Welcome to the first chapter of the Vital Masterclass, In this chapter, we will talk about Wavetable Editing in Vital.
A Quick Introduction to the Vital Wavetable Window
The Oscillators in Vital are wavetable. On the top, you have the Wavetable selector, On the bottom right, you can find this pencil tool that opens up the editor, and on the bottom left you can set the wavetable view to 2D, 3D, and SP(Sound Preview), a function that shows the output of the oscillator.
Vital Tutorial - Importing Single wave cycles and Wavetables
Vital uses the FFT 2048 import mode by default which you can change from the edit window, FFT stands for 'Fast Fourier Transform' a mathematical algorithm that builds the basis of the modern digital world, we will talk about it in detail during the Serum masterclass.
Here 2048 means the sample rate. You need to understand about sample rate in order to import single wave cycles.
Basically, when you zoom in on an audio waveform, you will find little dots connected by little lines, these dots are called samples. FFT 2048 basically means that Vital will break the wavetable after each 2048 sample or dot.
This information comes in handy while importing single wave cycles. By default when you import a single wave cycle, the entire wave is converged in the left corner, that's because the sample rate of this single wave cycle is only between 50-500, while Vital is using 2048. Vital makes up for the rest of 1500 samples by inserting a silence. This is a big drawback of Vital Oscillators, For Single wave cycles, vital is like those parents who pressurize their kids to complete with the most intelligent kid in the school...Even if he just wanna be a music producer.
As a fellow music producer, we gotta help our single wave cycle friend here and teach his parents, the vital lesson to turn down the expectation meter a bit.
Jokes aside, it's very easy. When you import an external single wave cycle, vital edit window introduces new settings. One of which is window size, this option allows you to set the sample rate of your imported waveform. You can use it to decide where to break your wavetables or single wave cycles.
Wavetable Source in Vital
There are three types of wavetable sources in Vital,
Audio File Source
Let's discuss them one by one
Audio File Source
This source uses an audio file as the source of the wavetable, you can drag and drop your wavetables either on the oscillator or the editor window.
Blending Modes for Audio File Source
During wavetable import, Vital gives extra options to determine the relation among sub-tables.
These are the main Blending modes
The sub-tables remain unaffected, i.e. the wavetable is played in its original form and frames.
2. File Blend
The shape of sub-tables are affected by their neighboring table. In this mode, the wavetables lose their original shape and adopt a little waveshape from their neighboring sub-table.
This function has an associated option called windows fade, this option controls how much the sub-tables will affect each other. it however does not affect other blending modes.
Time is your traditional crossfade equivalent. It simply makes the sub-table fade in and out.
In spectral mode, the phase of sub-tables plays an important role to decide the blended wavetable. Basically, the neighboring sub-tables share phases with each other and create a hybrid phase information. In time mode the phase almost remains unaffected. But in spectral, there is a violent change of phase information throughout the wavetable.
This violent phase change sometimes can be bad for mixing, especially the bass. Thankfully, Vital has another feature that counters this problem, The Pase Style.
Phase Styles in Audio File Source
There are 3 phase styles in Vital.
This option does not affect the phase, the phase information of the wavetable remains intact.
Creates a uniform and symmetric phase throughout the harmonics for all sub-tables. The Odd Harmonics are higher than even harmonics, this adds a squarish character into the wavetable.(In Square wave Even harmonics are 0)
Generated Random but uniform phase throughout the wavetable. Kind of like Spectral random.
The three import modes Namely WAVETABLE, VOCODE, and PITCH SPLICE are nothing but different blending mode settings.
This option allows you to draw your waveform on the windows, Set the phase and amplitude values, freely edit the position or snap them to grid. There is one Blending mode associated with this source.
You need at least 2 keyframes playing different waveshape to use this function, This option determines the speed and curve of Morphing among single wave cycles.
The wave source is the same as the Line source except the blending modes are different and points are either snapped to the grid or completely free fall. You don't have the freedom to enter the point values in this source.
Waveform Blending is the simple morphing between sub tables, Spectral Blend Creates hybrid phase information for adjacent sub-tables.
There are smooth waveform and spectral blending modes as well which apply the same effect but at a different rate.
The modifiers allow you to process your wavetables in different ways. Let's take a quick look at them.
1. Phase Shift
Shifts the Phase, The only important setting in this modifier is the clear phase which creates an equal phase value for all harmonics.
2. WAVE Window
Wave window creates a fade in and out in the waveform, there are various fade shapes to choose from.
3. Frequency Filter
This option applies the filter on the wavetable itself, its a great way to fix artifacts, errors, save CPU and creating interesting wavetables out of simple sounds.
4. Slew limiter
This modifier limits the Amplitude of the wavetable, levels up harmonics, and brings a steady shape to the waveform.
5. Wave Folder
The Wave folder creates a combined effect of High Pass Filter, PWM, and Phaser.
6. Wave Wrap
Introduce Bending in the waveform.
Wavetable Generation through FFT
In vital you can draw your harmonic levels and phase, the term for the harmonics is Partials Amplitude and Partial phase. This method is mainly used by Additive Synthesizers(WAVETABLE SYNTHS are a type of additive synth).
The French Mathematician Joseph Fourier explained that you can break any simple or complex waveform into a combination of many sin waves with different phases, amplitude,s, and frequencies.
You can set this from Vital's FFT Window. The upper Window sets the Harmonic Level while the lower window sets the Harmonic Phase.
There are two unique features in Vital's FFT function.
There are two Draw modes for partials.
Amplitude Scale - The amplitude scale sets the amplitude of individual parts without affecting other partials.
Power Scale - Maintains the overall tonal balance of waveform, The change in any partial affects the level of other harmonics as well.
Additional FFT options
Unlike Traditional Plugins, The fundamental frequency in vital starts from the 2nd Bin. We have two more features native to additive synthesizers, these features are Time and Frequency Domain Volume. In simple terms, any digital waveform can be represented in two domains, Time and Frequency. The Controls associated with it are the Time Domain Volume and Frequency Domain Envelope Volume.
Time Domain is controlled by the First Bin of Phase Window, this function can control the polarity of the frequency domain volume. This is a Bi-Directional Setting and depends on Frequency Domain. Although your Final Output comes without any DC Offset.
The Frequency Domain is Controlled by the first Bin of Partial Amplitude Window. This option is Unidirectional and controls the Overall Amplitude of the waveform.
Macro FFT Settings
You can perform a macro operation on the entire Harmonic series, To access this option, right-click on the FFT window and choose your option, various functions available are.
Clear - Clears out Phase and Amplitude.
Clear left - Clears all harmonics to the left of selected partial.
Clear Right - Clears all Harmonics to the right of selected partial.
Clear Odd - Clears out all odd Harmonics(1,3,5,7.... etc)
Clear Even - Clears all even Harmonics(2,4,6,8..... etc, Clearing even harmonics from a saw wave gives a square wave)