The Best Wavetable Synth

The Best Wavetable Synth

It is kind of obvious to point out, but synthesizers are crucial to electronic music production. But the funny thing is there are lots of ways to synthesize a sound. For example, if you are into hip-hop, the chances are that you are quite familiar with sample-based synthesis. On the other hand, if you like the 80’s synthwave, you probably know what FM synthesis is. But nowadays, the most common and widely used form of synthesis is a wavetable, so we are glad to help you find the best wavetable synth.

Top 10 Best Wavetable Synth

  1. Ableton Wavetable
  2. Native Instruments Massive X
  3. Arturia Pigments 2
  4. Soundspot Union
  5. Xfer Records Serum
  6. Initial Audio Sektor
  7. KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth
  8. Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth
  9. Tone2 Icarus
  10. Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V

Wavetable Synth Buying Guide

But before we dive into our list of the best wavetable synths, let’s figure out what wavetable synthesis actually is. Wavetable synthesis is a form of sound synthesis that uses periodic waveforms. Since we have no intention whatsoever of boring you with trigonometry, you should know that periodic waveforms are just soundwaves with values that are repeating in the set intervals. Wavetable synthesizers use various methods of modulating the waveform, which itself could be changed by applying different envelopes and Low Frequency Oscillators.

The good news is that you do not actually have to know the applied physics to use wavetable synthesizers. Nevertheless, there are features you would need to keep in mind before starting your journey into the world of wavetable synthesis.

Important features

First of all, many software wavetable synthesizers use some sort of analog sound manipulation techniques, and some even go as far as recreating the behavior of hardware LFOs. So worrying about our synthesizers sounding not enough “analog” is not something we should be focused on.

Secondly, suppose you are new to wavetable synthesis and really enjoy tweaking things. In that case, the best wavetable synth for you should be intuitive and easy-to-use without the need to spend priceless hours reading the manual. And finally, since we are talking about music production here, the best wavetable synth should be able to inspire you.

Best Wavetable Synth Reviews

Ableton Wavetable

Ableton Wavetable

Pros
  • Intuitive GUI
  • Powerful modulation matrix
  • Awesome visualization
Cons
  • Works only in Ableton Live 10 or higher
See price @ Ableton / @ Courses / @ Presets
Best features and specs

These days, Ableton Live became one of the industry standards when it comes to the production of electronic music. So it wouldn’t be wise to expect anything less than the quality of the highest caliber of Ableton Wavetable. This wonderful wavetable synthesizer has two main oscillators with an additional sub-oscillator which you can combine with two analog-modeled filters and unique only to this synthesizer Unison mode.

User impressions

Users like Ableton Wavetable for its clear, minimalistic design and accessible controls that can be modulated whichever they like. Also, the oscillators provide over 100 different wavetables, which can spice up your composition.

What we think

More often than not, music software developers forget about one very important thing. As audio producers, we have to spend many countless hours staring at our screens in our line of work. So once in a while, it’s refreshing to look at something pleasant. But Ableton Wavetable gives you more than that. Using this synthesizer gives you the feeling of piloting a futuristic spaceship.

Bottomline

Usually, audio producers stick only to one DAW, and in very rare cases, they use several. So if your DAW of choice or at least one of them is Ableton Live, this wonderful wavetable synthesizer would be a handy tool in your audio production arsenal.

Native Instruments Massive X

Native Instruments MASSIVE X

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Reasonably priced
  • Packed with features
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Native Instruments / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Native Instruments were very successful with the NI Massive, so they decided to re-release it, adding quite a few new features. The features that differ NI Massive X from its predecessor are 170 wavetables with a unique individual set of controls and a new set of oscillators. If you like to tweak things a bit, you will be impressed with the embedded modular functionality, one of the coolest features that this synthesizer has. To spice up your creative process, this synthesizer also has 600 factory presets to choose from.

User impressions

Users agree that Native Instruments Massive X has truly unique and amazing sounds as well as impressive effects and unison morph. This VST allows modulating other modulator’s rates and has a set of fixed sync rates for LFOs. Some say that the GUI is rather intuitive, and it is quite possible to get to know your way with the virtual instrument over only an hour.

What we think

You can’t argue with the industry standard. It sounds great and its new interface makes it an enjoyable experience to use. We also like that it’s really flexible, and has many oscillator modes and modulation varieties to choose from. And we like the fact that it offers variability of skins. You can choose between three  – grey, dark and the one with flat buttons.

Bottomline

Native Instruments Massive X is truly massive. the modular functionality is very cool and you will spend a lot of time just going through the synth presets. As you can use Massive X freely for 30 minutes without any limits, there is no reason not to experience this synth for yourself.

Arturia Pigments 2

Arturia Pigments 2

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Addition of sampler and granular synth
  • Two parallel sound engines
  • Advanced MIDI control
  • More than 1000 factory different presets
Cons
  • None, really
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Arturia is well-known for its notorious physically modeled analog synthesizers. So it is rather natural for them to build an all-around digital synth workstation using their successful experience. Arturia Pigments 2 has a shocking amount of modulations on top of its powerful wavetable engine. But the most impressive feature is that it has a very intuitive granular synth and a sampler on top of all of this.

User impressions

Users say that Arturia Pigments 2 has a great preset library (around 1000 different presets). Over 100 different samples and the opportunity to import your samples and change them using Pigments’ modulation abilities. GUI is very attractive and user-friendly.

What we think

We strongly believe that Arturia Pigments 2 has a very competitive chance of being a go-to synthesizer when it comes to electronic music production. Despite that it has an enormous number of features, we were very surprised that it actually is extremely intuitive and adjusted for a very fast and creative workflow.

Bottomline

To give you the opportunity to experience this amazing wavetable synthesizer yourself, Arturia Pigments 2 offers you a free demo version with very few limitations. So you could have all the time in the world, to decide whether it is a good choice for you.

Soundspot Union

SoundSpot Union

Pros
  • Over 300 presets
  • 9 FX post-processing modules
  • Very reasonable price
Cons
  • Limited MIDI control
  • A bit confusing controls
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Let’s face it, not every audio producer has a crucial need for a complicated and expensive synthesizer workstation. Sometimes you just need a simple tool to add some layers to your composition. Soundspot Union provides exactly that – a simple and potentially very useful tool for producers who are not willing to spend much time on learning wavetable synthesis.

User impressions

Users like that Soundspot Union has an intuitive GUI. But there’re a lot of issues with this VST as it doesn’t have the velocity or mod wheel, and it takes a lot from the CPU. Also, routing options are not clear, making this virtual instrument rather a disappointment than a good deal.

What we think

We believe that potentially Soundspot Union could be quite useful in adding layers to existing compositions. Or to create some sketches on the go. Be warned, though – if you have a lower grade CPU, you are probably better off with a built-in synthesizer in your DAW.

Bottomline

Since Soundspot Union is straightforward cheap, you could have it if electronic music production is not your main line of work.

Xfer Records Serum

Xfer Records Serum

Pros
  • Industry-standard
  • Easy to use
  • Built-in effects
  • Free demo
Cons
  • None
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Being the top-shelf synthesizer for a long time, Xfer Records Serum is widely used all around the world in almost all electronic music. Serum deserves our love because of its intuitive controls, tamed sound, and hidden limitless possibilities.

Not only Serum lets you use its presets, but you can actually use your audio files as the sound source. Being a top-shelf synthesizer means that the user won’t experience any undesirable or unpleasant side effects that sometimes might occur during the process of resampling.

User impressions

Users agree that Xfer Records Serum has clean, clear, and detailed sound along with quality filters and effects. Fast, intuitive, and user-friendly GUI is another sweet touch.

What we think

We really like Serum because it makes the process of sound design pleasant, and the possibilities are limitless.

Bottomline

Despite the fact that the free demo version will stop working right after 15 minutes, you still should give it a try as you will be quite impressed with the result.

Initial Audio Sektor

Initial Audio Sektor

Pros
  • Over 750 factory presets
  • Over 200 wavetables
  • Built-in sampler
  • Free demo
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Initial Audio Sektor is pretty impressive for such a reasonably priced wavetable synthesizer. It lets you choose from 4 different sound sources with the addition of a sample-based synthesizer. It also has really advanced routing options, which give you almost limitless sound design capabilities.

User impressions

Users say that Initial Audio Sektor is easy to control when it comes to shaping and modulating your sound. You can alter every aspect of it. This VST does not take much from your CPU and has an intuitive and user-friendly design.

What we think

Initial Audio Sektor is a great and very versatile hybrid of wavetable synthesizer and rompler. But its advanced and intuitive sound customization is not the most impressive thing about it. We were truly amazed by the ability to customize the actual GUI, and you even can create your own skins and share them online.

Bottomline

Initial Audio Sektor has a highly intuitive GUI on top of the very powerful wavetable engine and a sampler. For such a reasonable price, it could be a purposeful addition to the toolbox of every audio producer.

KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth

KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth

Pros
  • Over 1000 factory presets
  • Cross-platform synchronization
  • Resizable GUI
  • Has a free demo
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth truly lives to its name. Its wavetable engine is highly complemented by its seven basic oscillators with the addition of three oscillators unique to this synthesizer.

User impressions

Users like that KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth has powerful wavetable oscillators, truly great filters, and 1200 high-quality presets. Thanks to this VST’s intuitive GUI, it takes no time to adjust the settings for the sound.

What we think

We have very high respect for music software developers who know how crucial it is to have a resizable GUI. So apart from KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth being a great synthesizer, you can actually see what you are doing with it on the wide monitor screen.

Bottomline

Apart from having well-executed but still usual controls for the synthesizer, KV331 SynthMaster One Wavetable Synth also has a 32 step sequencer and modular capabilities. And considering a resizable GUI, this wavetable synthesizer truly deserves your attention.

Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth

Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth

Pros
  • Made by Waves Audio
  • Has granular capabilities
  • Great and versatile sound
Cons
  • No free demo
See price @ Waves Audio
Best features and specs

Nowadays, it is kind of expected from Waves Audio to deliver products of the highest quality possible. So, Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth should not really be an exception, and it really is not. Their custom Virtual Voltage Technology and analog oscillators give you an opportunity to create a wide range of sounds from cutting-edge modern to very warm and analog.

User impressions

Users agree that Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth gives you an amazing opportunity to create and customize your wavetables. Another sweet touch is that this virtual instrument offers a lot of pretty good presets.

What we think

It is truly impressive how much you can achieve with Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth since all the controls are laid out on a single-paged GUI. This synthesizer also gives you an option of loading your custom waveforms, which is always a nice touch.

Bottomline

 Waves Audio Codex Wavetable Synth is really a no-brainer considering that it is very easy to catch it on sale.

Tone2 Icarus

Tone2 Icarus

Pros
  • 1600 patches
  • Powerful synthesizer engine
  • 54 different synthesizer methods
  • Built-in sampler
Cons
  • Does not have a free demo
See price @ Tone2
Best features and specs

Tone2 Icarus offers you a very unique wavetable engine and a shockingly vast collection of filters. On top of that, it has 54 different synthesis methods and a built-in sampler. And all of that is packed into a very intuitive and CPU-friendly package.

User impressions

Users say that Tone2 Icarus has a lot of useful presets and has its distinct sound. It is mostly used for Pop and R&B, but it is great for all electronic genres. This VST is CPU and user friendly, which always is a plus.

What we think

There is no doubt that Tone2 Icarus is one of the most powerful and versatile synthesizers there is. But what we’re most impressed about is its built-in vocoder. A drum sequencer is also a nice touch.

Bottomline

Considering its reasonable price, Tone2 Icarus is money well spent. And the opportunity to go crazy with the vocoder is priceless.

Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V

Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Low system requirements
Cons
  • GUI could feel a bit outdated
See price @ Waldorfmusic
Best features and specs

At first glance, Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V could feel a bit basic, but things are not as simple as they seem.  Originally, Waldorf synthesizers were developed by Wolfgang Palm, the man who actually invented wavetable synthesis. So this synthesizer is a very considered and meticulous recreation of the original hardware unit.

User impressions

Users like Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V for its vintage PPG sound as well as smoother and refined wavetable sound. It has a wide range of wavetables and eight-part multitimbrality, including voicing, effects, and outputs.

What we think

Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V might not be as feature-packed and versatile as other entries on this list, but this synthesizer is not about any of those things. Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V  is an opportunity to experience history and at that it succeeds.

Bottomline

Despite the fact that modern audio technology is indisputably superior to the vintage one, a lot of audio engineers still prefer analog. Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V gives you a chance to experience vintage analog synthesizers without breaking the bank.

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