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Waldorf Microwave in Eurorack...is there?
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Author Waldorf Microwave in Eurorack...is there?
Sanys
i tried E352 and didn't hear the grit waldorf microwave has.
It doesn't exist or i miss something.

I checked SSP and ER-301 videos. they sound nice, pristine yet not like older Waldorf and lack knobby interface.
I checked other wavetable osc videos and the only thing that came close is Waldorf NW1 but i read enough about it being buggy.
I would sell Microwave and go fully eurorack with wavetable if it gives me the same sound

What would come close? or simple truth is that eurorack can't nail the sound.
I wonder if anyone tried to achieve the same results
miles_macquarrie
Keep in mind you can load your own wavetables into the modules. The e352 can get pretty gritty with the right waves loaded in.

Also have a look at Piston Honda MK3 and Erica Synths Graphic VCO.

Both can be gritty right out of the box
peripatitis
I'd look at the flame 4 vox. That sounds closer to me.
I've sold my xt, I don't think you can replace it that way.

Btw I don't care what everyone else says for me the NW1 sounds nasal and completely unrelated with that waldorf sound.
Sanys
found this old thread. I wonder if anything changed since '09

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4691
macs4music
Waldorf's own wavetable module is probably as buggy as the microwave was. to be fair its as close as you can get.
Sanys
Never had any issues with neither Microwave 1 nor XT
Thighpaulsandra
The NW1 sounds quite polite and thin in comparison with the Microwave 1 which in turn sounds thin in comparison with the PPG Wave 2.2. Having said that I've not found the NW1 or the Microwave to be buggy and they both have their own character which I find to be useful.

Thighp.
geremyf
In the e352 you have to enable glitch mode (there are multiple levels of glitch). Otherwise it will be buttery smooth all the time.
Sinamsis
I guess it really depends on what you do with your Microwave. I had one for a while and thought it was a wonderful synth. I recently sold mine mainly because I had too many synths and wanted to stream line things a bit. FWIW I felt like the various iterations of the Piston Honda were Scott's homage to the Microwave. Of course these are just oscillators, you need 12 db LPF. Personally, I have my PH mk III paired with a Korgasmatron at all times, I love it. And I do feel like the wavetables selected by Scott are also reminiscent of the MW. That said, even with a good oscillator and filter, you're still missing a lot, like the complex envelope. And of course that's only for one voice. The MW1 seems way ahead of its time to me, and combined with one of the modern controllers like the Stereoping it's a phenomenal instrument. You'd pay an arm and a leg to get remotely close with eurorack, and it would be much less efficient.
Pighood
I've always lusted after the Kotelnikov, but I haven't the room for it.

I do have a Kermit, and that KINDA gets into that territory. KINDA.
Pighood
Plus I need a really long broom 'andle to poke Wolfgang Palm to get into Euro. we're not worthy
LANDMIME!
Thighpaulsandra wrote:
The NW1 sounds quite polite and thin in comparison with the Microwave 1 which in turn sounds thin in comparison with the PPG Wave 2.2. Having said that I've not found the NW1 or the Microwave to be buggy and they both have their own character which I find to be useful.

Thighp.


thumbs up yup.
tiger001
did you load the same watetables (those from XT and/or MW1) in the ER301 & the SSP?

then you can really start to compare

(owning both of them -SSP & MW xt-, i can say i don't want to compare them, as they both have such strong points that they exist in their own niche/place)
governor blacksnake
the piston honda mk3 was designed by one of the world's foremost microwave 1/prophet VS superfans, with special attention given to the bits of character that can't be described with language. I had a NW1 for a while, but the formant/spectral processing removed all of the life-affirming content from certain wavetables, and you couldn't turn it off.
peripatitis
The xt (which I know) had some bugs, for example using the mono/unison click and quite many others but a bit on the minor side.
Of course the filters on the xt are digital and probably has a different character to the microwave 1.

Overall I preferred the xt sound. One thing to keep in mind of course is that their mod matrix is huge, replicating that in a modular realm would acquire a lot of modules.
dubonaire
governor blacksnake wrote:
the piston honda mk3 was designed by one of the world's foremost microwave 1/prophet VS superfans, with special attention given to the bits of character that can't be described with language. I had a NW1 for a while, but the formant/spectral processing removed all of the life-affirming content from certain wavetables, and you couldn't turn it off.


You are making me desire a piston honda mk3.
clusterchord
beside the fidelity, 8bit DACs, and selection of the waves, chasing the MW/PPG sound has a lot to do with oscillator design and how the transposition is executed. this was a rather interesting text/analysis on the subject of transposition technology and resulting artifacts in early digital machines:

taxonomy of early digital synthesizers



i am somewhat obsessed with wavetabling in general, and have both generations of PPG, 2 and 2.3, a MW revision A, MW XT and Synthtech 350/370. (and plan to pickup Honda mk1 soon)

according to above text, PPG22/23 and MW both se Phase Accumulator. and indeed there is obvious aliasing and mirroring attributing to the trademark glassy sound. feed that into SSM2044 filter and you are in the ballpark.

earlier models like 360 and Wave 2 use Divide-by-N and have almost no aliasing. and in some ways transposition reminds me of changing speed on a magn. tape recorder. filter is CEM3320. most notable example of this are fem vox sounds on Tangerine Dream Exit. like the opening track Kiew Mission. i've made a somewhat similar sound in this piece:

https://soundcloud.com/clusterchord/astronaut-of-featherweight-part-tw o



for the 2.2/2.3 sound i am not sure what is the best iteration in euro. i can say i agree NW1 is completely different and sounds "processed". haven't tried Flame, but Harvestman seems much more like it. as for earlier PPG sound, imo SSSR Labs Kotelnikov has gotten into Wave 2 character quite well. no PPG wavetables, tho i noticed user wave loading has been added recently, so perhaps its possible. Synthtech is a lovely sound, but very different from old machines, very hifi, smooth and high resolution. glitch mode is great too, but invokes a different sort of dirt, not the "prehistoric" crust.
Sanys
thx for the input clusterchord
so besides Wabetable osc there should be Curtis filter, VCA... even then there is lo-fi DACs in these machines
Flexyflier
Thighpaulsandra wrote:
The NW1 sounds quite polite and thin in comparison with the Microwave 1 which in turn sounds thin in comparison with the PPG Wave 2.2. Having said that I've not found the NW1 or the Microwave to be buggy and they both have their own character which I find to be useful.

Thighp.


Yeah my NW1 works great,not come across any bugs...in it.
Shledge
Graphic VCO is one of the most flexible ones out there. I think there is a bitcrush FX mode to make it have aliasing as seen in early wavetable synths.
clusterchord
Sanys wrote:
thx for the input clusterchord
so besides Wabetable osc there should be Curtis filter, VCA... even then there is lo-fi DACs in these machines


you're welcome smile

Wave 2.2 and 2.3 use SSM2044 filter fed into CEM3360 vca.

Wave 2 uses CEM3320 fed into CEM3330 vca.
(instead of software env like others, it also has CEM3310 envelopes)

Microwave uses so-called "voice processors" also by Curtis, which consist of VCF and a stereo VCA iirc. revision A is CEM3389 and revision B CEM3387.


further, while wavetables in all these models are 8-bit, DA conversion is 8-bit on Wave 2 and 2.2, and 12-bit on 2.3 and Microwave.
The Grump
I've got a Microwave Rev A, and a Graphic VCO, and I'll see what I can do to get the latter to sound something similar to the former, though honestly, I would advise against selling your Microwave. You're not going to find anything that sounds quite like it, especially the filters. They are quite unique, and even if you can load the tables and reduce the bits correctly, you're not going to get the rest of the signal path, which is as important as the oscillators themselves.
Monotremata
Thighpaulsandra wrote:
Having said that I've not found the NW1 or the Microwave to be buggy and they both have their own character which I find to be useful.

Thighp.


Yeah Id call the 'bugs' in the Microwave more like glitches, none of them are showstoppers and in the 20 years Ive had my XT nothing has kept it from doing what it does best.
Shledge
The Grump wrote:
I've got a Microwave Rev A, and a Graphic VCO, and I'll see what I can do to get the latter to sound something similar to the former, though honestly, I would advise against selling your Microwave. You're not going to find anything that sounds quite like it, especially the filters. They are quite unique, and even if you can load the tables and reduce the bits correctly, you're not going to get the rest of the signal path, which is as important as the oscillators themselves.


They don't add to the "grit" of the sound - only the DACs do.

The filters and VCAs are not even unique, they're bog standard CEM chips. Easily replicated with equivalent CEM based modules.

(still, the microwave is a keeper, but mainly for the polyphony)
The Grump
Shledge wrote:

The filters and VCAs are not even unique, they're bog standard CEM chips. Easily replicated with equivalent CEM based modules.


Nobody has succeeded in doing so, to date, especially the filters. I'm not trying to cite voodoo, but subtleties do add up.
Sanys
ay so i'm going to be waiting another year or two
ispeakhopelandic
i actually really like the digital filters in the microwave II but ay
Sanys
i thought digital filter in XT are ok until i got mw 1
Monotremata
Sanys wrote:
i thought digital filter in XT are ok until i got mw 1


Yeah but you're also stuck with just that filter. As great as it is, the XT still has more available in the sound shaping area.
The Grump
Monotremata wrote:
Sanys wrote:
i thought digital filter in XT are ok until i got mw 1


Yeah but you're also stuck with just that filter. As great as it is, the XT still has more available in the sound shaping area.


Yes it does, but none of it sounds as good (to my ears) as "just that filter".

thumbs up
peripatitis
tbh I always found the xt filters more interesting sounding. Any waldorf filter I've ever heard was just pedestrian. The digital ones in xt were more characterful.
Shledge
I don't understand how a CEM filter makes it sound "unique", considering that similar CEM based filters exist in eurorack. There's no special sauce to CEM filters. seriously, i just don't get it
Sanys
it's not that CEM filter makes Microwaves sound unique. It's comparison of Microwave analogue lowpass filter vs Microwave XT digital multimode filter.
I prefer Microwave CEM filter. I'd say it sounds fantastic. When u tweak XT filter ..yeah..it's digital filter
Monotremata
Id bet anything if they had the code at the time you would've also seen earlier versions of those digital filters in the MW1 just like the MW2 had. The MW1 was the "little PPG" so it stuck pretty much to what they knew for it. Once that was out of the way (and they ran out of CEM chips) it was all Waldorf madness from then on out. They saved all the analog stuff for the Pulse.
sko87pro
Sanys, you could try putting the Waldorf NW1 eurorack module through the Doepfer A-105 (SSM filter used in the PPG Wave) or the Doepfer A-122 (CEM filter used in the Microwave 1). However both of the Doepfers are LPF only:

http://www.doepfer.de/a105.htm
http://www.doepfer.de/a122.htm
sko87pro
peripatitis wrote:
tbh I always found the xt filters more interesting sounding. Any waldorf filter I've ever heard was just pedestrian. The digital ones in xt were more characterful.

Back in pre-history (1997), when Sound on Sound magazine published their review of the Microwave 2, Paul Nagle acknowledged the analogue filter of the MW1 - but also praised the new digital filters in the MW2 for their sound and flexibility. I was interested in this because I wanted to understand the pre-millennial opinion of digital filters. It's worth remembering the context: DX and M1 ruled in those days, and people wanted that sparkling digital sound.

Quote:
Can Waldorf really make an all-digital filter that sounds as good [as the Microwave 1]? To my ears, they've largely succeeded. I might have guessed that this was a digital filter by the very slight harshness that sneaks in as you hit maximum resonance -- but then again, I might not. It's reassuringly smooth and responsive ... Having these new filters to choose from permits more delicate sound sculpting than is typically associated with a Microwave -- high- and band-pass sweeps cut through beautifully [SoS, July 1997]

In 1995, Paul spoke of the analogue filter in the MW1 in these terms:

Quote:
Notable features of the Microwave are its wonderful, big 4-pole filter, which is capable of self-oscillation ... In these times, when so many synths have a glorified tone control pretending to be a filter, the power of a real filter cannot be underestimated when it comes to sound creation [SoS, August 1995]

The MW2 and XT are closely related (the same all-digital synth engine) and have 13 filter modes which offer more options than the CEM filter design in the original Microwave.

The MW2 and XT are backwards compatible with the MW1. Here's a comparison by RetroSound of the MW1 and MW2, playing the same patches. Perhaps not surprisingly, the MW2 sounds a bit more crisp, while the MW1 has more low-end rumble:



Below are the relevant pages from Sound on Sound:

Microwave 1 - index only (December 1989)
https://web.archive.org/web/20150623024334/http://www.soundonsound.com  /Contents.php?Month=12&Year=1989

Microwave 1 firmware 2.0 - review (August 1995)
https://web.archive.org/web/20150607011751/http://www.soundonsound.com  /sos/1995_articles/aug95/waldorfmicrowave.html

Microwave 2 - review (July 1997)
https://web.archive.org/web/20150606082924/http://www.soundonsound.com  /sos/1997_articles/jul97/microwave2.html

Microwave XT - review (October 1998)
https://web.archive.org/web/20150606110702/http://www.soundonsound.com  /sos/oct98/articles/waldorfmicrow.html

Waldorf NW1 - Eurorack module - review (March 2017)
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/waldorf-nw1-wavetable-module


Here are all the issues of Sound on Sound back to 1985:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150629000747/http://www.soundonsound.com  /AllIssues.php

Here is the Waldorf history on wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_Music

HTH
ugokcen
I’ve got a Microwave 1. It is pretty special and I don’t ever see myself getting rid of it even if I could somehow replicate the sound in Eurorack.

For one thing it is 8 note polyphonic and that is true polyphony: each note you play has its own wave envelope. So when you play cascading notes of a chord you end up hitting different points in the wavetable simultaneously. And the two oscillators can have different start points in the wavetable, modulated in different directions, wavetable position can be mapped to key follow so that every midi note plays a different waveform, etc. etc., which makes the sound coming out ever so complex and interesting.

For a mono voice, I think Piston Honda comes close. But you could also try loading up the user submitted PPG wavetables from WaveEdit into any wavetable module. They sound identical to the raw wavetables in the Microwave. What I mean is that the gritty sound is baked into the wavetables itself so even with a hi-fi module you should be able to capture some of that vintage character.

Finally, that analog filter is not anything to drool over, but complements the harshness of the digital side perfectly. In a lot of factory patches the filter is used very subtly. You almost forget about the filter until you open it all the way up. I have read that it is a 4-pole filter but sounds more like a 2-pole to me. The word “smooth” comes to mind if I tried to describe it. Not punchy, or squelchy, or screamy.
Monotremata
I think the old 4-Pole they made was the same filter as the MW/Pulse in a little desktop box. I always wanted one of those but never did get my hands on one.


The MW2/XT's Sin(x) filter is one of my favorites. I think Im gonna fire that and Sound Diver up today hehe. Ive been making myself use my Blofeld more since I bought it two years ago and really haven't, but gotta give the XT some love again. Haven't programmed anything on it in ages and I understand the architecture now alot better than I did 20 years ago!
Sanys
ugokcen wrote:
I’ve got a Microwave 1. It is pretty special and I don’t ever see myself getting rid of it even if I could somehow replicate the sound in Eurorack.

For one thing it is 8 note polyphonic and that is true polyphony: each note you play has its own wave envelope. So when you play cascading notes of a chord you end up hitting different points in the wavetable simultaneously. And the two oscillators can have different start points in the wavetable, modulated in different directions, wavetable position can be mapped to key follow so that every midi note plays a different waveform, etc. etc., which makes the sound coming out ever so complex and interesting.

i think i will upgrade mine to Quantum sooner or later
ugokcen
I had my eyes on the Quantum ever since it was announced but now that there some demo videos of it out on youtube I’m not so sure. I would have preferred just a wavetable engine with more polyphony and more wavetables instead of trying to cram every type of synthesis under the hood.

I also don’t see myself dropping around $4000 on one machine these days. I like combining little bits and pieces - MI Rings if I want a resonator and Borderlands (the iPad app) if I want granular. And for synthesized strings, there is the Streichfett hihi

4ms wavetable oscillator is also worth a look because does 6 notes of polyphony and you can import your own wavetables.
The Grump
Monotremata wrote:
I think the old 4-Pole they made was the same filter as the MW/Pulse in a little desktop box.


The mini-works 4-pole uses the same chip as the Rev B MW1.
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