Web Audio Synthesis & Visualization

Learning Synths with Ableton

Web Audio Synthesis & Visualization

Check out a free preview of the full Web Audio Synthesis & Visualization course

The "Learning Synths with Ableton" Lesson is part of the full, Web Audio Synthesis & Visualization course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Matt walks through the various resources provided in the learning synths playground by Ableton including some material covered in this course such as amplitude, pitch, and effects. A demonstration of the synth recipes section, which provides settings for some common synth sounds, is also provided in this segment.


Transcript from the "Learning Synths with Ableton" Lesson

>> So if you're wanting to go down this rabbit hole of synthesizing audio and especially synthesizing music. That's where you start to wanna learn a bit more about the things like the envelope, attack, decay, sustain, release. And also how do you actually layer together these different synths to create specific types of sounds.

And a really great resource for that is learning synths by Ableton, and I have the links in the the course repo as well at the bottom and the resources page. And it's a really fantastic online digital book very interactive, [SOUND] and showing some of the ideas that I've talked about in terms of amplitude, [SOUND] in terms of frequency and things like that and pitch [SOUND] and then also going into details about how to use all these things [SOUND] to create really rich sounding electronics synthesizer.

[SOUND]. So I'll just go straight to a certain chapter, let's just see here. [SOUND]. You can start to see some of these demos here. They reproduce the old school service analogue synths that you might use if you're a musician But, using just entirely digital Web Audio API sort of structure here.

Giving us controls over amplitude and other parameters of the synths so these parameters like brightness and movement they define these parameters and then for example this movement parameter might be affecting in tone it might be called an LFO low frequency oscillator. And that's what creates these kind of back and forth sounding wobbly sounds that you get from this movement parameter here [SOUND].

And something like brightness, it's hard to say what that is exactly. It could be chorus, it could be distortion or something else that you could probably achieve something similar just using some of the effects here and hooking up the wet parameter to a slider like they have in Ableton here.

[SOUND] So there's a specific few that I just wanna show, if I can find it. So yeah, there's a whole chapter on envelopes, it's really fantastic. And LFO's how to oscillate the sound. But then they also have some recipes. And some examples of different sort of sounds and how these sounds come together.

So let's say,


Something like a pluck bass.


And you can hear now how changing this envelope changes the synths, so if we have a very long attack, it's not even hitting the peak of that signal because the note is being turned off before it hits the peak. So let's give it a short attack


And the decay is once it hits the peak does it go down, or how fast does it go down?


Gives it a bit more of a plucky feeling. And the sustain is, does it go down all the way to zero or does it does it stay at full volume? And just by changing this envelope, you can really create some drastically different sounds here and we haven't even really changed the synth at all we're just changing the envelope.

There's also effects we can add like this low pass filter is actually a great visualization of how a low pass filter looks if we were to graph it in a spectrum analyzer.


The lower this value is, the less that we're letting through. The less of the frequencies that we're letting through in the higher, the more relatable.


And even those modulators, so even these kind of allophones and these other things that are filtering, they can also have envelopes. And you can start to see how layering all these different features together. Start to create this.


Kind of playground where you begin to tweak little variables and find something that's good. And it's really nice to be able to play with something like this which is a system where you can change the envelope, you can see the envelope, you have all the settings here. And then once you're happy with things, you could potentially bring these into your code into your tone JS code.

It might take a little bit of time to figure out the exact way to try and reproduce some of these scents. But a lot of this Ableton learning synths guide is just using the same types of Web Audio API's that we've been exploring today. I'm not sure if they use tone JS.

I think there's a chance they might, or they might just have their own web audio API interface. But from what I've seen, all of this should be very possible with something like tone JS if it just Take a bit of time to figure out what it is that they're they're doing to create these types of oscillators and how they're layering them together


[SOUND] So just to find another one that's a little different here let's see. These are using just different envelopes again


And you might find a few leads or a few sounds keys that are using multiple oscillators, or different types of oscillators.


Anyways, this site is really fun to just go through the site and just like, see what you can do and see what you can hear and how you can change it. And then even just go to this playground and really just like, dive into doing your own synths and making them in different ways and just playing around here.

So I highly recommend checking this out. Just like going through the guide, and just having fun with this amazing resource

Learn Straight from the Experts Who Shape the Modern Web

  • In-depth Courses
  • Industry Leading Experts
  • Learning Paths
  • Live Interactive Workshops
Get Unlimited Access Now