Considering a Blofeld Desktop

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_dan
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Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by _dan » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:31 pm

Saw some mixed feedback in the forum, and I have a few questions for current/past owners


Does it feel responsive when modifying parameters in realtime (i.e. no perceptable lag)

How well does it stand up to light mishandling?

It seems alright in youtube videos, save one about an encoder problem...are encoder problems common on the Blofeld?

Any input is appreciated, I'm thinking about having my significant udder go halfsies on it as a christmas present.
Thanks! (I'm basically looking for a device to suceed my Micron)
Last edited by _dan on Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by _dan » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:39 am

OT edit
Last edited by _dan on Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by vvd » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:36 am

I own a micron too! it was actually my first synth. it's sound is awesome...but it's interface? not so much. i never actually edited it to an extend that deserves the title (editor). i've tried, but i always quickly ended up just using presets.
then i got an doepfer dark energy and hands-on knob tweak heaven opened it's gates for me. YES! SYNTHS CAN BE FUN! thanks world for letting me know!
so hands on is almost all that matters to me now. mopho is great, tetra is great and blofeld is great (and very affordable)...but they feel so distant, they're like wtf you want, go away!

when i bought the OP-1 i looked at it as a more hands on micron (even though it is a completely different machine, for me, in my studio, they have a similar role (jam, versatile sound source)). it's that and so much more.... i keep the micron for playing along though and for the keys. it's basically worth nothing on the market but it has a very special place in my heart: it's my first synth. :)

input-wise i consider the blofeld slightly better than the micron...now is slightly better good enough? you decide :)

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:03 am

_dan wrote:Saw some mixed feedback in the forum, and I have a few questions for current/past owners


Does it feel responsive when modifying parameters in realtime (i.e. no perceptable lag)
vvd wrote:The encoders are cheap and they will have lag. I was thinking about getting a blofeld too but i'm happy i did not made that compromise. you know how those digital interfaces feel: laggy and it is weirdly difficult to make precise inputs. the blofeld will definitely be like that. and yeah, you'll have encoder problems on the long run.
What are you basing this on, you're not a current or past owner are you? What experience have you had with the Blofeld?

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by tallowwaters » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:13 am

vvd wrote:The encoders are cheap and they will have lag. I was thinking about getting a blofeld too but i'm happy i did not made that compromise. you know how those digital interfaces feel: laggy and it is weirdly difficult to make precise inputs. the blofeld will definitely be like that. and yeah, you'll have encoder problems on the long run. The disply might help with editing but it will probably never be as satisfying as tweaking potentiometers on an anlogue. For me, even tho it's a very capable synthesizer, it's not worth the trouble.
You sure you know what you're talking about? :?

I'm with Stab, what is your experience with a Blofeld?

I had a Blofeld for a while and experienced no encoder lag, and while I certainly wouldn't consider the encoders robust, they certainly stood up to my tweaking. There have been issues, but there are fixes out there, and if you buy from a reputable dealer, you could simply return it. There are some software issues as well, but from what I recall, these mostly pertain to the multimbral uses (something I've never utilized). Whether these bugs have been corrected with recent OS updates, I'm unsure.

Sound wise, it's out of this world. Has a nice high end sheen. Very digital, in a good way. The interface is plenty intuitive and easy to navigate, I simply didn't gel with it (I'm more of a Microwave XT guy).

Will is succeed your Micron? Not exactly sure what kind of sounds you would like to make, but it could. If I had to settle for a synth sound somewhere between the Ion engine and the glassy, digital Blofeld, I would look at a Korg Radias.
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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:24 am

OK, Off-Topic replies have been pruned from the thread. Let's keep this to actual experience from now on, rather than speculation and repetition of things you may have read on the internet.

vvd is having a week break from posting for breaking forum rules, accusing a mod of being a shill and responding to a mods warning by accusing them of trolling. I'm hoping that when he comes back he will respect the forum rules and become a valuable contributor.

Perhaps it would be a good time for everybody to refamiliarise themselves with the forum rules by clicking the link at the top of the page. :thumbleft:

Blofeld discussion from here on please gentlemen.

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:30 am

_dan wrote:So the encoders are c**p on the blofeld then? That is disappointing.
In the small amount of time I spent with a Blofeld I found them to be as good as any other digital synth in that price range. Not super sturdy but better feeling than the ones that Roland use for their SP series samplers and the SH-201 which wobble all over the place. I detected no lag or skipping of values which can sometimes happen with faulty rotary encoders.

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by GuyaGuy » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:40 am

There are some reports of encoder issues out there but then again there are thousands of Blofelds out there that don't have issues. Mine didn't. And yes, it would totally be up to "light mishandling." It's a sturdy unit and the encoders are protected by heavy metal knobs, giving it a robust feel. It also has a rather nice keyboard.

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:47 am

Two Blofelds in the house here, and the encoders have worked fine on both for knob-tweakery while designing patches. Some of the 'encoder problems' were fixed in earlier version of the OS, other encoder problems were bad encoders (which either showed up immediately or quickly) Other things have had encoder problems as well... (DSI synths and their 'bad batch' of encoders.)

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Hugo76 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:19 pm

I must admit that, while I loved the sound and interface of he Blofeld, the knobs weren't the best I've used. I found it kinda hard to get a really good grip on them, so I'd prefer rubber ones instead.
But sound wise I found it very tasty indeed. Great, programmable arpeggiator as well.

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:45 pm

Hugo76 wrote:I must admit that, while I loved the sound and interface of he Blofeld, the knobs weren't the best I've used. I found it kinda hard to get a really good grip on them, so I'd prefer rubber ones instead.
But sound wise I found it very tasty indeed. Great, programmable arpeggiator as well.

I've considered putting some skate tape on them if i take one out for a live gig

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by _dan » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:24 pm

@tallowwaters
This is very encouraging, thanks! I'll have to do a little digging on the software/ multitibmral issue. As long as it only pertains to the software I'm good, I have some sort of wierd eye condition where focusing on a computer screen or TV for more than 5 minutes is painful.

In regards to succeeding the ion/mircon engine, I'm not trying to duplicate its sonic character as much as expand upon its capabilities and have a somewhat newer device that is already working for me once the micron can no longer be repaired... Exploring the sounds of a given synth is something that I'm looking forward to, and 'glassy' and 'sheen' sounds about right from the you-tube videos I've seen. For me the sound of the Ion/Micron had an dry/earthy/plasticy quality (in a good way).

I noticed you had reccomended the Radias before, and as a result is one of the synths I was looking at. I've had very positive experiences with the ms2k and emx-1, and the features on the radius are what I'm looking for. I wound up leaning towards the blofeld due to its smaller size. Its portability would open a few doors for me.

@Stab Frenzy, GuyaGuy, Ashe37, Hugo76
Also excellent info. Good to know that the encoder headache is not a garunteed out of the box problem. Based on this it seems that I should at the very least pick it up to try it out. I briefly had a ghost edit issue on my Ion, and was able to get rid of it with an OS update and knob calibration. ...Griptape on synth knobs? Burley! 8-)


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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by RonF » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:01 am

Im a huge Waldorf fan. Have a Blofeld desktop, MWXTk, Q Phoenix keyboard, and Largo plug-in. I use these a lot, and in my view, the Blofeld is the most under-rated/valued synth in production in a long time. It really is the pinnacle of Waldorf wavetable and VA synthesis from the past 20 years. Its got the best of each of their previous synth generations, with extra features and synthesis architecture that is quite impressive. You would be hard pressed to find any synth in production today with the complexity of synth architecture of the Blofeld. Especially when you add in user wavetables and user samples. Its Mod Matrix is insanely good, the fully programable arpeggiator is amazing, and its sound is luscious.

Typical to Waldorf synths, the DSP effects are a bit lackluster...so it sounds best (exactly as the MWXT and Q) when put through post effects processing. I run mine through Valhalla UberMod and Shimmer, and the sounds I get are just beautiful. Its a pad dream machine. There is just soooo many ways to sculpt the sounds......with wavetables, FM, loopable envelopes, Logic functions, and plug anything into anything mod matrix worthy of a modular synthesizer. And you can make your own wavetables to boot (as side from the dozens available already online to download for free).

There are some great software editors for the Blofeld, and that makes the experience even better, seeing it all on screen in front of you at once. Rarely have I had more fun with sound design as on the Blofeld. Even my MWXT, while having a wonderful sound of its own that I would never sell or give up, is no where near as deep as the Blofeld, nor does it have the fidelity of the Blo. The Blo has an additional oscillator, and VA oscillators, and sample oscillators, none of which the MWXT has. The ONLY *dis*advantage of the Blofeld in comparison to the MWXT or Q...is Knob-age. Clearly the near knob per function design of those two synths is nice....but even still...those knobs do not drive anywhere near as complete or deep of a synthesis engine as the Blofeld. I'll take the deeper sound design potential of the Blo over the knobs and user interface of the "lesser" synth engines, any day.

Its a shame that Waldorf, as a company, doesn't have the resources anymore to put the Blofeld synth engine in the hardware casing it deserves....but alas they don't. None the less... the Blofeld represents the pinnacle of Waldorf's lineage of synth design, and they have really done well with these concepts over the years. BTW....the current versions of the Blofeld OS, and hardware, are pretty bulletproof in my experience. So, perhaps get a black one (new release)....and enjoy with confidence!

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by CfNorENa » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:41 am

Another big Blofeld fan here. First, the bad: I used to own the desktop unit, and the main (indented) encoder went bad. Fixed that, then traded it + cash for the keyboard version. Now the main encoder on that unit is going bad. So that will have to be fixed.

Now, the good: out of this world sound. And the synth architecture, as RonF says, is really, really deep. I've spent quite a bit of time on it, and I'm really only skimming the surface.

As for Blofeld vs. MWXT, I think it's a tough call. I would love to give the XT a try. But one of the features I love best about the Blofeld is that you can put DIFFERENT wavetables on the two oscillators. That really opens up massive sound-sculpting possibilities!

Anyway, if value-for-money is a consideration, I'm not sure how one can do much better than a Blofeld!

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Re: Considering a Blofeld Desktop

Post by _dan » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:55 am

Well that settles it, blofeld it is! Thanks again to everyone for your assistance :)
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