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Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release – (ADSR)

Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release (ADSR)

If you’re new to music production, you might have heard of the terms Envelop and Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release (ADSR) but wonder what they’re all about, well hopefully this article will shed some light of the subject.

An Envelop is really the collective name for ADSR, as shown below in the picture.

As the Envelop consists of these four different stages, so the sound at each of these stages and be manipulated or automated, to get the sound and feel you want.

Attack – is when a note is first played i.e. by pressing a key on a keyboard and signifies the time taken for sound to go from silent to loud.

Decay – determines how quickly the sound decreases from the attack peak to the sustain level.

Sustain – is the sound level held until a key on a keyboard is released, at which point it then passes to the release stage.

Release – shows how long a sound exists, after the sustain ends, until it fades to silence.

A word on low frequency oscillators LFO’s.  LFO’s take a sound a vibrate it, therefore, rather than your sound travelling through your Envelop as a constant tone, an LFO can be applied, which will give a ‘wobble’ to your sound.  There are numerous effects like this that can be achieved by applying modulation, filters and oscillators.

Therefore, remember that the effect you apply to your envelop will affect your sound over the time it exists.

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