Last month, while writing the article about phase distortion synthesis, I realized that I should have included some sound samples from the other types of synthesizes so that you could get a feel for what they sound like, so here goes.

     As you remember from the first synthesizer article, additive synthesis is the process of adding harmonics of differing amplitudes (volumes) in order to emulate and create sounds. The following samples were created entirely with WN Additive, a software synthesizer for Microsoft Windows only.

     1) Demo 1

     2) Demo 2


     For those of you interested, the Synclavier was a very popular additive synth used extensively in the 1980’s by Laurie Anderson, The Cars, Genesis, Duran Duran, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Michael Jackson to name a few.    

     Subtractive synthesis uses frequency filters to create sounds. Here are a few examples.

     1) Arpeggios

     2) Arpeggios with low frequency modulation


     Note: If you have trouble playing these, go to for the Windows media plugin.


     Frequency Modulation—The Yamaha DX7 is the most famous of the FM synths and sometimes the most recognizable because so many people used it. Here are some sound samples     

     1) The classic “FM Electric Piano”

     2) The classic “FM Bass”

     3) The harmonica from “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

     4) Cheesy Strings


     If you want to listen to more DX7 sounds check out the DX7 page at


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