Check Out

If you’re interested in analog synthesis, is a great place to poke around to look at some cool stuff. You can find a wide variety of synth related things in their blog. They’ve got it all covered from synthesizer convention details to product reviews. Just scrolling through the first page of their blog words like “Moog” and
Prophet” will jump out to the average synth fanatic. Theres no doubt that the team behind knows what they are doing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 3.03.37 PM

A Look Into Analog

Greatsynthesizers does a good job of bringing interesting and relevant content to their synth fanatic audience. They are constantly updating their blog with new information about the hottest analog synths. They have some great links to articles about new concepts in analog synthesis. They also provide information on the various things you can do to keep your synths in good working order. You can find links to different product services like professional repairs and maintenance.

I myself gravitate towards digital synthesizers due to their compact nature and relative ease of use, but I do love a great analog synth. I learned some of my first lessons in synthesis working on an old Prophet that we would use in our projects at Houston Community College. Analog synthesizers were around long before digital synthesizers, and you can learn the core concepts of synthesis much more easily than if you tried to jump right into something like Serum or Massive. One of my favorites is the Mini Moog, and greatsynthesizers has tons of information on the Mini as well as other great synths. You will find awesome stuff on all of the best synth manufacturers like Moog, Oberheim, Roland, and many more on their blog.

Logic’s ES2

One of my personal favorite digital synthesizer is Logic’s stock instrument, the ES2. The ES2 is a pretty basic digital synth. It has a pretty straight forward layout, and it’s great for beginners. Sure, you can do some advanced stuff with the ES2, but it is not considered among the most in depth and detailed synths. It is, nonetheless, a powerful sounding synth with a very unique style.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 2.12.12 PM.png

Simple but Powerful

The ES2 has three oscillators in which you can choose from a few basic wave shapes. You can assign the amount of signal from each oscillator by positioning the assignment square between the three nodes in the assignment triangle. There are two filters to choose from, and you can use a combination of the two by adjusting the fader under the blend section. The router section allows the user to assign modulation to different parameters of the synth based on the source you assign to control the modulation. There are three envelopes with the basic ADSR setup to choose from that can be used to control the shape of the sound. All in all, it has all of the basic things a synth needs to function.

The ES2 may be a simple synth, but that does not make it any less powerful and unique. Some of the coolest sounds that i have cooked up have been in the ES2. It is one of my favorite synths for making pad type patches. It just has a very nice flow and transitioning sound that I haven’t been able to find in other synths other than perhaps serum. It goes to show that just like a book, you shouldn’t judge a synth by its appearance.

Check it Out

Take a look at the ES2 as well as the other plugins that come with Logic Pro X here!

Native Instrument’s Massive

In this post, we will be taking a look into Native Instrument’s Massive. Massive is right up there next to serum when it comes to customizability and fine detail. While Massive might fall short of Serum as far as the overall power of the synth, it is second to none when it comes to control of the finer details of the sound design. Many people argue that Massive is the best synth there is. Some people use Massive exclusively to all other synths because it’s just that great.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 1.47.28 PM

The Power of Massive

Massive has a total of 3 oscillators. This allows the user to select up to three different wavetables to generate the tones of the oscillators. This allows for a seemingly infinite number of possibilities for the additive synthesis aspect that massive brings. With the oscillator generation type selection between spectrum, bend and formant, each of the wavetables can be used in a different way to create very unique tones.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 1.59.48 PM

The assignable LFO system in Massive is also very useful. You can choose between a basic LFO shape, a performer and a stepper. Each oscillator can be designated to either of the two LFOs. The basic LFO allows you to choose from simple wave shapes that the filter will follow. The performer takes this idea to the next level. It literally allows you to design the pattern you want your parameter modulation to follow. The stepper is similar to the performer, but it only allows you to designate interval sections of one value definitions for modulation position.

Until I found Serum, Massive was my most used synthesis. I used it in every project, and i still use it in most of my projects today. It is no doubt one of the best digital synthesizers on the market. Anyone who knows anything about sound design will know a thing or two about Massive. There is a lot more to massive that we didn’t look into in this post, but we will be taking a closer look at some more advanced sound design in Massive in due course.