3rd Wave Advanced Wavetable Synth Takes Classic PPG Wave Design To A New Level

Ahead of the 2022 NAMM Show, new synth maker Groove Synthesis has introduced the 3rd Wave, an advanced wavetable synth keyboard that takes the classic PPG Wave design to a new level.

Like the PPG Wave, 3rd Wave pairs wavetable oscillators with analog filters. It features 24-voice polyphony and 4-part multi-timbral performance capability, which means it’s like having four independent 6-voice synthesizers in one keyboard.

Each of its 3 oscillators per voice can be a classic PPG-era wavetable, a modern high-resolution wavetable or an analog wave shape. You can create up to 64 custom wavetables of your own with 3rd Wave’s Wave Maker tool, which features sample-to-wavetable capability. You can also connect an audio source to the built-in audio input and generate a wavetable at the touch of a button.

Other features include Linear FM, a 6-stage wave envelope per oscillator, 4 envelopes and 4 LFOs with delay, dual effects per part, a pattern/song based sequencer per part, and a 16-slot mod matrix.

Full specifications are still to be announced.

Check out the demo, by J3PO, and share your thoughts on the 3rd Wave synth in the comments!

Update: They’ve shared a second demo, featuring a multi-tracked demo by Matia Simovich (INHALT):

58 thoughts on “3rd Wave Advanced Wavetable Synth Takes Classic PPG Wave Design To A New Level

    1. Imo the blue is ugly as can be, but I guess they kept it that way or people might get confused. It sounds incredible though.

          1. Oh no, So can you at least post it’s full description? Some of us yet to acquire the ability to see into the future.

                1. I know people that already have them. I know what the specs are. Some here have guessed correctly.

      1. 1:09 It’s that part of the episode where she gets the job.. Now, is she going to get the guy too?

  1. Looks great. Though, with these type of designs, I suppose a couple of primary color versions for buyers to choose from would be appreciated.

  2. This is great – finally synth that offers 24 voices poly and 4 part multitimbral capabilities 🙂
    Brilliant, but would love to see desktop module as well since I have no space for yet another keyboard 😉

  3. It was an impressive synth back in the days and it still sounds pretty ….much better than that lately Ber’o’berheim or should i say Boreheim…

    1. Hermann Seib, one of the co-innovators of the original PPG Wave tried the Behringer PPG recently and said “Yeah, but does it sound like a PPG?” – I think they pretty much nailed it.”
      I think he knows how a PPG should sound.

      1. No no no, He was never a “co-innovator”, Hermann Seib was never a part of the PPG or the PPG synth.

        More than 20 years after the first PPG shipped he revers engineer its software, made an os upgrade and made some software based on it in the late 2000’s but he was never involved with PPG.
        He is respectable programmer and a big fun of Wolfgang Palm work that made some software based on it but that is about it.

        I also think it’s funny they presented it like he just came along and test it after they clearly publish
        “he joined the development tram” about two years ago, And then he is saying “I think they pretty much nailed it”
        ???
        He is part of the team so it will be safe to say he got “motives”?? didn’t he got paid?

        Oh berhinger, you suck so bad 🙂

      2. Hermann Seib is a massive fan of the PPG and probably one of the knowledgeable people on the planet about how they work, thanks to a lot of reverse engineering and study. He did not work with Wolfgang Palm on the PPG Wave series.

      1. If a million Justin Bieber fans tell me that it is me who has a bad taste doesn’t make Justin Biebers music great suddenly…

        Let them buy the UB-Xa in masses so they can play ‘Jump’ all together…still boooooring.

        1. That demo clip of the UB-Xa sounds nothing like Jump and in my opinion sounds more appealing than any OB-X8 demo I’ve heard to date. If that’s boring to you, what synth isn’t booooooring to you?

  4. Sounds and looks like a synth in full!
    LIsten to all that layers of sound!
    Look at all the knobs to turn!
    Fascinating!

  5. I like it. The 3rd Wave has a lot of panel knobs and buttons. If you’re going to spend big bucks on a synth, it should have a lot of knobs and/or sliders and buttons. This is the mark of a great synth, right? The Waldorf Q and Alesis Andromeda A6 are great synths because they have a lot of panel controls.

    They’re obviously trying to make it reminiscent of the PPG. Will the 3rd Wave price be reminiscent of the PPG as well?

    Here’s the thing, in the wavetable synthesis / digital synth territory nowadays, what can you do with a hardware synth that can’t be done for a fraction of the price with software? As mentioned, I like all of the panel controls, but are the knobs and buttons for tweaking worth many more times the price?

    1. It will be better to wait for the full specification before talking about it’s worth, It may have 24x analog oscillators, 24x analog VCF’s and 24x analog VCA’s or maybe just 2x VCF’s and some analog modifiers. One should cost 5 to 10 times the other one…

      But in a nutshell, compering hardware to software has no logic to it and often the result of commenters with no experience with the actual hardware.

      “If you’re going to spend big bucks on a synth, it should have a lot of knobs and/or sliders and buttons. This is the mark of a great synth, right?”

      No, this is the mark of people who consume with their eyes instead of using their brain and can’t wait to judge based on practically… well, nothing.
      Just wait for the full specs, maybe check the manual or maybe even use it a little (oh no!!) before you compere it to software and talking about it’s worth?

      1. “But in a nutshell, compering hardware to software has no logic to it and often the result of commenters with no experience with the actual hardware.”

        Really? The hardware / software comparison debate is widespread and has been going on for years.

        “No, this is the mark of people who consume with their eyes instead of using their brain and can’t wait to judge based on practically… well, nothing.”

        Doesn’t the presence of more panel controls generally mean less menu diving?

        1. “Really? The hardware / software comparison debate is widespread and has been going on for years”

          Like somebody wrote you before about “Justin Bieber”, If many people like to do something it doesn’t make it right, but even if it was I was trying to be precise and wrote you “experience with the actual hardware” unless its you in the video i guess you don’t have experience with this one (3rd-wave) so compering it to software with knowing almost nothing about it is not making much sense, so i advised you to be patient and wait till we know more, It is also a very common problem on the web.. waiting… so should it be ok to be fast to judge because it’s widespread?
          You can of course do that like “many else” but don’t be surprised if someone will point out there is no logic to it.

          “Doesn’t the presence of more panel controls generally mean less menu diving?”

          You wrote “great synth” I don’t see the relation to “menu diving”. The number of controls does not make a synth a great one, It’s maybe impressive for some who don’t know better or afraid to put some effort to learn (like with elektron) or just prefer to twist as much knobs as possible without knowing much, i can understand but i don’t think it’s a criteria for a “great synth”, it is subjective, ill give you that.
          Btw, Allot or most digitally controlled analog synth have some short of matrix control, it cut’s the number of knobs considerably but it’s not menu diving. you press a button, move a knob.

          1. In your earlier post, you wrote:

            “But in a nutshell, compering [sic] hardware to software has no logic to it…”

            Of course it does; otherwise, people wouldn’t be discussing and debating it for many years now, and soft-synth companies wouldn’t make products that try to convince people that their soft-synths are indistinguishable from hardware synths.

            There are a number of wavetable software synthesizers available for sale, including the Waldorf Wave PPG Wave 3.V which includes all of the wavetables from the original PPG and hundreds of additional wavetables. How does comparing hardware to software have no logic to it when this 3rd Wave article reads, “Each of its 3 oscillators per voice can be a classic PPG-era wavetable, a modern high-resolution wavetable or an analog wave shape.” Of course you can compare software wavetable synthesizers to hardware wavetable synthesizers. Of course there is logic to it.

            In your earlier post you wrote (regarding the amount of panel controls):

            “No, this is the mark of people who consume with their eyes instead of using their brain and can’t wait to judge based on practically… well, nothing.”

            “Well, nothing?” Does the presence of more panel controls generally mean less menu diving? Yes or no? Yes it does. That is not judging a synth based on nothing. I don’t like menu diving. A great hardware synth connects with the user with readily accessible parameters. Synths like the Minimoog and ARP Odyssey were/are great because they have a lot of panel controls and have zero menu diving and allow the user instant access to everything, on the fly if desired.

            1. Why do you omit the last part of the sentence, I also wrote:
              “and often the result of commenters with no experience with the actual hardware”

              I was referring to this actual hardware.

              Maybe i wasn’t clear, but after that you again missed understood what i wrote, So I wrote again:
              “I was trying to be precise and wrote you “experience with the actual hardware””

              So i guess it’s not misunderstanding, you just want to talk about hardware vs software?
              If so let’s be clear. I don’t.

              Then you wrote
              “Does the presence of more panel controls generally mean less menu diving? Yes or no? Yes it does”

              Again you talking about what you want to talk with no relation to what i wrote about menu diving, Let’s be clear again, I wrote to you about menu diving:

              “i can understand but i don’t think it’s a criteria for a “great synth”

              I then explained to you why less knobs are not necessarily means “menu diving” like with “matrix control”.
              funny thing is, if you look closely this synth also have some matrix control.

              At the end and to avoid this confusion i wrote to you about the criteria of “great synth” that:
              “it is subjective, ill give you that” but you didn’t take the hint.

              My point is you judge something you don’t know, have zero experience with and compering it to software without even knowing the full feature list, so it has no logic to it.

                  1. Last time i put a link on this site i got told not to do that again, You’ll just have to wait for the official presentation.

  6. Looking forward for the full specs, Seems its a beast!
    Does it really have 24 analog filters? I guess not… But maybe?
    What’s with the “analog wave shape” Does it do wavetables and voc’s or dco’s?

    The blue looks amazing! love blue synths, they usually so complex 🙂

  7. Blue is absolutely sexy (so is the synth)

    Ultranova was a powerful and blue synth (but one part timbral…biggest flaw)

    Come to think of it: the sledge was/is sexy in yellow, the Waldorf whatevers were sexy in yellow and orange, red I not too shabby either…those old EMU proteus desktops were cool in purple or what have you

    Metallic gold or silver is, well for me anyways, gross

  8. A splash of colour in the studio is never a bad thing. Going to come back and check the demos later. The interface looks great!

  9. Still sounds too much like a bad straight to VHS early 90’s cop movie soundtrack to my ears. I’m sure a lot of cool experimental stuff can be done with this architecture, but the “bread and butter” Wave sounds have been dated since the first time they were used.

    1. Agree, can’t really figure out the enthusiasm for infinite variations of the same bell tones. Guess we aren’t the intended target for this.

  10. What a beauty! The sound is there and then some. J3PO shows it off well, as always. Its feature set is all about 2022, but holy bleep, the sample-to-wavetable generation feature is a knockout. That offers some serious power. It takes it far above the original PPG sounds.

    That FM-piano patch slayed me and the bass scared my dog. WIN. Its got flagship written all over it. There’s more to learn about it, but it feels like the best updated hardware emulation of a classic that I’ve seen.

  11. To me, omg, it sounds glorious!

    Having said that, I get where the Behringer fans are coming from. To them, we who approve of this would be erupting in cries of blasphemous “knockoff”; but now, many of us are accepting or, even, enthusiastic.

    To me, the main difference is the elephant in the marketing room. B makes a point of scavenging anything and everything for the sake of profit under cover of “Look what we are doing for the struggling musician.” It’s a tough position not to find SOME merit in. Even I have a Behringer ARP.

    Of course, Groove Synthesis doesn’t have 3-5 dozen products in advanced vapor-ware state, hoping they can obtain parts to make their machines. GS doesn’t (appear to) have any original manufacturer enmity in play…although who knows, that can come back in play depending on “things”. GS is not trying to rebrand every single piece of musical equipment under the sun under its own banners…and, yes, a lot of that is why B is not greeted as warmly.

    So far so good on this offering. I hope the price and materials list lead to a robust launch.

    1. First, because it’s not a cheap copy. It is something that stand on it’s own and will be most likely be too expensive for most, also it’s not trying to be like the original, using the same name (PPG) same layout, even same knobs advertising it is the same. Do you get what they are doing different? It’s not that grey.

      This one seems very different than the original and the only thing really resembles is the synthesis and maybe the color. It’s more like making a new FM synth with many new features but with turquoise buttons

      If berhinger was about taking only inspiration from old synths and making a new and much more improved synth (like they did with the juno/deepmind) most of us was not against it, It could be awesome but it’s not their style, they would make much less money.

  12. Groove Synthesis here, folks. Thanks for your interest in the 3rd Wave. The unexpected info leak on the 3rd Wave earlier this week galvanized us into spilling the beans and debuting it at NAMM. We don’t have our booth number yet, but hope to see you there. Still finishing our website, but follow us on Instagram for some additional sound/video demos in the next few days! instagram.com/groovesynthesis/

  13. In my opinion, the synth sounds just OK. If it ends up selling for $2500, or less, it may be something to consider. However, as I get more and more familiar with my Iridium keyboard, I can’t imagine a “one trick pony” ever coming close to replacing it. Then, again, there is the polyphonic aftertouch on the Iridium. Granted it is only bi-timbral, but I have an Iridium module, as well, if I need 4 voices from the same synth. Also, I didn’t hear anything in the demo that you couldn’t do with a couple instances of Serum and the right wavetables. Unless this thing is selling Behringer cheap, I can’t imagine it being a better solution than a great controller with lots of knobs mapped to some wavetable synth apps. It looks pretty (did I mention I like the blue), but beauty is only sheet-metal deep.

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