 - LFO Modulation Explained
  • Lesson 2 - Wub Wub Bass
  • Lesson 3 - Pulse Width Modulation

Module 11 - Pitch Modulation

A guide to modulating the pitch of synth presets, including both envelope and LFO modulation. The last 2 lessons then show how to design 2 classic pitch-modulated sounds, a sub bass drop FX and kick drum patch.

  • Lesson 1 - Pitch Envelope
  • Lesson 2 - LFO Pitch Modulation
  • Lesson 3 - Sub Bass Drop Patch
  • Lesson 4 - Kick Drum

Module 12 - Sequencers & Arpeggiators

A demonstration of additional modulators and sequencers found on synths, including complex curve modulators, step sequencers and arpeggiators.

  • Lesson 1 - Sequencers
  • Lesson 2 - Arpeggiator

Module 13 - Effects

Some general tips for using effects to process synth presets.

Module 14 - Common Synth Settings

Some brief tutorials explaining fundamental synth settings, for creating performance effects and patch characteristics.

  • Lesson 1 - Monophonic/Polyphonic
  • Lesson 2 - Portamento/Glide
  • Lesson 3 - Legato
  • Lesson 4 - Velocity
  • Lesson 5 - Key-tracking
  • Lesson 6 - Pitchbend
  • Lesson 7 - Aftertouch


  • 3 Hours of Streamed Tutorials
  • Access 24/7/365
  • Synthesis Fundamentals
  • Included Assessment

Please Note: This course is available to stream in the COURSES section of your User Account and is not downloadable.

Any references to any brands on this site/page, including reference to brands and instruments, are provided for description purposes only. For example references to instrument brands are provided to describe the sound of the instrument and/or the instrument used in the sample. Plugin Boutique do not have (nor do they claim) any association with or endorsement by these brands. Any goodwill attached to those brands rest with the brand owner. Plugin Boutique or its Suppliers do not accept any liability in relation to the content of the product or the accuracy of the description. "RHODES" is a registered trademark of Joseph A Brandstetter.