Three Synthesizer Effects to Use in Your Next Song

In this day and age, many artists use synthesizers to enhance the sound of their music. Depeche Mode, MGMT, and Passion Pit all use synthesizers to create space for vocals, transitions between instruments, and other awesome effects. Here are a few features you should play around with and try incorporating in your next song!


This is a tool you can use to either enhance certain frequencies, or decrease other frequencies to change the song’s overall sound. Increasing high frequencies – like guitar riffs – will make your music seem brighter. Increasing low frequencies – like bass riffs – will make the mood darker and more muffled.


The most popular envelope generator comes in four stages: Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release. These parts are used to modify the output sound. You can make an attack last over a short period of time, then decay within a few milliseconds. Since actual instruments have a loudness that changes over time, the envelope generator gives more control to the user. Playing around with these stages will also give you whooshing and sweeping effects.


The most common waves to keep in mind are: sine, saw tooth, square, and triangle. You may see these pop up on your synthesizer screen, so it’s good to have an idea as to what each corresponds to. Tuning forks and whistles will make smooth, ocean-like sine waves. String instruments played with a bow will make zigzaggy saw tooth waves. Nintendo game soundtracks will make rich, edgy, square waves. And a sound similar to those that make sine and square waves will make triangle waves. You can modify a wave by changing its amplitude and frequency and seeing how that effects the overall song.

Synthesizers open possibilities for creating and blending all kinds of sounds and effects. So get creative with it!

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Michelle Nguyen is a writer whose passions include music, sports, health, and wellness. She loves playing drums and bass guitar, as well as swimming. If she indirectly helps you write the next “Stairway to Heaven,” she will be very happy.


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