Which areas of expertise do you need to know about to create a flexible software synth?

Signal processing? Sound engineering?

  • Can you be more specific? The question is way too broad. Oct 10, 2015 at 14:44
  • I think.you can provide a reasonable, albeit very broad, answer. I guess the one detail that would make it much easier would be, "what type of synth?". My answer is probably best for subtractive. Then again, the type of synth could dependant on the sound OP seeks. So maybe you're right. Oct 10, 2015 at 15:21
  • The "exactly the sound you want" part is rather problematic: either the answer must mention every thinkable design, which is impossible... or you must guess right at the sound OP wants.. Oct 10, 2015 at 16:42
  • I edited the question to be a little more exact - is it okay as it is now? (it may pass the close votes now ;-)) Oct 11, 2015 at 6:50
  • Pure Data is a free end open source environment you could start experimenting with. Nov 10, 2016 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


You need to understand sound sources (oscillators, noise generators, and samples), modulation (LFO in particular), sound shaping (envelopes), and then signal processing (read: math and audio physics). And honestly I'm being really high level here. There are a million details within each thing I mentioned. Its not really difficult, but I think it does require a lot of time and knowledge (like, years)

Oh and you'll need to learn C and C++ (programming) too. Unless you want to build an analog synth, which is basically all the same exact thing but using physical items to create and manipulate the sound (as opposed to a computer). Edit: filters are worth mentioning too (especially for subtractive synths)but technically that would fall under "signal processing"

  • 1
    Exactly what I expected as answer! Thanks! I am beginner in DSP, and junior level in C/C++ programming
    – Laki
    Oct 10, 2015 at 15:40
  • 1
    Glad to hear you seem prepared for the scope of it all. It's all easy if you're willing to learn it. Or if you have other people to fill in the gaps (I'm no physicist and I suck at C ) Oct 10, 2015 at 16:41

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