This week on the Journal we’ll create a playful synth lead with Ableton’s Wavetable, demonstrating the synths ability to create much more than metallic bass tones. We’ll also dive a little deeper into the modulation possibilities via the Mod Matrix, to efficiently create heaps of movement within the patch.


Beginning in Oscillator 1, we head to the Instrument category and select Marimba, which has a very realistic timbre to it. We tune it down an octave for a deeper tone and modulate the Wave Position Control with Env 2 for some movement. We set up Env 2 with a soft attack and no sustain, and also tweak the Amp envelope, again taking away the sustain, for a more plucky feel.

For oscillator 2 we again select from the Instrument category, choosing the Strings wavetable. For a more interesting modulation this time, we direct the Wave Position Control to the Velocity on the Mod Matrix, meaning different velocity values will trigger a different shape for the oscillator, a great way to add loads of variation to the synth patch.

There is a tiny dropdown underneath the Wavetable graphic, this is the oscillator Effect Section, form where you can call up different effects for the oscillator. Selecting the Classic effect, we can now add pulse width modulation and oscillator sync. Taking both controls up, we also modulate the Sync control with an LFO. We turn the Retrigger off on the LFO itself, so it’s constantly cycling through the waveform regardless of the notes being played.

At this stage we also turn on the Sub, effectively Wavetable’s 3rd oscillator, adding a sine wave. We take the Octave down to -2 and push up the Gain.

Finally to control the sound via the filter. Keeping it as a 12db Low Pass, we select the OSR type for some hard clipping, pushing up the resonance and adding about 5db of drive. We then direct both Filter 1 Frequency and the Filter Drive to Env 2. Adding some effects via Reverb and a Ping Pong Delay.

Adding some filter cutoff automation brings out all the mids and tops in the sound, whilst showcasing all that movement occurring thanks to the various modulations set up on the oscillators.

Check out our Tech Presets for Ableton’s Wavetable: