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California Institute of the Arts

Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor

California Institute of the Arts via Kadenze


This course provides an introductory overview of audio synthesis and visual programming using Native Instruments' Reaktor Software.  Students will receive an in-depth look into various audio synthesis methods, including: additive, subtractive, sampling, wavetable, physical modeling, and granular synthesis, as well as the various types of modulation synthesis. Students will also learn about the history of the synthesizer and electronic music, and will take a look at many of the current sound design trends in electronic music.  

Additional topics include:
• Sound + waveform characteristics (Timbre)
• Modulation/filters/envelopes
• Analog + digital signals
• Signal flow
• DAWs/sequencing
• Sound design
• Audio effects
• Production techniques
• Audio warping/FFT 


Session 1: Intro To Synthesis 
This session will provide an introduction to synthesis, an overview of the properties of sound, a historical review of early 20th century synth development, and an introduction to Native Instrument's Reaktor. Session 2: Subtractive Synthesis 
This session will introduce subtractive synthesis, the concepts of monophony and polyphony, the Moog Minimoog, the Roland Juno, and how to build Reaktor ensembles inspired by these classic synths. Session 3: Ring Modulation And FM Synthesis 
This session looks at modulation synthesis, such as amplitude modulation, ring modulation, frequency modulation, and phase modulation. We will look at the history and development of these techniques, as well as how to build them ourselves using Reaktor. Session 4: Percussion Synthesis 
This session will have us looking at various methods for synthesizing percussion, the history of drum machines, and our efforts to emulate some classic Roland drum synths using Reaktor. Session 5: Sequencers 
This session will look at the history of the sequencer, and how we can apply it to our own percussion synths from the previous session. Session 6: Wavetables 
This session will look at sample based oscillators, including wavetables. We will also look at the history of wavetables, and build several different approaches using Reaktor. Session 7: Granular 
In this session we look at how granular synthesis works, its history, and the tools that exist in Reaktor for granular synthesis. Session 8: Physical Modelling 
This session will cover physical models, the development of the Karplus-Strong algorithm, the digital waveguide algorithm, and modal synthesis. We will then see how we can build these ourselves using Reaktor. Session 9: Additive Synthesis 
This session will introduce the concept of the FFT, and how we can use these ideas to construct our own band limited oscillators in Reaktor.

Taught by

Owen Vallis


4.3 rating, based on 9 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course was incredibly frustrating. Many of the examples in the videos are not provided in the course resources and it is very unclear as to the source of many of the instruments and objects used. Furthermore, it is not always made clear which of...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Amazing course! I thought I knew most of this stuff, having dabbled in a variety of similar topics in Max/MSP already but I was wrong :) I really learned, and gained a new perspective on techniques that I thought I knew from the inside-out. In addition...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Owen Vallis has developed a wonderful course! He's always been great about getting back to questions on the forums, and is really engaged with the students - which I would imagine could be a challenge with an online course. The course itself is designed...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This was one of the best courses I have ever taken. It kept me moving at an engaged, top-of-my-game pace. Owen's presence, his approach and the curriculum are so dialed that I repeated - daily - to anyone that would listen how much I enjoyed it and learned. Thank you so much! I would love to get some info which doesn't seem readily available about how to receive the certificate? Otherwise, all the info was so easy to access. THANK YOU!!!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    On my final project for this course. Truely enjoyed every bit of it and am a bit disappointed it's coming to an end. I went will little experience and I'm leaving with very good basic understanding of Reaktor that will lay foundation to grow on. Owen is great at breaking it down as interesting to follow. Highly recommend
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a really fantastic way to get your "feet in the water" in terms of understanding synthesis on a deeper level. I acquired a great deal of knowledge from this course, but simultaneously, taking it showed me how much more I still have to learn. They really pack allot of info into each lesson! To this day, I still go back to the videos /+ resources in an attempt to figure out x or y.
  • Profile image for Danni Mizuta
    Danni Mizuta

    Danni Mizuta completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Easy, fast and useful for electronic music producers, musicians, Djs and sound synthesis enthusiasts.
    And Reaktor is a plus, such powerful platform.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    One of the best courses i ever take. Reaktor is a versatile tool for sound builders. strongly recommend this one for any music/sound enthusiasts.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course is basic and advanced at the same time. Blocks are not covered in the class. A lot is left up to the student to try and figure out.

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