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Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:38 pm
by HideawayStudio
It's been a long time since I've actually -wanted- to buy a brand new synth for the studio. I'm definitely a Vintage Synth man as the old stuff definitely seems to have a soul but boy have Waldorf got this one right!

Like I say I'm not into soft synths or VA's - I have a ton of vintage gear (including the original Waldorf Microwave) - but this thing really is impressive for the money. It can sound huge and warm and seems to be good at producing all sorts of sounds from digital to analog, thin to fat, speaker destroying noise to pure silky heaven.

For the money this things rocks and even seems to be able to muster up some grundgy soul about it too - none of those thin nicey nicey VA sounds here - the filters are great and go into mad self oscillation too.

It's clearly capable of some very usable bass and some huge pads. It also sports one of the nicest arpeggiators I've come across in a long time. It also seems to be very well built with it's metal chassis and knobs.

Great Stuff - I think Waldorf have finally returned!! :D

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:44 pm
by redroomrecordings
I am also in blofeld bliss! it is great.

I find that it is the easiest of all my hardware to create fresh patches on, even though it only has a few knobs, because the menues are so well laid out and visual.

this thing is great at modular type evolving effects.

+1 on the arpeggiator!

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:12 am
by pneuman
redroomrecordings wrote: I find that it is the easiest of all my hardware to create fresh patches on, even though it only has a few knobs, because the menues are so well laid out and visual.
I don't have any other hardware to compare it to, but I agree that it's really easy to whip up a patch on the Blofeld -- the matrix gives you very quick access to the most common stuff, and once you've found your way around the menus they're also quick and easy to get in to. It's even better when you turn off auto-edit mode and can use the matrix and screen controls simultaneously.

I'm still quite new at this game but I'm having a blast with the Blofeld. Using LFOs or envelopes (or both!) on those wavetables can come up with some very interesting results, and the drive curves can turn just about anything in to beautiful, beautiful noise, or just dirty things up a little. I had to choose between the Blofeld and the Evolver, and I'm very glad I went with the white devil.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 1:24 pm
by Yoozer
HideawayStudio : I'd love to hear a comparison demo of sorts between the Blo and the MW1. I've been eyeing the MW1, and while fellow forum member Carbon111 already made the true point that the Blo doesn't have the MW1's filter or grit, I'd love to see where they'd overlap.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:17 pm
by redchapterjubilee
That's the synth I'll be saving towards once we get our money right.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:51 pm
by Bitexion
It's definately the most angry and crazy synth I have. I could sit for hours just slowly sweeping the wavetables, they make such pretty sounds all on their own. I love that there are distinct changes in each wavetables so you suddenly get a totally different timbre. Also a nice touch that you can disable the last waveforms in each table (the standard "analog" waveforms) so you don't get the sudden glitches at the end of a sweep. I know PPG Wave owners fretted over that alot, and would have to carefully balance the sweep so it didn't touch the last waves.

And all those filters! Not to mention the PPG Wave filter itself, a thing of beauty. PPG owners say it's dead-on perfect both with and without resonance.

Take some time with the presets to really hear what this beast can do..some sounds can make you feel sick.
Another stroke of genious, that the Init Patch is a separate sound category so you can easily dial up a totally bare sound with one active oscillator and start tweaking everything from the bottom up.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 10:22 pm
by Sir Ruff
Man... I am SO tempted to just grab one of those open box units from novamusik and be done with it... but the XT is also drawing me towards its power too...

Anyone (aside from redroom who's already kindly shared his thoughts with me) able to compare the pluses/minuses of the blofeld interface vs the XT? Is the adjustable aliasing feature on the XT (but missing on the blofeld) worth holding out for?

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 11:41 pm
by HideawayStudio
Sir Ruff wrote:Man... I am SO tempted to just grab one of those open box units from novamusik and be done with it... but the XT is also drawing me towards its power too...

Anyone (aside from redroom who's already kindly shared his thoughts with me) able to compare the pluses/minuses of the blofeld interface vs the XT? Is the adjustable aliasing feature on the XT (but missing on the blofeld) worth holding out for?
I was led to believe that the Blofeld was the next in the line and technically superior to the XT- I might be wrong. Where it really does score is that it's supposed to be based on -both- the XT and the Q series. This along with some of the best VA filters (including Q series and PPG) I've ever heard makes this superb value for money.

I have a Microwave I and although there are some similarities the Microwave I seems a little primitive in comparison (this might be it's strength though!). The FX processors on the Blofeld are obviously pretty good - the Microwave has no FX and so would have to heavily rely on deep FX to achieve some of the epic sounding pads the Blofeld creates. That said I don't expect the Blofeld to sound c**p with the FX switched off like many VAs. The Blofeld also has 3 oscillators leading to some complex waveform generation. The MWI's architecture is more limiting and it's pallet of sounds smaller BUT like all things, what it does it does very well and having real analog filters and true 8 bit grit will always give it something special.

As I always say if your gear is good at doing something unique then there will always be a place for it in the studio. This is why I hate workstations - they often don't excel at anything. Of course to have the luxary of owning many synths just for their unique strengths is always going to be an expensive hobby and I can see why soft synths have filled this gap in some studios.

The Blofeld seems to be able to muster up some huge sounding timbres - playing with it some more this afternoon it really is a bit of a beast and can sound eye wateringly beautiful as well as really pretty darn brutal if it needs to. It makes my Supernova seem like sweet apple pie in comparison - esp. it's filters which are the biggest disappointment on the Supernova IMHO. That said - there is a place in my studio for the Supernova too.

I think the most exciting thing about the Blofeld, like the cream of what I've held onto in my collection over the years, is that it's a real -synth- in other words these amazing sounds are being generated from basic elements ie. they are not huge, hideous slabs of sample from ROM that have been layered. Just like my SY77 this means that all that power is ready to be harnessed and turned into fresh new sounds. :D

If I had any critisisms it's that the beastie does sometimes eminate clicks and pops - probably partly due to note starvation/wave sequencing and I personally think the display could have been nicer - maybe a high contrast white on blue. These are minor flaws though...

Maybe this weekend I will put together a quick head to head of the MW1 vs the Blofeld.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:37 am
by Bitexion
Yeah I was surprised at how different the blofeld sounds to my other synths..some of those presets just jump at you. When you only play and own subtractive synths you get kind of jaded and bored eventually..you know how to make ringmod sound, you know how to make the fat basses and leads..then something totally different jumps at you. I'm happy I bought mine.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:13 am
by Murderhausen
Bitexion wrote:Yeah I was surprised at how different the blofeld sounds to my other synths..some of those presets just jump at you. When you only play and own subtractive synths you get kind of jaded and bored eventually..you know how to make ringmod sound, you know how to make the fat basses and leads..then something totally different jumps at you. I'm happy I bought mine.
It was actually the FM synthesis on the Nord Lead 3 that sold me my Blofeld. I've had a DX, but it is strictly FM and not the combination of FM and VA like the Nord, which offered me so many new options. I got the Blofeld two weeks later and have hardly touched anything but that and the Lead 3 since. So much sonic territory to cover. I do wish there were a few more modulation sources and destinations in the Blofeld, though. For instance, I would really love if noise color were a modulation destination so I could hook it up with something like keyboard tracking and use different ranges of noise color as an FM source. But... I can have enough fun with it the way it is now.

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:17 am
by aeon
HideawayStudio wrote:I was led to believe that the Blofeld was the next in the line and technically superior to the XT- I might be wrong.
The Blofeld is an evolution of the Q series, not the MicroWave II.
HideawayStudio wrote:Where it really does score is that it's supposed to be based on -both- the XT and the Q series.
The Blofeld has the wavetable data of the MicroWave II series, but that is it. Otherwise, it has Q genetics. That means the sonic (and potential) differences are significant.
HideawayStudio wrote:This along with some of the best VA filters (including Q series and PPG) I've ever heard makes this superb value for money.
Back when I had a Q (Rack), I thought the filters were the weakest part of the synth. They certainly improved them on the Blofeld, at least as it concerns the drive curves.
HideawayStudio wrote:The FX processors on the Blofeld are obviously pretty good...I don't expect the Blofeld to sound c**p with the FX switched off like many VAs
Are they as they were on the Q? On that synth, they seemed to be more an afterthought than a developed part of the synth.
HideawayStudio wrote:As I always say if your gear is good at doing something unique then there will always be a place for it in the studio. This is why I hate workstations - they often don't excel at anything.
I used to think that as well. That said, after the arrival of the Yamaha MotifES/XS and the Korg M3, I didn't think that any longer. The amount of DSP on offer, combined with the mix of pure synthesis and samples (samples only on XS), makes for powerful synthesizers indeed. The effects in particular leave all other synths in the dust from my perspective. True, they aren't Eventide-level, but to have, e.g., Yamaha's suite of DSP across 8 channels, with 2 inserts each (aside from the master auxes!), is incredible.
HideawayStudio wrote:The Blofeld seems to be able to muster up some huge sounding timbres - playing with it some more this afternoon it really is a bit of a beast and can sound eye wateringly beautiful as well as really pretty darn brutal if it needs to.
Yea, I have heard many a demo now, and I quite like the tone of the Blofeld. It is quite an improvement (to me) to what was once the Q.
HideawayStudio wrote:I think the most exciting thing about the Blofeld, like the cream of what I've held onto in my collection over the years, is that it's a real -synth- in other words these amazing sounds are being generated from basic elements ie. they are not huge, hideous slabs of sample from ROM that have been layered. Just like my SY77 this means that all that power is ready to be harnessed and turned into fresh new sounds. :D
I very much value this. Pure synthesis is a fun place to explore. Right now, hybrid FM and physical modeling have my attention - even for generating (gasp!) samples for other machines.

The Blofeld, of course, could be one of those. :wink:


cheers,
Ian

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:23 am
by Bitexion
The sound demo that sold me was the blomares on the waldorf website.

That's the one that made me think "OMG MUST HAVE THIS ONE! NOWWWW!"

http://www.waldorfmusic.de/assets/media ... omares.mp3

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 4:03 am
by pneuman
HideawayStudio wrote: If I had any critisisms it's that the beastie does sometimes eminate clicks and pops - probably partly due to note starvation/wave sequencing and I personally think the display could have been nicer - maybe a high contrast white on blue. These are minor flaws though...
Regarding the pops/clicks -- I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but the Blofeld's envelopes are ridiculously quick: with the attack or release set at 0, the envelope will kick in/drop off in a single sample, and that can sometimes cause a clicking sound. To get rid of it, just dial out the attack/release a little. Of course, this won't help at all in note starvation cases :)

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:24 am
by polyklinik
yeah! blofeld is my 2nd girlfriend..
its a good drum machine too. just need a good seq. i made a live track yesterday. i used the fm8 softsynth for pad sound, tr626 sequencing everything from blofeld.


http://www.mediafire.com/?wjzjtnkdmfd

Re: Waldorf Blofeld - I'm Lovin' It!!

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:50 pm
by masstronaut
Are you using a multi setup for the drums there?

Would be nice if it had a drum map mode.