A type of sound generator often built in a sound card. A wavetable contains digitised samples of real instrument sounds or effect (FX) sounds. A wavetable chip often also contains a drum kit sound to faciliate rhythm accompaniment.
A recorded wavetable sound may be edited and enhanced by various effects (reverb, chorus) and layered with other waveforms before writing it to ROM or RAM. The latter type serves as user sound memory.
A wavetable generator is typically controlled by MIDI input. When a MIDI note-on signal is detected, the output part of a wavetable generator generates a sound with definitive pitch, typically a musical note.
Wavetable sounds are used in games and music. The more realistic wavetable sounds have all but replaced the earlier synthetic FM (frequency modulation) sound generation in sound cards but to ensure compatibility with older games etc., an FM part is usually included.
The best known wavetable sound generators includes the E-mu 8000 chip, used in Creative Labs' Sound Blaster AWE-32 card family and in E-mu keyboards. Other wavetable cards are Gravis Ultra-Sound (GUS), ESS Cards, Opti, Zoltrix and many Roland cards.