There are countless books and videos on the topic of synthesis that aim to explain the theory and give you tips for programming your own sounds. However, it takes a certain amount of discipline to pause at a given point and then load up a synth to explore what you’ve just learned. Audible Genius is a new company from New York that aims to offer a completely new take on synth training with its first release, Syntorial…
Manufacturer Audible Genius
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Unlike traditional video tutorials, Syntorial runs as a standalone program with interactive lessons and challenges and its own built-in subtractive synth, called Primer. You also get a copy of the synth as a VST and AU so you can use it in your DAW.
Syntorial works through each section of the synth, starting with the basics of the oscillators and filters and showing you only the parts you need for the lessons in question. You’re presented with a video explaining each section and then given a series of challenges where you hear an example sound and then have to re-create it using just your ears and the controls.
To make things easier, parameters are notched, so you might have to choose from, say, five different envelope attack times. Once you’ve made your settings you submit the sound and Syntorial gives you a score based on how close you are to the original. The early lessons may prove easy for anyone familiar with their synths, but, rest assured, once more parameters such as unison, effects, distortion, ring modulation and LFOs are added to the pot, things become much more challenging, with a total of 64 synth parameters to tweak by the end.
There are 129 challenges in total, interspersed with videos, ear-training quizzes and tasks that require you to use what you’ve learnt on a different soft-synth of your choice.
We found Syntorial to be well presented and fun to use, and unlike other tutorials we’ve seen, the training is on getting your ears to re-create sounds and determine the intricate differences in the settings. On the surface it may seem a little expensive, but it’s a large package that you’ll get hours of training from. There are also plans for expansions that will look at more advanced patches, different forms of synthesis and other effects.