Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard - Black by Don Solaris
WAVETABLE & VA SYNTHESIZER
My first contact with Blofeld was in the music store where i've briefly tried it for some 20 minutes. My first thoughts were "hmmmm.... that doesn't sound like XT.... doesn't sound like XT.... doesn't sound" somehow getting trapped into this mantra and constantly repeating it on my way home. Wrong approach!
Second contact was a year later after buying one and doing the "let's see what this baby can do" type of thing. I was stunned by how much you can pull out of this little box. Above all i cared less that it does not have the XT vibe. So what. It gives a powerful and good sounding VA engine in exchange. In fact, it is my only VA synth that i have and i intend to keep it. Right, Blofeld maybe won't sound 100% like a Q neither, but for some types of sounds it can get you pretty close.
One very useful feature that i should mention and that really helps for mono sounds is the Drive. Instead of using it for just saturation / overdrive, it can also help to get use of the unit's full headroom - i.e. you apply the Drive to the mono sound, right before it starts to "drive", reaching 0 dB(FS). That way if you use multi-mode, you can have a mono sound to be as loud as a polyphonic one that is playing chords, rather than being lost in the background. Using this method, and without going into saturation, some impressive basslines can be pulled out of this unit. Not to mention fantastic synthetic drums.
Filters definitely have that Waldorf color, hence i've mentioned that some Q sounds can be nailed - at least with some careful programming. Speaking of programming, kudos to Waldorf for providing the large display with cool graphics. I gave 6 for the ease of use, since despite the screen and matrix layout of the controls, there's still a lot of menu diving. Not to mention when you mistakenly turn the knob, without first selecting the function, thus mistakenly turning the wrong value and ruining your work. Happens often when focused into the sound, during the programing session.
Overall, a great sounding synth for little money. I've already filled two banks, of VA sounds without even touching the wavetables. Yeah, XT sounds a little bit better in this department, but for average Charlie, it really makes no difference. DACs are fine, though you can't expect miracles in that price range. Overall, I can highly recommend this synth to anyone who wants a touch of XT and Q packed into one box at really affordable price. Another bonus are really great Presets. Kudos to programmers (Doc T, Qwave and the rest of the gang).
Made in Germany. What else does one need to say.