MATRIXSYNTH: The Wavetable Synthesizer by Seth Kranzler

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Wavetable Synthesizer by Seth Kranzler

The Wavetable Synthesizer from Seth Kranzler on Vimeo.

MATRIXSYNTH reader Seth Kranzler wrote in to share his latest project, The Wavetable Synthesizer. Seth is a student in the ITP program, an experimental New Media graduate program at NYU, and this was his term project. Be sure to see his site for some of his other creations. The following is some info on The Wavetable Synthesizer for the archives. Be sure to see the second video below. I also created a new Seth Kranzler channel as I do for all makers featured on the site.

"The Wavetable Synthesizer utilizes what I have dubbed 'creative synthesis'. Instead of indirectly affecting waveform shape with envelopes, LFO’s, and oscillators, the Wavetable Synthesizer allows the user to directly control the waveform shape using 12 sliders and two knobs. Eight of the sliders control the overall shape of the wave (acting much like 'attractors' on a line), while two knobs control how the points are interpolated (smooth, triangular, or square) and at what resolution (from fine to coarse). The four sliders labelled 'A', 'D', 'S', and 'R' are used for attack, decay, sustain, and release respectively (more information on that here). Users can access saved waveforms with a bank of buttons, and when selected, can watch the controller transform automatically to these settings. The rightmost knob allows for control of the transition speed between presets."

"The software for the Wavetable [see video below] is where all sound synthesis takes place. Due to familiarity and available resources, Processing (Java) was used. The first challenge in creating the software was to create a smooth waveform from only eight distinct points. In order to accomplish this, an interpolation function needed to be utilized. While the math to perform these interpolations is readily accessible, Java also has libraries available to aid in this. The image to the right shows comparisons of the Apache Lagrange (white), spline (green), and linear (red) interpolations. Ultimately, the spline and linear interpolations were used in conjunction with a "square wave" interpolation.

In order to then play the waveform, the minim wavetable function was implemented. The MidiBus library handled all midi communication."

20141110 wavetable demo from Seth Kranzler on Vimeo.

You'll find full details at

On the future of The Wavetable Synthesizer

"I’d like to continue working on this project and rebuild the software side in MAX/MSP. Ultimately, it would be great to move away from processing as it is not ideal for sound synthesis. Since I would be programming this in MAX, I also plan to make it a Max for live device. It would be great to be able to distribute it for free and give back to the Max for Live community."

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