Wavetable synthesis ( waldorf MW II XT) ? Can someone help me understand it?

Hi all

been busy lately trying to figure out my Waldorf Microwave and its way deeper and cooler than I thought, I thought the way wavetables worked was that the wavetable wasa replacement for the analogue sine/saw/square/triangle wave . But I think I have misunderstood it

is this correct: The wavetable has a type of sound and in EACH wavetable is a set amount of waves ( in the MW XT its 64) so you can have it start at any of the subset of the 64 and sweep to any others using the envelopes.

phew, I dont understand what i just wrote because i cant figure out how to make the Envelope effect the wave sweeps, but a lot of the presets have that on the mod wheel and you can also change the startwave using a knob on the front ( Handy thing knobby synths!)

Also: does anyone have any links or tips to using the MW II XT? I really dig it and I want to learn more about it . I already know about Carbon111’s site

I just picked up a Wavestation A/D and am learning this as well. I also built a Frequency Central Waverider, which may actually be closer to your synth.

In the A/D you can assign a wave to a part and then cross-fade between them. This can be smooth or abrupt. It can also change in pitch so you can do pseudo sequences. With the Waverider you have a set table and you can modulate between the waves in a similar manor…depending on what you feed it.

I think you are on the right track, but I have never played a Waldorf.

@dude163 you pretty much have it there. A wavetable is a collection of single-cycle waveforms arranged one after the other. The Startwave parameter determines which of the waveforms within the table is used initially. This can be set individually for each of the two oscillators (though both must share the same wavetable, which is a slightly annoying limitation). Various LFOs and envelopes can then be used to sweep through the waveforms in the table. There’s a comprehensive modulation matrix where you can assign modulation, in much the same way you can in the Shruthi/Ambika.

I’d recommend having a look at the manual, if you haven’t done so already. You can find it here .

Also, I’d highly recommend getting yourself a decent software editor for the synth. It’s pretty deep, and only a fraction of the available parameters are exposed as controls on the XT hardware, with the rest hidden in layers of menus. I have this Ctrlr-based editor from Monstrum Media, which seems pretty comprehensive. I’ve not had a chance to try it yet, but it looks pretty good to me.

Incidentally, the Shruthi-1 and Ambika use wavetables in a very similar way, with the Para control being equivalent to the MW Startwave parameter. The MI products score over the Microwave in that the two main oscillators can use separate wavetables. On the other hand, because the Microwave II/XT is 100% DSP-based, you get FX, polyphony and more flexible filters.

I must admit, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what can be done with this synth. Thus far, I’ve basically just flipped through presets, but I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve heard so far. I’m looking forward to digging into it a bit more.


Main Idea of the Wavetable Synthesis - invented by Wolfgang Palm for the Wavecomputer and developed till the Wave 2.3 - was making the Oscillators, back then limited to “boring” analog Waveforms (Rectangle/PWM, Triangle/Saw, Sine) more interesting so you could make new, unheard sounds. The idea was to read different Waves from a digital Memory, and while Mr. Palm was at it he implemented a whole Set (Wavetable) for this and inplemented interpolation between 2 Waves, so you can smoothly scan thru the Wavetable. At least what smooth meant back then in 8 Bits……
Read here the whole Story in his Masters own Words

Another approach making the Waveform from the oscillators more interesting is the Prophet VS Style Vector Synthesis, where you can blend 4 detunable digital Oscillators (each with 79 Waveforms) via a 2D Vector Envelope, which would be equivalent to a a 2D Wavetable.

The Wavestation (A/D) doesn’t do exactly Wavetable Synthesis, actually they call it Wave Sequencing, you can program a Sequence (obvious) of Single Cycle Wavforms or even whole Samples from ROM as you like it, whereas the Wavetables in the MicroWave is fixed. A Vector Stic was added so you can mix 4 of these Parts. So its a mixture between Wavetable Synthesis and Vector Synthesis - at least kind of as far as Dave Smith did understand all this :wink:

Now pick your favorite. Mine is clearly all of them.

You could also have a read through section 3 of the manual for the Monstrum Media Microwave XT editor (linked above).


I think the primary difference is some units generate the waveforms with oscillators and some store the waves in a ROM.

So while the VS had 4 oscillators the Wavestation is a ROMpler which mixes between 4 sequences of samples or 4 samples.


Thanks all. I was reading the manual actually when I came to the realization I posted I do like the fact that it’s unapologetically digital ( great recommendation fcd it sounds like propaganda / depeche mode / tdream. Great fun )!

I’ll take a look at crtlr and see ,right now I’m enjoying the randomize feature

Re: using lfo to sweep through the tables can I have it sweep say 25-30-25 ?
Back to the manual , funny how this manual and the Elektron A4 ones are do much more humorous and informative than he incredibly dry e-mu ones , blech


The VS is also a ROMpler to your definition as it reads its single cycle waveforms from ROM :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t classify both of them as a ROMpler, as they have Oscillators that are mixed, modulated and filtered.

Id define a Rompler as a device that reads whole samples (not only single cycle Waveforms like the VS and WS) from ROM with only limited modulation and filter Abilities. Best Example is the early Roland U-110 or the EMU-Proteus

Yeay, its digital but in a good way; it doesn’t try to “emulate” any “classic” Filter - it stands for its own. Try a microQ if you can get hold of one, its VA, but it has the same great Filter.
You can use pretty much any Modulation Source to scan the Wavetable, thats the magic of a Modulation Matrix. You might want to try the 8 Stage Wave Envelope for this (Page 74 of the Manual )

@fcd72 Ah right, when it said digital I thought it meant DCOs or something.

A wavestation does have ROMpler style sounds available though, you can add more via the PCM slot. It’s a ROMpler with a vector synthesis added on after.

If you want to fade a piano into a analogue style waveform you can.

Yeah, for the WS it really depends on what waves you choose from the ROM. It can play both, single Cycles and Samples…. it lacks a bit the extremely small amount of Pitch Shift between the OSCs the VS can do - and thats part of the unique sound.

WS also has a filter but with no resonance, that was a major irritation for me.

I’ve been running the WS through the SVF. It can sound cool in the right circumstances.

Works fine without, doesn’t it? And better a good sounding filter without resonance than an ugly digital emulation thingie…

For the VS the Filter has a bit a different role, as most classic subtractive Synths use the Filter to remove the Overtones and Color the Signal to a signature sound the VS probably would work with any filter( even with a digital one ) as the signature VS sounds appears if you use it to remove some of the overwhelming Harmonics from mixing the 4 Oscillators rather than sculpting your sound with closed Filter and Resonance. At least thats where i like the VS best….

“WS also has a filter but with no resonance, that was a major irritation for me.” Main reason I eventually got rid of my Wavestation EX. Korg got around it by sequencing waves with varying degrees of resonance in the sample but I thought that particular aspect was a bit limiting.

It did a great distorted electric guitar 'though.

a|x: lol

I like the line test part 2: if this works you probably arent reading anymore…

>Korg got around it by sequencing waves with varying degrees of resonance in the sample but I >thought that particular aspect was a bit limiting.

Yes, that’s what I hated. Tones of PCM storage used up by tones that could have been generated by having a decent filter inside it.

The “Purple Haze” guitar? used that a few times, as did Front 242 on the song Religion.

I had a really hard time wrapping my head around the joys of wavetables until i started messing with them on littlegptracker. Having your psp on the go is a real joy to dig into tables.

I used to do something a bit similar with MOD trackers, use samples and then alter the start point (offset) with each note. You could emulate a filter by using a filter sweep sample and changing where the sound started. Downside being it was a bit clicky.

Yea I really wish lgpt had ping pong osc loop which would really help with clicks… but at least it has a nice multiband filter already!

Ok so I did some goofing around and got some interesting sounds out of it , is there a crtrl panel thats free? I couldnt seem to locate one that wasnt payware

this link from above is all I could find http://ctrlr.org/waldorf-microwave-ii-xt-xtk-editor-monstrumwave-2-9/