For Superbooth 21, Waldorf is showing the M, a new hardware wavetable Synthesizer that brings back the synthesis and sound of the iconic Microwave synthesizers.
The microwave with its rough digital wavetables and analog filters is one of the best hybrid synthesizers. The rack synth is still very popular today and in demand on the second hand market. Many musicians wanted these synthesizers to return. And now the time has come.
With the M, Waldorf has created the spiritual successor of these iconic microwave synthesizers.
Microwave I & II
Waldorf M is not a clone of the popular Microwave wavetable synthesizers, but it’s the next generation. It brings back the classic Microwave and “modern” Microwave II tone generation as a modern hybrid wavetable Synthesizer. The core is based on an 8-voice polyphonic (upgradable to 16), 4-part multi-timbral wavetable engine built into a metal blue-colored casing. It’s the same case as the Iridium and Kyra.
It starts with two wavetable oscillators with independent wavetable-generating Classic Microwave 1 and Modern Microwave II/XT modes. Here, the wavetable oscillators behave differently in both of those modes. Thus, there is no hard Sync or ring modulation available in the Classic Microwave I mode. Here you get 16-bit wavetables bit-reduced to 8-bit with a 240 kHz non-anti-aliased sample rate. The modern Microwave II/XT mode offers a 40 kHz sample rate with band-limited wavetables, although both oscillators — OSC 1 and OSC 2 — offer the same panel parameters.
It ships with 96 factory wavetables and you can load custom wavetables for the corresponding oscillator and Wave. It also allows you to determine the start point of the wavetable. All of this can be set directly on the interface with up to. 45 knobs.
One of the special features were the analog filters that met the digital wavetables in the microwave I. And yes the Waldorf M also has analog filters to match the sound of it. It comes with an analog lowpass 24dB/Oct VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) with resonance and analog saturation. It uses a SSI 2144 improved ladder-type as a filter. Then, you have a true stereo analog VCA with a panning option.
On the modulation side, you have two LFOs, each generating a periodic waveform with adjustable frequency Rate and Shape that can be used for modulation purposes, are also always at hand. However, unlike other Waldorf synthesizers, there is no modulation matrix in M. Making a conscious design decision to set up M’s modulation facilities directly on the corresponding display page, its creators are again playing at paying tribute to the 1989-vintage Microwave. Furthermore, you get four fully programmable envelopes
Further, you get many modern features including an advanced ARP with 16 preset patterns, chord mode, and an ability to synchronize to MIDI clock.
Original Sound Banks
Friends of the first versions will be happy about the sound content. It comes with 2048 sound programs divided into 16 banks with each 128 sounds. It comes with brand-new sounds as well classic Microwave soundsets. You get the MW1 Factory Sound Set, MW1 Soundpool 1-5, the fat-sounding Analogue and Bassco, as well as PPG Wave 2.3 sounds cleverly converted for the original Microwave,
On the backside, it features six (rear panel-positioned) stereo analogue outputs — arranged as MAIN OUT (L/Mono and R) and AUX OUT (A, B, C, and D), the latter of which can be used to route each of the four Multi (multitimbral) parts to different outputs, if desired. Then, a stereo headphone output (with an associated Volume knob in addition to the topside Master Volume knob); 5-pin MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU DIN connectors.
Also onboard is a USB 2.0 MIDI port (for computer connection to transmit and receive MIDI data); and a SD Card slot (for updating M’s firmware, importing/saving sound patches, and importing/saving M-specific data, such as user wavetables). Unfortunately, no USB host. Last but not least, it comes with a Kensington® compatible security lock slot