The Wavetable Survival Guide is a one-stop book for experienced synthesizer sound designers who are brand new to wavetable and want to begin learning and using Ableton’s powerful synthesizer. This book is also ideal for experienced Ableton users who want a clear and concise introduction to Wavetable for sound design and patch design. This book assumes that readers will know very little about wavetable synthesis. It also aims to fill in the gaps quickly, so that readers can begin taking full advantage of all of Wavetable’s powerful features right away.
Now, you can develop a clear understanding of how to use the many features of Ableton’s Wavetable synthesizer to create custom sounds. This book presents a feature-by-feature overview of how this powerful, modern synthesizer works from top to bottom. Plus, this book explains how sounds can be designed by paying attention to 4 sound “characteristics” – Timbre, Shape, Genre and Texture.
The introduction chapter contains a full explanation of wavetable synthesis that is easy to understand. Furthermore, readers will learn how wavetable synthesis compares to other common synthesis methods such as subtractive, additive and FM synthesis. These comparisons yield valuable insights that will help readers create fascinating sound textures more quickly and effectively by understanding what makes wavetable synthesis so special. Readers will understand how and when to use wavetable synthesis (as opposed to other synthesis methods).
Chapter 2 will present the science and art of sound design. Readers will learn how patches should be designed based on timbre. You’ll learn how timbre is scientifically related to the harmonic series. But, you’ll also learn how to use filters to artistically craft specific timbres – looking at examples for bass patches, pads and lead sounds.
Chapter 3 presents a sound design approach for using envelopes – one of the most powerful features in Ableton’s Wavetable (and many other synthesizers). Readers will learn to understand sound “Shape” as the direct result of correct and appropriate envelope configurations.
Chapter 4 and 5 introduce (and explain) sound design principles related to “Genre” and “Texture”. Readers will discover that “genre” depends on using appropriate wavetables (from the collections that Ableton provides). This book contains a helpful table of contents (for Ableton’s wavetable library) that will help readers match specific wavetable collections to genres of sound. After that an examination of sound texture will help readers construct more expressive, evolving sounds with Ableton’s Wavetable.
Chapter 6 will educate readers about every feature and tool in Ableton’s Wavetable synthesizer. This chapter is a feature-by-feature examination – similar to a manual, but more practical. Each feature of Wavetable is described briefly in technical terms (what does it do and how does it work?), but each feature is also presented as a practical tool. You’ll learn how each feature can actually be used in the real world to create the sounds in your imagination! Although every feature is discussed, some highlights include oscillator effects, sub oscillators, filter circuits and filter routing options.
Chapter 7 explains how the modulation matrix works. Mainly we look at using the modulation matrix to create more complex, inspiring and expressive patches. You’ll learn about different types of modulation and creative ways to use envelopes and other modulations in your wavetable patches. The modulation matrix offers sound designers an extremely flexible way of working with modulation. While the Ableton online manual is complete in explaining the technical details regarding how the modulation matrix works, this book offers a more artistic approach to actually using these powerful features in the real world.
Finally, the book concludes with a look at CPU optimization and miscellaneous features that can help sound designers optimize and take control of their patch libraries. The final chapter also includes 6 video tutorials that contain hands-on demonstrations of many of Wavetable’s features. Each video tutorial focuses on how specific features can be used to create a specific, useful wavetable patch. The video lessons demonstrate bass, pad and lead patch designs and provide readers with valuable insights and perspective on using Ableton’s Wavetable Synth to create modern, unique sounds that are impossible to duplicate with other synthesis techniques.