An In-Depth Introduction To Additive Synthesis

In his latest loopop video, synthesist Ziv Eliraz takes a deep dive into Additive Synthesis.

Eliraz explains it from the ground up, using multiple software synths, including Alchemy, Loom II, Pigments 3, Razor & PolyPhylla.

Topics covered:

0:00? Intro
0:30? Sound to sines
2:40? Adding up sines
4:10? Tonewheel “synths”
4:40? Partial envelopes
7:30? Resynthesis
11:30? Animating partials
12:30? Spectral curves
13:10? Alien invasion
15:25? Natural sounds
16:00? Additive effects
17:40? Formant morph
18:20? Env timeshift
19:20? Natural decay
20:20? More additive tips

Are you using an additive synthesizer? Share your thoughts in the comments!

8 thoughts on “An In-Depth Introduction To Additive Synthesis

  1. once I spent a week making a viable piano sound on my K5000S – learned a lot from the exercise, but it only left me with a nice sound of C4..

  2. Thank you for the tutorial. I had a Kawai K5m additive synthesizer module. It was noisy, but lots of fun. I didn’t make any realistic acoustic instruments with it, but experimenting with the levels fo the harmonics was fun and educational. There are old textbooks and articles about the acoustics of musical instruments that have graphs of spectra (harmonic levels) for various instruments, and you could start from those. There are various additive oscillators for VCVRack, so you can experiment with additive synthesis for free.

  3. I think there is a market gap for a decent additive hardware synth in the entry, standard and premium price points. Ditto for granular as well.

  4. Had a used K5000S years ago….sold it after 5 days of use. Good system but not my cup of tea. Sold it to a person that raved about it! Glad it found a friend.

  5. Razor offers a healthy range of clustered harmonics that make it a lot easier to get rolling. In my experience with additive, that’s a major plus. Likewise parameters for accentuating odd or even harmonics. Pigments 3 now includes an additive section that I’m enjoying. Its a galactic advance over my $#@! Kawai K5. Tweaking one harmonic at a time leads to madness and not fun-time analog madness, either.

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