Video: Explaining Wavetable Synthesis With the New Arturia Pigments Synth

Wavetable synthesis got its start in the late 1970s and '80s thanks to the pioneering synthesizers of PPG and Waldorf, but it's experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years. Xfer Records' Serum, Native Instruments' Massive, and Ableton Live 10's new Wavetable instrument are all software synthesizers that use this specific form of audio synthesis to craft rich, unique sounds.

Today, Arturia is releasing its brand-new Pigments wavetable synthesizer, which combines a complex wavetable engine with filters from the company's V Collection of classic synth emulations, as well as a host of others filters, effects, and modulation options.


Arturia
Pigments Wavetable Synth
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In the video above, we're using Arturia's new release to explain how wavetable synthesis works. Unlike with most subtractive synths—where a user will decide whether an oscillator generates a sine, triangle, square, or other fixed wave shape—a wavetable synth allows an oscillator to cycle between wave shapes.

As Justin DeLay demonstrates in the video above, you can choose a narrow window for these shifts—say, for example, between a sine and triangle wave. Or, you can allow the oscillator to shift across the whole wavetable, either manually, by twisting the Position knob or automatically, by assigning an LFO to Position and setting the LFO's rate to your desired speed. But as Justin shows, this is just the very beginning of what's possible with wavetable synthesis.

Now that you understand how an oscillator can morph between simple wave shapes, you can begin to understand how it would react (and sound) when morphing between complex shapes. Justin shows off some of the hundreds of presets available in Pigments to illustrate. As you can see, in something like the "Matrix Metalizer" preset, dozens of wave shapes within the table are already harmonically complex. So instead of morphing from a sine to square wave, you have the ability to cycle through dozens of rich forms.

According to Arturia, Pigments' main features include:

  • Virtual Analog triple oscillator engine
  • Classic filters from V Collection instruments, modern filters like surgeon and comb
  • Continuous series/parallel routing
  • 13 stunning effects, including wavefolder, overdrive, parametric EQ, and delay
  • Insert or Send routing options with drag and drop for easy switching
  • Every parameter can be modulated
  • Graphical editing, source-based or destination-based
  • Envelopes, LFOs, Function generators, Random sources
  • 4 assignable Macros to control multiple parameters at once
  • Graphical representation of the most important modules
  • Living, moving waveform to see your sound come alive
  • Create complex, custom and evolving sequences or arps

To hear some of what the Arturia Pigments can do—and learn more about the basics of wavetable synthesis—be sure to watch the full video above. Click here to download your own Pigments today on Reverb.


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