Configurable either in series or in parallel, the twin filters may be picked from an impressive list of filter types.
The list includes the usual 2-pole and 4-pole low-, high- and band-pass options, plus a notch filter, positive and negative comb filters and the PPG low-pass filter, modelled on the 24dB SSM chip of the PPG Wave. While it may be unfair to single out any for special praise, I'm going to do it anyway. This filter sounds fantastic. I had always wanted to combine it with the wavetables of the Microwave 2; finally I was able to do so — and I was not disappointed.
Similarly, with no more than a couple of detuned sawtooth waves as a source, the PPG filter yielded some of the best pads I've heard from a Waldorf synth.
It's easy to get diverted by the number of ways you can use a filter arrangement this versatile; I found myself connecting a flanging comb filter in series before the PPG, then controlling the filter balance with velocity, so that quieter notes passed through both filters, the loudest going only through the PPG, those in between varying position according to note strength. In just a few minutes I had a patch in which I could articulate notes to rise out of a flanged mush purely by how hard I hit the keys.
As well as a selection of filter types, there are a number of drive curves that drastically affect the filter's output and tone. These include tube and pickup simulations, audio level modulation by Oscillator 1 , a rectifier, clipper, sine shaper and more.
Each one imparts its own tonal changes to the selected filter, and as you crank up the drive for the first time you really begin to grasp the enormity of what is concealed in this tiny white synth. Each filter has its own panning control too, so you can move the filters around dynamically with creative use of modulation.
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It's often at this point in a review of any Waldorf gear that I recall why their synths stand out from the crowd: In common with earlier products and alongside many built-in modulation routings — the variable source connected to oscillator pitch, pulse width and FM — the Blofeld has 16 completely free modulation slots. With these you can connect any of 29 modulation souces to most of the destinations you might want.
To give you a flavour, these destinations include envelope stages, cutoff and resonance of both filters, and the level and filter balance of every sound source; they encompass oscillator and filter FM amounts, filter drive amounts and panning, LFO speeds and more. The destinations that I found absent include the myriad parameters of the arpeggiator, oscillator detune and filter envelope amount. Various Waldorfian modifiers are also present for when you wish to perform mathematical operations on the modulation signals.
So if, for example, you wanted to 'unsmooth' some modulation, perhaps to recreate the steppy wave changes of the Microwave, the 'OR' and the 'AND' modifiers are your friends. When programming, you can save DSP power by turning off unused oscillators or filters. This could be very important if you wish to use the Blofeld multitimbrally, although this is one aspect of the synth that's incomplete.
Blofeld Wavetable Creator
In fact, it rates just one page in the manual, where Multi mode is shown as a means of selecting patches on 16 separate parts, each part corresponding to a MIDI channel. You can then pick a part to edit by holding the Play button while turning the selection encoder. It's a bit primitive right now, and you can't even layer sounds on the same channel or do keyboard splits, for example, nor can you name and save Multi assignments.
Nevertheless, each patch keeps its own Effect 1 setting and there's a mix level available to all parts for the common Effect 2. This would typically be reverb or delay and is sourced in whichever patch you pick for Part 1. I am assured that Multi mode will be refined in a forthcoming Blofeld software release.
To finish off, where would we be without effects? The Blofeld has two sets of effects for each program: Effect 1 and Effect 2. Effect 1 consists of either chorus, flanger, phaser, overdrive or 'triple FX', the last a slightly simplified combination of chorus, sample and hold and overdrive. Effect 2 adds delay, clocked delay and reverb to the list.
With its maximum delay time of ms, the Blofeld can't produce delay lengths as long as the Q or even the Micro Q, but at least it offers MIDI-clockable delays. I also noticed a few audible clicks that occur when you adjust delay time or feedback during play; I mention this because the manual specifically claims it won't happen.
Finally, the reverb really doesn't sound too bad in context. There are a number of tweakable parameters that help you get more mileage from it, including diffusion, size, shape, decay and damping, with the reverb's character further adjustable using low- and high-pass filters. Overall it's a welcome, if unspectacular, inclusion. Blofeld was 's chameleon-like adversary and an evil genius to boot, so finding holes in his fiendish schemes is no easy task. In fact, most of the shortcomings I unearthed can probably be attributed to cost saving.
Admittedly, just two audio outputs isn't ideal for a multitimbral synth, and the matrix method of parameter access can never be as fast as a panel full of knobs, but I think this latter issue is minimised due to the logical way the matrix has been implemented.
Given the Blofeld's size, there's a hell of a lot packed in here yet at no time has either build or sound quality been compromised. As you'd expect from Waldorf, extensive MIDI control is available, so you can choose your favourite remote controller and program it appropriately, at which point things start to look much more accessible.
Loss of MIDI ports I found slightly harder to forgive, but I guess most of us probably have some USB devices kicking around, so connecting up the Blofeld for the sake of saving our patches shouldn't be an impossibility, even if it is occasionally inconvenient.
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The current Multi mode is unfinished see the 'Multitimbral Operation' box earlier in this article but it is, at least, usable, even if you can't save individual assignments yet. With over patches supplied, you have a huge amount of exploring to keep you busy until an update percolates through. Sonically, although recognisable as distinctly Waldorfian in character, the Blofeld is also capable of smoother, lusher tones.
It can do convincing analogue and wavetables at the same time — quite a combination! In fact, the ability to mix these forms of synthesis freely and route the results through some seriously good filters and, indeed, some seriously wacky ones already puts the Blofeld beyond most hardware synthesizers made today, let alone at this price point. With that extensive modulation matrix, versatile arpeggiator and built in effects too, I have to admit it's difficult to do anything but gush.
If any miniature super-villain is destined to rule the world, Blofeld gets my vote! During my several hours of testing, I had no connection problems with the devices or other difficulties. I have two downsides of this editor. I hope a lot that this feature will coming in a next version. In short: To change per example the wavetable picture below , you must press long on one of the grey boxes and swipes to your favourite waveform for the patch. I would love to see here a more traditional way to select this parameters, like a pop-up screen where you can scroll and than select a wavetable.
Sure, I can live with this design but in my opinion, a traditional box design would be better and easier. Nonetheless, I can absolutely recommend the new Patch Base Waldorf Blofeld editor to everyone who search a smarter way to program easier this Synthesizer without get lost in the sub-menu labyrinth. With a final price of Ableton Released MidiVolve by Coldcut: Contact About Support Advertise with us. Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube.
This is NOT a patch editor.
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