Sound Synthesis Class
with Christopher Mckinlay
Date & Time
May 1, 2010, 12pm–3pm
May 6, 2010, 7pm–10pm
May 8, 2010, 6:30pm–9:30pm
May 13, 2010, 7pm–10pm
May 15, 2010, 12pm–3pm
Machine Project
$225 for members
$250 for non-members

The electronic synthesis of audio signals is a wonderful combination of mathematics (harmonic analysis) and electrical engineering (analog and digital signal processing).

This class will present the theoretical fundamentals of sound synthesis with a view towards musical applications. We will use the open source software platform Pure Data as a toolkit for the class and a game called Ovid’s Patch to place the concepts into a musical context and form new collaborations.

A laptop with a working installation of Pure Data, headphones, and a love of sound. No prior mathematical or programming experience is required. You can download Pure Data for free, here: http://puredata.info/downloads

About the Instructor:
Christopher Mckinlay is a 4th year PhD student in Mathematics at UCLA studying digital audio signal processing.

Class 1
Saturday, May 1, 12pm–3pm
software and synthesis
with Christopher Mckinlay

An introduction to digital audio signal processing and the Pure Data programming environment. Audio and control rates. Analog transitions and AD/DA converters. Ovid’s Patch.

Class 2
Thursday, May 6, 7pm–10pm
waveforms and spectra
with Christopher Mckinlay

Mathematical fundamentals of acoustic waves and how we perceive them. A rough guide to the Fourier transform. Spectrum analyzers. The classical waveforms and their spectra. Additive synthesis.

Class 3
Saturday, May 8, 6:30pm–9:30pm
envelopes and modulation
with Christopher Mckinlay

Transients and their formulation in terms of ADSR envelopes. LFO’s and their role in generating diversity. A taxonomy of linear audio effects such as flanging, ring modulation, delay, and chorus.

Class 4
Thursday, May 13, 7pm–10pm
samplers and filters
with Christopher Mckinlay

Subtractive synthesis and its fundamental role in audio production. Cutoff, resonance (‘Q’) and using filters as oscillators. Sampling, wavetables, and interpolation.

Class 5
Saturday, May 15, 12pm–3pm
non-linear synthesis and effects
with Christopher Mckinlay

Introduction to frequency modulation synthesis, compression, and saturation. Bit reduction and noise. Analog and digital distortion.

Refund policy:

Please note, all class fees include a non-refundable enrollment deposit of $25 that will be deducted from your refund if you sign up for, then drop, a class. So, for example, if you sign up for Machine Sewing 101 and pay the $155 class fee, but then remember that you have trapeze school final exams that conflict with the Sewing class and shouldn’t have signed up after all, we will refund you $130 of your tuition payment.

Gift certificate purchase:

If you have a Machine Project gift certificate you’d like to redeem for a class, please email us at machine@machineproject.com and let us know.

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