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What exactly is filter slope and why do you need to know how to use -12 dB, -24 dB & -48 dB filters? Here’s the answer…

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

What are filters?

Now, what exactly are filters? Filters are functions on a synthesizer that can enhance and/or reduce certain frequency ranges in your sound. You see, any sound consists of frequencies that your ears can pick up. So, with a filter you can adjust them, which change the so-called “harmonic” balance of the sound.

As you can imagine, this can come in handy to produce a wide variety of different sounds. Thus, it’s very important to understand all the settings that come with it, such as the filter slope.

How to use filter slope

Besides the type, a filter also needs to have a certain slope. The slope defines the extremeness of frequency reduction. By changing the slope, you change how gradual or how abrupt the frequencies should be cut out by the filter.

This way, you can usually set the slope to -12 dB, -24 dB or -48 dB, whereby a higher number means a more extreme way of filtering. And vice versa, a lower number means a more gradual way of filtering.

Be aware that some synthesizers only allow for a -12 dB and/or -24 dB slope, while others provide slopes all the way up to -96 dB.

Just as for the filter type, the filter slope doesn’t do anything on its own. It merely sets the initial conditions on how you wish to “filter” your sound. To actually hear an effect, you will have to set a cutoff point, which we will cover next.

Choose a filter slope based on taste

So in the end, it’s your job to use a filter slope that fits best for the effect you wish to create. Once you’re happy with the sound, you can tweak the other 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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