Waveform City vs. Waldorf / Fizmo wavetable synths

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Waveform City vs. Waldorf / Fizmo wavetable synths

Post by Reptil » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:15 am


eehm It seems the Wiard bug has caught me :eek:
I'm trying to figure out if the Waveform city isn't overlapping my wavetable synths (Ensoniq Fizmo, Waldorf XT).
I love the sound of wavetables, especially in a modular system (as raw waveforms). Now, I noticed in the manual there is a reference to the Waldorf synthesis of running wavetables. I understand the Waveform city is slightly different. (VCO as modulation source, CV control)
But how different??
Your opinions please?

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Post by plord » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:17 am

Well, depending on how you use your Xt, maybe not that different. The WFC will have 16 tables of 16 waves if you want to think of it that way. Instead of programming CC messages or assigning the Xt LFO/Env/Random to move the wavetable pointer in the Xt, you would have the usual modular flexibility to send in whatever voltage control signal you want in there, and the immediacy of trying out changes might take you to new places. For example you could create a very complex sequence with an 8 step sequencer, a slow LFO, and joystick output all mixed together. The Xt has many more tables than the WFC but you can get around that with a Hylander Expander and some additional ROMs. At the individual wave level I think we are talking about the same resolution though, so that's going to sound similar.

Curiously, the smaller and cheaper Miniwave from Blacet, based on Grant's design, is more capable in that you have voltage control of BOTH bank and wave position. With the right interpolating ROM, say the Mathew Davidson Vector ROMs, you can smoothly sweep across all 256 waveforms via two independent control sources. THAT will take you places no Waldorf synth can reach.

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Post by Reptil » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:55 pm

Thank you for the extensive answer. I'll look further into the miniwave!!

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Post by carbon111 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:38 pm

One thing about the Microwave XT tables is that each wavetable will always have 64 slots, 61 of which will always be in use (the last three are standard "synth" waves that can be blocked with the limit parameter). Sometimes all 61 slots are filled but but most times there are just a handfull of waves scattered through the slots - the empty slots waveforms are interpolated from the existing waveforms. The XT will generally give you much smoother sweeps than the Wiard module or the Miniwave...unless of course you have a cacophonous table (adjacent waves being very different sonically) or the "aliasing" parameter cranked or the "quality" parameter turned down.

To get a better visual idea of what I'm talking about, I have mapped a number of the Microwave's wavetables here:

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Post by Cybananna » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:08 pm

I've never used the waveform city, but I do have a miniwave.

I doubt if it sounds anything like the Fizmo. The Fizmo is a mutant. Very probably my favorite digital synth of all time. The fizmo can do somme stuff that overlaps with other synths, but it's unique range is very wide I think.

ah, just realized you have a fizmo. I doubt you will find a lot of overlap, but that depends on how you use it I guess. I don't find much overlap inn my Fizmo, miniwave and microwave 2 (same as XT).

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Post by Reptil » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:05 pm

mmm yes, have looked into the wavetables of the XT before, read ALL of your excellent pages before even thinking about buying one. And then a black one appeared for sale, locally, the guy was going all software. I was intoxicated all the way back in the train, felt like a dream with the machine under my arm. :love: It's a raw beast, I haven't touched all of the different timbres.

Very different from the Fizmo which is "a beautiful mutant". It's also my favorite digital synth! It never ceases to amaze me with weird but useful sounds.
The Fizmo especially plays very well with the modular. Through logic I'm sending CCs to it and to the midi - cv convertors as one patch. I would be curious how it would react to complex CV-midi controller messages. That would be another way to intergrate it more into the modular part. (workflow more straightforward)

I was hoping in the Waveform city I can find another character, more like the Fizmo (clear, mysterious beautiful) instead of raw and direct like the Waldorf XT.
Looking for metallic, bell-like sounds, that go in the direction of Gamalan, or Hang drum, and couple this to the QMMV which I hope to buy as well in the coming months and some drumpads.

I think I'll dive a little further into the Fizmo and XT before expanding the setup further, and work more intergrating those. Results have been very encouraging so far, but I haven't found "that sound" that is in my head yet.

One thing on my mind is that I was contemplating a Wiard Envelator instead of the Cwejman ADSR I had originally planned. I've been holding back on getting the final ADSRs to my system (have three doepfers but these are clearly not enough since I find myself with a patchcord in my hand looking for a fourth ADSR all the time)
This is important since I'd buy the Wiard modules at the same moment for one shipment.

I'd be grateful for some audio examples of a Waveform city and Mini Wave.
I'm looking forward too to hear the Piston Honda from Harvestman, however I'm more into the mysterious sounds (Fizmo, Buchla), and Harvestman sound is too trashy for my particular taste. I expect the Piston Honda to be raw as slabs of dead meat. The Wiard I expect will sound more refined, but at this moment it's all guesswork..

excuse me for rambling. Maybe I think too much, maybe not. I tried explaining the dilemma to a painter (art not construction) here in the building. All he could say was that he liked how the sun was shining today, and how fresh the air is. eehm lol :lol:

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Post by D/A A/D » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:26 pm

I have had my MiniWave for a few months now - and I haven't been able to use it yet!!! :-(

I love the sound of wavetable synthesis, and look forward to bringing the doom with it...

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Post by chamomileshark » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:00 am

hmm, don't mean to spam the board but I have one WC sample here;


What is different I think with both the Miniwave and the Waveform City is that you can go into low frequency mode plus you have the quanizer banks. I haven't really got those "gamelan" tones from either device, even though I also have the PPG/VS EPROM for the miniwave.

However on the Wiard I prefer creating that kind of sound via linear FM. I have some samples I have just put up. These were from some track ideas so sorry they have delay and reverb...but these were self contained patches, no keyboard input, MIDI or knob weaking. The shifts in tone are due to modulating the frequency of the modulator.


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