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Waldorf Quantum

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Item: SYN0006211-000
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The Quantum is a 61-note digital/analogue hybrid synthesizer with 3x oscillators, multiple LFOs and 4x methods of synthesis.  All product info

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Waldorf QUANTUM SHADOW

Waldorf QUANTUM SHADOW Product Image
  • Manufacturer: Waldorf
  • Construction / Number of Keys: 61
  • Hammer Action: Yes
  • Velocity sensitive: Yes
  • Sound Generation: VA Synthese
  • ...
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Waldorf Quantum

Waldorf Quantum Digital/Analogue Hybrid Synthesizer

The Waldorf Quantum is a 61-note high-end digital/analogue hybrid synthesizer which offers 4x kinds of synthesis powered by 3x oscillators (Wavetable, Waveform, Particle and Resonator). The Fatar keyboard is velocity sensitive and features aftertouch and the expected Modulation and Pitch Bend wheels are present on the left of the keys. The functions of the Quantum are expansive, incorporating 8x voices, multiple LFOs, effects processing, FM, Oscillator Sync and Ring Modulation. The centre of the control panel shows all the relevant information in a large high-resolution multi-touch display. This expands the spectrum of possibilities to include sounds that are generally only heard from individual Eurorack modules.

Rear View

The elaborately constructed sounds are routed via the mixer to 2x analogue low-pass filters and processed accordingly. No less than 6x complex LFOs, 6x envelopes, a complex modulator, an extensive modulation matrix with up to 40x entries and the intuitive modulation assignment via control elements and control LEDs provide extensive tools for synthesis.

Display

5x well-designed, freely linkable effect blocks with dedicated controls are provided on the control panel, alongside a compressor on the main output to tame dynamics. The high-resolution multi-touch display allows convenient access to any parameter and visualizes every move on the control panel. This gives you optimal access to the sophisticated arpeggiator and step sequencer; the latter goes beyond recording note values and allows parameter automation and scale-based pitch quantization.

The main features of the Waldorf Quantum include:

  • 61-Note Hybrid Digital/Analogue Polyphonic Synthesizer
  • Fatar TP8 Keyboard with Channel Aftertouch
  • 8x Voices
  • Modulation & Pitch Wheels
  • Split/Layered Dual Timbral Mode
  • 2x Analogue Low-Pass Filters per Voice (24/12dB Switchable with Link Mode)
  • Digital Algorithms per Voice (Comb Filter, High/Low/Band Pass, Notch Filter, Bit Crusher, Drive etc.)
  • Flexible Routing System
  • 6x LFOs
  • 6x Loop Envelopes
  • Complex: Multistage LFO/Envelope Modulator
  • Comprehensive Modulation Matrix (40 Entries)
  • Intuitive Modulation Assignment via Operating Elements & Control LEDs
  • Master Effects with 5x Slots Each (Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Reverb, Drive, EQ & More)
  • Arpeggiator
  • Step Sequencer (Steprecorder, Parameter Automation & Scale-Based Pitch Quantization)
  • Unison Mode
  • High-Resolution Multi-Touch Display
  • Spectrum Analyser & Oscilloscope
  • Recording Samples via Audio Inputs or Quantum Audio Output
  • Nave Pre-Set Imports
  • 2x Stereo Audio Outputs
  • Stereo Audio Input
  • High-Quality 24-bit A/D & D/A Converters
  • SD Card for Sample/Pre-Set Exchange & Software Updates
  • DIN MIDI In, Out & Thru
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 1006 x 401 x 131mm
  • Weight: 17.8kg

3x Stereo Digital Oscillators with 4x Synthesis Forms:

  • Wavetable: Waldorf Style Wavetable with Nave Technology
  • Waveform: 8x Simultaneous Classic Synthesizer Waveforms per Oscillator
  • Particle: Granular Sampler with Multi-Sampling & Traditional Modes
  • Resonator: Exciter with Multi-Sampling & Filterbank Modelling

Summary from Sound on Sound magazine April 2019

PROS

  • A PPG, a VA polysynth, a sampler/granular synth and physical modelling synth in one box... Wow!
  • It offers huge synthesis power, and the range of sounds is stunning.
  • Give its depth, the editing system – although not perfect – is quick and intuitive.
  • Version 2 will soon add FM synthesis and more to the sound generation already available.
  • It feels solid but it’s also attractive – you’ll look good standing behind one.

CONS

  • Until the MIDI/USB problem is fixed, it may be unusable for some potential owners.
  • When sound passes through the analogue filters it’s reduced to a single audio channel.
  • The digital filter section is global, not per voice. 
  • The use of SD cards rather than USB sticks was a poor decision.
  • The review model had a screen flaw.
  • It’s not cheap (but I don’t think that it’s overpriced either.)

SUMMARY 

The Quantum is a massively flexible polysynth. It lacks the polyphony of some of its competition, but it can sound superb and I have to admit that, during the review period, I found it to be quite inspiring at times. Once the teething problems are ironed out, it will be hard to ignore it. 

CONCLUSIONS

Very soon we’ll have at least three flagship analogue/digital hybrid polysynths from which to choose – the largely analogue Moog One, the largely digital Waldorf Quantum, and the Prophet X, which sits somewhere between the two. All three are mighty powerful beasties that nod toward earlier synthesizers, but I’m not going to try to compare them because, despite superficial similarities, I view them as very different. If you are wealthy and suffer from unrelenting gear lust, you could make an argument for owning all three. If you have to choose just one, and if we assume that the sound quality of each (which is excellent in all three cases) is equally appealing, then your choice will possibly be determined by the balance between immediacy and flexibility. If you lean toward the latter, the Quantum is undoubtedly the winner, and I can’t see anyone exhausting its capabilities. And, to answer the question that I posed at the start of this review, it’s the most ‘finished’ flagship polysyth that Waldorf have ever released; there’s a delightful absence of messages to you of features no yet implemented. Then the USB/MIDI problem is fixed it will be a superb sound design and performance tool. Lest you be under any illusions, I like it a lot. 

  - Gordon Reid, SOS April 2019    

Waldorf Quantum Demo #01 by CO5MA

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Waldorf
  • Construction / Number of Keys: 61
  • Hammer Action: Yes
  • Velocity sensitive: Yes
  • Sound Generation: VA Synthese
  • Arpeggiator: Yes
  • Number of Knobs: 70
  • Number of Keys: 20
  • Pitchbend, Modwheel: Pitchbend and Modwheel
  • Display: Yes, Colour
  • USB MIDI Interface: Yes
  • USB AUDIO Interface: Yes
  • Headphone Connection: Yes
  • Internal Memory: 4
  • Storage Media: Internal Flash Drive
  • MIDI Interface: IN/OUT/THRU, 5-Pin
  • LINE IN: Yes
  • LINE OUT: Yes
  • Microphone Input: No
  • incl. Power Adapter: Yes
  • Weight (kg): 17.9
  • Integrated Effects Processor: Yes
  • Polyphony: 8
  • Keyboard Split: Yes
  • Power Supply: Adapter, external
  • Width (cm): 100.6
  • Height (cm): 13.1
  • Depth (cm): 40.1
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