wav_Map - Max for Live Wave Terrain Synthesizer

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Wave terrain synthesis is a method for generating complex waveforms using a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional surface. I like to call this a Map, because in the tradition of wave terrain synthesis it is conceptualized as a 3D surface, but it’s really just an image, specifically in this case a square image 1024 pixels across where pixel brightness acts as a stand in for “elevation”.

To generate the wave, an imaginary traveller traverses an orbit, or closed path of some sort, across the Map. At each point along the path the value of the output waveform is the elevation (or pixel brightness) of the terrain at that point. One complete traversal of the path constitutes one cycle of the output waveform.

Since wav_Map converts image data into audio data behind the scenes and then reads that data back at audio rate as a waveform, it is just as logical to do away with the whole “wave terrain” construct and say that the oscillator creates sound from images, because the sound it produces is literally made from the image itself. I’ll let you decide how you want to think about it.

wav_Map comes with 30 default Maps. Each Map was carefully (obsessively?) generated in Max MSP with the intention of creating a beautiful image that could simultaneously create a range of musically interesting waveforms. You can also add your own Maps by simply dragging in an image file; wav_Map will automatically convert it to audio and use the result to produce new waveforms.

In the strange little world of wave terrain synthesis a lot of emphasis is placed on the Map, but the shape of the Path travelled over that Map is just as important to the resulting sound. With that in mind wav_Map provides 6 unique path modes each having 4 path shape controls. Each mode is capable of producing a wide range of continuously variable shapes. Ultimately the variety of waveforms that can be generated is nearly infinite.

wav_Map is a fully featured monophonic synthesizer with many of the features you would expect, but the unusual sound synthesis at its core has also been paired with some other equally unusual features.

It deliberately doesn't use LFOs, instead a 2D x/y gesture recorder has been placed over the Map. Dragging the mouse over the Map will move the Path, but this interaction also automatically generates 8 unique modulation sources that can be used to add modulation to 19 parameters internally. It has been designed to encourage visual interaction and experimentation. The user interacts with the Path, which while creating sound from the Map, is also capable of interacting with many other parameters, creating an intricate system of unpredictable reactions that can be both seen and heard.

  • Wave terrain oscillator that converts image data into complex waveforms
  • 30 1024 x 1024 wave Maps
  • FM feedback based Sub oscillator with selectable 5 octave tuning
  • Complex oscillator cross modulation
  • 6 unique Path modes
  • 4 Path shape controls per mode
  • 4 boundary modes (what happens when the path leaves the Map)
  • 2 loop-able ADSR envelopes
  • global envelope time controls
  • X/Y controller - moves the Path while generating 8 modulation sources
  • modulation matrix with 20 destinations
  • Configurable randomization of modulation routing
  • Looping X/Y gesture recorder w/adjustable speed
  • Self resonant 4 pole LP ladder filter
  • custom reverb and delay FX
  • adjustable note glide w/ 4 response modes
  • adjustable velocity sensitivity
  • Drag and drop an image to make your own Maps!
  • monophonic

This is an audio device for use in Ableton Live - Ableton Live Suite or a Max for Live License is needed

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wav_Map Max for Live instrument

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wav_Map - Max for Live Wave Terrain Synthesizer

12 ratings
I want this!