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Rob Papen The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis (Book)

Rob Papen The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis (Book)

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200+ page book with 4 DVDs featuring over 10 hours of content

Read our interview with Rob Papen on the Time+Space Blog

Rob Papen is a globally renowned sound designer whose sounds and virtual synthesizers, including Predator, Blue and Blade, to name just a few, are used and loved by many synthesizer players and music producers.

Eight years in the making, Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis is a 200+ page book, which is accompanied by four DVDs with over 10 hours of content. Written by Rob Papen, the book gives an in-depth insight into his approach of working with subtractive synthesis – the most commonly used method of synthesis.

In 2001, Rob Papen began giving exclusive masterclasses teaching ´synthesizer sound design" in his studio. For these training sessions, Rob developed his own method to explain the secrets of subtractive synthesis, called "The 4 Element Synth".

This masterclass training is now transformed into a combined book and DVD package that also delivers numerous ´tips and tricks´ which will help you to design and tweak your own sounds. Throughout the masterclass, a variety of hardware and software synthesizers are explored.

The 4 Elements – Oscillators, Filter, Amplifier and Modulators – are explored in detail, with useful summary notes for each chapter, clear diagrams and handy references to the DVD. Click the sneak preview link above to view the full list of contents and the DVD index.

This synthesizer sound design training is an eye-opener for every synth player, from novice to pro, which will leave you with a very different and more effective approach to your synthesizers. A must have for everyone who takes their sounds seriously!

Rob Papen book


Element-1 / Oscillators

  • Introduction
  • Waveforms part 1
  • Waveforms part 2
  • Waveform modulation
  • Oscillator pitch
  • Pitch modulation
  • Oscillator in general

Element-2 / Filter

  • Introduction
  • Filtertypes
  • Cutoff frequency
  • Filter types
  • Cutoff frequency modulation

Element-3 / Amplifier

  • Introduction
  • Volume parameter of Element-3/amplifier
  • Three types pf volume
  • Amplifier envelope
  • Exceptions with no amplifier envelope used
  • Other volume parameter modulators

Element-4 / Modulators

  • Introduction
  • Are all movements in sound arranged by Element-4?
  • Modulation amount
  • Envelopes
  • How and envelope works
  • Three points to keep in mind using an envelope
  • Negative and positive modulation of an envelope
  • Other envelope parameters and variations
  • Envelope modulation and Element-1
  • Envelope modulation and Element-2
  • Envelope modulation and Element-3
  • Envelope modulation and Element-4
  • Envelope trigger modes
  • LFO
  • LFO and Element-1
  • LFO and Element-2
  • LFO and Element-3
  • LFO and Element-4
  • Keyboard
  • Keyboard note information and Element-1
  • Keyboard note information and Element-2
  • Keyboard note information and Element-4
  • Keyboard velocity information general
  • Keyboard velocity information general and Element-1
  • Keyboard velocity information general and Element-2
  • Keyboard velocity information general and Element-3
  • Keyboard velocity information general and Element-4
  • Controllers in general
  • About FM modulation, AM modulation and ring modulation
  • Chord memory
  • DVD Menu
  • Colophon

Press Reviews

"It is incredibly comprehensive and if you´re a newomer to sound design, you´ll definitely learn a lot." - Future Music

MTM value award

"A complete subtractive synthesis training package that´s great value and a superb resource for beginners and novice sound designers." - Music Tech (Rating 9/10)

"...there’s no doubt that this is one of the most complete guides to the fundamentals of subtractive synthesis that you’re likely to find." - Attack Magazine


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