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What exactly is envelope amount and why do you need to know how to adjust the amount of an envelope? Here’s the answer…

The envelope amount function is an essential part of a (subtractive) synthesizer that you can usually find in the envelope area.

What are envelopes?

An envelope is a function on a synthesizer where you can create sound movements. The movement can take many shapes or forms, depending on your design. Thereby, you can create different types of movements, such as a volume movement, panning movement, pitch movement or filter movement. But also, you can determine when the movement should happen and how extreme the movement should be.

So for example, you could use a volume envelope to give your sound a quick fade-in and fade-out. Or you could use a pitch envelope to slightly move up the tone of your sound. This way, you can set your sound in motion very flexibly, depending on the effect you wish to produce. Thus, it’s very important to understand all the settings on the envelope area, such as the envelope amount.

How to use envelope amount

On most envelopes you will find an amount setting, usually close to the target. The amount controls the intensity of the sound movement. It dictates how extreme the movement occurs. This way, a higher amount results in a stronger movement and a lower amount results in a weaker movement. So, the more you open up this knob, the higher the intensity.

Envelope amount direction

Though, usually you will find the envelope amount knob going in two directions, whereby the center represents a zero value, which means no movement. By choosing between left or right, you dictate in which way the movement occurs. This way, the behavior of the envelope will completely invert if you move the parameter to the opposite side. So, the orientation of the envelope amount sets the direction for the movement.


I guarantee you, it’s much easier than it sounds. So, let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to make a pitch movement. Therefore, you carefully select “pitch” as the target and you open the envelope amount to the right. Perfect, the tone of your sound moves up.

However, instead of choosing right, you now orientate the envelope amount to the left. Can you guess what will happen? That’s right, the tone of your sound suddenly moves down. The movement has been inverted.

You need more than the envelope amount

Mind you though, in order to shape the movement, you also have to tweak the ADSR settings, which we will explore next in the complete “Synthesizer for beginners” series.

Synthesizer for beginners

The “Synthesizer for Beginners” series is a huge collection of quick lessons about sound design and synthesis. Each lesson explains one part of how a subtractive synthesizer works, which is vital to know if you’re an electronic music producer.

Most people have the attention span of a butterfly and therefore miss all the important tips later in my videos and posts. Still, I don’t want you to miss a thing and that’s why you will see these short clips on Screech House. Each short clip explains a bite-sized topic from one of my longer videos. This gives everyone the chance to focus solely on what they need and thereby also saving a lot of time.

Today’s short clip is from the 4-part “Synthesizer Explained” video course. Watch the full episodes here:

Synthesizer explained!

Synthesizer Explained Cover

The “Synthesizer Explained” video course is now finally available as an exclusive guide. This easy-to-read book is jam-packed with valuable info about the essential basics of sounds design, including practical tips and bonus cheat sheets.

Since the day of release, many people have already read it. But if you haven’t, click this link to get your copy: Synthesizer Explained.

Make sure to get it now, else you risk being too late and miss out.

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