Click for new higher-res screenshot!I am very excited about the new Wavetable Synth coming from Waldorf and Tempo Rubato developer, Rolf Wöhrmann. There are a ton of subtractic synths available, emulating 70-80s hardware, but very few folks are exploring new synthesis territory. From the screenshot alone you can tell this new iPad app is about to push the boundaries in modern ways!
Their press release describes it as:
An innovative approach to wavetable synthesis allows for the transposition of the spectrum and the balance of periodic and sound spectra entirely independent from a wave's position. The existing wavetable technology is thereby extended by two new dimensions, and it allows for formant shifts as well as numerous other unheard sounds. Also, unlike with typical wavetable instruments, the number and length of waves in a wavetable will no longer be restricted.
That sounds awesome, but what the fuck does that actually mean? I asked Rolf and he's been bringing me up to speed!
Details! Details! Details!
The primary concept behind the synth is an evolution of the design in Waldorf's PPG series synths. These wavetable synths used a set of tables, which included various waveshapes. Think of Animoog's timbres, but you've got a bunch together in a table. I mean a whole hell of a lot. The PPG Wave 2 had 30 Wavetables with 64 waves per table. Once a table is selected you can then pick out an individual wave from the table, and use that as something like a second oscillator.
In the as-yet-unnamed synth from Waldorf-Tempo Rubatos, you start off with the same idea... and then double it! As you can see from the screenshot, the Wave 1 and Wave 2 are both working on this principal, but with their own waves and wavesets! As with more typical synthesis, the "oscillators" can be pitched differently for wider sounds. Things get even more robust when you can tweak the spectrum of each, as well as add noise individually. Every control is doubled, so even key-tracking can be independent.
As with any type of synthesis, the real fun begins when you get into modulations. Like Animoog's ability to move through timbres; when you have a modulator running around in a wavetable you get some very unique sounds. This can be used for morphing between waves gradually, as in Animoog, or aggressively for the harsh sounds of Native Instruments' Massive. The Waldorf-Tempo Rubatos' app expands this even further; you can change the selected table from the set by specific modulation. This is a dimension we've never seen before in wavetable synthesis, where you can change the whole damn table!
From the new higher-res screenshot we can now make out a "Mod Matrix" panel on the menu! This means your modulators can modulate other modulations! This is more common in Frequency Modulation synthesis, rather than Wavetable Synthesis. No specific details are available yet and I can't get any more screens out of Rolf, but I've assembled an artist rendering of how I think the Mod Matrix will work. As you can see by the illustration, unlike with typical wavetable instruments, the number and length of waves in a wavetable will no longer be restricted.
3D displays make everything manageable!
All of this sounds crazy, and crazy complicated, but they've got you covered. You'll notice that the majority of the main screen is taken up by a stylish 3D screen; displaying either wavetables or acting as a spectrum analyzer. This is going to make managing your sound much more intuitive. When you can see what your sounds are doing, you can immediately identify what you like and what you don't.
A big portion of the modulations will be playing in the spectrum, so I can't wait to see this in action! These waves will be moving!
Big thanks to Rolf for taking time to not only explain this all to me, but even edit this article to make sure I got it right!