waldorf microwave xt / xtk

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crystalmsc
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Post by crystalmsc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:48 pm

toonelind wrote:Many people suggest Z1, but isn't a bit difficult to programm and sterile sounding?
I'm not much if a menue diver, but at the same time I like to programm my own sounds. I had wavestation for a while, but it was a bit too difficult to program for me via one data wheel. Microwave seems to have it all nicely laid out on the surface.
Well, it could be a bit on the sterile sounding side, which imho could be good for those bright and clear digital sound. But if you found the interface is not suit you well, may be you would like to check out the Korg Radias or Roland SH-201 (love my JP-8080 much more, but feel that this synth have crisper/brighter sounds). Both have nice interface that's easy to work with.
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Post by Composition86 » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:20 pm

Is it able the xt to play synth-pop sounds or is only for that typical digital sounds and weird noises? I would like to have good leads and strong basses, not only good pads and cold bels, as in the PPG wave.
Are there analog oscillators or only analog filters?

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Post by CTB » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:31 pm

Composition86 wrote:Are there analog oscillators or only analog filters?
There are neither. The XT is all digital, as is the MW2. The MW1 is the one that had an analog filter. That said, the huge array of filter choices on the XT seems to make up for the lack of an analog filter, though the sound is a touch different.

The XT can do traditional sounds - the last few waves in the wavetables are tri, saw, and pulse, so if you don't program any sweeps of the wavetable, it'll do normal stuff too, with the added benefit of all those filter types. It's a great synth. The XTk was the first synth I bought where I wasn't totally convinced I loved the sound, but after I got it, it became one of my favorites.

Here are a couple noodles I made playing the XTk10 live. All sounds are from the XTk. These are completely rough tracks where I'm just messing around with the recorder running. NOT polished at all.

XTk-Noodle
XTktrance
CTB

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:25 am

this thread has definitely got me wanting an XT now! I had always been kind of confused by various incarnations of waldorf-Q, Wave, microwave, XT, etc... but this clears it up a little, and it sounds like the xt is the one to get for interface + sound..
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by CTB » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:36 am

Sir Ruff,
I seem to have more fun with my XTk than my Q, but both always make me "rediscover" them when I power them up again after a long time. If you have any other confusions about the Waldorf line, ask away. Plenty of folks here can help.
CTB

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Post by Huppo » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:59 am

CTB wrote:Sir Ruff,
I seem to have more fun with my XTk than my Q, but both always make me "rediscover" them when I power them up again after a long time. If you have any other confusions about the Waldorf line, ask away. Plenty of folks here can help.
Hey Ruff,

CTB is a Waldorf goon, as am I. I have had a MicroQ rack, a Q rack and now have a full Q keyboard. I also have an XT (the rack version of the XTk) and a Pulse (Waldorf rack mount analog monosynth). I also just bought another MicroQ rack for some reason :?

As for confusion about the various models, there's really only three lines you need to worry about since you probably aren't going to run across a Wave (or be able to afford one) any time soon.

The first is the Pulse and Pulse+. They are rack mount analog monosynths with the Pulse+ also having CV abilities the regular unit lacks. YOu can get specs on this site.

The second is the "Q" series. There is the MicroQ, which was available as a rack mount synth with matrix style editing and a small 3 octave keybaord with the same guts. It is basically the same synth as the "Q", which was also available as both a rack and a full size (61 keys) keyboard. UNless you want to get real technical, they all have the same engine in them: 3 osc, 3 LFO, 2 filters, 4 env, built in fx, really nice arpeggiator, etc. The only oddball in all of this is the Q+, which is a Q with analog filters and a bunch of extra polyphony, etc. Unusual and expensive.

The last family is the MicroWaves. There have been 3 basic iterations, the Microwave 1, which has analog filters, the Microwave II, which does not (both rack mounts) and also has better converters (I think..cant recall without looking it up) and the XT, which is a MWII with lots of knobs. The XT also came in a keyboard version..the XTk.

That kind of covers the basic Waldorf synths you might run across used. Waldorf went out of business a few years back but recently come back to life. They are selling MicroQ racks and Q keyboards with "Phoenix" attached to them. They appear to be the same as the old unit, just with new paintjobs (ugly if you ask me). This is what is holding them over til their new products become more than spec sheets and 3d renderings. Their main new products are the Blofeld, which seems pretty much like a MicroQ in a smaller, sleeker tabletop box with USB connectivity. It's supposed to come out sometime soon but nobody has seen or heard one except at the trade shows, so who knows.

There's also the "Stromberg" which is a flagship synth product that appears from descriptions to be able to load both Q and Microwave/XT sounds. It also is promised to have optional plugin modules for analog filters and a tube/valve warming processor thingamajig. There are apparently no actual Strombergs yet other than an empty shell with lights inside it inside a glass case and a bunch of 3D renderings. There are no sound samples or anything.

They're also making an electric piano called the Zahrenbourg. Doesn't do anything for me.

So anyway, I've never heard CTB say anything about a Waldorf synth I didn't agree with, so listen to him. Both my XT and Q are deep and powerful and mysterious. The XT is weirder, but I'd take the Q for an all-around synth. You can make an XT behave like a regular synth, but you're defeating the real purpose of it if you do. The Q will do weird just fine and even has a couple nice wavetables for that whole vibe.
~huppo

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Post by polardark » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:38 am

I have an XT coming in the mail today (hopefully). The previous owner didn't like it because of that digital "shimmer" the sound gave off. I'm kind of sensitive to that as well, so let's see what i think of it.

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Post by Huppo » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:59 am

polardark wrote:I have an XT coming in the mail today (hopefully). The previous owner didn't like it because of that digital "shimmer" the sound gave off. I'm kind of sensitive to that as well, so let's see what i think of it.
Polar..the XT is practically a celebration of digital error. There's even adjustable parameters for aliasing!

If you don't approach the thing with the intent of embracing its' sound for how weird it is, it is never going to make you happy. It's a characteristically dirty sounding synth.

I hope you like yours, anyway. It's a beautiful thing which rewards time spent.
~huppo

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:15 am

Huppo wrote: So anyway, I've never heard CTB say anything about a Waldorf synth I didn't agree with, so listen to him. Both my XT and Q are deep and powerful and mysterious. The XT is weirder, but I'd take the Q for an all-around synth. You can make an XT behave like a regular synth, but you're defeating the real purpose of it if you do. The Q will do weird just fine and even has a couple nice wavetables for that whole vibe.
thanks Huppo for that rundown... VSE's own descriptions filled me in petty well, but it's good to have it fully laid out as you have done :D

digital and weird are definitely plusses in my book, so the xt sounds right up my street.. and then there are all those knobs! i have enough "analogue" and wannabe analogue around that digital gear seems to be the realm to persue for new sounds (for me at least). I need to stop farfing around with cheap gear and shell out for something a little higher quality-which the waldorf brand has always meant to me (even if I am not personally familiar with the gear itself)...

what is the current going rate for these? Or I should say, what would be considered a good deal for one? They're not too common so the 'bay is not offering a lot of range. ca. $600 seems to be what they are going for, but what is the "jump on it" price range? :wink:
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by polardark » Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:38 am

Huppo wrote:Polar..the XT is practically a celebration of digital error. There's even adjustable parameters for aliasing!
I don't actually mind aliasing, depending on how it's implemented. From what i've heard, the aliasing on the XT is nowhere near as "hifi" as proper aliasing deserves. Then again, i love some synths like the Evolution EVS-1 for their unrefined digital character. I also have an Evolver coming in today, hopefully. Another one of those synths that doesn't mind sounding a bit digital.
Huppo wrote:I hope you like yours, anyway. It's a beautiful thing which rewards time spent.
I hope so too, since i paid for it, heh. I'm hoping it will get me close to the kind of PPG Wave sounds you can hear in Tangerine Dream's Kiev Mission, although i suspect the XT is too limited for that. Anyway, it's the limited 666 units Shadow Edition... So at least it will look good in my rack :)

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Post by carbon111 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:52 am

polardark wrote:I have an XT coming in the mail today (hopefully). The previous owner didn't like it because of that digital "shimmer" the sound gave off. I'm kind of sensitive to that as well, so let's see what i think of it.
You'll find that you can actually get some wonderful warm, smooth, subtle, morphing timbres out of the XT as well as those "digital" sounds.

If you get stuck programming it, come over to my place:
http://www.carbon111.com/mwxt.html
;)
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Post by Huppo » Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:16 am

Sir Ruff wrote:thanks Huppo for that rundown... VSE's own descriptions filled me in petty well, but it's good to have it fully laid out as you have done :D
I kind of went through the exact same thought process a couple years ago and wished I'd had someone to explain it clearly. Waldorf's are a synth you seem to love or hate and I love them. It's not even just about the sound..they have a feel to them that's not duplicated elsewhere. Not just the knob feel and stuff, but the whole thing seems to have a personality unlike any other amnufacturer's synths I have encountered.

Sir Ruff wrote:digital and weird are definitely plusses in my book, so the xt sounds right up my street.. and then there are all those knobs! i have enough "analogue" and wannabe analogue around that digital gear seems to be the realm to persue for new sounds (for me at least).
I hear ya on the digital and weird front. There really is only so much you can do with the simple basics of subtractive analog synthesis. I lve that stuff, even when it's digital and fake, but wavetables and weird envelopes and funky filter types (all XT stuff) are always a big jolt to sound design. Instead of doing your same old whatever patch for the next VA.
Sir Ruff wrote:I need to stop farfing around with cheap gear and shell out for something a little higher quality-which the waldorf brand has always meant to me (even if I am not personally familiar with the gear itself)...
I'll tell ya.. I lusted after Waldorf gear when I was starting out..and it's not so much more expensive than a lot of other stuff. You can get a MIcroQ for less than a JP-8080 and it's a lot more interesting synth. Sure the Q stuff always seems to hover around 800~1000 but a MicroQ does everything teh Q does (practically). I started out with lots of inexpensive gear and still lveo some of it to this day..but there really is something good about $$$ gear which is worth chasing down. Yeah..it's cool to make good music with cheap gear, but that doesn;t make it better than good music made with $$$ gear.
Sir Ruff wrote:what is the current going rate for these? Or I should say, what would be considered a good deal for one? They're not too common so the 'bay is not offering a lot of range. ca. $600 seems to be what they are going for, but what is the "jump on it" price range? :wink:
An XT rack seems to have $600 as a going rate on Ebay. That's a leveled off price. IN other words it will be $600 in a year, too. If you see one go for $475 its a fluke. Likewise if it goes for $800, that's also an accident.

Qs are more capricious in price. A MicroQ rack for $300 is a good deal. A Q rack for anything less than $800 is a good deal. A Q keyboard for less than $1100 is a deal. MicroQ keyboards are rare so its hard to say. Q+ are rare and expensive.

AIf you aren't sure about the whole Whale Village thing, then get a MicroQ rack. It will be a great intro to Waldorf, complete with some wavetables for you to check out if te MW series works for you. Mind you the Q doesnt have the 8 stage envelopes or anything. but wavetables are fun, no matter what you have to squirt them through. Or Not.
~huppo

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Post by zobomix » Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:26 am

Composition86 - if you're looking at doing early Italo disco reincarnations, the MWXT may be a little weak in the bass department. Some EQ may help. But if you are leaning more towards the mid-late 80s sound, you can definitely do an entire song with just a MWXT.

Hope this helps, unless I misunderstood your definition of synth-pop. I am just assuming based on your location.

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Post by Composition86 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:33 am

CTB wrote: There are neither. The XT is all digital, as is the MW2. The MW1 is the one that had an analog filter. That said, the huge array of filter choices on the XT seems to make up for the lack of an analog filter, though the sound is a touch different.

The XT can do traditional sounds - the last few waves in the wavetables are tri, saw, and pulse, so if you don't program any sweeps of the wavetable, it'll do normal stuff too, with the added benefit of all those filter types. It's a great synth. The XTk was the first synth I bought where I wasn't totally convinced I loved the sound, but after I got it, it became one of my favorites.

Here are a couple noodles I made playing the XTk10 live. All sounds are from the XTk. These are completely rough tracks where I'm just messing around with the recorder running. NOT polished at all.

XTk-Noodle
XTktrance
Ok, I don't know if I would use it for strange noises, I have need of saw, tri and pulse wave.
zobomix wrote:Composition86 - if you're looking at doing early Italo disco reincarnations, the MWXT may be a little weak in the bass department. Some EQ may help. But if you are leaning more towards the mid-late 80s sound, you can definitely do an entire song with just a MWXT.

Hope this helps, unless I misunderstood your definition of synth-pop. I am just assuming based on your location.
I don't like very much that italian stuff, it's too raw :lol:
I was talking about early Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Human League etc. etc. but also Kraftwerk, sounds which are nearer to 70s.

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Post by CTB » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:12 am

zobomix wrote:The MWXT may be a little weak in the bass department
Mind you, the XT isn't exactly weak in bass output:

http://support.waldorfmusic.de/soundcor ... audio=2116
Composition86 wrote:Ok, I don't know if I would use it for strange noises, I have need of saw, tri and pulse wave.
If you only want to use those waves, then there's no need for a Microwave. You'd be missing out on about 99% of what it can do. I really think you'd find things you'd like to use in your music, but if you truly only are going to use the basic waveforms, you might be happier with something different. But for pads that evolve seemingly forever and can change character completely over time, the XT is outstanding. It can also do cutting leads.
CTB

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