How to: Principals of ADSR – Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release


The most common kind of envelope generator has four stages: attack, decay, sustain, and release (ADSR).

  • The attack is the time taken for initial run-up of level from nil to peak, beginning when the key is pressed.
  • Decay is the time taken for the subsequent run down from the attack level to the designated sustain level.
  • Sustain is the level during the main sequence of the sound’s duration until the key is released.
  • The release is the time taken for the level to decay from the sustain level to zero after the key is released.

While, attack, decay, and release refer to time, sustain refers to level.

showing envelope FL Studio sampler

Here we have a simple view of a sample perhaps in the sampler of the instrument you put in perhaps .mp3 or .wav file that you drag from your folder of files onto the sequence editor. There you might find in the volume ADSR button this kind of envelope. You will have to use this for certain sounds and sometimes envelopes do create a better understanding of the sound that is produced in other meaning transformed into the play of the ADSR volume heights,


Tip: Often you drag sounds from the file folder and you realize they are not sounding as it did by playing the file in the file folder. Therefore you need to know that the level is set to 80% by dragging the sample onto the playlist or step sequencer. This due to, in fact, you need to set the level back to 50%. So this will sound as same beautiful as it did when you just played the sound in the folder.

Still, this above envelope can be also be used with Sytrus and suits well for certain patterns in the Sytrus instrument that surely can also be edited also into pitch envelopes. Pitch envelopes are different but they can be made as far possible by using the middle handler specifics.

But often pitch envelopes have just one single attack and the decay. Which is how high in volume at hit the sound plays, and at the end it ends on the decay. But in pitch patterns, these are often the all needed envelopes. You might want to remove the handler that ends at S, removing the release potential that might be a sound that continues when your release the note or button of sound.

So perhaps we have another fact about using the above one, often the hold is the sustain that is used to hold the sound as long as possible at a certain level.

There are different ways to do envelopes, and if your envelope is standard set with Sytrus, your sound will have a small amount of level when you hit the play button on the sound. Remember to enable the envelope when you are using it with the near square like button left bottom on the envelope handler.

There aren’t much that needs to be explained about envelopes, as they suit well for finding the right temperament about certain sound. Sometimes the edition of envelopes suit powerfully for 808 drums or perhaps kicks. Look below for another tutorial but how to make the short decay kicks:

How to make a Short Decay Kick with Sytrus and Master it?

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