What exactly are waveforms and why do you need to know how to use waveform shapes? Here’s the answer…
Waveforms are an essential part of a (subtractive) synthesizer that you can usually find in the oscillators area.
What are oscillators?
An oscillator is a function of a synthesizer where you can generate an audio signal. The audio signal, aka “soundwave” or “waveform”, can be shaped and tweaked to produce a unique sound. So, an oscillator is the absolute starting point of your sound design process. Thus, it’s very important to understand all the settings that come with it, such as waveform shapes.
How to use waveform shapes
Now, the first choice you have to make when you create a sound is determining which waveform you wish to use. You see, an oscillator can generate different waveform shapes, all producing different sound characteristics and harmonics, like a sine, triangle, pulse, saw, tri-saw and noise. These are the most common ones and watch the video for a demonstration what each waveshape sounds like.
In the video, I am using an empty Sylenth1 preset in FL Studio. However, you can use your own favorite synthesizer and application, since most of the settings will be similar. Also, don’t forget to draw some notes to produce an actual sound.
Choose your preferred waveform(s)
In the end, it’s your job to initiate a sound with any shape or form you like. From there, you can tweak that sound with all 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:
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 I don’t want you to miss out.