Sound Design feature articles
SOUND SYNTHESIS & SOUND DESIGN (30 episodes) - Make Jean-Michel Jarre sound like a beginner
Throughout history, humans all around the globe have never stopped diversifying the uses of music ─ ritual, recreational, intellectual, etc. ─ and have produced it using their voices and bodies or through the development and practice of musical instruments. Through the 19th century, the basic methods for creating music were the same: Hitting anima…
A Mono/Poly Game - Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Part 9
In the previous articles we saw what makes up a synthesizer's basic sound chain: Oscillators, followed by filters and an amplifier, plus envelopes to control them. We also saw that an oscillator can produce a sound wave, with more or less harmonics, but always based (as long as it's a periodic wave) on a fundamental sound, whose frequency can, in…
Send It in an Envelope - Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Part 8
We have started to study the way in which you can create a sound with the aid of a hardware or virtual synthesizer. But, how does sound ─ which is up to now a combination of voltages or binary data packages ─ turn into something you can actually hear?
Filter It Out! - Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Part 7
Today we'll deal with another element that is essential to sound synthesis: Filters. They are widely used in subtractive synthesis, which is the most widespread form of synthesis, making filters pretty common on a great number of hardware and virtual instruments.
Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Pa… - Swing It!
Today we'll begin our exploration of the different elements that constitute a synthesizer. "It's about time!," I hear some of you say... And it's true, but it's important to have a theoretical background to know what you are doing. Besides, it's not like I forced you to learn any mathematical formulas, now, did I? Which, on the other hand, will pr…
Make Some Noise! - Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Part 5
In the previous article, we explored sounds based on waveforms with more or less harmonics, but they all had one thing in common: They were periodic. As we saw, if you refer to periodic cycle, you refer to frequency, and if you refer to frequency, you refer to pitch and...voilà, you have a music note. Today, we'll deal with sounds that aren't peri…
In Search of the Perfect Wave - Sound synthesis, sound design and audio processing - Part 4
In the previous articles of this series, we explored sound at its core and discovered waves and what defines them. Today we'll look into the main waveforms that are usually adopted as the basic ingredients of any respectable sound "lab."
Sound Synthesis, Sound Design and Audio Processing - Pa… - What's the Frequency?
As we saw in the previous article of this series, if a waveform is recurrent, it is called a periodic wave. From a theoretical point of view, for example, musical notes are all based on a periodic waveform. Noise, on the other hand, isn't, which means you cannot establish a repeating pattern for a waveform representing noise. All other sounds are…
Wave's Anatomy - Sound Synthesis, Sound Design and Audio Processing - Part 2
In the previous article we saw that sound is made of waves. Like many things in life, they can be simple or complex. You can't find an absolutely "pure" sound in nature. The closest to that is the sound of a tuning fork or the sound emitted, under certain conditions...by a sound synthesis instrument! Now you get why I'm talking about all this, ri…
Richard Devine on sound design, synths, software, studi… - A Sonic Guru Speaks
You may have heard Richard Devine’s distinctive electronic compositions, or seen his name on patch collections in various synths, but most likely when you hear his work it’s a system sound in a computer program, app, or hardware device, or a sound for a TV commercial. We caught up with him to ask about his work, his gear, and his techniques.