Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

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Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by atlantida » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:56 am

Hi guys!

I was listening to the Blofeld on YT and loved the sounds so I bought a barely used one (was aware of the encoder problem on the Blofelds), despite it was like new it already skipped values on the patch encoder, top left. It worked well otherwise but I got worried so I've sold it. (It had the latest v 1.22 OS)

I've read a lot of it's problems and the fixes (condensators for better encoder function etc.) so I wonder what's your experience? Could you keep it after fixing the problems, did it work well afterwards? Will it ever work reliably, year after year? Are we suppose to fix the encoders with condensators? :)
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by cornutt » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:20 pm

I don't know about Waldorf's, but an awful lot of rotary encoders have not held up very well. I can't use my amp right now because it has a rotary encoder for the volume control; it powers up at a low volume, and when I try to turn it up, the rotary encoder spazzes and it goes to zero instead. I think the idea of using rotary encoders for synth parameters is a good one, but I can see why people get pissed off and want traditional pots instead.
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:41 pm

The correct term is capacitors, and yes if you do get skippy encoders they can fix that. They act to filter out the sudden steps.

I didn't keep my Blofeld long enough to worry about the encoders. It had the usual OS issues, with some sequencers the arpeggiator would lose sync (oddly it was worse with MIDI hardware clocking than with Ableton Live where it locked perfectly), the LFOs simply will not tempo sync properly and the EG looping feature was hit or miss. Very nice sounding instrument, annoying that so many features are half-baked.
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by atlantida » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:24 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I had some gears during these years but I've never seen such scandal with the encoders like those on the Blofeld. 7-8 years after the initial problems they still use those problematic encoders.

I have a nice Yamaha CS6R rack, on that one can feel the graduations of the steps when turning the encoders, it would never have a " value skipping" problem.

I just lament that they won't upgrade their excellent synth with a reliable hardware.
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by Zamise » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:07 am

CS6R fistbump, that is all, sorry nothing else that would be special or insightful to add to the topic. Although, Yamaha did seem to make some pretty bad main encoders for on their AN & DX 200s tho. they don't seem any different, however it is the main encoder and only notched encoder so it gets used a lot, and I'm also feeling one loosen a bit on one of my RS7000s but I have put it through quite rigorous paces over 15 years of heavy use, so I can't complain, knock on wood it stays working for another 15 years.
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by HideawayStudio » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:01 pm

Waldorf, Yamaha, Dave Smith or any others don't make their own rotary encoders... companies such as ALPS do...

Waldorf use the same 2-bit rotary encoders as many others...

I have a theory though about the encoders in the Blofeld...

There is actually a bit of an art to reading 2-bit rotary encoders.. its all about timing and if the timing parameters/debouncing/edge detection is a little on the raggedy edge then it may be that although when everything is pristine they work as they should but as the contacts start to degrade an overly fussy encoder interface/firmware may not respond nicely to the encoder.

Caps can sometimes mask these effects but there may just possibly be a more serious issue than the encoder itself in the case of the Blofeld.

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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by abruzzi » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:30 am

I don't know about the Blofeld, but it seems pretty common to "fix" problem encoders (for example on the Yamaha A3000/A4000/A5000) by putting a capacitor between each of the change terminals and ground.

I'm not an expert but as I understand it it absorbs the "bounce" signal that confuses the software listening for changes in the encoder. Maybe something similar would work on the Blofeld?

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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by haj » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:19 pm

I have a Blofeld key for a couple of years and it's a store display unit (so maybe used moderately). Not using extensively lately but encoders are ok. Only main volume knob drifts until the value settles (about a sec) and looking that irritates me but it's not affecting perceived volume. Other knobs are perfect but no problem to complain.

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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by Rick N Boogie » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:08 pm

I've owned a Blo kb for about5 yrs or so. The main encoder got a bit sloppy in the last year, but seems to have settled down now after I gave it a good twisting both directions. Hoping for the best, long term, as it's a simply marvelous machine otherwise.
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Re: Waldorf Blofeld encoders - will stand the test of time?

Post by Shleed » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:40 am

I have mine since 2012 and don't really have knobs issues. It's the black version though - heard they don't really suffer from it.

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