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Basic Synthesis, Part 2

Basic Synthesis, Part 2

This week we will be finishing our mini-series on basic synthesis by taking a brief look at the Low Frequency Oscillator and covering simple modulation. After we have finished this series, you should have a basic working knowledge of synthesis and be well on your way to shaping your signature sound like never before! Be on the lookout for our next youtube video as I demonstrate some of these basic principles we’ve covered while walking you through the process of starting a track with custom synthesizers.

The Low-Frequency Oscillator is exactly what it sounds like: it is an oscillator that works like any other (different waveforms to choose from, etc.) but at frequencies well below the human hearing range. The low-frequency oscillator, or LFO, is used to affect the sound of your oscillators or to modulate a parameter on a synthesizer. This can be VERY POWERFUL, as we can literally route this LFO to ANY PARAMETER within that given synthesizer.

Low-frequency oscillators can be either monophonic or polyphonicMonophonic LFOs modulate your sound only once, whereas polyphonic LFOs allow for separate wave modulation each time the sound is triggered. What this means is monophonic LFOs trigger wave modulation only when the sound is initially triggered, giving you an evenly applied effect over your sound. Polyphonic LFOs, on the other hand, trigger new wave modulation cycles every time you trigger your sound, allowing you to overlap wave modulation and create even more effects that butt heads with each other in the process.

Just like the oscillators we covered in week one, LFOs offer you multiple waveforms to choose from, as well as different routing possibilities and parameters that allow you to control both the rate and amount of the LFO. Needless to say, once you combine the use of an LFO with the oscillators, filters, envelopes, or anything else we’ve covered these past weeks, you will start to see how truly versatile and limitless your possibilities are with synthesis.

As you can see, by the time we start combining all of the tools synthesis offers us, our own creativity will only limit us in what we can do. This series is intended to give you an introduction to the basics of synthesis, and now it is your turn to get out there and start experimenting with these tools and create your own signature sound!

Be sure to join us next week as we begin a new topic, and make sure to follow me on Twitter @iamjambot and @_signaturesound and let us know what you’re interested in learning in the future. We’ll see ya next week!