Serum’s wavetable oscillators: the basics
The most immediately recognisable thing about Serum is its wavetable oscillators. Here’s a quick guide to getting up and running with them Wavetable synthesis isn’t a new concept – it’s been around since the ’80s when Wolfgang Palm released the PPG Wave synth. Back then, digital technology was still new and exciting, and Palm’s breakthrough idea was to load as oscillators not just one sound wave, but a collection of them. Known as a wavetable, this collection of waves could then be modulated to produce a collection of sounds that had been hitherto impossible with analogue technology.
While synth fashions have come and gone, Palm’s wavetable synthesis has remained a firm favourite way of generating sounds, with supersynths like Massive – and, indeed, Serum – using the idea to generate their own sounds, taking the tech a bit further each time.
Let’s have a look at Serum’s oscillators – the source of its wavetable sonics. The initialised patch gives us just a saw wave in oscillator A. We can change it from the menu at the top of the oscillator. Choose Analogue >> Basic Shapes.
The point of wavetable synthesis is to modulate this wavetable position to get an interesting, evolving sound. Try out a few more wavetables, and run the WT Position using LFOs, envelopes and other modulators to get morphing sonics in your patch.
This gives us a sine wave to start with, but we can change it by moving the WT Position control. We can click the waveform display to see all the waves available – the whole wavetable.