Oscillating with Synths

Currently, the weather here in Seoul, Korea has been a gloomy gray with rain, followed by snow, followed by freezing wind chills. I came home from watching Disney’s, CoCo, and feel an even bigger determination to get my music going. Now, with a cup of tea that I got from a recent trip to Vietnam (Cozy’s Tra Huong Dau), my eyes are squinting closely at the screen watching Youtube tutorials, trying to make sense of programming knobs.

That brings me to ‘oscillators.’ Huh.

I’ve noticed that there is an OSC or oscillator function in synth mixing channels and synth keyboards and always wondered what they were. If you’re new to mixing or own a synth but don’t really know how to work your way around the knobs, I hope these videos will help you navigate as you record and play synth.

So far, this is what I learned: you can shape the tone of your synth here through different wave form types: the sawtooth, triangle, square and sine. Depending on the type of synth or DAW (digital audio workstation aka recording software you are using), it might show the visual (like the photo below) or the actual name for it. This is how the wave shapes look…if you could put an image to the sound waves traveling that you hear. Image result

I haven’t haven’t mastered the art of producing, I’m just here to take you with me in my process of exploring and learning the craft of it. So, if this is of interest, I hope the videos below will help you as you navigate your way through your synth modules.


Oscillators – Tone Generator

After this video finishes, it should take you to the ‘amp‘ section of the synth. You can also click HERE to watch the second part of the video right away.

AMP – Output of your Sounds

A = attack, D = decay, S= sustain and R = release. Got it.

Attack = how long it takes for the sound to enter/fade in (like turning the volume knob slowly up or down)

Decay = think of it as an acoustic piano; sound will naturally fade out when your finger(s) stay on a key

Sustain = how long the sound will carry out for (like the sustain pedal of a piano; for as long as your foot is on the pedal, the sound carries)

Release = how long it takes for the sound to finish/end

Filter Section

To move onto the next part of the video, you can click HERE. 

The filter is taking the sound you have shaped and enhancing how its final sound is released.

Here are two other videos I watched by different guys on the function of oscillators. Hope it helps! And happy recording~ Click the links below.

Synth Basics = Oscillator

How to use a Synth: The Ultimate Guide to Oscillators

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