Essential Synth Tutorials: Part 2

Synthesizers are amazing instruments that allow musicians to shape sound into almost endless possibilities. This enormous potential can seem overwhelming at first. However, once learned, the knowledge of signal flow and subtractive synthesis can be transferred from one instrument to the next. We recently posted 7 Essential Synth Tutorials to help you start to craft your own sounds. Below are seven more tutorials that will help you get a jump start on crafting your own custom sounds. The examples are shown on a JD-XA, but they can be created using almost any subtractive synthesizer.

Contributed by Roland Canada

Riser Effect

The riser effect is very popular in EDM and techno, but it is also used in pop and rock music. It is usually used during a transition and can create tension during a build. Watch to learn how to use a noise and a filter sweep to create this popular sound effect.

Side Chain

Side chaining is a common technique that is used in EDM. The standard way of doing it is by sending the kick track to a compressor’s side chain input. This causes the compressor to reduce its output level every time the kick is played. Check out this video to see how an LFO can be used to create a similar effect.

Tape Warble

When used subtly, tape warble can be a desired effect. It makes a sound seem more vintage and adds a bit of character. Some musicians and producers go as far as sending a track through an old reel-to-reel tape machine in order to get this effect. Watch this video to learn how to create a tape warble effect with an LFO.

Chiptune Sound

Chiptune music is created using vintage videogame systems and computers. These devices were often very limited, and the tones are mostly bright and noisy. In this video, we show you how to create similar sounds on almost any subtractive synthesizer.

Deep Bass

Creating a deep sounding bass often requires knowing what to remove in order to enhance the desired portion of the sound spectrum. This video shows how to use a low-pass filter and sub oscillator to craft a thick bass sound.

Trance Pluck

This sound is very popular in trance and EDM genres. It is very easy to create, and sounds great with an arpeggiator. Watch this video to see how easy it is to start creating your own dance hit.


LFO Arpeggiator

An arpeggiator is a useful tool to easily play repeating patterns on a synthesizer. The JD-XA has an arpeggiator, but many other synthesizers do not. Check out this video to learn how to use an LFO to create a simple arpeggio pattern that is great for bass lines.

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Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-50 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!