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Secrets of a Synthesizer

Nov 2, 2007
A synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument designed to produce electronically generated sound, using techniques such as additive, subtractive, FM, physical modeling synthesis, or phase distortion. In most conventional synthesizers, recordings of real instruments can be considered to be composed of several components for purposes of resynthesis. To know the secrets of a synthesizer, one should start with the basics of a synthesizer.

Simple basics of understanding a synthesizer

Synthesizers create sounds through direct manipulation of electrical voltages, mathematical manipulation of discrete values using computers or by a combination of both methods. The synthesized sound is contrasted with recording of natural sound, where the mechanical energy of a sound wave is transformed into a signal which will then be converted back to mechanical energy on playback To know the secrets of a synthesizer we must know some of the basics of synthesizers. These may be categorized as follows

Sound basics
When natural tonal instruments' sounds are analyzed in the frequency domain, the spectra of tonal instruments exhibit amplitude peaks at the harmonics. These harmonics' frequencies are primarily located close to the integer multiples of the tone's fundamental frequency.

Overview of popular synthesis methods
One of the easiest synthesis methods is to record a real instrument as a digitized waveform, and then play back its recordings at different speeds to produce different tones. This is one of the open secrets of a synthesizer now-a-days.

Synthesizer basics
There are two major kinds of synthesizers, analog and digital. There are also many different kinds of synthesis methods, each applicable to both analog and digital synthesizer. These are

Subtractive synthesis
Additive synthesis
Granular synthesis
Wavetable synthesis
Frequency modulation synthesis
Phase distortion synthesis
Physical modeling synthesis
Sampling
Sub harmonic synthesis

The start of the analog synthesizer era
The first electric musical synthesizer was invented in 1876 by Elisa Gray. Early synthesizers used technology derived from electronic analog computers, laboratory test equipment, and early electronic musical instruments.

Homemade synthesizers
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became relatively easy for one to build their own synthesizer. Designs were published in hobby electronics magazines and complete kits were supplied by some companies. This overall marketing became one of the secrets of a synthesizer becoming popular.

Electronic organs vs. synthesizers
In modern electronic organs, electronic oscillators serve to produce the sine waves. Organs tend to use fairly simple formant filters to effect changes to the oscillator tone automation and modulation tend to be limited to simple vibrato. Whereas, analog synthesizers produce their sound using subtractive synthesis. In this method, a waveform rich in overtones, usually a saw-tooth or pulse wave, is produced by an oscillator.

Secrets of a synthesizer

While buying synthesizers one should look for those little secrets of a synthesizer about the instrument. This will help to make the right choice and save money as well.

First if the synthesizer is required for studio works then the professionals may go for a modular one. Modular synthesizers are one of the oldest types of synthesizers around, as well as being one of the most expensive and interesting. These types are not for amateur artists and it is not portable.

For all other musicians Digital synthesizers are more accepted instrument. The digital synthesizers have a completely different sound clarity, since their internal sounds are stored in memory as arrays of numbers. The first affordable digital synthesizer to reach the masses was the Yamaha DX7.

There may be numerous synthesizers available in the market, but to choose the right one which fits in your purpose and budget will make it worth buying.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, and synthesizers. You can find the best marketplace for guitars, drums, and synthesizers at these 3 sites: guitars, drums, drum sets, and synthesizers, keyboards.
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