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What exactly is an LFO target and why do you need to know how to make a volume, panning, filter and pitch LFO? Here’s the answer…

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

What are LFOs?

An LFO stands for Low Frequency Oscillator and, just as an envelope, it can create a movement with your sound. Whereas an envelope will produce a single or one-time motion, an LFO can produce a repeating motion. This way, an LFO can modulate or vibrate your sound based on a wave pattern.

The modulation can take many forms, depending on your design. Thereby, you can create different types, such as a volume modulation, panning modulation, pitch modulation or filter modulations. But also, you can choose when the modulation should happen, how fast the modulation should be, and which shape the modulation should have.

So, for example; if you’d select a pitch LFO, you can move the tone of your sound up and down repeatedly at a certain rate. In the same way, if you’d select a panning LFO, you can move the sound between the left and right speaker sequentially at a certain speed. 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 LFO area, such as the LFO target.

How to use LFO target

An LFO target, also called destination, defines the sound modulation. It dictates which knob has to move. So, by setting the target you choose upfront which type of modulation you wish to create. There are usually many targets to choose from, but the most common ones are volume, panning, pitch, filter cutoff and filter resonance.

So, if you want to create a volume modulation, select volume as the target. If you want to have a pitch modulation, select pitch as the target. And so forth.

You need more than an LFO target

Be aware though that selecting a target on itself doesn’t produce an effect. In order to do that you have to use the other LFO options as well, 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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