basic synthesis — 31 Dec 2023

Synth Beginner Resources

We’ve assembled a list of the relevant blogs, forums, YouTube channels, tutorials, books, documentaries & even some free synths for your computer or mobile device to help get you started with synthesizers. Basically, a ton of educational resources to aid you in your synthesizer journey...


Online Resources

In this section you will find some helpful websites, blogs, forums, Youtube Channels & tutorials:

  • Basic Synthesis Blog - Our own original series demystifying synthesis
  • Ask Audio - Electronic Music Production news, reviews, tutorials and interviews
  • DivKidVideo (Youtube) - In depth videos of Eurorack modular reviews and tutorials
  • Doepfer A-100 Manual - Eurorack format specs and general info
  • ModularGrid - Database & planner for modular synthesizers
  • Synthtopia - Synthesizer and Electronic Music news, reviews & articles
  • Matrixsynth - Synthesizer and Electronic Music news, reviews & articles 
  • The Book of Bad Ideas V 2.0 - Modular synth patch ideas authored by the Modwiggler Community
  • ModWigglers - All encompassing synthesizer forum
  • Electro-Music forum - Synth DIY forum
  • Eurorack Synthesizers - Facebook group dedicated to Eurorack Modular Synths
  • Introduction to Serge Synthesizers - by Serge Tcherepnin
  • Vintage Synth Explorer - Vintage synth database
  • Learning Modular - Modular synthesizer online course by Chris Meyer
  • Loopop - Electronic Music gear news, reviews, ideas, tips & tricks
  • Sound and Synthesis - by Sara Belle Reid, VCV Rack based modular synth course
  • Syntorial - Synthesizer training course
  • Synth Secrets - Huge synthesis tutorial by Sound on Sound
  • - Semi-modular synth patch guide
  • Red Means Recording (Youtube) - Synth reviews, interviews & tutorials
  • Modular on The Moon - Online Modular synthesis school / course
  • Modular Wild / Raul’s World of Synths (Youtube) - Eurorack module overviews, tutorials / Doepfer tutorials
  • Synthesizers dot com (Youtube) - 5U modular patches, module overviews, tutorials
  • Mylar Melodies (Youtube) - Musical Artist with tutorial-leaning


Books, etc

A sizable reading list containing virtually every topic about electronic music production, synthesizer history, basics, advanced synthesis & Synth DIY (SDIY) and some other fun stuff:

  • A Guide to Modular Worlds (Ulf Kaiser & Rolf-Dieter Lieb)
  • Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer (Trevor Pinch)
  • Analog Electronic Music Techniques: In Tape, Electronic and Voltage-controlled Synthesizer Studios (Joel Naumann & James D. Wagoner)
  • Analog Synthesis - The Newbie Guide to Synthesizers and Sound Design (Reinhard Schmitz)
  • Analog Synthesizers (Mark Jenkins)
  • Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music (S. Alexander Reed)
  • Becoming a Synth Wizard (Simon Cann)
  • BJOOKS Patch & Tweak
  • BJOOKS Patch & Tweak with Moog
  • BJOOKS Patch & Tweak with Korg
  • BJOOKS Inspire the Music with Roland
  • BJOOKS Push, Turn, Move
  • BJOOKS Synth Gems 1
  • Build A Better Music Synthesizer (Thomas Henry)
  • Computer Music Tutorial (Curtis Roads)
  • Creating Sounds from Scratch: Practical Guide to Music Synthesis for Producers and Composers (Andrea Pejrolo)
  • Direct Digital Synthesizers: Theory, Design and Applications (Jouko Vankka & Kari Halonen)
  • Electronics for Dummies (Cathleen Shamieh / Gordon McComb)
  • Electronic Music (Allen Strange)
  • Electronic Music Pioneers (Ben Kettlewell)
  • Electronics Project for Musicians (Craig Anderton)
  • Electric Sound (Joel Chadabe)
  • FM Theory and Applications (John Chowning)
  • Foundations of Music Technology (V.J. Manzo)
  • How Synthesizers Work: A Simple Guide (Tony Horgan)
  • How to Program Any Synthesizer (Ashley Hewitt)
  • How to Wreck a Nice Beach (Dave Tomkins)
  • Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Nicolas Collins)
  • Interactive Composition: Strategies Using Ableton Live and Max for Live (V.J Manzo & Will Khun)
  • Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (David Novak)
  • Laboratory of Patching Illustrated Compendium of Modular Synthesis (Roland Kuit)
  • Live Wires: A History of Electronic Music (Dan Warner)
  • Loudbang: Programming Electronic Music in Pd (Joannes Kreidler)
  • Make: Analog Synthesizers (Ray Wilson)
  • Making Music: 74 Strategies for Electronic Music Producers (Dennis DeSantes)
  • Microsound (Curtis Roads)
  • Modulations: A History of Electronic Music (Peter Shapiro)
  • Music Synthesizers: A Manual of Design and Construction (Delton T. Horn)
  • Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers (Dr. J. Anthony Allen PhD)
  • Musimathics (Dr. Gareth Loy)
  • Noise Music: A History (Paul Hegarty)
  • Oblique Strategies Card Game (Brian Eno)
  • Patch: The Card Game (James Cigler)
  • Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Tara Rodgers)
  • Real World Digital Audio (Peter Kirn)
  • The Synthesizer 4 Book set (Roland)
  • Sound Synthesis - Analog and Digital Techniques (Terence Thomas)
  • Synth Bible: Subtractive Synthesis Foundations (Gabriel A. Estacio)
  • Synthesizer Basics (Brent Hurtig)
  • Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (Oli Freke)
  • Tape Leaders: A Compendium of Early British Electronic Composers (Ian Helliwell)
  • The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers (Peter Forrest)
  • The Ambient Century: From Mahler to Moby - The Evolution of Sound in the Electronic Age (Mark J Prendergast)
  • The Audio Programming Book (Edited by Richard Boulanger)
  • The Complete Guide to Synthesizers (Devarahi)
  • The Csound Book (Edited by Richard Boulanger)
  • The Fundamentals of Synthesizer Programming (Joseph Atkins)
  • The Prophet from Silicon Valley: The Complete Story of Sequential Circuits (David Abernathy)
  • The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 60’s Counterculture (David Bernstein)
  • The Synthesizer (Mark Vail)
  • Troubleshooting and Repairing Electronic Music Synthesizers (Delton T. Horn)
  • Vintage Synthesizers (Mark Vail)
  • Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook (Fred Welsh)
  • Wendy Carlos: A Biography (Amanda Sewell)



Electronic Music & Synthesizer Documentaries:

  • 808 (2015)
  • Deconstructing Dad (2010)
  • Discovering Electronic Music (1983)
  • Elaine Radigue - IMA Portrait Documentary (2009)
  • Electromotive - The Story of Arp Instruments (2020)
  • Electro Moscow (2013)
  • Haack: The King of Techno (2004)
  • I Dream of Wires (2014)
  • Italo Disco Legacy (2018)
  • Jungle Fever - Channel 4 (1994)
  • Mellodrama (2008)
  • Modulations (1998)
  • Modulo (2014)
  • Moog (2004)
  • People Who Do Noise (2008)
  • Prelude to Sleep: Jean-Jacques Perrey and Electronic Music (2008)
  • Pump of the Volume: A History of House Music (2001)
  • Sisters With Transistors (2020)
  • Synth Brittania (2009)
  • The Delian Mode (2009)
  • The Rise of Experimental Music in the 60’s (2005)
  • The Rise of the Synths (2019)
  • Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (1993)
  • The New Sound of Music (1979)
  • What the Future Sounded Like (2007)



Although software synths may lack the experience & tactility of hardware synths - here are some free software / apps if you want to familiarize yourself with the basics at little to no monetary cost. However, we welcome everyone to come into the CV showroom, explore our selection of gear, grab a set of headphones and spend some time with the synths. Of course we always encourage folks to ask questions, and CV staff are down help you find the right gear & workflow best suited for your needs.


On the Apple App Store:

  • GarageBand
  • AudioKit Synth One
  • MiniMoog Model D
  • aPolyvoks
  • Animoog
  • Primer Synth
  • Analog Synth X
  • Phlynth
  • Scythe
  • Nanologue
  • Factory - Modular Synthesizer
  • Granular Synth - New Sound
  • MODAlab
  • SK-51


Standalone Only

Music software for Mac or PC:

  • PureData (Miller S. Puckette)
  • NoiseCraft (Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert)


VST / AU Only

For use within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) such as Ableton, GarageBand, Logic X, FL Studio, Pro Tools, etc:

  • Surge (Surge Synth Team)
  • Vital (Vital Audio)
  • Dexed (Digital Suburban)
  • Neon (Steinberg)
  • Exakt Lite (Sonicbits)
  • OB-Xd (DiscoDSP)
  • Helm (Matt Tytel)
  • Zebralette (u-he) 


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