I have searched the whole net millions of times to find some useful up to date resources regarding Sound Engineering. I am looking for some practical resources for self studying Sound Engineering. Indeed, I have found lots of videos on Youtube(Such as this) and other media repositories which will talk about Synthesizers and the way to play with bunch of knobs. But those tutorials don't tell you why you should do such thing. Indeed, what I am mostly curious about is what those knobs are actually doing and how I can change their functionality to do what I DESIRE TO DO. My goal is to be able to make the sound I hear in my head. I have found some books on the NET which try to discuss things in tool lengthy, boring, impractical way!
I use FL STUDIO as my DAW and I have access to a bunch of synthesizers inside it. Harmor is one of them. But still I haven't found clear explanations about the capabilities of this Synthesizer in a way which makes me to be able to fully control it as I desire. I have seen some synthesizers(Harmor included) give you the ability to drag and drop a picture into it and edit sounds via picture. I seriously don't understand how such thing is possible and what is actually going on behind the scenes. Even a general picture would be helpful.
I do really appreciate if somebody helps me with this question.

3 Answers 3


To fully understand this subject takes years of learning and experience. You have to start at the beginning. My advice would be to find good books and study these subjects:

  • Read this book by Martin Russ; Sound, Synthesis and Sampling and use it as a reference for the next bits..
  • Synthesis basics: Analogue additive/subtractive synthesis Learn exactly how every component works.
  • Learn about Frequency/Amplitude/Ring/Sync modulation and how they are used in synthesis. Find examples of how these techniques have been used in popular songs of the past.
  • Next, learn about original Polyphonic synthesizers, how and why.
  • Learn about Modular synthesis.
  • Learn about MIDI and the MIDI spec.
  • It's important to now learn how these components really work; Analogue R/C circuits and basic electronic principals. You don't need to be an electrical engineer, just be average or above at maths. This book by T.L.Floyd will help you (I haven't got the book with me now so I can't list chapters to read, but basically any chapters on the basic stuff which I think is 2/3 of the book). Use this time to learn about logic gates, crossovers and transformers too.
  • Learn how each component in a synth from the 80's like the Jupiter8 works. Understand it completely. Find the circuit diagram for it.

As I'm writing, I realise how broad this question is...

  • Use a virtual synth creator like Reaktor (Reaktor is the one I know and love; users may want to mention better ones in a comment). Use it to create each of the devices you have learned about so far. This is a fulfilling, informative experience if you understand the components.

When you have learned the basics I recommend you move onto these more advanced subjects:

  • Learn how microphones and speakers work. Dynamic/Condenser mics etc.
  • Learn how ADCs and DACs work. Sample Rate and Bit Depth and the compromises.
  • Learn the basic scientific principals behind sound propagation and traversal through different mediums. I'm sure there are good books out there. Maybe request a book recommendation on Physics.stackexchange if it's on-topic there.
  • Learn about the "waves on a string" principals; this is very important. Make sure you completely understand it. After this, look into "standing waves in a room". Books, not forums!

By now, approximately one or two years of fulfilment should have passed by and you should have learned the basics and have a better understanding of the subject. You can now freely look into things like how IL's Harmor works behind the scenes. Look into other, newer technologies and what you have learned will tell you how they work.

I've missed a lot of stuff out because otherwise, I'd be here all day. I tried to leave all of the basics in. You'd be better off finding an in-depth course somewhere to be honest. Make sure it includes(at least) the stuff I've mentioned here though.

  • @Mac W What an answer! You have pointed important stuff. Thanks. BTW, if you can update the post from time to time I would be happy to hear more from you. Again, thanks!
    – FreeMind
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 13:35

Marc w is right. It takes years. I've been studying audio engineering for 14 years including 4 years formal training acquiring a BSc and an MA. And there is still so much to learn you'll never learn it all. I concentrate now on sound design for film and have abandoned such things as musical theory and music production and music recording as I simply will not live long enough.


Ditto other comments but you can fast track on sound engineering by taking the FutureLearn course CRITICAL LISTENING FOR STUDIO PRODUCTION (Free, 6 weeks, 8 hours per week). this is a beginners course for sound techs. My own experience started with listening to lots and lots of tracks of different genres to get a feel of how music is put together. Listen to each of the sounds and imagine how you would create them. Then try to create the sounds you really like using your own instruments. Its frustrating and challenging but persist and you will get a good result. I prefer hard-Outboards because I find it easier to work with. DAW VSTIs however do give you repeatability.

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