The sound you haven't heard before!
In most of today's synthesizers on the market you will find what is called an additive synthesis. Different sounds are created by combining various standard waveforms together. Summing them up in different combinations creates different timbres.
Now, supposing you want to create a very thick electronic sound, full of low end, but also with plenty of higher harmonics - we have constructed a following waveform, consisting of two sines, a square and a saw mixed together.
That looks okay for starters. But how does the frequency spectrum look like?
Just by looking at it, we can see lots of holes where we ideally want harmonics. We can obviously start filling them up by inserting more and more waveforms, adding choruses, distortions, phasers and whatnot to make the sound bigger and fatter.
How is segment synthesis different?
You take a couple of standard waves and slice them vertically (in time) into several parts (segments). Then you arrange them next to each other and voila! You have constructed your segment-synthesized waveform.
Do you notice the difference?
We used the same amount of oscillators, but instantly got a far richer harmonic spectrum. Just like that! No further sound processing or effects involved!
That's not all.
Imagine you could add a REAL frequency modulation (FM) to each of the segments individually! The amount of higher harmonics is incredible. This is how frequency modulated segment synthesis waveforms can look like:
Look at this! Rich, fat and nasty!
All segments can be tweaked by smoothly blending four primary waveforms. Each segment can have different amount of frequency modulation, panning and volume. It all sums up to almost infinite possibilities, while all of them simply sound good.
All summed up
Frequency modulated Segment
More lines - more harmonics - richer the sound!