The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Waldorf - Largo vs Blofeld vs Microwave 1 vs Microwave XT
Old 17th December 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
nicogrubert's Avatar
 

Waldorf - Largo vs Blofeld vs Microwave 1 vs Microwave XT

Hi guys

Although I produce ITB I am looking for some real synths that have a unique sound.

I like the Waldorf sound a lot and so I am wondering which one of the following synths I should buy:
-Largo (VSTi)
-Blofeld
-Microwave 1
-Microwave XT


Largo:
-great to have it ITB (total recall, multiple instances, routing).
-value for resale is almost null since nobody pays 50% or more for a software after a couple of years.
-sound in comparison to the hardware synths??

Blofeld:
-inexpensive
-resale value might be 50% of the original price
-no total integration (hm, too bad)

Microwave 1:
-great analogue filters
-stable price (say, I buy it for 300 bucks, I probably can trade it for 300 bucks)
-no potis :-(

Microwave XT:
-stable price (say, I buy it for 600 bucks, I probably can trade it for 600 bucks)
-lots of potis :-)


Which one would you buy and why?

Regards
Nico
Old 17th December 2009
  #2
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Hi,

I have the uWave 1a, and a Pulse. I think the uWave 1 will probably sound least like the Largo or Blofeld. I like the uWave 1, though it probably has the worst interface of these options. The filters are decent, and can provide some warmth to the sound, though I don't actually rate them as great. I don't think the filter is in the same league as the great vintage analogues.

I like Waldorf's digital filter models. I think they have always done a good job with them. They don't sound the same as analogue, but they sound close, and they sound good.

Playing with the uWave 1 does leave me wanting a knobby interface. I haven't yet set up a control box for it though.

I haven't yet programmed user wavetables on my uWave, but it seems to be a not so friendly interface there. Probably the Blofled sampling option would be easier to use in that regard.

Have you tried the Largo demo? It seems worth a look. I find the sound pretty close to the Blofeld. I think there are some differences in effects, such as gain curves. If you are near a decent retailer, you could try one out in store, once you are familiar with Largo. That should be a fair comparison for you.

In your desire for hardware, is the nature of the interface a major concern for you, or more the sound? Using a uWave 1 doesn't give you the immediate interface that you can get with some other hardware.
Old 17th December 2009 | Show parent
  #3
if you are mainly ITB I would go for the Largo. Blofeld interface is good but lots of edit pages to scroll thru.
MW1 is great with many supporters - however lack of knobs can leave people (like me) really frustrated. At the end of the day you want to focus on making your own sounds and the Largo is the ticket here over the others - and the perhaps small differences in sound...
Old 17th December 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
nicogrubert's Avatar
 

Thanks for your replies.

If the sound between the largo and the hardware synths is not somelike like day and night, I'll go for the largo and put some decent plugins on it.
Old 17th December 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicogrubert View Post
Thanks for your replies.

If the sound between the largo and the hardware synths is not somelike like day and night, I'll go for the largo and put some decent plugins on it.
I find that the sound is not extremely different. I haven't owned either synth, though I've used both. I found the Largo slightly brighter than Blofeld on similar patches. The sound card may have had something to do with that. I know other people have had different impressions.

I'm pretty sure there is no sampling option planned for Largo. I think the sampling on Blofeld is currently a bit cumbersome anyway, so may not be that big a deal for you. I like the idea of it though.

I think the uWave 1 is good and interesting, but something of a specialist synth, with a not so immediate interface.

I found the XT more versatile, and easier to make patches. the character is a little different from the uWave 1, and the filters don't quite have that natural feel, though they are good. At least you wouldn't stand to loose too much on the resale price of hardware, if you're still considering that option.

I think all the options have their good points. Personally, I would looking to try out whichever ones you can, before you buy.
Old 17th December 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 

One thing that you should keep in mind is that you are comparing three different synth engines here. I have not yet had a chance to try a Microwave 1, but from what I've heard, it's seems to be a more polite version of the PPG Wave, but with CEM filters instead of SSM, and stuffed in a 2u rack.

The XT is an expanded version of the Microwave 2 concept. It is 100% digital and proud of it. It has all sorts of modulation options which most synths cannot touch, and a character that is not yet matched by any software synths. It is also extremely flexible, and offers options to control oscillator aliasing, wavetable interpolation, etc.. It can do face ripping digital leads and analog sounding pads all in one box. Hence, this is why the XT is my only 100% digital synth. Everything else in my setup is either analog or a hybrid.

The Blofeld and Largo are both based on the MicroQ engine, which sounds completely different from the Microwave 2 engine. The Blofeld has all of the same features of the MicroQ, except the addition of the PPG (i.e. SSM) filter emulation, drive stages, some options for adjusting "brightness", and all of the same wavetables that the Microwave 2 XT has. Where the Blofeld has a leg up is that it can use two different wavetables per voice, where as the Microwave series lets you use one wavetable across the two oscillators. The Blofeld also has 2 filters per voice, usable in serial or parallel modes.

If money was no option, I'd recommend getting an XT, a Q, and a Microwave 1, all in that order. Though my order may change once I actually get to try a Microwave 1, haha. tutt
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Shy
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild View Post
If money was no option, I'd recommend getting an XT, a Q, and a Microwave 1, all in that order. Though my order may change once I actually get to try a Microwave 1, haha. tutt
Yeah, it probably will, because the original microWave sounds better than any of Waldorf's other wavetable synths. The interface is indeed horrible, but there are a few software editors that can ease the pain.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Did a shootout in my studio between my Microwave 1, Virus Indigo 2 and a Blofeld that I was thinking of buying. The MW sounded so smooth and rich compared to the Blofeld, which was closer in sonic signature to the Virus, ie: harder sounding. I didn't take the Blofeld in the end as I thought that between the MW 1 and the Virus I could easily cover the Blofeld.

Not to say that the Blofeld wasn't fantastic, although a lot of the presets were high gain and sounded like they were clipping internally. It did soud very "spatial" and stereo wide compared to the MW.

If I had to choose one, I would take the MW1 on pure sound, it has the magic of a PPG, but then I do have to repair the MW every year, and I would definitely take the Blofeld for horsepower, size, controllability, value for money and design. If I didn't have the MW already, I would definitely get a Blofeld.

Hope this helps...
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by triez View Post
...I do have to repair the MW every year...
Why is that? I've done the battery and the EPROMs in mine, but not had anything actually broken. I do have a couple of mods planned for it though.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Hi,
I have the microwave XT and it's a very good machine; at the time of purchase, I was hesitating with the waldorf Q, but when comparing the two, my choice had been the XT : more harsh and strange sounds - on the other hand, the Q has nicer strings and pads ;
The arpeggiator on it is very mighty and stable , and instantly gives character to the sound;
Plenty of knobs to tweak the sound and many filters, some with distorsion, to get the weird sound, very different from other synths companies...
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
I've been thinking of getting a microwave I - retrosounds demo's are awesome! I love it:

YouTube - Waldorf Microwave "Wavetable Synthesizer"

Shame about the crappy interface but it's cheap and a vst or midi controller can sort that. I presume the blofeld and largo sound exactly the same from what I've heard - albeit on youtube?
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #12
F5D
Lives for gear
 
F5D's Avatar
 

Get an XT, it is a great synth and the prices are not high.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Farshad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post
Get an XT, it is a great synth and the prices are not high.
+1 specially if you get the keyboard version, you will be a happy guy
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
exwel's Avatar
I have a XT, Q+ and a Largo.
My vote is go for the Largo.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #15
F5D
Lives for gear
 
F5D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farshad View Post
+1 specially if you get the keyboard version, you will be a happy guy
Yeah, the XTk is very slutty. However, one in good condition can cost almost twice as much as an XT. If the money is tight or you don't need the keyboard, I would go with the rack version. I have been so slutty that I have xtk, xt and mw2, which all have the same sound engine. Maybe that tells how much I like the sound.
Old 19th December 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by exwel View Post
I have a XT, Q+ and a Largo.
My vote is go for the Largo.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
DevonB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post
Yeah, the XTk is very slutty. However, one in good condition can cost almost twice as much as an XT. If the money is tight or you don't need the keyboard, I would go with the rack version. I have been so slutty that I have xtk, xt and mw2, which all have the same sound engine. Maybe that tells how much I like the sound.
Oh ya, the XTk going for like $1200 on EBay has very much tempted me to sell mine and replace it with just the rack version instead. It's a great sounding unit. Very harsh and in your face.

Devon
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
exwel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteJames View Post

LOL i try to explane.

I hate the editing the modulation section on the q+ and the XT it's to slow.
The Largo invite you to make big modulation sounds thats really importend to me.

Ok the q+ and the xt have a lot of knobs but still i like 1 screen where every thing is on.

You can make Q and xt sounds with the Largo.
Only i miss the wavetable modulation on the Largo.

The analogue filter are nice on the q+ but i have problems with matching left right when i filter and the atack is so slow on the q+.

I like the sound of the largo, best plugin vst imo.

After all i use the Largo most of the time!.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #19
F5D
Lives for gear
 
F5D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevonB View Post
Oh ya, the XTk going for like $1200 on EBay has very much tempted me to sell mine and replace it with just the rack version instead. It's a great sounding unit. Very harsh and in your face. Devon
I once put my Xtk for sale but pulled it back very soon after I realized what I was going to do. I even took photos of the unit from all directions. The XTk is one of those synths that I wanted to have for a very long time, 5 years or something. When one came up in mint condition, I purchased it immediately. I have decided to keep it. If I sell it, I can never find a replacement in as good condition. Btw, what do you guys think about the looks of the XTk, imo it is one of the best looking synths ever built.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by exwel View Post
LOL i try to explane.

I hate the editing the modulation section on the q+ and the XT it's to slow.
The Largo invite you to make big modulation sounds thats really importend to me.

Ok the q+ and the xt have a lot of knobs but still i like 1 screen where every thing is on.

You can make Q and xt sounds with the Largo.
Only i miss the wavetable modulation on the Largo.

The analogue filter are nice on the q+ but i have problems with matching left right when i filter and the atack is so slow on the q+.

I like the sound of the largo, best plugin vst imo.

After all i use the Largo most of the time!.
Fair enough mate, editing menu's are something i've always avoided when buying gear. Do you think they sound as good as each other then, or is it just that the convenient editing is worth sacrificing sound? I notcie you said largo can't modulate the wavetables...surely that can't be right? Does that go for the blofeld as well?

I was wondering if the blofled sounds exactly the same as largo - are the only differences user wave tables (blofeld) and sub osc (largo)?
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
kilon's Avatar
 

If you are considering VSTs then your first choice should be zebra2 , together with THOR from reason the best sounding VAs out there. Largo just cant compete with those two soundwise.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
exwel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteJames View Post
Fair enough mate, editing menu's are something i've always avoided when buying gear. Do you think they sound as good as each other then, or is it just that the convenient editing is worth sacrificing sound? I notcie you said largo can't modulate the wavetables...surely that can't be right? Does that go for the blofeld as well?

I was wondering if the blofled sounds exactly the same as largo - are the only differences user wave tables (blofeld) and sub osc (largo)?
I don't know if the blofeld sounds the same as the largo?

Yes if i had the XT/Q+ intern i would use it much more.
But i can make sound with the largo i don't can make with the xt/q+
I love the largo!
XT is a wavetable monster.
Q+ is phatt sounding.
Largo suits more my personal needs.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by triez View Post
Not to say that the Blofeld wasn't fantastic, although a lot of the presets were high gain and sounded like they were clipping internally. It did soud very "spatial" and stereo wide compared to the MW.
i have XT and MW1, and played Blofeld several times in the store. if you put a MW into a quality delay/reverb/fx it will sound equally "spatial" and stereo wide. probably even better, bcs onboard FX on Blofeld aint that great. i'd use em live, as its handy, but in the studio i'd sure defeat the FX and replace with Lexicon or something.

second, for starters, Blofeld sounds the smoothest of the three, and is arguably closest to the VSTi or "ITB sound". its the only one that does nice smooth creamy wide pads. this is not in the MW/XT job description. XT is digital, but as already mentioned, there's nothing in VSTi world that sounds like it. it can get harsh and whacky but i like that a lot - it has its own signature, depth in programming, and great digi filters. MW is the grittiest but with comparably warm analog filters. agreed they are not on the same level as analog filters on old polyanalogs, but the magic that was synonimous with old PPGs, when you run a gritty 8-bit wavetable into an analog VCF/VCA... stilll happens. so its the next best thing than actually having an old PPG.


Quote:
Originally Posted by triez View Post
If I had to choose one, I would take the MW1 on pure sound, it has the magic of a PPG, but then I do have to repair the MW every year, and I would definitely take the Blofeld for horsepower, size, controllability, value for money and design. If I didn't have the MW already, I would definitely get a Blofeld.
this is weird, never heard of problems with Microwaves before. i had two, and several frineds colleuges have em. never heard anyone had any issues. it was made in 1989 - 1992. its not a "vintage" board in a sense that old 70s analogs are, where ocassional maintenance is part of their existance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
Why is that? I've done the battery and the EPROMs in mine, but not had anything actually broken. I do have a couple of mods planned for it though.
mods? never heard of mods on microwave? do tell, do tell

Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild View Post
One thing that you should keep in mind is that you are comparing three different synth engines here. I have not yet had a chance to try a Microwave 1, but from what I've heard, it's seems to be a more polite version of the PPG Wave, but with CEM filters instead of SSM, and stuffed in a 2u rack.
SSM2044 filters (which is a SSM integrated version of a 24dB "ladder" design) is only found in PPG Wave2.2 and Wave2.3 . the first one Wave2 had CEM3320 filters. so microwave sort-of sounds more like that one. tho later ver CEM "voice processors" (vcf/vca) found in MW are no match for 3320 and 3360s in Wave2.
Old 20th December 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
d1rtynyc's Avatar
 

I have not spent enough time with Blofield or Largo, but between the mkI and the XT, Get the XT. They are cheap nowadays.

I had a Microwave mkI and I liked the sound, but editing it was a nightmare for me. I don't have a PC so I could not use a software editor and I was not spending $600 for a Access programer. I felt foolish that I did not go for the XT, I had wanted one since the mid-90's.

I tried to trade it for a XT, but ended selling because it was far too much work.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
mods? never heard of mods on microwave? do tell, do tell
Ah, nothing exciting. Just planning to swap some caps and maybe op-amps.

Not sure when I can get around to acting on this. The job sits low on my wish list, and my wife list is ever growing.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
Why is that? I've done the battery and the EPROMs in mine, but not had anything actually broken. I do have a couple of mods planned for it though.
Mains filter electro failed and took out the transformer, and every now and then a ceramic decoupling capacitor goes short circuit and burns a hole in the PCB. I assume that my machine had a bad batch of caps installed as I have never seen ceramic caps fail before, much less short circuit.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by triez View Post
Mains filter electro failed and took out the transformer, and every now and then a ceramic decoupling capacitor goes short circuit and burns a hole in the PCB. I assume that my machine had a bad batch of caps installed as I have never seen ceramic caps fail before, much less short circuit.
Now that you mention it, I think this was discussed in another thread here.

How did you go replacing the transformer?

When those caps short, is there a fuse to blow? The whole thing sounds a bit catastrophic.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by d1rtynyc View Post
I have not spent enough time with Blofield or Largo, but between the mkI and the XT, Get the XT. They are cheap nowadays.

I had a Microwave mkI and I liked the sound, but editing it was a nightmare for me. I don't have a PC so I could not use a software editor and I was not spending $600 for a Access programer

as if Access controller is the only possible hardware editing solution?? WTF?? tutt

anything, i repeat, ANYTHING with SYSEX support works with microwave. Any Novation REMOTE model, the original ones, the Remote SL, the SL mkI etc etc, the ultra-cheap Behringer BCR etc.. and many others. resorting to computer editor when it is so damn cheap to edit it via hardware is just plain lazy.


i do have Access, but id doesn't even cover all MW parameters. otoh, a Novation Remote or Behringer can be set to cover ALL parameters, with 2 pages of its sliders/faders. there is even a pre-programmed template for Novations , on Waldorf User Group mailing list. or u can buy two dirt cheap berhingers if you need more simultaneous control for peanuts.


just think, if there was a microwave version with a keyboard, and a control panel full of knobs, im sure it would sell for over thousand euros today. you could never get it for so cheap as it is now. and you can have all this for a fraction of the price, cept in two separate boxes. big deal.



just wanted to address the continous whining about microwave being impossible to program.. on this thread and other silimar.. bcs its sooo hard to pay a hundred or two more to get a decent UI for sucha great synth..
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #29
tun
Lives for gear
 
tun's Avatar
I had a Microwave 1 back in '91. There weren't any hardware programmers available back then apart from the Access, and if my memory serves me correctly they weren't widely available.

I've also owned an XT. I found it capable of some really big sounds and a joy to program.
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
anything, i repeat, ANYTHING with SYSEX support works with microwave. Any Novation REMOTE model, the original ones, the Remote SL, the SL mkI etc etc, the ultra-cheap Behringer BCR etc..

Does it work with the Remote SL mk2? Do I need to know anything about systex to use it or is it just systex support I'd need?
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 55 views: 17451
Avatar for Volt9
Volt9 11th May 2017
replies: 336 views: 31922
Avatar for Derp
Derp 3 weeks ago
replies: 103 views: 25935
Avatar for raymondwave
raymondwave 15th February 2018
replies: 13259 views: 998956
Avatar for forest_wyvern
forest_wyvern 4 days ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump