Part 1 – Intro to SUBTRACTIVE Synthesis

By September 2, 2014Tutorials

Are you confused by the different types of synthesis out there? Well in a new series of articles over here a Heavyweight Bass we aim to break it down and explain them to you in easy to grasp terms.

First up we have a great 3 part article on the basics of Subtractive Synthesis by Jonno Incledon.

 

An Intro to Subtractive Synthesis

We all know Massive, it’s one of the most well known synthesizers around, but have you ever pondered whilst fussing over envelopes and filter settings “what the fuck does this actually do?”

Now, Native Instruments Massive is what’s known as a subtractive synthesizer.

The keyword in that is SUBTRACTIVE.

The basis of subtractive synthesis is taking a complex waveform (the oscillators) and sculpting it via a filter (hint, that’s the filter section).

To demonstrate, take this super bass heavy oscillator, with a high pass filter on it and mess with the cutoff. 

As the cutoff frequency goes up, Hey Presto! You lose all the bass that existed in the frequencies that have been filtered out.

NI's Massive. Move that filter, see what happens

NI’s Massive. Move that filter, see what happens

Subtractive synthesis, no matter what plugin you’re using, follows this basic principle whether it’s Analogue, Digital, Sylenth or Roland.

Massive is an amazing synth to be familiar with and it makes a very stable starting point to start your journey to finding your sound, so mess around and if you find yourself stuck try just using just one oscillator and one filter and seeing how they both interact with each other.

Part 2 coming tomorrow…

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