Demystifying Synths


Shape your sounds with part two of our series on synths, focused on the magic of filters.

20 Minutes
3 Sections

Now that we have oscillators under our belt, let’s take a look at one way to modify the sounds we’re getting from them. Filters can make it sound like you just went underwater, or like there are lasers piercing your brain.

In this free lesson, we continue our exploration of the wild and sometimes wooly world of subtractive synthesis by taking a closer look at filters. Filters allow you sculpt your sound by blocking certain frequencies and allowing others to pass through. Want a rounder bass tone? Or a muffled sound? Or less harshness? Filters are the tool for you.

So pull up a chair and a synthesizer. Let’s get started!

Martin Fowler

Composer, Producer, Bassist

Martin composes and produces music for commercial, educational, and artistic media, and records and performs internationally with many NYC-based artists. He also produces original electro and house music and remixes as MDFX, plus trap/jungle/bass music and remixes as WNNR, and will release his debut solo record later this year. His favorite cloud type is the lenticular cloud.

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music production
demystifying synths: filters
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martin fowler
subtractive synthesis

Course Outline

  1. Section 1

    Intro to Filters

  2. Section 2

    Using Filters

  3. Section 3



Who is this course for?

People with no prior knowledge of synths. Or people who think they know something about synths but really don't. They just know that tweaking that one button makes a slingshot sound.

What are the requirements?

This is the second course in this series. You don't need to take them in order, but you'll understand filters better if you first have a good grasp of oscillators

You'll probably want a synth of your own to play with. We recommend a free software synth called Helm.

How long does it take?

This section of the course takes 20 minutes. The whole Demystifying Synths series can be done in 2-3 hours.

What can I expect to get from this course?

In this course, you'll learn everything you need to sculpt your synth sounds using a variety of different types of filters and settings, and you'll learn to differentiate different filters by ear. If you keep going with the whole series, you should be able to make any synth sound you hear...