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Music & Entertainment

Introduction To Synthesized Sounds


Lesson time 11:51 min

Once you've got a chord structure and an arrangement, it's time to build the unique instrumental sounds that give your track its character. It all starts with learning the basics of synthesis.

Teaches Electronic Music Production
6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.
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Well, the crucial thing to know about synthesizers to make music is just that you have to understand that they're all the same more or less. Learning synths in general is just a good way to get you closer to being able to, oh, I want a really humming bass drone in there. And you'll know that you need to load up a few saw waves or squares or something like that and then put a filter-- a low pass filter-- on it a bit and then play low notes and that kind of stuff. And maybe depending on how bright or dark you want the sound, you'll know that it's a lot to do with the filter coefficient. And because you'll know that, you'll know how to use any synth to get that kind of sound. I like hearing what synth they used and then hearing it and knowing in my mind how it was treated and processed to not sound like how it does when I just plug the thing directly in and monitor it and listen to it. More often than not, it's like, yeah, I know what song that was on. I know what song that was on. I know what song was that was on. My favorite was-- and God bless them, a talented bunch of guys-- it was The Prodigy with Firestarter. They were big fans of this synth that came out, and I of course, didn't know this at the time. But I had found a Korg Prophecy a long time ago, and it is a weird alien spaceship looking thing. It was at the time the holy grail of these new synth things, and a buddy of mine had one. So I go over to his place and check it out and I'm pressing some notes, changing some patches. And of course, there's this one patch that just sounds amazing. And it's like this cool 8-bit arpeggiation textural wash. And it was called FireStar, and it's the second preset on the Korg thing. And then of course, it's the opening of the track Firestarter by The Prodigy, and I thought that was the most hilarious thing in the world is they named the whole track after a preset, which they used in the first thing of the thing. And that was kind of cool. But of course, that gets abused a lot. Like guys will author these synths or program patches or plug-ins and stuff like that, and then, of course, these artists go and they grab them and they hit the one note and then there it is on the album. And then I think 80% of the population is saying, wow, that's the coolest sound I've ever heard. And then, it's always like, the 10% within the 10% of the producer population just rolling their eyes like, oh, gees. They didn't even do anything to it. The quickest way to learn synthesis in general is just downloading some cheap as free or free plug-ins and messing around with them. Let's see here, this is the second one here. So you're going to have, this is just a straight up saw wave there with the filter all the way open. And then you can additive, just me mixing in and out a squarewave with it. That's a square and then a sine wave, which is just a pure [? sinusoidal ?] wave form. And then, of...

Make better music

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

If your the only person that likes your music, you won. If other people like your music, you & they won. If Joel likes your music...then wow that sh** don't happen everyday. If it's not about your music, and more about being the next DeadMau5, Skrillex, or [Insert your idol here]....then you lose. Don't be a loser, there's too many of those already.

Nice to take some tips here and there, also seeing that we share common opinion about few things. Having some clean audio bounce (especially in mastering, analog/digital part) could help tho ;)

It was really useful to see into the creative mind of Joel - it really helped seeing how he builds his sounds in the digital audio workstations. The melody lessons and mix and mastering are probably the most helpful (to me anyway). Really enjoyed it!

he was a great teacher and really fun to listen to, much advice was taken from here. thank you


Ronald M.

this cleared up so much with understanding synths and making them. damn so glad i paid for these masterclasses

J S.

Damn I wish I saw this when I first started using Synths lol solid info right here


I wonder if he ever fiddled around with Propellerhead's Reason, so many synths and effects to play with and endles copies of equipement to patch together in whatever way one might imagine (and not have the money for in the real world). I've learned a lot about sound synthesis just from figuring out the in and outs of Thor polysonic- and lately Europa wavetable synthesizer in Reason.

A fellow student

Yes you can use it as a sidechain effect. sidechaining wit a lfo works basically the same way as side chaining with a plugin like kickstart do. Another way to sidechainis multifrequency ducking. it sounds harder tahn it actually is just look it up on yt or something

John M.

Hi! Can I use LFOs to get a side chain effect? If yes, would you recommend it? Thanks! -John from Philippines

A fellow student

It's fascinating to see him at work, the confidence he has on his tools, and most of all I find really precious to have the opportunity to understand how an artist of this caliber start to develop his works. But I expected more attention by the editors of the masterclasses, more care about the contents that we are paying. A lot of information found in this video are wrong (e.g. he mistook "additive" and "subtractive" synthesis; he claimed to set up interval of 5th and 7th when, in the arpeggiator, "5" and "7" were the distance of notes expressed in semitones). The good side is that this masterclasses looks more sincere and true, without filter between us and the artists. The bad side is that people are getting wrong information.

A fellow student

It’s hard to explain basics and he does a great job summing it up in laments terms


I‘m pretty disappointed of this class. It’s cool to see how he approaches composing, but most of the videos are him explaining the basics of a synth, which I think is not worth the money.

kay L.

this is an awesome Class and thanks for Dead5 to have the time to share his knowledge with us. Nobody is perfect and for whom are trying to find all the errors in the Videos, I will say: First, Try to be a Superstar DJ and Producer, try to get a better ranking as Dead5 and then you can criticize someone. Another Thing: Not all Superstar DJs and Producers will open their Studio and share their Knowledge with others.


I thought this was fu%kin awesome. There is one negative comment on here about his 'teaching ability' ... dude, the guys a superstar producer! Not a teacher and thank goodness. If 'you' have the ability and the drive to benefit from watching a master at his game you would have benefitted from this whether he said, additive when he meant subtractive or whatever. I for one have just learnt a ton from this vid and can see already how I am gonna apply his principles to my game. Amazing teacher!