Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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beats me
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Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by beats me » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:58 pm

Massive has a bunch and Serum lets you put in your own and even create them so the possibilities are endless, but does anybody actually have deep knowledge of which to choose or is it mostly just happy accidents?

Stromkraft
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:13 pm

beats me wrote:Massive has a bunch and Serum lets you put in your own and even create them so the possibilities are endless, but does anybody actually have deep knowledge of which to choose or is it mostly just happy accidents?

As with any synth, in Massive I select a wave without anything else active and play around with position and modulation for the oscillators. If I like something I move on to detailed stuff. If not I try something else.

I do look a little bit at the Quadrophone Wavetable images and I use an oscilloscope as well. But I don't plan really. I try.

I struggle a little more in Z3TA+ 2 for some reason and I love the factory waveforms. I'd like to get into my own there.
Make some music!

Angstrom
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by Angstrom » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:02 am

I've never really found love for wavetable synthesis. I can understand it and the functionality - to capture and replay harmonic movement in an oscillator, but the outcomes fail in respect of sounding "natural" because the of the repeating partial phase and the lack of any phase decorrelation. A real piano (just for example of a real world object) has very complex and evolving phase relationships in the string, the frame resonances, the body. A wavetable is alwyas the same, up the keyboard, over and over. No matter how much life is injected by modulators on the wave path they always sound strangely frozen and lifeless.

Of course - It was amazing in the 90s to make big vocoding morphing pads on the old Wavestation AD,but beyond that I find the harmonic outcomes more static than was probably intended.

I just turn the dial to a nice point in the table and apply a bit of mild LFO usually!

beats me
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by beats me » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:20 am

I really like the functionality of Serum and it makes sense to me but sometimes when I'm watching tuts or get a third party library that comes with custom wavetables I always wonder why they choose what they do, or even make the choice. At the end of it, it seems like the end result is mostly shaped by envelopes ,filters, and effects. Creating my own sounds with it is easy but mostly happy accidents.

On a related note I got a Serum library that came with 400 LFO shapes. Sweet, until I saw they were named Shape 001, Shape 002, Shape 003, etc. Not very helpful. :?

Stefan Jantschek
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by Stefan Jantschek » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:03 pm

Angstrom wrote:Of course - It was amazing in the 90s to make big vocoding morphing pads on the old Wavestation AD,but beyond that I find the harmonic outcomes more static than was probably intended.
Good old Wavestation is Wave Sequencing.
Too many times mixed up.
Possible to use it for kind of wavetable synthesis, but Wave Sequencing is another, more complex story.

The only instrument based on that developement i know was a VSTI called X-Phraze from Steinberg.
Co-developed by great Mr. Peter Gorges.
Does anyone remember?
This one had the option to use your own samples, something Wavestation is missing badly.
Wavestation V.2.0.
Unfortunately discontinued long time ago.

I am still searching unsuccessfully for something similar today.
Couln´t even emulate it in Live´s racks, no matter how i try.
Maybe anyone know some suggestions?

Angstrom
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by Angstrom » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:47 pm

Ah yeah. I only ever had one on a long term loan and it was 20 years ago!
I've forgotten almost everything about it other than waggling the funky joystick and vocoding against it.

login
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by login » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:04 pm

Well the principle is simple: different waveforms produce different timbres, so moving through different waveforms is a nice way to give movement to the sound.

As far as using them to me it is all about happu accidents.

TomKern
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by TomKern » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:17 am

I use them in Zebra 2. I have made my own wavetables out of groups of 16 single cycle waveforms. I now have hundreds, maybe thousands of them. And I use them as a tool to lazily make bought presets my own by switching them against the original oscillators until I like what I hear.

The results are often surprising and really nice.

But yeah, it's all about happy accidents for me 8)

Shift Gorden
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by Shift Gorden » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:28 pm

Yup - happy accidents here, too.

I've only just started to import my own wavetable into Serum, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

theophilus
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Re: Does anybody actually understand wavetables?

Post by theophilus » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:09 pm

it goes back to the observation Wendy Carlos made 40 (?) years ago regarding modulars... 'anything you CAN control, you MUST control'...

people love filter sweeps because they are easy - one knob! - and they have a huge affect on the sound. looked at on a spectrogram, that single knob is affecting many harmonics at once in a programmatic manner. but even with different filter topologies etc, there are only so many variations you can have.

wavetables let you record an arbitrary set of harmonic series, that can have just as large of an effect on the sound.

it's not any different really than having 57 different oscillator or filter types...happy accidents normally rule the day there too.

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