Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Modular Synth Course from Synth Industry Veteran Chris Meyer

A couple weeks back I received an email from Chris Meyer telling me about a new modular synth course he's put together on Lynda, a video teaching site.  Chris has a pretty serious synth-creation resume, going all the way back to Sequential where he invented vector synthesis, most famously used on the Prophet VS.  He's also worked for Roland, Digidesign (the company behind Pro Tools and Sibelius), and Marion Systems.

If you're looking for a good way to get into modular synthesis and synthesizers, this is a great way to start.  There's years of experience behind these videos, and the videos cover building a modular system and different formats of modules, in addition to just teaching about the basics of synthesis.

If you're strapped for cash and want to sample the lessons, it looks like you can get 10 days free before they start billing you (be sure to use this link), which should be plenty of time to check out the course, which looks to be about four hours long in total.

Here's Chris's official press release.

"Learn Modular Synthesis

If you’re new to modular synthesis and are wondering just how you’re supposed to use all those cables and knobs to create the sounds you hear in your head, synth industry veteran Chris Meyer – the creator of Vector Synthesis, and long-time modular enthusiast – has created the online course “Learn Modular Synthesis” (http://bit.ly/LearnModular) for LinkedIn/Lynda.com that will help take you from ground zero to patching your own sounds. It starts with a pair of “fundamentals” movies teaching the principles of harmonics and voltage control, then spends a chapter helping you weigh what to consider when configuring your own system – it even covers correctly plugging in the power jumpers to avoid costly disasters.

The meat of the course is the chapters on “Learning Subtractive Synthesis” and “Exploring Alternate Techniques” that slowly build up your knowledge module-by-module and technique-by-technique. The first starts with oscillators and waveforms (analog and digital), and then adds in filters demonstrating the effect of using different modes, slopes, and adding resonance. After that it moves onto modulation, including comparing different envelope shapes plus demonstrating typical LFO (low frequency oscillator) applications. The latter chapter gets into oscillator sync, FM, AM, waveshaping, low pass gates, and even effects, including processing externals sounds through your modular synth. Throughout the course he uses a small 2-row rack mount system based on the Roland System 500, expanded with modules from a wide variety of manufacturers. He even color-codes his cables based on function, making it easier to follow a patch. By the end, you’ll be familiar with a wide range of both “East Coast” and “West Coast” techniques.

A few movies – such as those on control voltage, patching a typical subtractive synthesizer voice, and exponential frequency modulation – are free to all. The rest of the course requires a Lynda.com subscription. However, if you sign up with the URL http://lynda.com/trial/chrismeyer, you get full access to the entire site – including over 200 other audio and music courses – for 10 days before they start to bill your credit card. It only costs $25/month if you decide to stay a member. For more information including an introductory movie, visit the Training page on Chris’ “Learning Modular” web site:http://learningmodular.com/training/."