What is a synthesizer? It’s an electronic musical instrument that generates electric signals, which is converted to sound through instrument amplifiers and loudspeakers or headphones. Synthesizers may either use existing sounds such as instruments, vocals or natural sounds, or they can generate new electronic timbres not existing before. They are often played with a musical keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other input devices, including music sequencers and instrument controllers.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the basic elements required for the modern analog subtractive synthesizers — audio oscillators, audio filters, envelope controllers, and various effects units — had already appeared and were utilized in several electronic instruments. The earliest polyphonic synthesizers were the Warbo Formant Organ (1937), a four-voice key-assignment keyboard with two formant filters and a dynamic envelope controller, and the Hammond Novachord (1939), was an electronic keyboard that used twelve sets of top-octave oscillators with octave dividers to generate sound, with vibrato, a resonator filter bank and a dynamic envelope controller. These two instruments were the forerunners of the later electronic organs and polyphonic synthesizers.
Synthesizers became easier to integrate and synchronize with other electronic instruments and controllers with the introduction of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) in 1983. Nowadays synthesizers come in all shapes and forms, and they can be afforded by mostly everyone. That’s why we want to give you the possibility to know everything you need about them.