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by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 19, 2022
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A sound synthesizer (often abbreviated as “synthesizer” or “synth”, also spelled “synthesiser”) is an electronic musical instrument that generates electric signals converted to sound through loudspeakers or headphones. Synthesizers may either imitate other instruments or generate new timbres. They are often played with a keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other input devices, including music sequencers, instrument controllers, fingerboards, guitar synthesizers, wind controllers, and electronic drums. Synthesizers without built-in controllers are often called sound modules, and are controlled via MIDI or CV/Gate. Synthesizers use various methods to generate signal. Among the most popular waveform synthesis techniques are subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, wavetable synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, phase distortion synthesis, physical modeling synthesis and sample-based synthesis. Other less common synthesis types (see #Types of synthesis) include subharmonic synthesis, a form of additive synthesis via subharmonics (used by mixture trautonium), and granular synthesis, sample-based synthesis based on grains of sound, generally resulting in soundscapes or clouds.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.