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Re: Thoughts and questions on the API from a modular synth point of view

From: Joseph Berkovitz <joe@noteflight.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 13:30:49 -0400
Cc: Peter van der Noord <peterdunord@gmail.com>, "public-audio@w3.org" <public-audio@w3.org>
Message-Id: <C7F339A2-CD4A-4D35-A625-66F075A32FD0@noteflight.com>
To: Chris Wilson <cwilso@google.com>
> 
> Unfortunately, this term got confused with a single-cycle-table-lookup sample playback in the early nineties.  Although wavetable synthesis will frequently pre-compute the waveform from the harmonic series coefficients and play back a looped single cycle sample, that's not the point.
> 
> If you want to have an oscillator that plays from a buffer, a la a single-cycle sample playback engine, it's quite easy - just create a buffer, put a single cycle in it, and use an AudioBufferSourceNode to loop that cycle.

With respect to the term "wavetable", I want to add that this term today is often applied to commercial sampled-instrument engines such as Native Instruments' Kontakt.

In these "wavetable" synths, there is far more than a single cycle of a waveform present.  Typically the sample consists of a "leader" capturing the unique sound of the instrument's attack, and then an internal loop that encompasses multiple waveform cycles (how many depends on the nature of the instrument).  These internal loops necessarily have both start and end points internal to the sample, hence the need for such a feature in the Web Audio API. The current "loop-the-entire-sample" flag is not useful at all in these scenarios.

... .  .    .       Joe

Joe Berkovitz
President

Noteflight LLC
84 Hamilton St, Cambridge, MA 02139
phone: +1 978 314 6271
www.noteflight.com
Received on Monday, 16 July 2012 17:31:19 GMT

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