How The Waveform Modes (Spectrum, Bend+, Bend-/+ & Bend-) In Massive Affect The Sound

Learn how the wavetable modes (Spectrum, Bend +, Bend-/+ And Bend –) in NI Massive affect your sound.

If you haven’t seen Part 1 in this series, click here to watch it!

This tutorial covers how the wavetable modes in Massive like spectrum, bend +, bend-/+, bend – and formant effect the overall timbre of your sound.

Massive is a wavetable synth.

Which means it’s not trying to emulate a virtual analog waveform signal, but instead it uses wavetables to generate sound.

A wavetable is essentially a snapshot of an audio signal. One of the interesting features in Massive is that most wavetables are actually a blend of two separate audio signals.

Take for instance the square saw waveforms. If your wavetable knob is all the way to the left, then the sound is a square wave.

If it is all the way to the right, you get a saw wave. The middle is a blend between the two.

But what about that intensity knob?

The intensity knob reacts differently depending on which waveform mode in Massive you have selected. In spectrum mode, the intensity knob determines how many harmonics are present in the sound.

The bend modes modulate the speed at which the wave plays back over the length of each cycle. Depending on the wavetable, this sounds like a subtle FM or pulse-width modulation.

Finally, Formant mode gives results somewhere between a formant filter and oscillator sync.

Even though there are technically three bend waveform modes in Massive, the best way to show what’s going on is to use the bend -/+ mode because it’s a combination of the bend + and bend -.

With the intensity knob in the middle for bend -/+, the sound you will get is the same as on spectrum at full intensity.

Moving the knob left or right will start to effect the rate the waveform is played back either bending it negatively or positively.

Check out the video to hear how the different waveform modes in Massive affect the sound.

If you want to really get deep with Wavetables in NI Massive we have a 3 hours course. In our Video Course you’ll explore all five categories of wavetables inside Massive: The Basic, Analog/Electric, Digital/Hybrid, FX/Chords, as well as a look at the Virtual/ Analog oscillators available. Click here to find out more about NI Massive wavetables

  • Jason

    Those bend modes are powerful harmonic shapers. Indeed nice tools to get to some of the old PPG wavetable timbres. I’ll have to try these combined with the wavetable position modulation for appropriate attacks. I wish there were a way to quantise the reading of the wavetable to get the gritty or rather coarse character of the PPGs. THanks for these videos. Cheers!

    • Jonny Strinati

      Hi Jason, you could always try modulating the ‘WT-Pos’ with a sync’d LFO or even a stepper for some quantised wavetable cycling. I know it’s not the same but could still produce some pretty interesting results.