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Wavetable synthesis is a form of synthesis that makes use of a waveform as its source rather than an algorithmically-generated waveform. A wavetable can be as simple as a single-cycle waveform or (more commonly) a series of single-cycle waveforms that are encapsulated in an audio file (often .wav format).

Wavetables are often 2048 samples long or a multiple of 2048 samples. In order to have click-free wavetables, the wavetable should begin and end with samples whose amplitude is 0. The single-cycle waveforms should also begin and end with 0.

A note about the word sample: when discussing wavetables, the word sample refers to the individual numbers in the audio file. When you see a drawing of a waveform,the drawing is really a graph of those sample values over time.

There are a variety of wavetable formats in common use.

Many apps can use wavetables formatted for use in the Serum wavetable synthesizer. The single cycle waveforms in a Serum-format wavetable are 2048 samples long.

Many commercial Serum presets are delivered in fxp format. Some of them also contain wavetable data, these can only be extracted by loading them into the Serum synthesizer and exporting the whole set of wavetable frames as a .WAV file.

The Animoog soft synth is actually a wavetable synth although they call their wavetables timbres. Animoog timbres are comprised of 16 single cycle waveforms where each cycle is 1024 samples long. See also Animoog Timbres.

Most wavetables use single cycle waveforms that are multiples of 512, 1024 or 2048 samples. At commonly used sample rates (such as 44.1 kHz), there isn't a note (such as A 440Hz or Middle C) whose frequency results in a single cycle waveform of this length. So, if you want to generate waveforms for constructing wavetables, you need to use tools that let you specify a very precise frequency (such as 43.06640625 Hz) or you need to find a way to time stretch waveforms to be of a precise length in samples.

Another possibility is to use a wave editor to play a looped section, adjust the loop length until the loop sounds smooth (ideally close to but not necessarily exactly 2048 samples long) and re-sample it to a new sampling frequency that will achieve exactly 2048 samples length.

The AuGEN X iOS app allow you to enter a frequency precise enough to generate samples of the correct length. The frequency depends on the sample rate of your iOS device. The formula is: (Sample Rate)/(Samples Per Cycle). If you are running at 44.1 kHz and need waveform cycles that are 1024 samples long, the frequency would be: 441000 samples per second / 1024 samples per cycle which yields 43.06640625 cycles/sec.

Sheets of Sound Single Cycle waveform creator - this online editor is a great tool for creating single cycle waveforms that can be used in your wavetables.

Syntorial wavetables page- links to Serum wavetable tutorials and serum-format wavetable downloads.

  • wavetables.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/10/23 08:25
  • by rs2000