What is Wavefolding? And how to create a similar effect in Serum
Wavefolding is a type of distortion although instead of truncating the signal peaks, they’re inverted in a series of folds.
This may sound fairly complex, and the science behind it is, however it’s simple to employ by just understanding some basics. Wavefolding is a technique that became widely popular amongst west-coast synthesis manufacturers, as it was a way of building unique timbres from the ground up, in a sort-of additive style. In more traditional synthesizers, a full-frequency sound is generated at the oscillator and a filter is used to alter the overall harmonic identity of the sound.
Wavefolding is a great way of taking a basic tone like a sine wave and adding enough harmonics to create a totally new sound, the result is also a more complex yet easily controllable waveform. When pairing this technique with something like Frequency Modulation, which I’m sure we’re all familiar with at this point, the result is even more complex waveforms, and furthermore the ability to sweep from a barebones sine wave through to a metallic tone.
How do we do this in Serum?
Wavefolding is something you would usually find in the Modular Synth world, there are a few software plugins that have the ability to wavefold, however due to Serum’s advanced wavetable editing capabilities, and additive nature, we’re able to get a very convincing Wavefold effect within a single oscillator. Whereas if you were using the Wavefold as an effect, you wouldn’t have the same FM capabilities.
The other beauty of Serum is that it employs additive and subtractive synthesis techniques, so you have the ability to create your own unique timbres from the ground up, and then shape them in various interesting ways using a filter and effects.
These metallic FM leads are very common in the darker Night-time and Forest Psytrance sub-genres, so if you’re looking to create that style, be sure to try this out. The process is pretty lengthy, and easier showed than explained, so I’ll save it for the video.
Check that out here: