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Would you rather have a Waldorf Quantum or 4k in Modular? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 25th January 2018
  #1
Would you rather have a Waldorf Quantum or 4k in Modular?

Ok so this is not supposed to be a hate thread, although my opinion of this synth is not terribly positive. But there are a few points to make from our perspective as modular users (which is why I am posting it here).

The good-
It looks cool, and sounds great of course. Lots of knobs, huge screen. Looks well-built. Interface seems cool enough for this type of thing- turn a knob and the screen changes, then you can go to the screen to get deeper. All great stuff if you like interfacing with sounds that way.

The bad-

Four thousand dollars seems like a lot for a modern workstation that doesn't include any analog voices, doesn't it? For four thousand dollars you could buy a badass laptop and a controller and get close with software, ironically enough, their software. One of the comments on the youtube said "you can even do Rings through Clouds on it" which is what made me think of this topic. I mean, the ONLY thing I can see that this has over a modular setup are the same things that keyboard synths always have "over" modular- polypohony, patch memory, fancy screens, etc. Other than that it's a high-powered computer with a traditional musical interface, right? I'd talk about the sound but I can't say whether the actual sound was impressive or not. Not enough examples and too much feature-banging to really hear anything. Starting off with a bell sound that a DX7 could probably do was not a good choice IMO...I'll leave it there.

All they really seem to have done is port all of their previous efforts into one box based on the continuous laundry list of features taken directly from or at least compatible with their other products. That's not new or even interesting to me. Nothing mentioned about anything that would make this sound better/different than software (technologically speaking-DACs, opamps, w/e) Their granular engine looks like a straight lift off Tasty Chips too, although it could be that all granular synths look like that idk. Yeah it's just one video, but if it's Nick freakin Batt from sonicstate you bring your a-game, right?

For the price of this thing you could come close to a Buchla, get a few Serge panels, Make noise shared system, a Minimoog and 500 bucks worth of weed, or 4k of whatever in euro, anything seems better to me personally.

Side note- Why can't a thing like this ever have CV ins and outs?

Final thought- Does the Quantum come with a lookout?

Modular folks-If you are gassing for this tell me why, I just don't get it.
Old 25th January 2018
  #2
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Derp's Avatar
This looks like a step backward for Waldorf. They keep not learning that when they design these huge masterpiece synths, it's their cut-down versions that end up selling the best. Maybe they'll do like they did with Stromberg and release a Blofeld version first that ends up replacing the flagship?

Four grand for eight note polyphony seems a tad rich to me. As usual, analog filters limit how far you can push the engine on this thing. For half the cost, you can get a Virus TI and have twice the polyphony in a synth that's the ultimate chameleon. Heck, half the cost nets you a sixteen voice Prologue, and that seems to me what the Quantum is really competing with.

So would I rather have Quantum for four grand in modular? I think we all know what my answer would be, but I'm not exactly their target market.
Old 25th January 2018
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
This looks like a step backward for Waldorf. They keep not learning that when they design these huge masterpiece synths, it's their cut-down versions that end up selling the best. Maybe they'll do like they did with Stromberg and release a Blofeld version first that ends up replacing the flagship?

Four grand for eight note polyphony seems a tad rich to me. As usual, analog filters limit how far you can push the engine on this thing. For half the cost, you can get a Virus TI and have twice the polyphony in a synth that's the ultimate chameleon. Heck, half the cost nets you a sixteen voice Prologue, and that seems to me what the Quantum is really competing with.

So would I rather have Quantum for four grand in modular? I think we all know what my answer would be, but I'm not exactly their target market.
It's only 8 voices? Oh dear. My pieces can only be played with 12...
Old 25th January 2018
  #4
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I wouldn't give $2000 for it, much less double that. Just not for me, I guess. My expectations for anything that costs $4000 is FAR too high to be satisfied that easily.
Old 25th January 2018
  #5
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void23's Avatar
I'm sort of done with fixed architecture. I'll take my $4k in modular bucks please.
Old 25th January 2018
  #6
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subdo's Avatar
Since everyone is being negative nancy's I do like the polyphonic granular thing. Maybe Waldorf can put that in a module One can dream.
Old 25th January 2018
  #7
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Originally Posted by subdo View Post
Since everyone is being negative nancy's I do like the polyphonic granular thing. Maybe Waldorf can put that in a module One can dream.
Old 25th January 2018
  #8
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schmuck's Avatar
A bit surprised to read so much about COST in the modular subforum...

How many more modules/grands do you guys want to amass and what it is really adding to your music? ;-)

Don't even get me started on the voices or "analog"...

Most of us have reached saturation point when it comes to gear a long time ago. So either this "fixed architecture synth" (really??) is interesting me and I feel like it will be inspiring (for a while), and then I'll check my finances, or it won't.

Whether it is all software or not is so missing the point IMO. If it comes to that, run reaktor on a laptop and conquer the synth world.

So, for me, with a plethora of synths, modulars of all kinds, this is VERY interesting. If it sounds great and isn't too crippled by bugs, I will try to find some space in the studio. Because if done right, it will just be so inspiring with its user interface and (compared to computers) "limitations" that I will create lots of cools sounds on it that will hopefully lead to some great tracks and tons of fun.

So, a big thumbs up from me for the quantum and to waldorf for doing it.

Old 25th January 2018
  #9
Not responding to be "anti", just a little counterpoint, and with all due respect. I listen to your soundcloud frequently btw nice work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
A bit surprised to read so much about COST in the modular subforum...

How many more modules/grands do you guys want to amass and what it is really adding to your music? ;-)

Don't even get me started on the voices or "analog"...
Well, for my part I am working on a very specific plan for my modular case. If I decide to buy more modules after I reach that goal remains yet to be seen. I'm not really one for the next "latest and greatest" so much as fulfilling my vision.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Most of us have reached saturation point when it comes to gear a long time ago. So either this "fixed architecture synth" (really??) is interesting me and I feel like it will be inspiring (for a while), and then I'll check my finances, or it won't.
That's a little bit of generalizing as far as saturation is concerned. Again, for my part, I have sold almost everything I have owned on my "quest" so in one way I have downsized significantly. Anyone seeing my setup would wonder where my poly synths are. I've owned some doozies in my time but I find modular far more interesting than yes, "fixed architecture" synths. It's not a pejorative, just a distinction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Whether it is all software or not is so missing the point IMO. If it comes to that, run reaktor on a laptop and conquer the synth world.
And for the price of a Quantum you pretty much could. That isn't missing the point in this case, it is the point. Unlike most modular, this thing really is a sophisticated controller with a powerful computer inside, and the guy said it himself that a lot of the features were from preexisting software. on this part I respectfully disagree, he made no statement that equaled "this can do more than a controller hooked up to a computer with Waldorf software" to me. Even the touchscreen could emulated with an ipad as a controller and there you have it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
So, for me, with a plethora of synths, modulars of all kinds, this is VERY interesting. If it sounds great and isn't too crippled by bugs, I will try to find some space in the studio. Because if done right, it will just be so inspiring with its user interface and (compared to computers) "limitations" that I will create lots of cools sounds on it that will hopefully lead to some great tracks and tons of fun.
You already make great tracks without it so I cannot doubt this one bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
So, a big thumbs up from me for the quantum and to waldorf for doing it.

Old 26th January 2018
  #10
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Right now I'd rather 4K in modular

but I would consider trading up my Prophet 12 for the quantum. not in a rush though. The Prophet 12 is a fantastic synth and there's polyphonic things it can do that I find indispensable to my workflow.
Old 26th January 2018
  #11
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subdo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by oinkbanana View Post
Right now I'd rather 4K in modular

but I would consider trading up my Prophet 12 for the quantum. not in a rush though. The Prophet 12 is a fantastic synth and there's polyphonic things it can do that I find indispensable to my workflow.
I'm still going to plugins for poly. Poly modular is a fools errand.
Old 26th January 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by subdo View Post
I'm still going to plugins for poly. Poly modular is a fools errand.
When I absolutely need polyphony (so rare) I use Thor and Subtractor. They can do anything I have ever needed. These days I am happy with Chords for that stuff. I have the individual outs fed into my veils and I trigger it with a Quadra. Not sure if it counts as actual polyphony (would I need ADSR's?), but it's close enough for my needs.
Old 26th January 2018
  #13
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Yup, another poly itb guy here as well. If Waldorf made a knobby Blofeld V2 with more power, new effects and maybe some of the missing functionality of the Microwave XT, I might be interested. I’ve got the fully stable of U-he synths that can do any of my poly needs and then some.
Old 26th January 2018
  #14
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I’ve been salivating for the Quantum since it was first announced since it essentially is the “fixed” architecture synth I’ve been asking for for a while now. I think it’s incredibly dope for everything it does, and if I had one I could see myself diving into it for years and never getting bored. The number one thing to me is if it is an interesting instrument, and I think it is.

Is it $4K interesting tho? That I don’t know yet, and I think it’s hard to judge from a preproduction unit at NAMM. I’m pretty platform agnostic, and will use modular, fixed architecture hardware (analog, digital, whatever), and software if it meets my musical goals. I’d rather use modular than anything, but trying to build something like the Quantum in eurorack would still cost you way more than $4K to reach 8 voices and all the extras. But...do I really need an 8 voice version of that when I might be more than satisfied with a couple euro voices to scratch the itch? That I don’t yet know. Money aside, the approach to something like the Quantum vs anything equivalent in eurorack is pretty different.

I will say that after seeing the recent additions to the Yamaha Montage I’m maybe more inclined towards getting that and $1k in modular over the Quantum, but I’ve been GASsy for the Montage since I tried it at NAMM 2016 and it has only gotten better. The demos for that synth are abysmal, but I’d urge any modular geek to go try one and try not to get suckered into the crazy programming it provides.
Old 26th January 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post

For the price of this thing you could come close to a Buchla, get a few Serge panels, Make noise shared system, a Minimoog and 500 bucks worth of weed, or 4k of whatever in euro, anything seems better to me personally.
the weed and the minimoog EVERY TIME
Old 26th January 2018
  #16
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cane creek's Avatar
 

I’m happy you started this thread as I didn’t really want to bitch on the quantum thread.

I watched the sonicstate Quantum NAMM2018 video and things were going well for a few minutes but then I suddenly thought hang on this is just an iPad connected to a keyboard running lots of apps.
The other thing that was bothering me about the 4 grand price tag was how long will the touch screen last ? My latest iPhone screen is already starting to play up 1 year into its contract and my iPad 1 screen is just about useless.
I think when you start paying that much for a synth you want it to last a lifetime yet it appears to be built on here today gone tomorrow technology.
Old 26th January 2018
  #17
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Derp's Avatar
For polyphony, sampling the modular is my fave, but when I'm doing grunt work that needs to be whipped out quick and I don't have to be meticulous about the sound design, I have a I turn to for quick and dirty. Since the computer crash and my little band-aid of buying a single software package instead of hunting down individual instruments and effects, I might be open to software. does some really cool stuff that I'd love to see more of in modularland, and Hybrid can get me pretty damn close to Virus territory, even though it's a little more tedious to edit. The one that's got me impressed is , though. That is the dumbest most gimmicky idea for a synth ever, but it's got an amazingly inventive UI. I wish I had more use for it just so I can tweak that sound engine a little more. I'm glad the subject of software came up because I wanted to rant about how awesome the interface for Riser is, but didn't want to start a new thread over it.
Old 27th January 2018
  #18
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schmuck's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
Not responding to be "anti", just a little counterpoint, and with all due respect. I listen to your soundcloud frequently btw nice work.


Well, for my part I am working on a very specific plan for my modular case. If I decide to buy more modules after I reach that goal remains yet to be seen. I'm not really one for the next "latest and greatest" so much as fulfilling my vision.

That's a little bit of generalizing as far as saturation is concerned. Again, for my part, I have sold almost everything I have owned on my "quest" so in one way I have downsized significantly. Anyone seeing my setup would wonder where my poly synths are. I've owned some doozies in my time but I find modular far more interesting than yes, "fixed architecture" synths. It's not a pejorative, just a distinction.


And for the price of a Quantum you pretty much could. That isn't missing the point in this case, it is the point. Unlike most modular, this thing really is a sophisticated controller with a powerful computer inside, and the guy said it himself that a lot of the features were from preexisting software. on this part I respectfully disagree, he made no statement that equaled "this can do more than a controller hooked up to a computer with Waldorf software" to me. Even the touchscreen could emulated with an ipad as a controller and there you have it.

Thanks a lot for your detailed reply.

You have a lot of good points especially about me generalizing, that was certainly true. You are probably more the exception to the rule , though, but still it was generalizing.

Maybe what i can honestly say is that the idea of adding the equivalent of 4k of modular "in one big buying spree" to an existing setup is what sounds a bit daunting to me. Especially in combination with that weed ;-). Certainly not the same as refining a setup and switching modules/adding specific stuff, but almost certainly destined to overwhelm almost anybody. A "flagship" synth is just different in that regard, because other people have made many decisions (and limitations) "for me" and that can be a good thing.

I guess I am just much less a "xy kind of person" but more go through phases. And currently I have returned to undust the polys again, adding some elements from modulars where I see fit. A long time it always started with modular and I rarely ever even got to the stage where i needed to add any polysynth, with all those cool sw FX and reverbs anyway.

I love the first generations of waldorf synths and this one comes at the right time where i might bite (nothing wrong with the 2nd wave btw it wasn't just during my "synth buying phase"). An ipad or pc is just never the same for me although it can produce lots of these sounds of course. Controllers are one of the few things I got completely rid of though. Neither fish nor flesh, bah! ;-) If I only could have one piece of kit it would be a pc with reaktor and a mouse! But when I can be spoilt then its all about the haptics and the "feeling" of using an impressive piece of kit.

And finally, thank you so much for the kind words about my big efforts with little results...when I saw the gs auto email notfication on my mobile this morning, going to work, it made me so happy I am sure a lot of people wondered why I wasn't grumpy today.
Old 27th January 2018
  #19
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Coorec's Avatar
Quantum has eurorack inputs like Kb37. So i can put modulators from eurorack into the mod matrix. Also sampling, granular, make wavetables from modular.. i see a lot of things that screem "both" at me.
But if i have to prioritize. At this very moment, Quantum it would be. I (still) see modular mainly as an addition to my FAS. Its more like a groovebox to me than an "instrument".
Old 27th January 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
Quantum has eurorack inputs like Kb37. So i can put modulators from eurorack into the mod matrix. Also sampling, granular, make wavetables from modular.. i see a lot of things that screem "both" at me.
But if i have to prioritize. At this very moment, Quantum it would be. I (still) see modular mainly as an addition to my FAS. Its more like a groovebox to me than an "instrument".
Interesting. I definitely see my modular as an instrument. It has elements of a groove box no doubt. But as I get closer to completion it gets more and more like a self-contained instrument.
Old 27th January 2018
  #21
Another poly ITB guy.
Although I still have a hardware D550 and Microwave 1.
If I was going to buy another poly it would probably be a mid-priced vintage.... Korg, Sci?

I probably have $4k in my Eurorack, although I hate to think about it. As to the original question....definitely NOT the Waldorf, and I wouldn't spend $4k on a modular again. So neither.
Old 27th January 2018
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Another poly ITB guy.
Although I still have a hardware D550 and Microwave 1.
If I was going to buy another poly it would probably be a mid-priced vintage.... Korg, Sci?

I probably have $4k in my Eurorack, although I hate to think about it. As to the original question....definitely NOT the Waldorf, and I wouldn't spend $4k on a modular again. So neither.
Modulargrid clocks my total planned system at about 12.2k. Throw in cables and a case and it’s approaching 14. If I lost everything in a fire and started over I’d spend it on modular again but I might go about it a little differently this time. I’d buy a lot more Doepfer and build my own modules with any of them I could. I bet those dollars would stretch quite a bit that way.
Old 27th January 2018
  #23
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cane creek's Avatar
 

If I could get my money back and start over again I’d certainly build a modular again, but my module selection would be different and less of them, however that’s just knowledge gained from trial & error.

I’d instantly buy a Monster case, I don’t like the 6U & 9U cases I have their just too small and cause clutter.
Old 27th January 2018
  #24
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As someone who is newer to modular and having to start over with all gear anyway, it's so great to be able too benefit from these lessons that each of you have learned by years or trial and error.

I'm in love with the basic concept of modular, and the world of possibilities it offers, but my rig is and forever will be some mix of semi modular, and a few fixed architecture synths I just want because I want those sounds in my stable (101, Odyssey, etc) and a smattering of eurorack modules to add on to the rest.

All of my Poly capabilities are currently ITB. I don't need tons of it anyway, so I'm patiently waiting to see how the UBXA turns out, and will ultimately end up replacing my old 106 again one day, and that or something similar will probably be it, Poly wise.

Our options nowadays are incredible.

Primarily, I'm fine with analog monos and various bits of modular gear to extend their capabilities, along with pedals and other CV capable gear.
Old 27th January 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
So neither.
Double-quoting because this inspired the question- If neither, than what?

4k, no Quantum, no modular...hmm...

I'd go back to Elektron no doubt. They have a lock on the "dollars to capability" ratio with their new series IMO. I'd rock the Diggy twins (Takt and Tone), Subsequent 37, and My P4 controller. I try not to think about what life would be like without modular...
Old 27th January 2018
  #26
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subdo's Avatar
I don't think you can compare 4k of modular with a 4k fixed synth. Usually 4k of modular happens over years of buying into a platform and spending smaller chunks of cash over time. The result is different too. If $400 of your modular fails, you just replace or work around that module. If $400 of your $4000 fixed synth fails you're going to be calling your dealer or tech like . Same for selling. You can scale back a $4k modular to a $2k modular fairly easily and still keep your desert island stuff. A full sized synth is all or nothing.
Old 27th January 2018
  #27
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gruvsyco's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
If I could get my money back and start over again I’d certainly build a modular again, but my module selection would be different and less of them, however, that’s just knowledge gained from trial & error.

I’d instantly buy a Monster case, I don’t like the 6U & 9U cases I have their just too small and cause clutter.
I would probably go straight to Buchla if starting over. It's always kinda been the dream and I've always been trying to get there via euro. My Make Noise system keeps wanting to be smaller. At it's largest it was 9Ux104 and I currently have a rig on ModularGrid that's stripped it down to 6Ux84.
Old 27th January 2018
  #28
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And while we’re at it I’d rather have the new Korg polylogue than the Waldorf offering.
Old 27th January 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gruvsyco View Post
I would probably go straight to Buchla if starting over.
An Easel would be nice
Old 28th January 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
And while we’re at it I’d rather have the new Korg polylogue than the Waldorf offering.
That’s kinda like comparing oranges and basketballs to me. I mean, they’re both round, but beyond that...

I’d have already ordered a Quantum if it was closer to the Prologue’s price tho. I like everything about that synth but it’s just hard to get past that price. I’m hoping at some point it becomes less expensive or I can find a deal on it, because it certainly looks like a programming dream to me. At $4K, I’m maybe more inclined to buy a Roland V-Synth and Yamaha Montage for my FAS flagship fix, and run the outputs into some analog eurorack filters for flavor.

Also, I’m really wondering how some of you envision $4k in eurorack. No matter what I put into Modular Grid, it seems to work out to about $2500-3000 per row. $4K is what I’d consider a good start, but it’s not anything compared to what you’d get with something like the Quantum. I guess with eurorack you can spread those purchases out a bit, but I know it only took me maybe 6 months to fill my first row of eurorack, and that was with some months where I didn’t buy a single module.
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