Best courses or resources to learn synth programming from basic to advanced?


Active Member
Hello everyone!

I am tired of tweaking presets and would really like to dive in to soundesign and synth programming, where do i start? and what synth would you recommend starting with?
I learned Cubase from which helped me a ton from basics to advanced and this is what i am looking for, any suggestions?

This isn't exactly what you are after, but have you seen Christian's "modular Mondays" videos? They start out pretty basic, and he explains the absolute nuts and bolts of the signal flow etc which might help you get a good starting overview of how synths work by seeing how modular synths work.

Check out the first couple here:



Active Member
Hello fustrun!
Here are, to me, the things I’d go with:

1)Pdf - Gordon Reid: Synth Secrets in 63 Parts (SOS Articles)

2)Article - Cryonautmedia:
Reverse Engineering Presets: An Interactive Guide

But even without those fabulous SOS Articles,
Use digital technology (something like Zebra) to your advantage, that is:
learn by doing, and failing, and doing it again, as many times as it takes...

I could be wrong but,
I think that Great Presets are practically all the beginning to advanced mentorship you need, they are the equivalent of having the score of a great master in your hands, just waiting to be dissected...

Learn it like a kid who’s ignorant and unintimidated of his own ignorance would...
And question where the authority of the most valuable resource really is...
I’m always reminded that it’s as if you were to find the still-functioning remains of an alien aircraft, what do you do? You can of course, first, learn all the theory there hopefully exists to know and understand every separate components, metals, electronics, associations as basically and as deeply as you can from the outside, and there certainly is value in that, or...

You can get excited by it like the kid inside you, and go directly second or exclusively, right at the source and pick it apart, where the eureka moments are, until you get a deep intuitive feel for it. And really, at the core of it all you trust yourself, that it’s ok to be on your own, that your brain will find the way all by itself, even when you don’t know anything yet...

Thanks to presets, you will then have at your disposal the experience of making endless variations of different families of sound within strings, brass, woods, perc, that no outside tutorial or book will ever give you... Presets are a very worthy resource of your time which I don’t think even the oldest masters of Synthesizers had at the time they started their journey in sound making...

So...Ultimately, learn from the masters, of presets you admire, because presets are not the opposite of an education in Sound Synthesis, even though digital, they are the established language, the knowledge, the history of synthesizers and more...

Happy Practicing!


my office these days
I've been playing with synthesizers since the mid 1970s, when I'd sneak into the local mall piano store and "try" their ARP 2600. I signed up for Syntorial a while back and I pick up new tricks and ideas every time I use it.


Senior Member
Groove3 has several synthesizer tutorials, including a few about synth basics and several specific to one or more commercial synths.

EDIT: my subscription has lapsed but I think one of my favorite beginner tutorials was called "Analog synth tutorial".

Studio E

Eric Watkins
Having learned from the school of hard knocks and trying to create sounds for cover bands for decades, I wish Syntorial had existed in the 90s when I got started. It would have saved me years of trial and error and I still learned a ton of great stuff decades later when I started it. I honestly think there's no better primer for all the rest of the training one might receive.


New Member
You can get a free book on synth programming at Noise Sculpture's website called:
How to Make a Noise: a Comprehensive Guide to Synthesizer Programming

Fred Welsh has two excellent books on synth programming (available from Amazon):

Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook: Synthesizer Programming, Sound Analysis, and Universal Patch Book

Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook, Vol 2: Harmonic Catalog

And Keyboard Magazine has collated a number of its articles on synth programming and published them in a book called Steal This Sound.

Finally, the Logic Pro X "Instruments" manual has a 30 page appendix called "Synthesizer Basics" which provides an overview of the physics of sound and a discussion of various types of synths. The manual is available from Apple's website.


Came from the future
Syntorial, best thing ever. Because you learn interactively by doing it, having clear, structured lessons, learning one new element at a time and it trains your ears for what a sound consists of and what is used how. Way better than just reading article or watching lessons of someone just talking and explaining it to you, cuz you get your own hands on.

Alternatively: Just study the manual of your synth well and do try it all out on your synth chaper by chapter while reading what it does.