Learning Modular Synthesis Level 1: The Comprehensive Starter Course

The perfect course for those new to modular synthesis – go from ground zero to creating the most common patches in just four hours.
Are you new to modular synthesis? Then this course was designed for you. By using a combination of sound, waveform displays, and harmonic spectra graphs, I help you connect how and why twisting a particular knob or patching a particular cable results in the sounds you are hearing. During this course, I:
•  give a brief history of synthesis
•  introduce the major module formats available
•  discuss the core modules you might consider for your system, including cases, power, getting notes in, and getting sound out
•  show you how to create the most common subtractive synthesis patch
•  demonstrate each module in a typical modular synth, showing how it works as well as what common synthesizer sounds you can create with it
•  cover both East and West Coast Approaches to synthesis, so you’ll learn how to craft a wide variety of sounds
A list of all 38 video lessons in this 4-hour course is shown at the bottom of this page; many contain bonus videos and links to other resources. There is also a 9 movie bonus chapter that presents and breaks down a live modular performance. Note that some of the lessons also have a free preview, so you can get a taste for the course before you buy. I will be adding closed captions and transcripts to each of these lessons in the near future.
By the way: The compact Eurorack-format “teaching rack” used in this course is based on Roland System 500 modules, complemented with modules from numerous other manufacturers. As most modules as well as many synthesizer keyboards and plug-ins are designed around the same ideas, this course will be useful to all musicians wishing to get further into synthesis and programming their own sounds, regardless of the specific tools you own.


“Thanks a lot for your videos. Perfectly clear explanations for people starting out in modular synthesis.” – BF
“These are some of the best newbie tutorials for modular synthesis…” – SR
“Looks really good, very professional, very well presented; the way it’s broken down into chapters/sections is definitely a help.” – JO
“Holy cow this is awesome!!!! I had no idea this would be so nice…” – JH 
  • Learning Modular Synthesis: Level 1
  • $62 USD

    An excellent introduction for the musician new to modular synthesis, or even wondering what “modular” is all about.

    Regular Price
  • 38 video lessons plus bonus movies and links
  • over 4 hours of clearly-explained information
  • fundamental concepts to understand how your modular synth works
  • advice for choosing a modular format, core modules, and case + power supply
  • both East Coast and West Coast approaches covered

When you enroll in this course you will also be added to the Learning Modular email list. You will receive a monthly newsletter plus word about new courses when they become available or are on sale. There will be an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of those emails if you wish to not receive them.

Course Curriculum



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Jez Smith

modular simplified

Great communicator, responds very quickly to any queries. I thoroughly recommend it to any contemplating modular. I'll be revisiting these videos time and again.

1 year ago
Michael Irwin

A really enjoyable and thorough tour

I had some background regarding synthesis but wanted to learn more about modular possibilities and what is available. Chris gave such a clear, understandable and enjoyable approach that it really inspired me to learn even more - and set me on several paths of exploring areas that I had not considered.

2 years ago
Stephan Terre

Worth every minute and every cent

Chris does a fantastic job of giving you the mental models you need to feel comfortable with modular. There are lots of concrete tips and observations that I was able to use immediately, plus I know that I am now well positioned to grow my system and my music. The final section, where he breaks down a full performance, brought everything together in an inspiring way. Recommended all around.

2 years ago
Gord Johnson

Simplicity is Bliss

As a newbie to modular one doesn't have to read much material on the subject to start feeling overwhelmed with information. This introductory course did a very good job of presenting, in a methodical way, the elements of shaping sound and illustrating the thought process of using these building blocks to navigate more logically (and quickly) towards the sounds one is trying to create, all the while adding alternative avenues for exploration. I think the best part of this course was that by the end it is apparent that with a bit of thought a smaller, simpler system can provide a very wide pallet to work with so you can start jamming and sounding fairly pro right out of the gate. You can grow as quickly (or slowly) as your creativity requires. Thanks very much Chris. Very well put together. Best, Gord.

2 years ago
Chris Hall


As I found myself slipping down the modular slope I was lucky enough to be made aware of Patch and Tweak (must have), I researched the authors and found the learning modular website. I signed up instantly. I had long felt that I was becoming slack with my sound design in the world of fully formed hardware subtractive synths. Often featuring the ability to save and load patches plus presets, this was compounded by my use of Software instruments. I use both extensively as a full producer and composer, but the amount of time I was spending the chair in front of a screen required a drastic intervention. Modular is the perfect antidote, I can see why it is becoming so popular. This course has set me off perfectly, allowed me to re-connect with the fundamentals of synthesis, and allowed me to expand my creative intuition in logical steps. A very powerful aspect is understanding manufacturers and their respective modules, this course has been INVALUABLE in my initiation to modular, it has allowed me to be judicious in my first purchases and given me a critical faculty while comparing modules and their functions, so I can realise my ultimate aim of making music. Thanks Chris! Maximum respect and gratitude being beamed your way from Devon in the UK!!! Chris

3 years ago
Luc Gagnon

I liked the visual support

The course is very well structured into focussed units that I could revisit after (or during) trying to replicate the ideas on my own system. And I particularly liked the visual support on the oscilloscope, to me it makes it that much easier to understand how the sound is being affected by the modules.

3 years ago
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Chris Meyer

I fell in love with the sound and possibilities of electronic music at a young age. I took synthesis lessons as a teen in the 1970s, learning on a modular Steiner-Parker Synthasystem. A kit-based PAiA modular was my dorm room companion in college. Soon after I graduated, I got a job at Sequential Circuits, where I contributed to several instruments and created Vector Synthesis. I went on to work for Digidesign, Marion Systems (Tom Oberheim), and was the chief engineer at Roland R&D US.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned. I taught synthesis at UCLA Extension, was the technical editor for Music Technology and Recording magazines, and wrote a column for Keyboard magazine. I continue today, co-writing Patch & Tweak – the new book on modular synthesis – with Kim Bjørn, and writing module reviews for Synth & Software. I also regularly play modular music live under the name Alias Zone, plus jam with others.

I also have a lot of experience creating online training. Before I started Learning Modular, I recorded nearly 50 online courses on creating graphics for television and film for lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning). I've brought this experience of how to teach a difficult, technical subject in a patient, step-by-step manner to my modular synthesis courses.