Wavetable Synthesis

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Wavetable synthesis

The wavetable synthesis is a form of creating electronic sounds. This happens through a synthesizer. To use the wavetable synthesis you first need to record a waveform which you can also call a Sample. Preferably, take a wav. file if you work with a digital synthesizer. Or a sound card if you’re working with an analog one. The recorded sound is in most cases a C and consists of a period of complex vibrations in the sound. Through changing the tempo of the waveform you can not only play the recorded sound in his key, you are also able to play the whole scale. This works similar to a sampler.

In addition to change also the length of the sound, the waveform is being categorized into four envelops. Attack, decay, sustain, and release. (Click here to learn more about the envelopes of a synthesizer.) With the envelopes you are also able to mix different waveforms together.

 All these waveform with different sounds in it are saved in the memory of the synthesizer or sound card. Furthermore, they were ordered and tabulated while saving. On this way, you can easily create a ton of new sounds with the wavetable synthesis. To create a new sound you can load some of your wavetables and play around with them. The tones will be processed through a midi keyboard or a midi channel in your digital audio workstation. Like Cubase or FL Studio.

Wavetable synthesizer like Serum from Xfer Records give you also the opportunity to edit the waveform. So while you’re using the wavetable synthesis you can for example stretch or compress the waveform. Through the routing of a LFO on a parameter you are able to bring the sound to life and give him a movement. In combination with filters and and other effects you are able to create endless new and inspiring sounds. Even those that did not exist until today.

Pros and Cons against other sound syntheses

The wavetable synthesis provides against other sound syntheses like the subtractive synthesis or the additive synthesis one big benefit. Through the massive selection of wavetables you can have, you are able to create a lot more sounds than with a fixed number of oscillators. Therefore, you have a higher chance to let the all the creativity flow out while sound designing. The quality of the created sound depends on the quality of the respective waveforms and the knowledge of the sound designer. Their are many different options to create new sounds and it can be a bit hard for beginners to work with the wavetable synthesis. However, once you understand the processing, the wavetable synthesis will become a great way to design new or existing sounds.

The end

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Brockhaus Encyclopedia
Andreas Friesecke – Audio Encyclopedia