Ableton has decided it’s time for us to learn all about synthesis in a delightfully simple and colourful way. Learning Synths is a browser based interactive sound generating tool that takes you through all of the synth basics – and it’s brilliant.
It takes all the basic concepts and breaks them down into simple graphics and interactive sound. You start with amplitude and pitch and then interact with them together in an XY form. In then connects that to a synthesizer, starts bringing in ideas of notes and brightness and modulation and before you know it you’re back to the XY pad again but this time a superimposed synth is showing you how the sound changes depending on what you’re doing.
It then takes you through the sort of sounds synths can make – long evolving ones, short ones, sound effects and percussion. Then it gets into envelopes which is really very effective and actually goes into a lot of useful depth and detail where you might actually be learning something.
This is so great! I’m loving the LFO that acts as a robot arm moving the pitch up and down – brilliant! It’s got waveforms and pulse width modulation and a totally fabulous filter example of a door closing on a disco – it’s so good. And before you know it you’re controlling proper synth parameters.
Flippin’ heck – West Coast? You’ve got wave blending and filter envelopes and all sorts going on here. And then there’s patch after patch of cool basic synth sounds that are a useful study for anyone interested in synthesizers.
And once you’ve finished there’s a whole synth you can play with right in your browser. You can use your mouse or the qwerty keyboard or if you have webMIDI set up then you can use a MIDI keyboard.
Learning synths is deliciously simple, interactive and full of really solid information presented in an easy and colourful form. Just fabulous – go and try it out.