Synthesis & Sound Design

Sound Design


101 // 201 // 301



Sound Design 101

The new era of sound synthesis is here and more accessible then ever. Synthesizers have changed the face of modern music and the quality of our films’ and games’ soundtracks dramatically. With the combination of the modern D.A.W and software synth, one producer can now take the place of an orchestra. Native Instruments is the de facto leader in software synthesis and Pyramind features Native Instruments Komplete through all 16 weeks of Synthesis 101. This course is designed to deliver a comprehensive understanding of Sound design and Synthesis basics using Native Instruments Products.

Topics Include:

  • Elements of a Waveform
  • Components of Synth
  • Additive Synthesis
  • Wavetable Synthesis
  • Subtractive Synthesis
  • FM Synthesis
  • Drum Sampling
  • Sound Sculpting with Compression, EQ, and Saturation
  • Basic of Arrangement and Layering
  • Massive
  • Reaktor Player
  • FM8
  • Battery 4
  • Kontakt

Sound Design 201

A continuation of Synthesis 101, Synth 201 digs deeper into the Native Instruments toolset as well as the amazing “Serum” synth from xfer records. Concepts are reinforced through in-class lab work, homework assignments and the final project in which students create a sample pack of patches from every instrument covered in class.

Topics include:

  • Absynth
  • Modulation
  • Deeper Exploration of FM Synthesis with FM8
  • Deeper Exploration of Battery
  • Deeper Exploration of Kontakt
  • "The Keyboards"
  • Rounds
  • Kontour
  • Steampipe (Reaktor)
  • Guitar Rig
  • Hard Sync Synthesis with Massive
  • Monark
  • Serum (Xfer Records Synth)

Sound Design 301 (Advanced)

An in-depth look at Kontakt and Reaktor. Students will create various synthesizers from ‘scratch’ using Native Instruments’ Reaktor. Students will be blending standard synthesis forms to create customized instruments. By the end of the course, students will be able to deliberately and efficiently create complex systems within Reaktor. This knowledge will help them decipher and master any software synthesizer that comes their way. 

Topics include:

  • Reaktor Components
  • Creating Oscillators, LFOs and Gates
  • Signal Path
  • Ensembles and Macros
  • Creating sequences within Reaktor
  • GoBox
  • Morphing
  • Exploration of Kontakt 

Sound Design Instructors


Chris Gear

Instructor: Sound Design 101 & 201 

Chris Gear is a musician, teacher, entrepreneur and technologist from Portland, OR. A life-long passion for emerging technologies, music and sound has been the driving force behind his many endeavors over the last 20+ years. Working to provide access to knowledge and resources artists need to learn, collaborate and grow, Chris has established himself as a catalyst for evolution in our industry. He brings a fresh and innovative approach to sound design education here at Pyramind, inspiring and empowering our students to engage with sound and music in powerful ways.


Matthew Hettich

Instructor: Sound Design 301

Matthew draws on a huge range of experience including his time as an instructor at Ex'pression College, and his significant time working at Keith McMillen Instruments. Matt is also known under his artist pseudonym "Wake" under which he's been creating forward thinking electronic music since 2003.