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Wavestation A/D or Waldorf XT/ or Q
Old 20th November 2009
  #1
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Wavestation A/D or Waldorf XT/ or Q

I know these are three different beasts but any opinions of these two for wavetable type synthesis.
I'm looking for good pad sounds.

Opinions? Likes, dislikes?
Old 20th November 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I used to have an XT.. for some reason I never really liked it.
I now have a Q in my rack, and to say that it's powerful would be an understatement. I am constantly amazed at the sounds this thing can spit out.. a programmers dream.
Old 20th November 2009
  #3
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love my waldorf MWXT. nothing replicates it to my ears. after i'd spent time w/it there really isn't a sound you can't make w/it. it excels at certain things but it can do other things you wouldn't expect it to do and it will do those things really well. it can do analog sounding basses and creamy pads etc.. but it takes time to get it to convince you.

the stuff it does really really easily is the textural organic digital stuff but the sounds have weight to them... girth. also does some really great weird digital explosive percussive things and all manner of FM digital rawness. it's a well of sound design fun. the filters are great and the possibility for ever shifting timbres is massive.

i'd say it's more 'contemporary' sounding than a wavestation AD which will have a sort of roll off at the top end and be a little darer sounding. though i'm sure it's capable and the FX are supposed to be pretty good.. though you won't have 44 knobs like on the XT and it won't be orange.

can't say anything about the waldorf Q as i've never played one. i had a microq and hated it.

the Q and XT i'm sure have different character. my heart belongs to the XT and always will.
Old 20th November 2009
  #4
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Couple of Waldorf synths here...

I wouldn't really look to the Q for wavetable sounds, as wavetables were added later on in the Q's development cycle, almost as an afterthought. It's better used for glassy, hifi, digital sounds.

The XT has a completely different character entirely, and it is built from the ground up to be a very well specced wavetable synth. It's very raw and in your face, but can also be quite smooth sounding if you want it to be. That all depends on which wavetable/filter/quality combination you throw at the engine. Out of all of the synths in my arsenal, the XTk is the only one that is 100% digital, and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon.
Old 20th November 2009
  #5
Oli
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I would consider what kind of pads you are looking for. I think the Wavestation is still very good in it's own way, though I don't think it is a replacement for an XT or Q, and not as easy to program. I'm not sure if Korg's Legacy set is available for demo, though the Wavestation module in that should give you a fair idea. It's not exactly the same as the hardware, though close enough. I think the sound is a little brighter. Wavestation is also a fraction of the price of others you listed, so if that is the type of synth you are after, it may be a better option.

I think some people into wavetables also look to Ensoniq's kit. I think they can sound good for pads, but to me, not so much the really outlandish wavetable sounds. Filter on the SQ-80 can sound nice though. Mostly I think the Ensoniq gear is not as deep or flexible as Waldorf's, and to me sounds more dated. I think the depth of the Waldorf kit allows it to stay fresh. I've not owned an Ensoniq synth though. They do tend to be cheap also (not the Fizmo so much), so may be worth looking at if you like what they do.
Old 20th November 2009
  #6
strictly for ambient, alien, illbient pads.. i'd go wavestation.

but overall, for everything else, microwave XT - wavetabling sweeps, digital, metal and "creature from the swamp" pads.. etc.. Q very close second. taste dependant really.. both are fantastic machines.



for filters that are most liquid, or arguably most "analog" in character out of these three, i'd probably pick the Q. love the arpeggios and sequences on this thing.
Old 20th November 2009
  #7
Deleted User
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The wavestation is pretty amazing. I bought one for pafs/fx/textures and was shocked to hear nice leads abd moog basses. Really warm and rich sound. I bought two more.

I was then jamming with a friend and the only synth that would cut through was the virus. I got a little tripped out and sold all three!

I was demo'ing the xt just the other day and I must say I was blown away. It really can get quite aggressive as well as smooth and silky. It sounds more sophistcated than the microq and microwaveII. Like the difference between korgs version of analog and the virus.

Wish I could comment on the Q, but it has been so long since I heard it.

I have to say that I believe the wavestation is really under the radar. But it isnt an XT. you might need both.
Old 20th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post

I was demo'ing the xt just the other day and I must say I was blown away. It really can get quite aggressive as well as smooth and silky. It sounds more sophistcated than the microq and microwaveII.
the microwave II and the microwave XT have exactly the same synth engine. the II is the rack mount version and the XT is the table top version w/all the knobs. the only difference is the interface.
Old 20th November 2009
  #9
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seen-da-sizer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
I was demo'ing the xt just the other day and I must say I was blown away. It really can get quite aggressive as well as smooth and silky. It sounds more sophistcated than the microq and microwaveII.
Mmm, doesn't the Microwave II, XT, and XTk have the exact same sound engine? The latest user manual covers all three of them. The Microwave II and XT even share the top part of the front panel. The only difference I am aware of are the 10 voice and 30 voice versions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
I have to say that I believe the wavestation is really under the radar. But it isnt an XT. you might need both.
+1 Yeah, get them both!

Edit: ignatius beat me to it!
Old 20th November 2009
  #10
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Well I owned the microwave II for a while this year an I just demo'd the XT and they sound different. Different dacs? Different analog section?

I'm just stating what I heard.

When I owned the korg prophecy and bought the trinity plus, the moss engine in the plus didnt sound the same. When I bought the z1 it sounded different as well. Then I bought a triton with moss and it also sounded different.

All the same engine. All sounded different.
Old 20th November 2009
  #11
Gear Addict
 

oh, OP said wavetable... scratch the Q off that list.
Old 20th November 2009
  #12
Gear Addict
 

The only synth I've used from the bunch is the Wavestation A/D, and I would highly recommend it. Most mistake it as strictly a synth for ambient music, and while it does excel in this regard it can do some traditional sounds as well, including searing leads and thumping basses. The audio inputs can be utilized in some very interesting ways in synthesis, and the unit can even be used as a vocoder, or effect unit. I would say that any other version of the Wavestation isn't worth your time, because the inputs offered by the A/D version really add that much value to the unit.

Having said that, as usual, you'll have to sit down with it and learn how to use it to see if it really can work for you.
Old 20th November 2009
  #13
Oli
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Can anyone compare use of the Wavestation A/D with the SR? Is the difference in interface very significant?

OT @trashman: I can't remember if I've asked you before, but I'm always interested in people's comparisons between Prophecy and Z1. Do you lose anything with a Z1?
Old 20th November 2009
  #14
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e_waste's Avatar
 

I have owned both, with the AD you get the audio input port, and a larger screen along and an actual vector stick. You don't get any of that with the SR, BUT with the SR you get a lot of the sounds that came on the expansion cards built in. To answer your question, my opinion is the SR sounds better. Maybe due to the fact that it has the updated OS. thumbsup
Old 20th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius View Post
the microwave II and the microwave XT have exactly the same synth engine. the II is the rack mount version and the XT is the table top version w/all the knobs. the only difference is the interface.
There were two revisions of the MW2 rack. The first had lower quality DAC's than the XT, as well as less RAM, which meant no delay FX. The second revision MW2 is exactly the same as the XT, but I have no idea how to tell the Rev1 and Rev2 models apart.
Old 20th November 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
All the same engine. All sounded different.
I've also read (probably on this forum) that different OS revisions sound different too.

I currently have a Micro Q sitting in my rack. I haven't had the time to play with it yet, but it looks pretty
Old 20th November 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecologie View Post
I know these are three different beasts but any opinions of these two for wavetable type synthesis.
There is no wavetable synthesis in Korg Wavestation.

Wavestation synth uses vector synthesis and wave sequencing which have not much in common with wavetable. It's really hard to compare them even remotely, because one uses a single cycle wave, while other uses the whole waveforms. Major difference in sound. One is smooth and dreamy, other will rip your face off.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
I'm not sure if Korg's Legacy set is available for demo, though the Wavestation module in that should give you a fair idea. It's not exactly the same as the hardware, though close enough.
Before i sold my Wavestation A/D i tested it side by side with the software version for about a week. Only difference (what it appears to me) is that Korg for the Legacy used original (non downsampled) samples. As a result you have a more hi-fi sound, more highs. This can be simply compensated with the EQ and you got 100% identical sound. Sold the A/D right after.
Old 20th November 2009
  #18
i had an AD, loved the unit, but it is limited in that there is not a huge amount of samples to start with it to build from. i sold mine in favour of the slightly more squdgy sounding EMU Vintage Keys Plus, which has nicer filters but not so cutting and is a little warmer and darker in tone. i recommend the vintage keys for your spo*** soundtrack-pad needs. how it holds up against the emu plugins, i have no idea.

edit: oh you can't say sp00ky! wtf!?
Old 20th November 2009
  #19
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flat's Avatar
I've owned all three.

Wavestation A/D is an awesome piece of kit, but took Dons advice and sold it and used the KLC version which is 95% close imo. (The one exception where the software version comes good on the original) Superb choice for classic moving pads and atmospheres.

Waldorf XT Only got rid of this to get the keyboard version (which I didn't get in the end ). Probably one of the most charactoristic synths of the our modern time. I really would like to get another at some point. Listening to Boale Gerkes stuff really sold me this synth. The wavetable sounds are quite exquisit, and can create Pads like no other.

Waldorf Q Still have this, and probably always will. A sound designers dream, beautiful synth with huge potential. For pads and atmospheres probably the best of the 3. Only minus points being the stupid small LCD display and the afterthought Wavetables. Im constantly amazed at what this thing can do. Even with out the analogue filters of the + version, it can at times sound very ballsy and warm.
Old 20th November 2009
  #20
Deleted User
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post

OT @trashman: I can't remember if I've asked you before, but I'm always interested in people's comparisons between Prophecy and Z1. Do you lose anything with a Z1?

The Z1 is smoother/warmer/darker to my ears; the Prophecy bright, punchy, more midrange. Like Neve to API ; )

Everything about the Z1 oozes ambience and smoothness: keybed, touchpad, dacs, polyphony.

The Prophecy oozes rectified electric guitar, percussive, stabbing, biting.

I wish had both again! Soon .... Very soon ....
Old 20th November 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
Well I owned the microwave II for a while this year an I just demo'd the XT and they sound different. Different dacs? Different analog section?
there's nothing analog in the microwave II/XT/XTK (other than its outputs of course)

the MW 1 has an analog filter in it though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild
There were two revisions of the MW2 rack. The first had lower quality DAC's than the XT, as well as less RAM, which meant no delay FX. The second revision MW2 is exactly the same as the XT, but I have no idea how to tell the Rev1 and Rev2 models apart.
hmm.. didn't know that. there must only be a handful of that early MWII version. i guess that's something to look out for if looking for a MWII rack.
Old 20th November 2009
  #22
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Ignatius,
Yup. The analog section. Chips and other hardware. Any change would alter the sound.
Old 20th November 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
the early mwII is in the mwI casing colors. it's basically a digital filtered mwI with the same error in the wavetables that the original mw had barring you access to a few tables in the 30's numbering area. the true later mwII has much better digital filters and dacs.
Old 20th November 2009
  #24


BTW, many don't know but one killer Wavetable synth is the Ensoniq TS-10 (and ASR-10). What they call a Transwave is nothing less but a Wavetable with 128 positions. The real magic is that you are not limited to:
  • single cycle waveform, you can use much larger(!) snippets
  • user loadable / built wavetable
Problem is, there are no custom (or any kind of) wavetables for it, just few transwaves. Transwaves are similar to wavetables. Single transwave is made out of 128 individual single cycle waveforms. But what makes it different from wavetables is that one transwave is usually made out of two major waveform frames (first and last cycle in the waveform). Between lies the morph of these two frames. That’s how transwaves are smooth compared to wavetables.

Technically speaking, TS-10/12 does feature wavetable synthesis, but unfortunately there is no software for creating wavetables so one would need to make it ‘manually’ with standard waveform editing software. Considering there are total of 128 waveforms, this can be a big work. Also, every cycle must begin and end at zero amplitude. This ensures smooth playback of each individual frame, since any amplitude difference between start and end point at such short loops alters the harmonic content or totally shifts it into wrong pitch.

However, once you build it, the result can be quite impressive. In fact it is possible to gain much higher quality (longer cycle waves, more hi-fi sounding) than on a standard wavetable synthesizers. This is because a single transwave can be as big as RAM size in your synth / sampler. For example 1 MB transwave (a wavetable in this case) contains a single frame with a size of 8 kB. In the days of PPG, 8 kB was the size of the whole wavetable!!!
Old 20th November 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Technically speaking, TS-10/12 does feature wavetable synthesis, but unfortunately there is no software for creating wavetables so one would need to make it ‘manually’ with standard waveform editing software. Considering there are total of 128 waveforms, this can be a big work.
just thought i'd throw this link in here.. at the elektron-usergroup there is a files section and in the files section are a bump of zip files loaded w/single cycle waveforms that users compiled for loading in the monomachine MKII and any machinedrum w/the UW option.

there's a bunch of waveforms form analog synths as well as a zip w/64 virus spectral waves also some drum kits etc.

Elektron-Users - Downloads



Old 20th November 2009
  #26
41517
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+1 for the Waldorf Microwave XT(k)....love the "random" feature
Old 20th November 2009
  #27
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waldorf microwave (and mwii/xt is as far as I know) isn't even single cycle waveforms - they are only half cycle waveforms that get mirrored on playback. this one is my pick of the bunch.


as far as the wavestation AD goes, I wouldn't recommend it. the editing interface is completely inhumane. but if you want to just switch it on and play presets, it's lots of fun.. sounds like film and TV, cause so many of its presets were used in soundtracks. also this synth has the longest most evolving pads of the three.



another option, the kawai k5000 is good for pads in a similar way to the wavestation. has some really long drawn out pads that just keep moving... no idea what it's like to program from scratch, but the macro knobs should at least help tweaking factory patches to fit something you are doing.




don - do the ensoniq synths let you do more with their built in rom transwaves than the EPS/ASR samplers let you do with your own samples in transwaves?
Old 20th November 2009
  #28
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seen-da-sizer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
Well I owned the microwave II for a while this year an I just demo'd the XT and they sound different. Different dacs?
You are correct on the DACs. I found some interesting information about the II/XT/XTk:

Waldorf-User FAQ | Browse XT

There are 3 revisions of the PCB. Apparently there are XTs with old DAC as well. Guess some earlier XTs sounded exactly like the II. It looks like that aren't any IIs with the new DACs!

The same site also explains the differences of the original Microwave:

Waldorf-User FAQ | microWave's Inside
Old 21st November 2009
  #29
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Entrainer's Avatar
 

You'll get good pads from both... but I'd
opt for the Wavestation for strictly pads.

I'll always have a soft spot for that Synth.

It was the first non-analog synth I got deep
into programing... really helped me break
the "everything HAS to be analog" barrier
of my late teens.

I love the WaveSequence sync to BPM
with the different harmonics as the waves...
Old 21st November 2009
  #30
Deleted 0fc8128
Guest
My vote goes to the XT too. It is great sounding, from analog to just weird and accessible with all the knobs.
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