Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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Urs
u-he
23753 posts since 8 Aug, 2002 from Berlin

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:03 am

yellowmix wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:52 pm
Kinda odd not to consider wavetable interpolation (if any) as its own major category.
or formula parsing capability :hihi:

PieBerger
KVRist
336 posts since 23 May, 2012 from London

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:07 am

Urs wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:03 am
yellowmix wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:52 pm
Kinda odd not to consider wavetable interpolation (if any) as its own major category.
or formula parsing capability :hihi:
Or multidimensional scanning :D
Always Read the Manual!

User avatar
jeffb01
KVRian
876 posts since 18 Apr, 2006

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:26 am

yellowmix wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:52 pm
Kinda odd not to consider wavetable interpolation (if any) as its own major category.
really? does that seem like a glaring omission? What info would you expect to see? I have no way of knowing how Massive X is interpolating. Pigments and Avenger have a button (morph / smooth or steppy). I assume they mostly cross-fade (serum has spectral in wt editor) and, honestly, they all sound good to me.

User avatar
jeffb01
KVRian
876 posts since 18 Apr, 2006

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:46 am

jeffb01 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:00 pm
KBSoundSmith wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:31 pm
jeffb01 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:44 am

I don't think it's silly, tbh. my points:

I'm not trying to compare every synth, it's a blowout of the wavetable synths. If version 1.0 of the synth didn't do wavetables, then (to me) it's not so much a wavetable synth, but a VA synth that added wavetables as an osc option. It's about the synth's mission statement, if that makes sense.
Your wavetable definition has nothing to do with reality. Warp/bend/modulation/distortion wavetable modes are something that I think NI Massive introduced.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavetable_synthesis

I'm pretty sure most digital "analogue" synth are also using wavetables.
CPU monsters like Diva/Repro and similar could be generating the waveform with formulas, anyone who knows more can inform us.
So now I have to include Diva? It's like if I was comparing fruit and I do apples, bananas, and oranges and someone say I should do avocado and I'm like, well, my criteria was it should be sweet and common and you're like my definition of fruit has no basis in reality. A cucumber is a fruit.

Fine. I added the following sentence to my opening paragraph:

This isn't to compare every synth that has a wavetable, but rather to compare and contrast the wavetable synths inspired by the original Massive.
Last edited by jeffb01 on Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
parawave
KVRist
257 posts since 15 Mar, 2016 from Germany

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:14 am

Feeling a bit left out here :hihi:

Number of Wavetable Oscs:
24

Total LFO/Mseg/Envelope Modulators:
96

But who needs that :roll:

User avatar
jeffb01
KVRian
876 posts since 18 Apr, 2006

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:18 am

parawave wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:14 am
Feeling a bit left out here :hihi:

Number of Wavetable Oscs:
24

Total LFO/Mseg/Envelope Modulators:
96

But who needs that :roll:
Rapid is next in line to be included. I only have the demo right now... Though if you want to PM me the info that goes in each slot, I will add it today.

yellowmix
KVRian
1121 posts since 11 Aug, 2012 from omfr morf form romf frmo

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:18 am

jeffb01 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:26 am
yellowmix wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:52 pm
Kinda odd not to consider wavetable interpolation (if any) as its own major category.
really? does that seem like a glaring omission? What info would you expect to see? I have no way of knowing how Massive X is interpolating. Pigments and Avenger have a button (morph / smooth or steppy). I assume they mostly cross-fade (serum has spectral in wt editor) and, honestly, they all sound good to me.
No interpolation (switching/stepping), crossfading, spectral, spectral (zero fundamental phase), spectral (zero all phases), and whether or not it passes the 7 x 4th Harmonic interpolation test using whatever means. You can definitely hear the difference between interpolation methods with that wavetable.

I can tell you right now Hive is the only one that passes that test; I've ran it through every other wavetable synth I could demo. I'd place Serum second, but it pre-calculates the math when doing the morph in the editor. Pigments and Avenger are in the middle of the pack with crossfading at best. Europa can crossfade but it's a messy one, as it fades the edges of each waveform which alters the sound. Some synths do similar trickery to smooth out such issues and sound good, albeit not correct. Not a dig on the developer; there are always compromises made for CPU and other things, but something to note.

As previously mentioned, whether a wavetable can be further divided into multitables (and if the multitable index can't be modulated for some reason).

And as Urs mentioned, formula parsers and their abilities. It should probably be categorized with wavetable editing. Hive's got formula scripting which is more powerful than one-liner formulas like Serum (but much respect for being the vanguard for the concept).

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DJErmac
KVRian
881 posts since 25 Apr, 2009 from France

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:42 am

parawave wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:14 am
Feeling a bit left out here :hihi:
Gooooooooo Raaaaapid !!!! :party: :party: :party:

My synth life is mainly Avenger, Rapid, Thorn and Icarus, la creme de la creme. :tu:

User avatar
pdxindy
KVRAF
15807 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:51 am

jeffb01 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:26 am
yellowmix wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:52 pm
Kinda odd not to consider wavetable interpolation (if any) as its own major category.
really? does that seem like a glaring omission? What info would you expect to see? I have no way of knowing how Massive X is interpolating. Pigments and Avenger have a button (morph / smooth or steppy). I assume they mostly cross-fade (serum has spectral in wt editor) and, honestly, they all sound good to me.
Serum has no realtime interpolation... it is only steppy. You have to do surgery on the wavetable and delete some frames and generate interpolated frames to get a relatively smooth result... and that dramatically changes the original wavetable. So Serum is not so good for slowly evolving wavetable soundscapes because you hear the step from frame to frame in lots of cases

Icarus has a knob to blend from stepped to smooth. It's useful to have the range and not just on/off button

Hive's Spectral interpolation is the best I have heard. I've imported some Icarus generated wavetables that have some artifacts in Icarus and had them play artifact free in Hive using Spectral.

Interpolation is an important aspect.

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parawave
KVRist
257 posts since 15 Mar, 2016 from Germany

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:58 am

jeffb01 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:18 am
Rapid is next in line to be included. I only have the demo right now... Though if you want to PM me the info that goes in each slot, I will add it today.
Thanks. :D

About this thread. It's a really nice idea and a good thing to see the hard facts/specs.

Suggestion
The GUI specs are a bit subjective. How about the following data?
  • Screen resolution at 100%: e.g 1280 x 720px
  • Frame-Rate: 60fps, 30fps, maybe 24fps, no-vsync?
  • Resizeable: Yes, No, DPI dependent?
  • Hardware accelerated: Yes (GPU, OpenGL, DirectX), No?
  • Visualisation (is there a modulation depth preview)?
  • How many GUI themes are included by the vendor? Dark/Bright/Color?
Drag and Drop modulation?
Very important nowadays if you ask me.

AnX
KVRAF
4903 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:14 am

jeffb01 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:00 pm
KBSoundSmith wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:31 pm
jeffb01 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:44 am
You guys might be right. Dune is a cool synth and honestly is at the top of my list for future synths. But I don't think you can add sync or FM to the wavetable in real time. right? That was the qualification I made in the original post and is a very important part of any wavetable synth I am interested in (as a wavetable synths). Maybe I will change that in the future, but there are so many va synths that add wavetable oscs. I would think I should add Rapid before Dune and Hive. But if I get enough requests...
Those type of wave behaviors can be baked into the wavetable itself. The distinction between real-time calculation of FM and FM waveforms stored in a table is arbitrary. Frankly, one of the major advantages of wavetables is that it gives you a large variety of waveforms without needing to calculate such waveforms in real-time... one might say that's the point of wavetable synths in the first place.

Hive does not do what you claim for your criteria. HOWEVER, the included FM wavetables (for just an isolated example), built with Hive's scripting language, end up with a more pristine/artifact-free result than can be achieved by many actual FM synths (read that again -- the FM quality in Hive is better than dedicated FM synths). Hive also benefits from very high quality real-time interpolation of the wavetable that other wavetable synths either don't attempt at all or can't match.

It seems ...hmm, silly... to exclude high-quality engines based upon such arbitrary distinctions. I haven't tried Dune 3, but given its pedigree, and that it is in fact a wavetable synth, it also seems an extremely odd omission in a list of wavetable synths.
I don't think it's silly, tbh. my points:

I'm not trying to compare every synth, it's a blowout of the wavetable synths. If version 1.0 of the synth didn't do wavetables, then (to me) it's not so much a wavetable synth, but a VA synth that added wavetables as an osc option. It's about the synth's mission statement, if that makes sense. That said, Dune 3 and Hive 2 are very fine synths that I would like to own one day.

I would like to do a blowout of the FM synths, but it's not like every synth that has a FM knob is going in there. I thought I set a low bar with being able to mod a wt and I'm surprised at the resistance. Think of the synths I compared and imagine if they didn't have their numerous ways to modify the wt. They would be very different (lesser) synths. Even the Virus has ways to mod it's wavetables, but I'm not including that either. I would think Rapid and original Massive would be ahead of it in line.

I did 5 synths, which took a lot of time and research (and I know I got some stuff wrong). I don't own Dune or Hive2 anyway, but if you want to write up the info for those synths for the criteria above, I will add it - since it seems to be highly requested.

Dune has had WT osc since V1, user load WTs since V2, and built in WT editor since V3

You can get all the info you need from the demo version of V3

blof_eld
KVRer
5 posts since 13 Aug, 2009

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:59 pm

Great comparison, should include Kilohearts Phase Plant.

I think it's definitely a worthy competitor for most, if not all, of these. The GUI is so visual as well, really impressive.

Also Ableton Wavetable is nice.

User avatar
jeffb01
KVRian
876 posts since 18 Apr, 2006

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:25 pm

Okay. It's been updated to add Rapid. Parawave supplied the baseline info to the questions asked, but I spent all day with the demo testing and confirming.

I'm not proud to admit that after testing Rapid all afternoon, I ended up buying it (It's on sale). ha. I know i don't need another synth, but it sounds nice and definitely worthy of my wt synth collection.

perpetual3
KVRian
807 posts since 28 Sep, 2012

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:32 pm

parawave wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:14 am
Feeling a bit left out here :hihi:

Number of Wavetable Oscs:
24

Total LFO/Mseg/Envelope Modulators:
96

But who needs that :roll:
Wow - RAPID looks amazing! I hadn’t heard of it before.

biscuitdough
KVRer
5 posts since 8 Jun, 2019

Re: Wavetable Blowout: Massive X vs Avenger vs Serum vs Icarus vs Pigments...

Post Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:59 pm

Fathom?

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