What is a Synthesizer? 2 Important Questions Answered to Guide you in the Analog World!

What is a Synthesizer?


The world of analog synthesizers is a paradise for DIY types. It doesn’t matter if you happen to know the music: half the fun is in creating new circuits and twisting knobs simply to listen to what occurs. That’s why we predict it is perhaps the right instrument for the type of people that, as youngsters, had extra joy out of taking aside their toys than enjoying them.

So what’s an analog hardware synth? Mainly, a tool that generates analog audio signals which are then modified to make sounds. Synths can recreate the sounds made by different devices, imitate pure noises, or create something unique. What a synthesizer does not often refer to the usual keyboard with some knobs on top. This is a topic that you need to dig deep into to get details to complete your knowledge of it.

The enduring recognition of analog synths is attributable to the hands-on nature of the DIY community, and the (usually debated) concept that they have got a smoother sound than their digital counterparts.

Software synthesizers are cheaper, and digital synthesizers are often simpler to use. However for many who need to create sounds from scratch using their very own two arms: there’s nothing quite like analog synths. These are available in a whole lot of different varieties.

what is a synthesizer

What is a synthesizer really?

To start out with, it’s the value of going over what a synthesizer is. Put merely, a synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument. They’re typically paired with a digital keyboard and may create all kinds of sounds and noises.

Whether or not you’re a metal fan, pop lover, or classical nerd, there’ll be a synthesizer that fits your needs. They are often played with different instruments similar to fingerboards, drum machines, instrument controllers or sequencers, and even wind controllers. You’ll be able even to get synthesizers that haven’t any instrument hooked up to them, and these are known as sound modules.

old modular synth

As we talked about earlier, synthesizers have been used since the 1960s in all types of various music. Within the 1960s, they began off getting used for pop music after which they moved to disco in the 1970s. They had been additionally used by some progressive rock bands in this period, too. In the 80s, they grew to become rather more mainstream and had been used in dance and electronic music. There are a variety of intriguing parts that make up a synthesizer, though these will differ from model to model.

Most traditional synths will give attention to elements like filters, envelopes, LFOs, and arpeggiators, as these are the components that have an effect on the sound and quality of the music. Since then, synthesizers have been used continuously by all types of musicians in virtually every style and class. Are you a hard rock fan? You in all probability have a favorite tune with a synth in it.

You’ve in all probability been listening to synthesizers, too. Whether or not you like dance music, hip hop, metal, rock, or something else completely, this most definitely won’t be an unfamiliar instrument to you. Get yourself introduced to what is a synthesizer and everything after that is experimentation.

korg synthesizer

How Synthesizers Work

When sounds are made acoustically — like from somebody’s voice, a guitar, or another instrument — it creates vibrations in the air. Our eardrums receive these vibrations, and our brains interpret them as sound.

Synthesizers work electronically by mimicking these vibrations. A synthesizer creates electrical signals which can be amplified and projected via a speaker, which changes these electrical signals into vibrations our ears can listen to.

To make this happen, there are a number of main components of a synth:

  • Oscillator: This part is the primary source of the sound. The oscillator uses a power supply to create various kinds of waves. It additionally produces a frequency of the wave, which determines pitch.
  • Filter: A note or sound you hear is a product of a number of frequencies. The filter can block certain ones to differentiate sounds from each other.
  • Amplifier: This part impacts the timbre of the sound. Totally different instruments have completely different qualities, like whether or not a note performed can be extra staccato (quick) or legato (extra drawn out). A note performed on a piano will diminish after some time, however, a note performed on a trumpet shall be quick and extra piercing.
  • Modulators: The remaining components, the modulators, can change up completely different characteristics of music, like vibrato.

All of those components work collectively to allow musicians to make use of this beneficial and versatile device.

features on a synth


As you might have possibly noticed by now, there’s quite a bit to be taught when it comes to synths. In this article, I merely scratched the surface by mentioning key parameters.

One of the simplest ways to create nice synth sounds is through experimentation. However, to be able to have some form of effect over the patches you set together, it is essential to have at least a fundamental understanding of what every parameter does.

So, learn the guide. Watch YouTube tutorials. Ask your local synth wizard for assistance.

Check our eBook on Mixing Tips! If you want to get a more in-depth breakdown of those tips we share, follow our link and get the “Ultimate Mixing Tips Booklet” and up your game quickly!


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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