The Groove Synthesis 3rd Wave Synthesizer – ‘My New Favorite’

In this video, synthesist Matt Johnson (Jamiroquai) shares his take on the new Groove Synthesis 3rd Wave synthesizer.

The 3rd Wave is a 24-voice, 4-part multi-timbral wavetable synth, with 3 oscillators per voice, analog low-pass filters, a state-variable filter, 6-stage wave envelopes per oscillator, and an industry-first Wavemaker tool that allows users to create custom wavetables in a single step, through proprietary sample-to-wave technology.

While the 3rd Wave has roots in the classic digital wavetable synths of the past, it takes the concept into the 21st century with a lush, expansive sound that’s a product of its expanded wavetables and analog filters.

Johnson offers an overview of the keyboard, explains why the 3rd Wave is his new favorite synthesizer and shares a wide range of audio demos that showcase they synth’s sonic range.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the Groove Synthesis 3rd Wave in the comments!


12 thoughts on “The Groove Synthesis 3rd Wave Synthesizer – ‘My New Favorite’

  1. A great synth! Easily rules the wavetable territory.

    But: the thing that sounds like aliasing is exactly that: aliasing!
    What the instrument does using 8 bit material defiantely is aliasing, just like the original ppg wave.
    You can read about it in the manual.

    Aliasing used in a very pleasant sounding way!

    The 3rd wave also features “high-resolution (96 kHz) anti-aliased wavetables” as well as the option to smooth out the original 8 bit ppg wavetables.

  2. About a year ago, I convinced myself that the Moog One was the polysynth of my deepest dreams. The near $9k price tag kept me pretty much on the fence. and I never purchased one. Then I heard the 3rd Wave. The limited production is currently driving me nuts. I think I’m on the list, but I’m still not sure. Hopefully, Groove Synthesis is able to get their manufacturing output ramped up and their distribution network in place soon. I really can’t imagine anybody who still fantasizes about owning a modern PPG Wave that wouldn’t buy one of these.

    1. It’s the best time in history to be a synthesist.

      Unless you count that time a few decades ago when nobody wanted analog gear and you could get it cheap….

      1. it was the 2nd golden age of synths until the chip shortage.
        Hope that companies that suffered from it badly find their way back.

        In the long run nothing will stop technology and creativity.

        The 3rd wave is a great, highly polished wavetable synth that also handles subtractive and some FM. However it does not explore completely new territory.

        The really futuristic synths are yet to come!

  3. I’m not the target audience for this product, and I could never afford it. But I just wanted to say that this synth is a beautiful machine, and Matt Johnson is a supremely talented player who can really bring it to life. What a thrill to watch him go through the features. Just amazing.

  4. I have faith in it as a substantial instrument overall, but the Wavemaker is gigantic. Its no surprise to see legends like the PPG emulated in hardware, but that feature is going to decide the real monster players. Anyone who gets creative enough with it will stand out like mad.

    1. Some synths breaking out of the usual synthesis methods (sutractive, FM, wavetable, etc.)
      Maybe machine learning (Ai), maybe a reinvention of additive synthesis ?

      Sticking with the tried and true, same but different synths, is fine.
      Still having something groundbreaking new would be so refreshing.

      Seems it is not a technological barrier to break – but one of creativity.

      1. I think the places where there is lots of musical potential are with physical modeling and additive. Machine learning could be used to generate interesting additive sounds– too complex to program manually. It could also be used to create modeling “modules” that have some combination of physical characters. If we throw circuit/analog modeling into the mix, theres lots of sound design potential there. Like AI creating big modular things (though I can see how that sucks all the fun out of it).

  5. which vst would you recommend for wavetables? What would be the benefit of a hardware synth for wavetable/fm over a vst? I’m still learning about this. Thanks!

    1. Vital, Surge XT (free!), Dune 3 (Synapse)– in that order, I think.

      Wavetable synthesis is digital– so any sonic differences are just due to the design of the software, included wavetables, and other DSP in the path.

      I would choose hardware if I am commited to a workflow that is stable, reliable, low-latency, self-contained, and has a certain vibe. The integration with the hardware is tight– ability to hardware controls, etc. I don’t mind menu diving on hardware because I appreciate depth of control more than simplicity. Hardware is my preference for live performance.

      I would choose software (plugin/VI) if my work was mostly in (home) studio. SOME software gets frequent updates with new features, more expandability with wavetables, etc. Might require some “maintenance” in terms of updates, and compatibility. Much more depth and flexibility in sounds. Integration with hardware (assigning modulation sources, etc.) requires extensive configuration.

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