Synthesis 101 - A Beginner's Introduction to Synthesis

Synthesis 101 includes 22 videos that cover all the fundamentals of electronic synthesis inside of Ableton Live.
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Instructed by Drew Betts Music / Production
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  • Lectures 23
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

Synthesis 101 is an intensive online course that includes:

22 videos that cover all the fundamentals of synthesis.

These videos contain the essential information only. No filler. They are concise and to the point, designed to get you up and running with synthesis in the minimum amount of time possible!

Additional overviews of FM, additive, granular, wavetable, and Karplus Strong physical modelling synthesis.

A full Ableton Live template complete with tons of synth patches and processing Racks demonstrating the techniques in practice.


Tired of using other people's played-out presets? Time to learn how to design your own sounds! This series will help you to get familiar with synthesis. It will equip you with the skills to create tons of new sounds and build your own unique arsenal of signature patches. The sky is not the limit, it's your playground!

Synthesis is one of the core skills of a professional music producer. Imagine being able to hear a sound in your head, and recreate it in no time using your favourite synth? We all know that developing your own unique sound is a key ingredient to creating music people recognize and remember. Your new abilities with synthesis will empower you to start cultivating your own distinct sound.

If you have ever opened up a synth and felt lost, overwhelmed, or intimidated…this course is for you! Pretty much any synth, regardless of it's make or interface, has the same “guts"; the same fundamental components: Oscillators, envelopes, filters, LFOs etc. After completing this series, you will be able to open the vast majority of synthesizers, easily identify these components, and quickly start making the sounds you want.

Knowing what each parameter does, and knowing how to USE them are two different things. In this series, we cover both. You'll be introduced to the main parameters in synthesis, and then shown practical examples of how to use them. This combination of theory with real-world application will make sure you're making leaps and bounds forward in your skills in the shortest period of time. We're all about impact.

Synthesis can seem very complex to a new producer. Rest assured that we break things down into easily understood, bite-sized chunks. During the series, you'll get comfortable with all the technical lingo and we'll demystify the process of generating sound. You'll emerge feeling capable and confident in your knowledge, vocabulary and abilities. Let's do this!

What are the requirements?

  • Software Requirements: Ableton Live 8 or Ableton Live 9* (see below)
  • What if I don’t have Live? This is course is designed to teach concepts, and because of this, Ableton Live itself is not 100% necessary so long as you have a comparable DAW and synths to work with

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Protecting your speakers and hearing
  • Overview of a synthesizer
  • Oscillators
  • Frequency and pitch
  • Basic waveforms
  • Monophonic and polyphonic
  • Glide and portomento
  • Introduction to filters
  • Basic filter types
  • Amplifier stage
  • Intro to modulators
  • MIDI modulators
  • Low frequency modulators (LFOs)
  • Envelopes
  • Introduction to frequency modulation (FM) synthesis
  • Introduction to additive synthesis
  • Introduction to granular synthesis
  • Introduction to physical modeling synthesis
  • Introduction to wavetable synthesis

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is for beginners but is applicable for all levels of musical education

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.


Section 1: Synthesis 101
1 page

Before getting started please familiarize yourself with the course content by reading our welcome to Synthesis 101! Also be sure to download the course files in the Udemy Downloadable Resources section of this lecture.


Synthesizers are capable of producing sounds that can easily overload and damage your speakers and your hearing.


A overview of a typical subtractive synthesizer made up of 3 fundamental sections: Oscillators, Filters and Amplitude.


An overview of oscillators.


How frequency and pitch work inside of oscillators.


Common waveforms you will encounter inside of a synthesizer.


An overview of monophonic and polyphonic.


An overview of glide and portamento.


An introduction to filters.


An overview of the different types of basic filters.


An overview of the amplifier stage.


An introduction to modulators.


Using a MIDI controller and the types of data it can send out to a synth.


An overview of Low Frequency Oscillators (LFOs)


An overview of envelopes.


An introduction to Frequency Modulation (FM) Synthesis.


An introduction to Additive Synthesis.


An introduction to Granular Synthesis.


An introduction to Physical Modelling Synthesis.


An introduction to Wavetable Synthesis.


Learn how to make a pad using Analog.


Learn how to make wobble bass using Analog.


Learn how to make womp rat bass in Analog.

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Instructor Biography

Drew Betts, Vespers, Ableton Certified Trainer

Vespers, Ableton Certified Trainer, is an entrepreneur and musician who's chosen Ableton Live as a platform from which to generate his artistic works and career. Vespers' courses focus on helping computer musicians make the transition from hobby to successful career artists. As a producer, he's currently signed to Adapted Records, Westwood Recordings and actively releases electronic music. Having a background as an acoustic musician has helped Vespers to explore and understand the recording, DJing and live performance aspects of Live. His experience includes 7 years of classical piano, 21 years of jazz saxophone, 12 years of DJing and 10 years of electronic music production. Vespers is heavily engaged in HD, screencast video education with Live on his Youtube channel and video blog. His videos are routinely posted by some of the largest music education blogs in the world. Having knowledge of the program that extends beyond just the studio has been an asset for Vespers. He uses Looper to integrate saxophone and Akai EWI wind synth overdubs into his live performances and uses sampling extensively to create innovative banks of sounds triggered via MIDI during shows. His most recent project, Warp Academy, brings the talents of many other Ableton Certified Trainers and industry experts all under one roof for the ultimate electronic music training experience.

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