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Waldorf Blofeld Desktop Synthesizer Module

Get high-end synth performance at a price you can afford with this module's 1000+ sounds from the world-famous Waldorf PPG Wave synthesis. (15) Read 4 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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Product Description

Waldorf is back in the game. With the Blofeld. This synthesizer offers all the unique qualities that made Waldorf a truly legendary brand.

The engine inside the heavy duty, full metal chassis of the Blofeld delivers the same fat and rich sound that so many Waldorf users worldwide love when they play their Pulse, Q, Q+, Micro Q, Microwave, Microwave II/XT, or even the flagship Wave.

Yes, you've heard it right. The Blofeld is not only capable of producing these warm, organic analog sounds known from the Q synthesizer line, it also sports a wavetable engine like its predecessors with "Wave" in their names.

This unique synthesis system is based upon the revolutionary PPG Wave synthesizers of the early 80s. So when you listen to the Blofeld for the first time, you will instantly recognize those edgy, hard-hitting and bell-like timbres that have been an integral part of so many world hits from the PPG era on, and become increasingly popular once more.

In fact it is amazing to realize that nowadays this complex technology fits into such a slim and elegant device. And for a price no-one would have imagined a couple of years ago.

Oscillators

Each of the three oscillators offers authentic circuit-models of analog waveforms: Pulse with variable pulse-width, sawtooth, triangle and, as found in relatively few analog synthesizers these days, sine wave.

Furthermore, oscillators 1 and 2 feature the two wavetables that were introduced by the Waldorf Q and appeared shortly thereafter in the Micro Q series.

Not only that, the Blofeld includes all ROM Wavetables from the mighty flagship Waldorf Wave as well as Microwave II/XT. Plus, lo and behold, the desperately requested "Upper Wavetable" from the good old PPG Wave! But, for the first time in the history of Waldorf and PPG, each of these two oscillators can have its own wavetable.

What's more, you have control over the brilliance of these wavetables, which is especially important for waves with lots of harmonics in the bass end. You decide if you prefer pure and perfect harmonics or the same edgy timbre you know and love from the earlier Waldorf and PPG synthesizers.

Brilliance also affects the sawtooth and pulse oscillator models. From warm and soft (for those typical L.A. string pads) to the hard shapes you need for punchy and biting bass sounds. But note, Brilliance is not a simple filter applied after the oscillators, the model itself is modified.

Each of the three oscillators can be frequency-modulated by any of the other oscillators, the noise generator or one of the LFOs. With low FM amounts, you can add a little dirt to the oscillator sound, with higher amounts you get typical FM effects.

On top of all that, oscillator 2 can be hard-synced to oscillator 3.

Ring Modulation and Noise Generator

Oscillators 1 and 2 can be ring-modulated to create bell-like or metallic sounds, eerie sound effects as well as pumping basses and leads.

The noise generator delivers white noise that can be filtered low or high pass, depending on the Noise Colour setting.

The three oscillators, the ring modulator and the noise generator can be freely mixed into filter 1 and filter 2. This allows fine control over the harmonic content of each of the tone generators.

Filters

The Blofeld has two multimode filters per voice that can be routed in series or in parallel. Each Filter has its own Pan parameter for easy creation of stereo sounds.

The selection of filter types includes low pass, band pass, high pass and notch (band reject), each with 12dB/oct or 24dB/oct slope. The filter models are based on several famous Waldorf filter algorithms found in all our products. They offer resonance up to self-oscillation as well as frequency modulation (filter FM).

Furthermore, the Blofeld features the same comb filter types (with positive and negative feedback) that we first introduced in the Waldorf Q. These can be used to thicken bass and pad sounds or to create percussive, string or flute sounds reminiscent of physical modelling.

Overdrive, Saturation, Distortion, Shaping

You name it. The Blofeld offers a freely controllable "Drive" behind each filter with more than a dozen curves. These include such standards as the drive from the Q and Micro Q, low/medium/hard saturation, tube saturation, two types of electric pickups, a rectifier, digital overflow as well as esoteric stuff such as "binary distortion", a sinusoidal waveshaper and even a distortion controlled by oscillator 1. And because the Blofeld has two filters that can be routed in series, you can control the timbre of the drive output of Filter 1 by dampening or emphasizing certain frequencies with filter 2.

Effects

The Blofeld has two effect slots with various types. In Multimode, the first effect slot is available per Part, while the second one is used for all 16 Parts (i.e. global) with controllable mix levels. Part 1 determines the settings of the second effect.

The first effect slot offers such modulation effects as chorus, flanger as well as a combined type called "Triple FX". The latter gives you several effects at once, but with a reduced parameter set.

The second effect slot offers all the same types as the first, but with the addition of delay, clocked delay and reverb.

Envelopes

Four envelopes with different types and trigger modes affect any sound parameters you choose.

Each envelope can be either polyphonic or single trigger. This is especially interesting with the monophonic voice allocation, as the filter envelope can be set to be triggered only by the first note(s) while the Amp Envelope is triggered anew (i.e. on each note). Think "organ percussion register", for instance.

The Envelope types include the standard ADSR as well as an enhanced ADSR-variant (with controllable attack level and two decay and sustain stages), two different loop envelopes and a "one shot" Envelope.

The Loop types can be used to act as additional LFOs, while the One Shot is perfectly suited for percussion sounds (which typically ignore the note release).

LFOs

Each of the three LFOs offers sine, triangle, square and sawtooth waveforms, plus sample & hold and random.

LFOs can be synchronized to MIDI clock, they can be polyphonic or monophonic, reset on key trigger to a freely definable phase, and the speed can be scaled by MIDI note (key follow). There are separate delay and fade in/out parameters for e.g. delayed vibrato (positive Fade values) or a burst of vibrato at the start of each note (negative Fade values).

One important feature of the Blofeld LFOs is that higher rates reach well into the audio frequency range, thus making them useful extra FM sources. There are two basic modes: either linear FM as seen in classic digital synths, or logarithmic FM, which is primarily the domain of analog modular systems.

Modulation Matrix

Here's where the real Waldorf power lies. Each and every instrument designed and built by Waldorf lets you connect dozens of modulation sources to all the important sound generation parameters.

Individual or multiple oscillator pitches, their pulsewidths and waveforms, their levels and filter-balances, FM modulation amounts, individual filter cutoff and resonance, filter FM amounts and stereo panning, or just the good old sound output level - everything can be controlled from internal modulation sources or from a variety of MIDI messages such as velocity, keytrack, continuous controllers (including wheels, breath and foot controllers) etc.

You can of course "modulate the modulators" i.e. control LFO speeds and individual envelope rates and levels. But in Blofeld you can even specify that these sources modulate themselves - recursive modulation! For instance, modulating an envelope rate by the same envelope (or another one) can alter the shape of the slope dramatically from the standard exponential curve to linear to inverse exponential.

And how many slots do you get in the mod matrix? Two? Three? Four? No, we're talking big here. You get 16 freely definable slots plus all the pre-routed modulation destinations such as pitch, Osc 1, 2 and 3 frequency and PWM (pulse width modulation), filter 1 and 2 cutoff, panorama and amp level modulation. And let's not forget that the filter envelope is already routed to filter 1 and 2 cutoff, and the amp envelope is routed to the amp level. Makes a total of 33 simultaneous connections if we counted correctly.

Modifiers

What if you want something really crazy, like controlling a pitch vibrato done by LFO 3 with the modulation wheel. Although there are a few such composite modulation sources such as "LFO1*MW" (LFO 1 controlled by Modulation Wheel) and "LFO2*Press" (LFO 2 controlled by monophonic Aftertouch), there's nobody doing the "LFO3*MW" thing for you.

But, don't worry, that's where the Modifiers come into play. In seconds you can set up a modifier, with the two sources set to LFO 3 and modulation wheel, and the "operation" set to "*" (multiply). You can use such custom-made modulation sources in any of the modulation slots described above.

Okay, maybe you are more the regular musician who simply wants to perform a binary OR between two modulation sources? Okay, go for it! This operation is just one of several at your service.

Arpeggiator

Okay, Blofeld's arpeggiator could very well become the biggest chapter of this page but let's try to keep it short...

It features variable clock divisions from 1/64 triplets to more than 1000 bars, with variable swing/shuffle, a range of up to 10 octaves. Up, down and alternate figures, selectable play order from low to high note, low to high velocity, as played or reversed, variable note length, different velocity modes. And Hold or One-Shot, if you like.

But more importantly, it has the most powerful Pattern Editor we have ever seen.

You can set each Step to either play the note it would do so anyway, to pause, to play the previous note again, play the first or the last note, play those together, play a chord consisting of all held notes or a randomly selected note.

Then you can adjust the Accent of each step (including silence), activate or deactivate Glide for each step, set the timing to play a step ahead or behind its nominal time, and finely adjust the note length between short staccato and full legato.

No wonder this arpeggiator had great reviews when it first appeared in the Waldorf Q. It will take you straight to arpeggiator-heaven, as has already happened to thousands of Waldorf customers. Dig it!
Sound

Now, how does all that sound? You probably know that Waldorf synthesizers are well loved for their sound character, and the Blofeld is certainly no exception. But who are we to tell you? Better listen to the Waldorf Blofeld demos or just believe us: it sounds great. Now go and get one!

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Waldorf products.
Most important features
- Unbeatable price tag
- Sturdy Metal Enclosure
- 7 endless stainless steel Dials
- Graphic Display 128 x 64 pixels, b/w, white background LED
- More than 1000 Sounds
- 3 Oscillators per voice
- Frequency Modulation between the Oscillators
- All Q Oscillator Models
- All Microwave II/XT/XTk Wavetables
- 2 independent Multi Mode Filters per voice
- Filter FM
- 2 Drive stages per voice with selectable Drive Curves
- 3 fast LFOs per voice
- 4 fast Envelopes per voice
- Powerful Arpeggiator
- Freely programmable Arpeggiator Pattern with up to 16 Steps per Sound

General Features
- Up to 25 Voices
- 16 part multi timbral
- More than 1000 Sounds
- Sturdy Metal Enclosure
- 7 endless stainless steel Dials
- 5 Buttons
- Graphic Display 128 x 64 pixels, b/w, white background LED
- MIDI LED
- Volume Control
- Power Switch
- Stereo Output
- Headphone Output
- MIDI In
- USB Connector for MIDI In / Out:
- Uses standard USB MIDI Driver provided by host computer OS
- Windows ME minimum, Windows XP or newer recommended
- Mac OS X 10.2 minimum, Mac OS X 10.3 or newer recommended
- External Power Supply

Per Voice
- 3 Oscillators

Virtual Analog Models:
- Pulse with Pulse Width Modulation and adjustable Brilliance
- Sawtooth with adjustable Brilliance
- Triangle
- Sine

Wavetables:
- Q Alt 1 and Alt 2 Wavetable with adjustable Brilliance
- All Wavetables from Microwave II/XT/XTk Series with adjustable Brilliance
- Separate Wavetable selectable for Oscillator 1 and 2

- Frequency Modulation between the Oscillators
- Oscillator Synchronization
- Ring Modulator for Osc 1 / 2
- Noise Generator with Noise Colour

2 independent Multi Mode Filters:
- Filter FM
- Resonance up to Self-Oscillation
- Low Pass 24 dB / 12 dB
- Band Pass 24 dB / 12 dB
- High Pass 24 dB / 12 dB
- Notch 24 dB / 12 dB
- Comb Filter with positive / negative Feedback
- PPG Low Pass Filter

2 Drive stages per voice with adjustable Drive Gain and selectable Curves:
- Clip
- Hard
- Medium
- Soft
- Sine Shaper
- etc.

Modulation Matrix with 16 Slots, freely programmable:
- Modulation Speed far into Audio Range
- Modulation Sources include all internal Modulation Sources plus various MIDI messages
- Modulation Destinations for almost all continuous sound parameters

Various pre-routed Modulation Destinations with selectable Sources:
- Pitch Modulation
- Oscillator 1 / 2 / 3 Frequency Modulation
- Oscillator 1 / 2 / 3 Pulse Width Modulation
- Filter 1 / 2 Cutoff Modulation
- Filter 1 / 2 Frequency Modulation
- Pan 1 / 2 Modulation
- Amp Modulation

4 Modifiers for transforming Modulation Sources with various Algorithms

3 fast LFOs:
- Syncable to MIDI Clock
- Note Retrigger with adjustable Start Phase
- Monophonic LFO
- Keytrack

4 fast Envelopes with selectable types:
- Single Trigger / Retrigger per Envelope
- ADSR
- ADS1DS2R (2 Decay/Sustain stages plus adjustable Attack Level)
- One Shot
- Loop S1S2 (Loop between Sustain 1 and 2)
- Loop All (Loop over all stages)

Poly, Mono, Dual or Unisono Mode with selectable Voice Count

Per Part
Powerful Arpeggiator:
- Hold and One Shot modes
- Syncable to MIDI Clock
- Direction Up, Down, Alternate
- Range up to 10 Octaves
- Various methods to modify Note Sort Order

Freely programmable Arpeggiator Pattern with up to 16 Steps per Sound.
programmable per Step:
- Accent
- Timing
- Length
- Glide on/off
- Pause
- Chord
- Previous note
- Random not from Note List
- first and/or last note from Note List

1 Effect slot per part

1 Effect slot globally for all parts

Effect types:
- Chorus
- Flanger
- Phaser
- Overdrive
- Triple FX (S&H, Ring Modulation, Chorus)
- Delay (only available on global Effect slot)
- Clocked Delay (only available on global Effect slot)
- Reverb (only available on global Effect slot)
Weight, Dimensions, and Manufacturer Part Numbers
Shipping Weight: 5 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 18 x 9 x 4 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): WDF-BLF1
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 877-784-7383
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (15 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us. "Great value, and even greater fun"
Overall: This is the second Waldorf Blofeld I've owned. The first one I traded away a few years ago. Big mistake. I basically thought about frequently enough to make this recent purchase. Dollar for dollar, I don't know if a better VA synth exists. The Blofeld does everything, it is super easy to use, it has a ton of options, and the modulation matrix is stunning; it's like having a modular synth system in a tiny little desktop unit. I've also recently paid for the Sample RAM to be unlocked, and this has opened up entirely new avenues of sound creation. There are some set-backs, though, mainly the lack of MIDI out/through. Yes, that's right, it only has a MIDI in, so it will have to exist on its own chain or be at the end of a chain without a return. However, I used the supplied USB connector, and it works perfectly. I only wish it transmitted audio via the USB connector. Anyhow, I can't recommend this little synth enough. It's solidly built, looks great, sounds great, and offers up so many tweaking options it would be overwhelming if the thing weren't so easy and fun to use.
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us. This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "Very nice for the price"
Overall: The first thing I noticed when I pulled this thing out of the box is how solid and heavy it is. The fit and finish are really nice and the knobs feel top notch. The jacks on the rear are all the most solid fitting connections of each type I have felt on any synth. When cables are inserted there is no play whatsoever giving me an overall feeling of confidence that this device is made with the utmost attention to detail; it's that nice. Upon power up you're greeted with a quick animation of the Blofeld logo on the quality mono LCD screen. The screen is sizable enough for my needs. The volume knob is the only one that is not of the continuous rotary type. There are four buttons to select the different sections of the synth(osc, filters, mods, arp, fx) which changes the function of the two corresponding knobs below the grid. The two knob below the LCD are soft assigned to different params depending on which screen you're on. The know to the left of the LCD is the main scroll knob for the screen selection. The UI is beefy, and by that I mean there is quite a lot that can be done in such a small space. It is well organized, once you get used to it and understand it better. I admit I was a little lost at first but then I realized that there are sometimes more than one way to modify a param depending on the context in which you've accessed it. The routing matrix is my favorite part though. It allows you to lock nearly any param to any osc, filter, etc for some really tweakable and unique sounds that can seem to evolve over time. In all, the UI is is fairly much what you'd expect from Waldorf. This thing has been around a while now and much has been said of it already by many much more proficient in this thing than I am. It's basically the device that brought Waldorf back from obscurity. I've wanted one for some time and I finally gave in after watching some videos of a Blofeld master on youtube working up some incredibly expressive FM piano-like patch along with several of his others. Then once you get it all cabled up and blast some MIDI notes to it, that's when I was most impressed. The fidelity of the sounds that come out of this thing are astounding to say the least. It's, bar none, the best sounding virtual analog synth for $500 in existence. If you want aliasing you can get it, but this thing is so buttery smooth -in a sweet digital way- that I can barely stand it. I am not a big fan of most presets on any given synth, but this thing has some patches that are to die for. It does some very convincing bass as well as exceptionally fluid pads that seems as though the air was made of something thicker than water. The overall sound quality far exceeds my expectations of virtual analog synths in this price range or even double that. Very wide stereo range giving it a three dimensional and enveloping sound on a nice set of monitors or PA speakers. Aside from demoing it, I have mostly only used it for pads and drones, which it excels at, on my current projects so far but I am sure that it does everything else pretty well also.
Style of Music: All styles. I love at least some aspects of all music; without a doubt.
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