Sound On Sound Synth Secrets by Gordon Reid

tutorial
synthesis

#1

If you read only one guide to synthesis, let it be this.

Great for beginners and seasoned experts alike, the Sound on Sound Synth Secrets guide by Gordon Reid should be required reading for all serious synthesists.

Most of what you see in this guide is easily translated into Audulus, almost node-by-node.

I suggest you read it from start to finish, but if you already have a basic understanding of synthesis, feel free to jump around.

Below, I’ve first linked to each article in the order it was published, from 1999 through 2004.

The articles have a general throughline, but can be a bit intimidating when taken all at once. To turn this series into more manageable bite-sized chunks, I also grouped the articles into roughly sketched subjects. Some articles are duplicated here and there, and that’s on purpose (formant applies to both Filter and Synthesis, for example).

This topic will be locked to prevent comments from piling up, but please feel free to start your own topics about articles in this guide.

I’ll also be posting Audulus patches that illustrate the concepts highlighted in each article. This will be an ongoing project, follow this topic to see when new patches are posted.

Audulus Patches

  1. SOS Synth Secrets - 3 - Modifiers and Controllers.audulus (29.3 KB)
  2. SOS Synth Secrets - 4 - Of Filters & Phase Relationships.audulus (5.5 KB)

Table of Contents

  1. What’s in a Sound?
  2. The Physics of Percussion
  3. Modifiers & Controllers
  4. Of Filters & Phase Relationships
  5. Further With Filters
  6. Of Responses & Resonance
  7. Envelopes, Gates & Triggers
  8. More About Envelopes
  9. An Introduction to VCAs
  10. Modulation
  11. Amplitude Modulation
  12. An Introduction To Frequency Modulation
  13. More on Frequency Modulation
  14. An Introduction to Additive Synthesis
  15. An Introduction To ESPs & Vocoders
  16. From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (1)
  17. From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (2)
  18. Priorities & Triggers
  19. Duophony
  20. Introducing Polyphony
  21. From Polyphony To Digital Synths
  22. From Springs, Plates & Buckets To Physical Modelling
  23. Formant Synthesis
  24. Synthesizing Wind Instruments
  25. Synthesizing Brass Instruments
  26. Brass Synthesis On A Minimoog
  27. Roland SH101 & ARP Axxe Brass Synthesis
  28. Synthesizing Plucked Strings
  29. The Theoretical Acoustic Guitar Patch
  30. A Final Attempt To Synthesize Guitars
  31. Synthesizing Percussion
  32. Practical Percussion Synthesis: Timpani
  33. Synthesizing Drums: The Bass Drum
  34. Practical Bass Drum Synthesis
  35. Synthesizing Drums: The Snare Drum
  36. Practical Snare Drum Synthesis
  37. Analysing Metallic Percussion
  38. Synthesizing Realistic Cymbals
  39. Practical Cymbal Synthesis
  40. Synthesizing Bells
  41. Synthesizing Cowbells & Claves
  42. Synthesizing Pianos
  43. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 1]
  44. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 2]
  45. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 3]
  46. Synthesizing Strings: String Machines
  47. Synthesizing Strings: PWM & String Sounds
  48. Synthesizing Bowed Strings: The Violin Family
  49. Practical Bowed-string Synthesis
  50. Practical Bowed-string Synthesis (continued)
  51. Articulation & Bowed-string Synthesis
  52. Synthesizing Pan Pipes
  53. Synthesizing Simple Flutes
  54. Practical Flute Synthesis
  55. Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs: Part 1
  56. Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs: Part 2
  57. Synthesizing Hammond Organ Effects
  58. Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 1
  59. Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 2
  60. From Analogue To Digital Effects
  61. Creative Synthesis With Delays
  62. More Creative Synthesis With Delays
  63. The Secret Of The Big Red Button

Utilities

  1. Modifiers & Controllers
  2. Envelopes, Gates & Triggers
  3. More About Envelopes
  4. An Introduction to VCAs
  5. Modulation
  6. From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (1)
  7. From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (2)
  8. Priorities & Triggers
  9. Duophony
  10. Introducing Polyphony
  11. From Polyphony To Digital Synths

Filters

  1. Of Filters & Phase Relationships
  2. Further With Filters
  3. Of Responses & Resonance
  4. An Introduction To ESPs & Vocoders
  5. Formant Synthesis

Synthesis

  1. Amplitude Modulation
  2. An Introduction To Frequency Modulation
  3. More on Frequency Modulation
  4. An Introduction to Additive Synthesis
  5. An Introduction To ESPs & Vocoders
  6. Formant Synthesis
  7. Creative Synthesis With Delays
  8. More Creative Synthesis With Delays

Percussion

  1. The Physics of Percussion
  2. Synthesizing Drums: The Bass Drum
  3. Practical Bass Drum Synthesis
  4. Synthesizing Drums: The Snare Drum
  5. Practical Snare Drum Synthesis
  6. Analysing Metallic Percussion
  7. Synthesizing Realistic Cymbals
  8. Practical Cymbal Synthesis
  9. Synthesizing Bells
  10. Synthesizing Cowbells & Claves
  11. Synthesizing Pianos
  12. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 1]
  13. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 2]
  14. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 3]

Effects

  1. From Springs, Plates & Buckets To Physical Modelling
  2. Synthesizing Hammond Organ Effects
  3. From Analogue To Digital Effects

Wind

  1. Synthesizing Wind Instruments
  2. Synthesizing Pan Pipes
  3. Synthesizing Simple Flutes
  4. Practical Flute Synthesis

Brass

  1. Synthesizing Brass Instruments
  2. Brass Synthesis On A Minimoog
  3. Roland SH101 & ARP Axxe Brass Synthesis

Plucked Strings

  1. Synthesizing Plucked Strings
  2. The Theoretical Acoustic Guitar Patch
  3. A Final Attempt To Synthesize Guitars

Bowed Strings

  1. Synthesizing Strings: String Machines
  2. Synthesizing Strings: PWM & String Sounds
  3. Synthesizing Bowed Strings: The Violin Family
  4. Practical Bowed-string Synthesis
  5. Practical Bowed-string Synthesis (continued)
  6. Articulation & Bowed-string Synthesis

Piano

  1. Synthesizing Pianos
  2. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 1]
  3. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 2]
  4. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 3]

Synthesis on Hardware

  1. Brass Synthesis On A Minimoog
  2. Roland SH101 & ARP Axxe Brass Synthesis
  3. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 1]
  4. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 2]
  5. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 3]

Synthesis Tutorials Index
New Forum Appreciation Thread
New Forum Appreciation Thread
The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music by Miller Puckette