Open for Enrollment

You can also start immediately after joining!
Join Now
Go at your own pace
9 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
English, Spanish; Castilian, Chinese, German, Portuguese
Synthesis, Physical Modeling, Reaktor, Additive & Subtractive Synthesis, Granular Synthesis, Drum Synthesis

Not available for purchase in India

Open for Enrollment

Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor

Open for Enrollment
You can also start immediately after joining!

Would you like to enroll?

Enrollment for this course has closed. But you can enroll in a future offering (please select)

Enrollment has closed

Go at your own pace
9 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
English, Spanish; Castilian, Chinese, German, Portuguese
Synthesis, Physical Modeling, Reaktor, Additive & Subtractive Synthesis, Granular Synthesis, Drum Synthesis

Not available for purchase in India

Course Description

This course provides an introductory overview of audio synthesis and visual programming using Native Instruments' Reaktor Software.  Students will receive an in-depth look into various audio synthesis methods, including: additive, subtractive, sampling, wavetable, physical modeling, and granular synthesis, as well as the various types of modulation synthesis. Students will also learn about the history of the synthesizer and electronic music, and will take a look at many of the current sound design trends in electronic music.  

Additional topics include:
• Sound + waveform characteristics (Timbre)
• Modulation/filters/envelopes
• Analog + digital signals
• Signal flow
• DAWs/sequencing
• Sound design
• Audio effects
• Production techniques
• Audio warping/FFT 


This course is in adaptive mode and is open for enrollment. Learn more about adaptive courses here.

Session 1: Intro to Synthesis (June 25, 2024)
This session will provide an introduction to synthesis, an overview of the properties of sound, a historical review of early 20th century synth development, and an introduction to Native Instrument's Reaktor.
6 lessons
1. Shaping Sound
2. Basic Synthesis Components (Premium Exclusive)
3. Early Synths (Premium Exclusive)
4. Modular Synths (Premium Exclusive)
5. Intro to Reaktor (Premium Exclusive)
6. Build a Basic Synth (Premium Exclusive)
Session 2: Subtractive Synthesis (July 2, 2024)
This session will introduce subtractive synthesis, the concepts of monophony and polyphony, the Moog Minimoog, the Roland Juno, and how to build Reaktor ensembles inspired by these classic synths.
14 lessons
1. Subtractive Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
2. Oscillators (Premium Exclusive)
3. Filters (Premium Exclusive)
4. Modulation (Premium Exclusive)
5. Monophonic (Premium Exclusive)
6. Polyphonic (Premium Exclusive)
7. Minimoog: Overview (Premium Exclusive)
8. Minimoog: Pitch and Gate (Premium Exclusive)
9. Minimoog: Oscillators (Premium Exclusive)
10. Minimoog: Mixer (Premium Exclusive)
11. Minimoog: Filter (Premium Exclusive)
12. Minimoog: Envelope and Modulation (Premium Exclusive)
13. Juno, Part 1: Basic Sound (Premium Exclusive)
14. Juno, Part 2: ARP (Premium Exclusive)
Session 3: Ring Modulation and FM Synthesis (July 9, 2024)
This session looks at modulation synthesis, such as amplitude modulation, ring modulation, frequency modulation, and phase modulation. We will look at the history and development of these techniques, as well as how to build them ourselves using Reaktor.
8 lessons
1. Ring Modulation & FM Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
2. Modulators & Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
3. Building an MF - 102 (Premium Exclusive)
4. What is FM Synthesis? (Premium Exclusive)
5. FM Synths (Premium Exclusive)
6. FM Synth Overview (Premium Exclusive)
7. Building FM Operators (Premium Exclusive)
8. FM Algorithms (Premium Exclusive)
Session 4: Percussion Synthesis (July 16, 2024)
This session will have us looking at various methods for synthesizing percussion, the history of drum machines, and our efforts to emulate some classic Roland drum synths using Reaktor.
4 lessons
1. Introduction to Drum Machines (Premium Exclusive)
2. Reaktor: Kick Drum (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Snares, Claps (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Hi-Hats, Cymbals (Premium Exclusive)
Session 5: Sequencers in REAKTOR (July 23, 2024)
This session will look at the history of the sequencer, and how we can apply it to our own percussion synths from the previous session.
6 lessons
1. Introduction to Sequencers (Premium Exclusive)
2. Reaktor: Creating Sequencers (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Custom Clock (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Sequencer Tables (Premium Exclusive)
5. Reaktor: Polyphony and Multiple Sequencers (Premium Exclusive)
6. Interview with John Tejada (Premium Exclusive)
Session 6: Wavetable Synthesis (July 30, 2024)
This session will look at sample based oscillators, including wavetables. We will also look at the history of wavetables, and build several different approaches using Reaktor.
4 lessons
1. Introduction to Wavetable Oscillators (Premium Exclusive)
2. Sampler History (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Audiotables as Oscillators (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Draw Your Own Wavetables (Premium Exclusive)
Session 7: Granular Synthesis (August 6, 2024)
In this session we look at how granular synthesis works, its history, and the tools that exist in Reaktor for granular synthesis.
5 lessons
1. Granular Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
2. History (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Using the Grain Delays (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Grain Cloud (Premium Exclusive)
5. Reaktor: Adding a Mouse Object (Premium Exclusive)
Session 8: Physical Modelling (August 13, 2024)
This session will cover physical models, the development of the Karplus-Strong algorithm, the digital waveguide algorithm, and modal synthesis. We will then see how we can build these ourselves using Reaktor.
6 lessons
1. Physical Models (Premium Exclusive)
2. Karplus Strong (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Karplus Strong (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Digital Waveguide (Premium Exclusive)
5. Modal Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
6. Reaktor: Modal Bank (Premium Exclusive)
Session 9: Additive Synthesis (August 20, 2024)
This session will introduce the concept of the FFT, and how we can use these ideas to construct our own band limited oscillators in Reaktor.
8 lessons
1. Intro to the FFT (Premium Exclusive)
2. Intro to Additive Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
3. Reaktor: Additive Synthesis (Premium Exclusive)
4. Reaktor: Sine Bank (Premium Exclusive)
5. Intro to Vocoders (Premium Exclusive)
6. Reaktor: Primary Vocoder (Premium Exclusive)
7. FFT Vocoder (Premium Exclusive)
8. End of Class (Premium Exclusive)
Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Instructors And Guests
What You Need to Take This Course
  • Equipment: Computer with installation privileges 
  • Software: Native Instruments' Reaktor


Additional Information

PLEASE NOTE: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member, does not affirm that the student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by California Institute of the Arts.

Peer Assessment Code of Conduct: Part of what makes Kadenze a great place to learn is our community of students. While you are completing your Peer Assessments, we ask that you help us maintain the quality of our community. Please:

  • Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.
  • Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.
  • Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the use of ideas and/or quotations (from the Internet, books, films, television, newspapers, articles, the work of other students, works of art, media, etc.) without proper credit to the author/artist. While the argument in a paper can be enhanced by research, students are cautioned to delineate clearly their own original ideas from source material. Students should introduce source material (either quoted or paraphrased); note when the source material ends; and provide citations for source materials using standard documentation formats. According to CalArts policy, students who misrepresent source material as their own original work and fail to credit it have committed plagiarism and are subject to disciplinary action.

Students with Disabilities: Students who have documented disabilities and who want to request accommodations should refer to the student help article via the Kadenze support center. Kadenze is committed to making sure that our site is accessible to everyone. Configure your accessibility settings in your Kadenze Account Settings.