Wavetables explained

One of the key things in making electronic music is building the sound design in the song in addition to the composition structure. This is a very crucial part if you want make any sort of music and not be someone that uses samples from sample packs to build songs.

In synthesis, wave tables are the most basic starter to learning how to build your own sounds. Sine, square and saw tooth are all a few examples of wavetables. Below is a video explaining Sine waves a little better using the VSTi Massive, which I have mentioned before in previous posts as a ‘Must have”.

Just going through the different wavetables and playing them by themselves can be a good start to how the basic waves sound. Most of the simple waves the ones used to make some cool leads, plucks and basses; key to making good synths is simplicity.

Below is a more in depth view on wave tables again using Native Instruments Massive



Sampler, is a granular synth that is a built-in tool that comes in Ableton. Basically with this synth you can take any sample you would like and turn it into something you can play on a keyboard. For example, it is possible to take a sample of an orchestra playing a D note. You can take that sample and put it into Sampler and play that sample and go up and down (about 6 semi tones*). You also have the choice to assign different samples to each note of the keyboard. So instead of just taking that D note sample, its possible to take another sample, say a G note, and place that in the sampler. This allows for you to play that D thru G without the sound getting too stretched out and sounding warped.

*If you dont know what semi tones are, think of notes on a keyboard. Going from an F note to an F# is considered a semi tone. In other words, you can think of semi-tones as a chromatic scale. There are 11 semi tones or half steps in a chromatic scale.

Clicking on the ‘zone’ tab on Sampler will allow you to access the assigning of different notes. Below is an example of the window you should see when you click on the tab.


This sample based synth makes it easy to make an melodic instrument by taking samples of any synth. An idea of something you could do with this is take samples of your favorite synth patch on a synth you don’t have. For example, if you don’t have serum and want to have this sound someone has. You can sample like 4 notes and put them into Sampler; making it possible to play that synth via one shots.

Sampler also makes it possible to resample a synth sound and then play it stretched out. This is an old trick used by Drum’ N’ Bass artists to modulate basses. When you play higher on the octave the note plays faster; its not like playing it normally from the synth it was generated from.

The possibilities are endless with this synth. Take all of these ideas and play around with them then try to use them in your own perspective.

Sound Effects

Tired of looking for the perfect sound effects in expensive sample packs? Instead buying or downloading endless samples you never use, why not make your own. During the downtime of not making music, a good thing to do is make your own sound effects that will fit perfectly in your projects you are working on. It saves a lot of time, effort, money and space on your computer.

Positives to making your own sound effects

  • Tuned to your track, no need to find samples in the same key as your project.
  • Make your own sample pack; helps cut time down when making music.
  • Create your own unique sound

Using Ableton’s built in plug-in Operator you can make any effect you want. In the video below ARTFX shows you how to spice up your track and make your own sound effects.

Drum sound design

When making the beat for any song, the drums are always a KEY part. Creating your own drums out of a multiple samples can be really helpful in building your own samples so you stick out like the pros. ARTFX does a great job of explaining how to process your own signature drums.

In the video posted below, ARTFX talks about how to make your own snare samples out of multiple samples processed together using the multiband dynamics, glue compressor and transient shaper (which could be replaced with Flux Audio’s bittersuite).

This technique can also be used to make big sounding kick drum samples and other drum samples you wish to mash together to make a signature drum processing.

I would advise everyone looking at this to subscribe to ARTFX’s channel. His tutorials are very helpful and lead people in the right direction. I will also be using his channel as a reference.