Jim Aikin’s Modular Synthesis for Beginners Series
Learning about synthesizers doesn’t have to be a struggle...
Those of us who have worked with them for years can breeze past the basics without stopping. For beginners, though, that’s a recipe for confusion. I can’t teach you everything in these basics-oriented columns, but I can give you a foundation to build on.
I first encountered synths in 1976, when I began working as Keyboard magazine’s assistant editor. At first, I had no idea what all those knobs and sliders did, but I had fun poking around. A few months later, I started editing Bob Moog’s monthly column. When I had questions, I could pick up the phone and ask the man himself. You couldn’t get a better education than that.
Since then, the basics haven’t changed much—oscillators, filters, and envelope generators—but a bunch of new branches have sprouted. My column can help you learn your way around unfamiliar territory and give you a firm grasp of the basics and beyond.
Modular Synthesis for Beginners Lessons
A Lesson From Christmas Past…Jim Aikin’s Modular Synthesis: Modulation
Modulation changes everything when you route control signals from sources to destinations. Original lesson from December 2019 Turning knobs by hand while a synthesizer is
Modular Synthesis for Beginners: Wavetable Synthesis
The heart of many synths is a wavetable oscillator, but what the heck are wavetables? Filling your mix with fresh, exciting sounds is what electronic
Modular Synthesis for Beginners: Step Sequencers
Automate your modular system with step sequencers. Playing music with our hands, feet, and breath is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, though, you want to set
Modular Synthesis for Beginners: FM Synthesis Explained
If you don’t have a thorough understanding of what FM synthesis is or how it works, start here. FM synthesis has always had a reputation
Modular Synthesis for Beginners: Randomness
This month, we investigate how synth modules can make your music sound more human by harnessing random acts of chance. The use of random elements
Jim Aikin’s Modular Synthesis for Beginners: Envelope Generators
How to shape your sounds with envelope generators. Every synthesizer, even the most primitive, has at least one envelope generator. Most have two or more.