First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

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presspl>y
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First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by presspl>y » Tue May 29, 2012 7:39 am

I don't know about you guys, but since I haven't had the pleasure of playing with most vintage synths in person (I was born in the 80s :D ), I'm pretty restricted to watching/listening to YouTube videos and other various sound sources to learn more about some of the late great synths.

I came across this video of a demo of the PPG Waveterm A + Wave 2.2, and I'm actually quite blown away by how good this thing sounds, especially given it's a YouTube video and none of the 100's of other video demo's I've seen have intrigued my ears this much.



Does anyone have experience with the Wave + Waveterm that can tell me if it actually does sound this good? From what I read it's very rare, and a b***h to program intuitively, but it was probably way ahead of it's time in the 80's so w/e.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by presspl>y » Tue May 29, 2012 12:03 pm

Actually, just had another watch of this Minimoog demo ( by AutomaticGainsay, and I now understand what was mentioned in a previous thread regarding timbre/tone coming through on YouTube videos, regardless of sound quality. No doubt I would have liked it if this video had been in higher quality to get to hear more, clearly you can hear the dirtiness and driftiness of the Moog, and the depth of the sound. It sounds pretty great as well... I've never heard a Mini in person, but I have a Voyager, and it definitely does not sound as dirty as this right off the bat. Something about this "dirty" sounding quality of these vintage synths, like in the PPG that I just love...

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Z » Tue May 29, 2012 1:15 pm

All the sounds in the PPG video were made from the Wave 2.2 synth only - not the WaveTerm. The WaveTerm was only used for visual repreentation of the Wave's waveforms.

Yes, the Wave is a beautiful sounding synth. Having been on the hunt for many years, I finally scored a working 2.2 last December.

Here is a video of a couple of musical ideas I came up with earlier this year using the PPG Wave 2.2. First, I play the Wave by hand and then I trigger the Wave from my Fantom X6's arpeggiator while I play chords on my JD-800 and trigger the Jupiter 6 bass sound from PK-5 pedals. Sorry that the audio and video are not in sync.
[youtube][/youtube]

What made me fall in love with the PPG sound was Patric O'Hearn's first 2 albums Ancient Dreams and Between Two Worlds. Rush used one on Grace Under Pressure and the haunting synvox on The Fixx's "Red Skies"

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by tekkentool » Tue May 29, 2012 2:00 pm

Just so you know 90% of this sound is not difficult to recreate ITB.

The tricky thing about the sound of the PPG wave is that it has proper analogue filters for each of the voices which you maybe won't recreate 100% but using some Waldorf (PPG wave 3v, Largo) Native instruments (Massive, FM8) or camel audio (Alchemy) synths you can get 90% of the way.

They are NOT a direct replacement for the wave but if the sound is what you're after this is a very easy aesthetic to ascertain in the current software synth market. I am not arguing that they are interchangeable or sound the same but the same impression and similar timbres are definitely possible.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by OntarioHydro » Tue May 29, 2012 4:42 pm

I dont think it was a youtube video but the biggest wow moment I had was hearing some example of the Synclavier 2 doing resynthesis

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Bitexion » Tue May 29, 2012 7:54 pm

Yeah but try to find one for less than 128391289381293 dollars..or 4000 euros.

These days, the Waldorf Blofeld is the closest thing. It has the same synthesis (only more streamlined to use), most of the same wavetables, and same options for "sweeping" the wavetables with LFO or envelopes, which is what makes the PPG Wave so special sounding and even glitchy.

It also has a modelled "PPG Wave Lowpass filter". I own one myself, would take a thread of its own to describe how to use it.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by gs » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:32 pm

A Korg DW6000/8000 can get you some ways toward this sound with its fixed digital waveforms and analog filters (same with Kawai K3 and Ensoniq ESQ1). A Korg DSS-1 (released a year later) will allow you to draw your own digital waveforms like on the Waveterm (no waveform display, though). You do this by moving a slider up and down within a couple of seconds.

The only things these less expensive synths didn't have was the wavetable modulation, a PPG/Waldorf specialty.
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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Bitexion » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:47 pm

The non-keyboard Blofeld is a very affordable wavetable/PPG Wave-type synth actually. And it has 3 oscillators with loads of wavetables to choose from. Including the most popular ones from the PPG Wave series, and some other waldorf synths. The keyboard version can load samples like you could from the Waveterm. That's disabled on the module version. Guess they didn't make room for a harddrive in it.

The most glassy etheral and awesome pads can be created in seconds by picking some random wavetable on two oscillators and sweep them with separate LFO's. Add some slow attack and release and you've got ambience until your ears fall off.

And if you want aggressive nastyness, you can get that too, both the filters and the effects have overdrive sections, and lots of distortion models (bitcrush is a favorite for nasty metallic sounds).

Even the famous glitchyness can be replicated, since all the wavetables have the standard "analog" waveforms at the end. Gladly you can disable those if you just want a smooth sweep, whereas on the PPG, you'd have to FINELY tune the sweep range to avoid those glitchy parts at the end of the tables. Add to that loads of filter types (including a PPG filter), an awesome arpeggiator, a big LCD screen, and you got yourself a monster.

And if you want to riff out JUMP and FINAL COUNTDOWN sounds, you got 3 oscillators with all the usual waveforms to mess with.
And even better, it won't take up your entire livingroom table.

I love this little thing, it's the biggest noisemaker in my entire arsenal.

I think you'd have to search wide and far to find a single Waveterm that still works. The PPG Wave 2.2/2.3 itself is also very rare, and VERY expensive.

Most Blofeld demos on the web are so loaded with effects you hardly hear the actual sound beneath them..the best way is to go simple and add one or two effects as you play.

Here's the fact page and audio demos galore:

http://www.waldorf-music.info/en/blofeld.html

And btw, the chassis is pure metal, no plastic.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by presspl>y » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:53 pm

Great little review of the Blofeld! I've actually wanted one for a while, but always gave in to the mixed reviews. It does seem like an awesome synth, and one that will probably go down in price some more in the next couple of years. They are indeed affordable as they are right now, but maybe I can get one for really cheap in the future.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by orlando56 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:57 pm

I wonder if you all have any comments on the Reason Mälstrom's ability to do PPG-like patches. (Opening my umbrella -- now).

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Steve Jones » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:15 pm

I have a Blofeld sitting on top of my PPG Wave 2.3. The Blofeld is very nice, but doesn't have the presence of the PPG. The 2.3 sounds like it is in the room with you, the Blofeld sounds more like it is coming out of the speakers. Hard to describe, the PPG just sounds "big" in a way that the Blofeld doesn't. Don't ask me why. I have a Microwave 1 as well, it also doesn't quite have the mojo if the PPG, but it is infinitely more flexible, The PPG Wave is not very programable, particularly with regards it's LFO. It reminds me of the Korg PS series analog polysynths - amazing machines but surprisingly limited in many ways, the PPG because of it's bleeding edge digital technology hitting it's cost barrier limits at the time, the Korg synths because they had to make the circuits brilliantly tiny in order to cram 144 complete monophonic synthesizers in one box in the case of the PS3300.

Having said all that, I think that the Blofeld is a no brainer at the price, it is a fantastic synth, get one if you can.
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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Bitexion » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:15 pm

Are you sure that isn't a bit biased by the fact that it's a PPG Wave 2.3? I mean, when you have the real deal, you kind of WANT it to sound better than another synth that imitates the function. Like, if I play one of my big analogue synths to a friend who has no idea what it is, and play a softsynth to the same friend, he'll just hear "a synth sound". Whereas I would hear a world of difference and start harping on about the awesomeness of analog vs computers while his eyes would glaze over and he'd start wishing he never asked.

Please understand that I'm NOT saying it is equally good or better than the 2.3, just a comparison to get my point across :)

It's an amazing concept in a new synthesizer, in a world where most synths are subtractive or sample+subtrative-based.
Sort of what the PPG was in a world of analogue synths and DX7's.

Pressplay, don't get too hung up on how great the PPG Wave 2.3 sounds, unless you are prepared to shed out thousands of dollars. Most of these old giants are either not working or recently serviced before selling, and thus as expensive as a new car. A waveterm is ridiculously hard to track down also, and what it basically is, is a sample player with an 8-bit computer interface. It also has some advanced waveform manipulation features to make new sounds with. But you still need a PPG Wave to play the sound from it.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Z » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:28 pm

It's probably the low bit rate of the Wave 2.2 or 2.3's waveforms that gives the PPG the gritty sound that you just can't get out of other synths. While I love my 2.2, its programming is limited. I just got an original Waldorf MicroWave and I'm in love with its sound and programmability despite having to use the matrix buttons and alpha dial.

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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by Steve Jones » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:30 am

No, I am not biased toward the Wave 2.3. I know what the PPG sounds like compared to the Blofeld as I play them regularly through the same system. If I could only have one of them I would chose the Blofeld simply because it is far more powerful and useful. I would take a Virus C over both the PPG and the Blofeld, I have one of those on top of the PPG also.
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Re: First time I've been WOWed by a synth's sound on YouTube

Post by James Mandible » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:07 am

Bitexion wrote:The keyboard version can load samples like you could from the Waveterm. That's disabled on the module version. Guess they didn't make room for a harddrive in it.
Not true, you can do that on the module version as well, you just have to buy the license.

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