Sylenth Tutorial: Master Lennar Digital's Sylenth1

Create your own sound patches by mastering the art and science of subtractive synthesis with Lennar Digital's Sylenth1!
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Instructed by Dylan Bowes Music / Music Software
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  • Lectures 55
  • Length 8 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 2/2015 English

Course Description

Don't be a "preset-picker" anymore!

You get frustrated with your productions because you are constantly scrolling through factory presets of your synthesizers. You look at the user interface of Sylenth and think to yourself, "I'll never know how to use this thing. It's too complicated. It's for professionals." You try to mess with some of the controls, but give up because it takes too long. Then you return to scrolling through presets again and sticking to stock sounds for your mixes.

I'm here to change all that.

You can master the principles of subtractive synthesis--even if you don't know what that means. You can design your own sounds from scratch. You can learn how to imagine a sound and then build it from the ground up using Sylenth.

After taking this course, you will be able to dream up a sound, determine the right building blocks for that sound, and design it inside Sylenth--and quickly. I will teach you the fundamental principles of subtractive synthesis, walk you through every single nook and cranny of the software, and show you exactly how to create your very own sounds from scratch.

I created this course to be comprehensive--if you are new to sound design or synthesis, you will not be left behind. If you are somewhat familiar with using synthesizers, I promise you will learn new valuable techniques for your productions.

Using 55 high definition screencasts, I'll teach you everything you need to know about Lennar Digital's Sylenth software. We leave no knob unturned or LFO un-cycled. We will walk through every aspect of the software methodically, and then use a cookbook approach to building our own sounds. I'll also include my own presets used in the course for you to download for your own reference.

You will leave this course a master of Sylenth.


Lennar Digital's "Sylenth" is a powerful, versatile, and all-around awesome sounding soft synth.

Highly regarded among producers and DJs as the only virtual synthesizer which truly emulates the warmth and clarity of analog hardware synths, Sylenth is the primary tool for many electronic and pop music producers. In this course, you will learn every aspect of this very powerful virtual synthesizer.

Using 100% high definition video tutorials, you will learn how to navigate the software, how the audio signal path works, and how to design sounds from scratch--from screaming leads to fat basses, weird fx patches, lush pads, and even drum loops!

All you need is the Sylenth VST and a host DAW (digital audio workstation) of some kind. I'll show you the rest. We will walk through the entire architecture of the software, from oscillators to filters to modulation routing to effects processing. Everything you need to create unique, stunning sounds is contained within this course.

Even if you have no prior knowledge of sound design, analog synthesis, or music theory, by the end of this course you will be creating your own sound patches with confidence and creativity. In the process, you will develop skills in analog synthesis which you can translate to many other synths such as Native Instruments' Massive, Rob Papen's Predator, and just about any other virtual analog synthesizers.

You will also learn how to design specific sounds for specific genres. Are you tired of sifting through presets, unhappy with your choices? Learn how to translate the sounds in your head into powerful, rich, and warm patches which you can save in your own soundbank.

Don't be a preset picker! Learning how to design your own sounds will take your productions to the next level. It will help you be more musical and will make your mixes unique.

Join us and become a master of Sylenth.

What are the requirements?

  • Lennar Digital Sylenth1 Software
  • Some kind of host DAW (digital audio workstation) such as Logic Pro, FL Studio, Cubase, etc.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Design and build your own sounds from scratch
  • Learn the fundamental principles of subtractive synthesis
  • Create unique leads, basses, pads, and fx
  • Learn advanced analog synthesis techniques and apply those techniques to other soft synths
  • Break free from the endless preset-picking slump
  • Navigate the interface of Sylenth like a pro

Who is the target audience?

  • Music Producers
  • DJs
  • Singer-Songwriters
  • Home-recording enthusiasts
  • Songwriters

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



In this lecture I will give a brief introduction to the purpose and structure of the course. I'll explain how the course works and what you'll learn as we go along. First we will give an overview of subtractive synthesis and the different sections of Sylenth. Next, we'll look at the specifics of each section in detail. Last, we'll do a bunch of sound design walkthroughs. Interspersed among the lectures we will do brief intermissions in which we'll design a sound together. There will also be an optional quiz at the end of each section to reinforce what we've learned.


In this lecture I will quickly demonstrate how to purchase or demo the software from Lennar Digital's website. I will also discuss the somewhat quirky 32bit/64bit problem that some DAWs (including mine) have and how to handle that. The link to the website is in the external resources.


In this lecture I will discuss the basic principles of subtractive synthesis and sound design. Where does sound come from? What are the building blocks of any sound? We'll answer these questions and provide a foundation for the rest of the course.

3 questions

Before we get any further, let's make sure we have the fundamentals down.


In this lecture we will walk through the architecture of the synthesizer. In other words, we will go through every single section contained within the user interface and explain the signal flow of the sound.

Sylenth Architecture: Part 2

In this lecture we will discuss how to navigate the menus and choose presets. We will also look at the very useful save, initialize, and randomize functions which will help you build and manage your own sounds.


In this lecture we will work to understand the various parameter controls, their units of measurement, and their purpose in the sound design process. What parts of the user interface are buttons? How can we change the sync mode of the parameter controls? Why are some knobs measured in hertz, others in seconds, and still others in bar divisions?


In this lecture we will discuss in detail the oscillator section of Sylenth. The oscillators are the building blocks of sound. We will go through the various available waveforms and discuss how they produce different sounds. We will also discuss all of the available parameter controls such as detune, phase, and pitch controls.

Oscillators: Part 2

The envelope determines the time boundaries of the sound. In this lecture we discuss how to use the envelope to shape the sound over time. Will your sound have a fast attack? A pluck? A long fade-in and fade-out? These boundaries are determined by the amplitude envelopes.


Throughout the course we will take brief intermissions from the somewhat heady process of explaining every parameter of the synth and design a sound! In this first intermission, we will design a simple trance lead patch.

You can download the preset in the external resource section below.


In this lecture we will discuss the different filter routing options within the synth. Sylenth contains two filters (Filter A and Filter B). We look at how to route the different parts to the different filters and why you might do so.


In this lecture we discuss the different available filter types and how they influence your sound. Sylenth features a low pass, high pass, and band pass filter. What are the differences between these filters? What is a filter anyway? We will answer all of these questions. We will also look at the various other controls inside the filter such as resonance, cutoff, and filter drive.

Filter Types & Parameters: Part 2

In addition to the two filters, Sylenth also features a Filter Control section which controls the sum of the two filters. In this lecture we discuss the Filter Control Section and how you can use it to shape the sum of the two filters. In this lecture we also discuss the very important control known as Keytracking.


Sylenth contains a simple Mixer section which allows you to set the balance between the different parts (A and B) and also the main output of the synth. In this lecture we discuss balancing the different parts using the Mixer.


At the bottom of the user interface, you will find a keyboard section. In this lecture we discuss the various parameters in the keyboard section including the modulation wheels and the portamento settings.


In this intermission we will design a kick drum in Sylenth using a simple sine wave with envelope modulation on the pitch and the cutoff frequency of the lowpass filter.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.

9 questions

Before we move on, why don't we take a moment to review the aspects of the user interface and architecture of the synth.


In this lecture we provide a general overview of the concept of modulation as well as some definitions that we will use later in the course. We will discuss the difference between a modulation source and a modulation destination. We will look at the various source options as well as the destination options.


Sylenth contains two modulation envelopes. These are different from the two amplitude envelopes. In this lecture we discuss the modulation envelopes and how to use them to modulate certain parameters by applying time boundaries.


In addition to the modulation envelopes, Sylenth contains two Low Frequency Oscillators (or LFOs). In this lecture I will discuss the principle of low frequency oscillation and how it influences the sound as a modulation source.


In this intermission we will design a simple gated patch using the arpeggiator in step mode with no transposition. By tying together certain steps in the sequence with no transposition, we can create rhythmic movement.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


Low Frequency Oscillators have many powerful applications. In this lecture we will go into greater detail with the LFOs and discuss some common applications such as vibrato and tremolo.


In addition to the envelopes and LFOs, Sylenth also provides four miscellaneous modulation tabs. In these miscellaneous modulation tabs, you can set the source of the modulation and its destination. In this lecture we will discuss the various sources available.


Did you know that you can use modulation to modulate modulation? Hmm? In this lecture, we provide an example of using a miscellaneous modulation source (aftertouch) to modulation the LFO rate and gain (which modulates the pitch). You can piggy-back modulation sources to create even more powerful patches.


For this intermission, we will design a rich, analog string pad by piling on sawtooth waves, creating a little movement with an LFO, and making sure our amplitude sets the right time boundaries.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.

4 questions

Before we move on to the arpeggiator, let's solidify our understanding of Modulation.

Section 4: The Arpeggiator

In the center of the user interface we find the arpeggiator and the master effects. In this lecture I will provide a brief overview of the center LCD section as well as some of the global controls common to the different effects.


The arpeggiator contains several different modes. In this lecture I will describe the different modes and provide examples to demonstrate their differences.


In addition to different modes, the arpeggiator also contains different velocity settings. In this lecture we will walk through the different velocity settings and look at examples demonstrating their differences.


In this lecture we cover the remaining controls in the arpeggiator. We look at the sequencer matrix, the gate and rate knobs, and also the octave and wrap selectors. We will explain every aspect of the arpeggiator and how each influences the sound.


Since the arpeggiator has a lot of controls and we covered a lot of content in the previous three lectures, let's design an arpeggiator patch as an example and use all of the tools we gained in the previous lectures.


Time for another brief intermission. This time, we'll design a Moog style bass patch. This is one of my favorite sounds and I use it all the time. With a simple pulse wave and sine wave, we'll apply an envelope to the lowpass filter to create a nice plucky analog bass patch.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.

6 questions

The arpeggiator has a lot of controls. Let's make sure we have it all down.


In this lecture we will walk through the various distortion types and discuss how each type affects the sound differently.


In this lecture we discuss the phaser effect. We will explain what the effect does to the sound from a sound design perspective. We will also carefully examine the many controls available within the phaser effect.

Phaser Part 2

For this intermission, we will design a white noise sweep/downlift using the noise waveform. We will modulate the cutoff of a bandpass filter using a sawtooth LFO.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this lecture I will provide an in-depth walkthrough of the parameters and controls within the chorus effect. We look at what the chorus effect does to the sound technically and how we can push the controls to the extremes to accomplish interesting and wild effects.


Sylenth allows some simple adjustments to the EQ of your patch. We'll discuss boosting the bass and the treble, as well as what the frequency knobs do. We'll use a graphic EQ plugin so that we can see the frequency changing with these parameters as well.


Sylenth contains a really powerful stereo delay effect. In this lecture we will go over all of the controls inside the effect including ping pong, smear, and feedback. We'll explain how each of these settings can change your delay effect.


Sylenth also contains a simple but good-sounding reverb effect. In this lecture we'll discuss the various controls inside the reverb effect and how to use them in your sound design.


Compression is one of the most important aspects of audio. Although this is not a course on compression, I will provide a good working foundation of the principle behind compression as well as an explanation of the compressor within Sylenth. If you don't know what compression is, don't dismay. We will build our foundation here.

Compressor Part 2

For this intermission, we'll design a nice digital bell patch. Pretty and clear, this patch is a lot of fun.

9 questions

Now that we've gone through all the effects, let's recap what we've learned.

Section 6: Sound Design Walkthroughs

In this walkthrough, we'll design a fat, distorted wobble bass. The wobble is created by applying an LFO to the cutoff frequency with an extreme gain setting. We can also modulate the rate of that LFO with the mod wheel using the miscellaneous modulation tab.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough we'll design a chiptune patch. Chiptune is a type of sound many people create by a technique known as "circuit-bending" which involves taking apart electronics such as an old Gameboy and making it into an instrument! But we can replicate a chiptune sound using Sylenth. We'll set up an HPulse wave and modulate its pitch with a sample and hold waveform.

You can download the patch in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough, we'll design a classic Fender Rhodes Piano sound in Sylenth. We'll set up a few sawtooth oscillators and modulate the cutoff of a lowpass filter with the mod envelope. Be sure to use keytracking on the filter control so that you don't lose your filtered sound as you move around the keyboard.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough we'll design a siren lead by modulating the pitch of the oscillator with an envelope. We'll use the attach fader in the envelope to create an upward movement of the pitch. We can also set a free-cycling LFO to the pitch with a slow rate to slowly build up the pitch over a few bars.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough, we'll create some amplifier feedback. We'll set up some HPulse oscillators with a bandpass filter with high resonance. We'll then use a random waveform in the LFO to modulate the cutoff and resonance of the bandpass filter. Add some overdrive distortion and you've got a gnarly feedback sound going. We can use LFO2 to modulate the mix AB to create a little movement, and then modulate the LFO rate with aftertouch to give ourselves some playability.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


Did you know you can create a hi hat pattern in Sylenth? You can! In this lecture we'll design a hi hat pattern using a noise wave going through the arpeggiator. We'll create the pattern by tying certain steps together. We can also use a pulse wave LFO on the cutoff frequency of our highpass filter which will create a polyrhythm.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough, we'll design something we might call a Bubble Lead. We'll use a triangle wave and modulate it with two different envelopes. The first envelope will modulate the cutoff frequency of a lowpass filter and the second will create a quick upwards pitch sweep. By balancing the attack and delay times of the two envelopes we can create a weird bubble sound. The point of this lecture is to demonstrate the power of really subtle modulation to create interesting sounds.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough we're going to design a spacey, phased-out, slow-evolving pad. We'll pile on some sawtooth oscillators. The main takeaway from this lecture is creating different amplitude envelopes on the different parts. Part B will have a fifth harmony, which we will set up using the note adjustment parameter. Then, we'll set up Part B to have a slower attack than Part A. This creates a slow evolution between the two parts. Each part will also have a different filter. Then once we pile on some further modulation and effects, we arrive at a really cool, spacey pad.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this lecture we'll build a classic 80s new wave keys patch. We'll use all four oscillators with some octave variations to create a harmonically rich patch. The key here is to determine the time boundaries with the amplitude envelope to bring out that keys sound.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough, we'll create a marimba arpeggiator pattern. We'll use a sine wave and a triangle wave with short decays to get that acoustic marimba sound. We'll set up the arpeggiator to create a rhythmic triolic pattern. Then we can set up a noise wave with an LFO modulating its bandpass filter to accomplish a sort of shaker sound to play along with it.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.


In this walkthrough we'll design a phasey polyrhythmic bass line. We'll use the arpeggiator to create one rhythm with the transpose row. Then we'll set up some modulation to the phase of the oscillator. In order to create the second rhythm pattern, we'll use a sawtooth LFO to modulate the cutoff frequency at a different rate from the arpeggiator. This gives us two complimentary rhythms in our bass line. We can throw on some foldback distortion to beef it up a bit too. Finally, we can use the modwheel to control the cutoff frequency so that we can play with it in real time.

You can download the preset in the external resources below.

Section 7: THE END!

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Instructor Biography

Dylan Bowes, Producer & Sound Designer

Dylan is a producer & sound designer in Los Angeles. He has taught music production and mixing techniques for more than four years.

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