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Waldorf Music

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Waldorf Music is a German synthesizer company. They are best known for the Microwave wavetable synthesizer and Blofeld virtual analogue synthesizer.

WAVE (1993) atop yellow Q (1999). MicroQ keyboard (2001) left
Waldorf XTk (1999) above Waldorf Q+ (2002, with some special made multiple memory card expansion)


Waldorf Electronics GmbH was founded in 1988 by Wolfgang Düren, who at the time was the German distributor of PPG. The Waldorf name refers to the German town Waldorf (near to the former capital of West Germany: Bonn) where the company was founded. Later, the company was headquartered in Schloss Ahrenthal.

On 5 February 2004, Waldorf declared insolvency at a German court. Shortly before, the company was turned into an Aktiengesellschaft called Waldorf Music AG, but to no avail.

In Summer 2006, a new company Waldorf Music GmbH was officially established, although it is not a legal successor to the original company.[1] Waldorf's headquarter has now moved to Remagen and is led by CEO Joachim Flor.

After the demise of PPG in 1987, Waldorf took over the heritage of wavetable synthesis. Based on an ASIC designed by Wolfgang Palm, the Microwave, and later the WAVE, were built. However, Palm never functioned as an employee of Waldorf.

PPG Wave 2.x series (1981-1987), designed by Wolfgang Palm, was a predecessor of Waldorf The WAVE and Microwave.

Over the years, Waldorf continuously adapted new technologies. While the Microwave I (released 1989) was based on ASICs and a Motorola MC68000 micro processor,[2] Microwave II (1997) was driven by a DSP. In 2013, NAVE, a synthesizer app for iOS was released. Their Kyra (2019) is the first fully FPGA-powered synthesizer.[3]

While many other synth manufacturers aimed to recreate previously existing hardware in software, Waldorf went the other way and presented the RackAttack, a hardware drum synth in 2002. The synth engine had been published as a VST instrument a year before. Nevertheless, the Streichfett came up in 2014: a synth that recreated the sound of vintage string machines.



Waldorf Microwave II (1997-)
  • Microwave. Rack wavetable synth and developed from the PPG Wave.[4][5] Built in two different hardware revisions: the first ones had a backlit LCD. The later ones a lit character display. They use a different Curtis CEM analog lowpass filter chips. Later called Microwave I due to the 1997 introduced Microwave II


Waldorf WAVE (1993)


  • Microwave Waveslave. 1 HE voice extension for the original Microwave (adding another 8 voices)[7]


  • WAVE. A wavetable synthesizer. This was a deluxe extrapolation of Microwave technology, with additional features for wavetable creation and resynthesis that even today is not available on any other synthesizer. Available in 4 colours. 61 or 76 keys. 16, 32, or 48 voices and expandable to 120.[8] Retail price in 1994 was $9000.00 with less than 200 made. The WAVE was used by for example Depeche Mode, Hans Zimmer and The Orb.
  • 4-pole. Table top analog filter box.[9]
  • EQ-27. Compact (table top) programmable and MIDI controllable stereo 7 band equalizer.[10]


Waldorf  rackAttack (2002) in the earlier blue/gray color combination above Waldorf 'Mean Green Machine Microwave I (1994). A bit of a WAVE (1993) panel is visible here too.
Pulse (1995) atop 4-pole (1993) atop EQ-27 (ca.1993)
  • Microwave I V2.0 ROM upgrade, which added additional wavetables,[11] a facility to algorithmically create custom wavetables, a speech synthesizer, and numerous other improvements. The Waveslave was not compatible with this upgrade, but a trade-in program was offered where the user could upgrade to a full Microwave for a small fee.
  • A limited edition Mean Green Machine was released at the same time as this upgrade, being a Microwave with a new "Nextel" rubberized finish in a green color, a certificate of authenticity, special cone-shaped metal feet, and comical silkscreening (the power switch was labeled Life, and the card slot was labeled Food.) Normal Microwave units from then on featured the Nextel finish in the usual blue color.



  • Gekko Arpeggiator. Very compact passive powered Midi tool[15]
  • Microwave II. Motorola DSP driven wavetable rack synth, containing many features of the original Microwave with improved mixing, modulation, effects processing, and multimode filter.[16]
  • Pulse+. Monophonic analog rack synth with additional audio in and MIDI / CV/gate interface[17]


  • x-pole. Programmable stereo (in/out) analog filter in a 2HE rack module. With full MIDI, CV/Gate and ACM support.
  • Microwave XT. Microwave II with 44 knobs and audio input, in 5HE package with bright orange color.[18]
  • Microwave XT Limited Edition. Microwave XT in charcoal gray/black color scheme, in a limited edition run of 666 units.
  • d-pole. VST filter plug-in[19][20]
  • Terratec Microwave PC. Synth module for the TerraTec EWS sound cards, featuring a fully functional Microwave II in a drivebay package.
  • Wavetable Oscillator for Creamware Modular
Waldorf yellow Q (1999)


  • Q. DSP driven virtual analog synth. 58 knobs! Colours: bright yellow "sahara" and WAVE blue, the latter became popularly known as the Halloween edition.[21][22][23]
  • XTk. The Microwave XT with a 49 key keyboard[24]
  • Q rack. Rack version of the Q synth.[25] Fewer knobs. Yellow and dark blue.
Waldorf Q  Halloween version
Waldorf Microwave XTk (1999)


Waldorf microQ yellow (ca.2000)
Waldorf  microQ keyboard (2001)
Waldorf Q rack blue (1999/2001)
Waldorf RackAttack (2002)
  • PPG 2.V VST plug-in synthesizer to emulate the blue PPG. wave 2.x wavetable synthesizers[26][27]
  • microQ. Even more compact and affordable Q rack with only 7 knobs and different DSP. Differences: 25 potential voices compared to the original models,[28] due to shared operation and effects chip. A 75 voice expansion is available. The upgrade must be done by Waldorf or licensed repair center. Typical usage depended upon complexity of patches, unlike the Q or Q Rack which feature 16 note polyphony, upgradable to 32 voices. The microQ did not include the step sequencer.[29]


  • Attack. VST drum-synth plug-in[30][31]
  • Color of the Q, Q rack & mQ changed to the classic (Microwave) blue
  • microQ keyboard. 3 octave keyboard version of the mQ. Classic blue coloured


Waldorf Q+ (2002, with some special made multiple memory card expansion)
  • D-coder. A synth and vocoder Plug-In for the TC Powercore hardware platform
  • RackAttack. The VST in a microQ housing
  • Q+ A red Q featuring up to 100 dynamically allocated voices and 16 analog lowpass filters[32]
  • A1 VSTi software synth for Steinberg Cubase SX and Nuendo
  • Waldorf Filter for Halion
Musik Messe 2003: PC running ROT Analog Filter Step Sequencer. AFB-16 (2003) below. rackAttack (2002, here in the later color combination of blue/yellow) and microQ (2000, classic blue) below the speaker on the left. Q+ (2002) in the background


  • AFB-16. 16 analog filters to be used via USB for VST instrument and effects.[33]


  • On 5 February Waldorf Music AG declared insolvency at a German court.


  • In April 2006 Waldorf Music GmbH formed. Even though during August of that same year the website experienced intermittent availability resulting in multiple pronouncements of its demise, in November the Waldorf user mailing list/forum was resurrected.


Waldorf Blofeld (2007)
Waldorf Blofeld keyboard (2009)
  • Blofeld (released December 2007), an affordable desktop module combining the sound engines of the Q and the Microwave. Blofeld is still being manufactured today (as of 2022).[34]
  • At the start of 2007, Waldorf announces their new line of synths and electric pianos. These include special editions of their famed Q, Q+ and Micro Q line relabled as the Phoenix Edition and the introduction of Blofeld. Also, a design study called Stromberg is shown, but this never went into production.


  • Blofeld Keyboard (released January 2009) - The Blofeld Keyboard is a Blofeld housed in a compact metal case and features a four-octave semi-weighted keyboard and 60 MB sample memory in addition to the Blofeld module.
  • License SL - Blofeld License SL Sample Upgrade, is a software license that expands the Waldorf Blofeld desktop module with 60 MB sample memory
  • Largo - a software synthesizer that works as a VST and AudioUnit instrument.[35]


  • PPG Wave 3.V (released December 2010) - a software version of the PPG Wave keyboards that works as a VST and AudioUnit instrument.[36]


  • Lector - a software vocoder that works as a VST and AudioUnit plugin.



Waldorf Rocket (2013)
Waldorf 2-Pole Analog Filter (2014)
Waldorf Streichfett (2014) string synthesizer
  • Rocket - a paraphonic hybrid synthesizer.[37][38]
  • Nave - a wavetable synthesizer for the iPad.[39]
  • Pulse 2 - a paraphonic analog synthesizer.[40][41]


  • 2-Pole - an analog filter.[42]
  • Streichfett - a string synthesizer.[43][44]


Waldorf nw1 (2015)
Waldorf mod1 (2016)
Waldorf dvca1 (2016)
Waldorf cmp1 (2016)
Waldorf vcf1 (2017)
  • nw1 Eurorack Wavetable Oscillator - a digital Wavetable oscillator designed to be used in the Eurorack modular system.[45]


  • kb37 Eurorack - a eurorack based modular synthesis system that contains a 37 key keyboard with a mounting surface for modules up to 107 hp.[46]
  • mod1 - a eurorack based analog synthesis module that offers three types of modulation parameters.[47]
  • dvca1 - a eurorack based analog dual VCA circuit with input summing and parallel control of separate parameters.[48]
  • cmp1 - a eurorack based analog compressor module that offers both RMS and peak modes of operation.[49]


  • vcf1 - a eurorack based analog multimode filter module with distortion.[50]


Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer
  • Quantum - Waldorf's flagship analog/digital hybrid synthesizer.[51]


Waldorf STVC
  • STVC, the keyboard version of the Streichfett with added vocoder and additional tweaking parameters. Released in Summer 2019 in small numbers, followed by a general release in 2020.[52]
  • Kyra - the world's first fully FPGA-powered synthesizer[53] with 128 voices


  • Iridium - Digital 16-voice Dual Timbral Polyphonic Synthesizer Module with 3 Stereo Digital Oscillators, Dual Filter, 6 LFOs, 6 Envelopes, and Modulation Matrix.[54]


Waldorf M
  • M - Hybrid 8-voice Polyphonic Synthesizer Module with 2 Digital Wavetable Oscillators recreating the Microwave sound character, analog SSI Filter, 2 LFOs, 4 Envelopes, Userwavetable Import and SD-Card mass storage.[55]


A top-down picture of the Waldorf Iridium Keyboard synthesizer, turned on, with a latched chord playing. The screen shows the filter configuration screen.
Waldorf Iridium Keyboard
  • Iridium Keyboard - a variant of Iridium housed in a case with a 49-key Fatar TP/8SK semi-weighted polyphonic aftertouch pressure-providing keyboard. The layout of physical controls is similar to the module version of Iridium, with more space between knobs and buttons, additional dedicated controls for envelopes, LFOs, FX, and layer selection, as well as six Macro buttons.[56]


  • Quantum MK2 - a new version of the Quantum MK1 with some new features (for example a poly aftertouch capable keyboard)[57]

Distributed products[edit]

  • Emes Studio Monitors

Developed for Steinberg[edit]

  • SMP 24 (for Atari ST)
  • SMP II (for Atari ST)
  • Midex+ (for Atari ST)
  • Topaz (Harddisk recording, Mr. Wolfgang Palm was involved too)

Notable users of Waldorf gear[edit]


  1. ^ "NEWS".
  2. ^ "Waldorf Microwave 1".
  3. ^ "Waldorf Music Kyra 128-Voice FPGA-Based Virtual Analog & Wavetable Synthesizer is Available Now". 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Waldorf Wave". Sound On Sound. July 1994. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Waldorf Microwave". Music Technology. Vol. 4, no. 2. January 1990. p. 64. ISSN 0957-6606. OCLC 24835173.
  6. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Waldorf Midi-Bay MB-15".
  7. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Waldorf Waveslave".
  8. ^ "unofficial / inoffiziellen Waldorf WAVE Pages / Seiten".
  9. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Waldorf miniWORKS 4pole".
  10. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Waldorf mini WORKS EQ-27".
  11. ^ "Waldorf Microwave 2.0". Sound On Sound. August 1995. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Waldorf Gekko". Sound On Sound. April 1996. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Hohner ADAM".
  14. ^ "Waldorf Pulse". Sound On Sound. February 1996. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Waldorf, the Synthesizer Company". Archived from the original on 2005-03-09. Retrieved 2005-06-09.
  16. ^ "Waldorf Microwave II". Sound On Sound. July 1997. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Waldorf Pulse Plus". Sound On Sound. February 1997. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Waldorf Microwave XT". Sound On Sound. October 1998. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  19. ^ "NEWS".
  20. ^ "Waldorf D-Pole Filter". Sound On Sound. November 1998. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015.
  21. ^ "NEWS".
  22. ^ "Waldorf Q". Sound On Sound. May 1999. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Waldorf Q". Sound On Sound. December 1999. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Waldorf Microwave XTK". Sound On Sound. March 2000. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Waldorf Q". Sound On Sound. June 2000. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015.
  26. ^ "NEWS".
  27. ^ "Waldorf PPG Wave 2.V". Sound On Sound. September 2000. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Waldorf Micro Q". Sound On Sound. February 2001. Archived from the original on 2 January 2016.
  29. ^ "NEWS".
  30. ^ "NEWS".
  31. ^ "Waldorf Attack". Sound On Sound. February 2002. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
  32. ^ "NEWS".
  33. ^ "Waldorf, the Synthesizer Company". Archived from the original on 2005-02-05. Retrieved 2005-06-09.
  34. ^ "Waldorf Blofeld". WaldorfMusic.com. July 2022.
  35. ^ "Waldorf Largo". Sound On Sound. November 2009. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015.
  36. ^ "Waldorf PPG Wave 3.V". Sound On Sound. April 2011. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  37. ^ "Rocket Synthesizer". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  38. ^ "Waldorf Rocket". Sound On Sound. July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  39. ^ "Nave advanced wavetable synthesizer Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  40. ^ "Pulse 2 analog synthesizer Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  41. ^ "Waldorf Pulse 2". Sound On Sound. February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  42. ^ "2-Pole analog filter Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  43. ^ "Streichfett string synthesizer Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  44. ^ "Waldorf Streichfett". Sound On Sound. December 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  45. ^ "nw1 overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  46. ^ "kb37 keybed specifications". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  47. ^ "mod1 specifications". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  48. ^ "dvca1 specifications". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  49. ^ "cmp1 specifications". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  50. ^ "vcf1 specifications". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  51. ^ "Quantum Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  52. ^ "Till-kopper.de - Waldorf STVC".
  53. ^ "Waldorf Kyra to be the First Fully FPGA Powered Synthesizer". 8 June 2018.
  54. ^ "Waldorf Iridium Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  55. ^ "Waldorf M Overview". Waldorf Music GmbH.
  56. ^ "Waldorf Iridium Keyboard Overview". WaldorfMusic.com. July 2022.
  57. ^ "Waldorf Quantum MK2 Overview". WaldorfMusic.com. April 2023.
  58. ^ "Jarrography - the ultimate Jean Michel Jarre discography".
  59. ^ "Interview with Vangelis". Keyboard Review. December 1992.
  60. ^ "Waldorf Wave | Vintage Synth Explorer".
  61. ^ "Studio Essentials: Alessandro Cortini". 12 September 2019.
  62. ^ "The unofficial Waldorf WAVE pages".
  63. ^ "Waldorf Wave | A.Patron, contemporary composer".
  64. ^ "Interview with Monument Valley Sound Designer, Stafford Bawler". The Sound Architect. May 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]