How to Make a Single-Cycle Waveform

How to Make a Single-Cycle Waveform

Postby chysn » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:42 pm

If you want to create single-cycle waveforms for your Evolver, but don't know how to do it, this is where to find help!

You'll need audio editing software. Discussion of the best audio editing software is beyond the scope of this post, but it may be discussed later in the thread. For now, I'll give two recommendations. For PC, Mac, and Linux systems, Audacity is a very robust, and free, waveform editor. You may download it at

For iOS devices, I would recommend TwistedWave. This is very full-featured. When I bought it, it was in the ten-US-dollar range, but it's very nice.

The screenshots here are going to be of Audacity for Mac.

First, record your full waveform, or open an audio file. Once you have the file created, it'll look something like this:

Audacity1.png (63.52 KiB) Viewed 2902 times

If your original waveform is in stereo, you'll want to convert it into mono. To do this, click on the caret in the upper-left corner of the waveform window and select "Split Stereo to Mono."

Audacity2.png (69.8 KiB) Viewed 2902 times

Once you have them split, go ahead and close one of the two waveforms.

This waveform is much too big to be used in an Evolver. You want to grab a single "cycle" of that waveform. To find a cycle, you need to zoom in. For the Mac, you press Command-1 to zoom in. To find the key binding on your platform, open the View menu at the top of the screen. Try it... zoom into the waveform a few times:

Audacity3.png (27.87 KiB) Viewed 2902 times

As the waveform gets longer on the screen, you'll need to use the scrollbar at the bottom of the screen. (You can also resize vertically at the bottom of the waveform window.) Keep zooming until you can make out a single distinct data points:

Audacity4.png (33.38 KiB) Viewed 2902 times

Now you can extract a single cycle from this waveform. Find a point where the wave is at the center line and ascending. Then, find the next point where the wave is as close as possible to the center line and ascending. Click on the first point, and drag to the second. The point you choose may be arbitrary, or you may experiment with different points. In my wave, I've chosen a range more or less at random:

Audacity5.png (40.72 KiB) Viewed 2902 times

Now, at the top of the screen, go to Edit > Remove Audio > Trim. On a Mac, this is Command-T. Only your selected single-cycle portion will remain.

Export your file with File > Export. Audacity gives you a lot of options for saving the waveform in different formats. But the default format should be "WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM." This is the format you want to use for Evolver single-cycle waves.

Now the wave is ready to be sent to the Evolver. More on that later, but you may bring your WAV files into a utility like WAV2Evolver for conversion to system exclusive.

Questions or comments? Talk below!
DSI: Evolver #1431
Other Synths: Moog Little Phatty Stage II (Red), Arturia MicroBrute
Other Hardware: Alesis MMT-8, Korg Volca Beats
DAW: Reaper for OSX through PreSonus AudioBox USB
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