Electronic Musician? Plug In This Noise Box and Blast Off
At a price point that's lower than many software synths, the Waldorf Rocket is the real deal: a hardware synthesizer with a real analog filter and a ton of functionality in a 7.5" square footprint. The Rocket may be small, but it's much more than a fun sound design toy. Plug in a MIDI controller -- or your DAW sequencer via USB -- and you've got a powerful tool for playing stabby monosynth leads, chugging basses and sick effects.
Use It Alone or with a MIDI Controller
Want to use your Rocket as a standalone noise box? You don't need a keyboard controller to create sound with this synth. Press the glowing Launch button to trigger sound, and tweak the knobs to your heart's content. The Launch button delivers a C3 Note On message, or repeats the last MIDI note that the Rocket received. And if you do have an external controller or sequencer connected to the Rocket via its USB or MIDI I/O, the Launch button doubles as a light-up MIDI input indicator.
Huge 8-Voice Chords from a Monosynth
Even if you've never played an analog synthesizer before, it isn't Rocket science. Start by selecting a sawtooth waveform for harmonic-rich sound, or a pulse waveform for a hollow, thin sound. Build fat poly-saw sounds or the metallic-sounding square waves with the Wave knob. Then, twist the Tune knob counter-clockwise for smooth detuning, or turn it clockwise to the maximum setting to generate gorgeous musical intervals in "Unison" mode. That's right, this monophonic synth can stack up to 8 oscillators to create big, fat up-to-8-note paraphonic chords. Who needs polyphony?
Real Analog Voltage-Controlled Filter
Once you've got the oscillator going, it's time to crank on the Rocket's filter section. Select low-pass, band-pass, or high-pass on Waldorf's multimode filter switch, and tweak the Cutoff knob to vary the frequency content of the signal, creating epic sweeping effects. Emphasize narrow frequency bands by tweaking the Resonance knob -- or turn it up to maximum to kick the filter into self-oscillation, generating a pure sine wave that can be used to create analog-esque effects. Want sounds that start out bright, but have a darker, mellow sustain? Dial it in with the Rocket's Envelope Mod knob. And if you want to use your Rocket as an effects box to filter sounds from another source, it's got a 1/4" mono line input for the VCF.
Easy-To-Use DSR Envelope
The Waldorf Rocket's simplified DSR envelope/boost section means your Sustain and Release are controlled with on/off switches, while the variable Decay knob gives you a wide range to play with. There's no Attack control, so all the Rocket's sounds have an instant "on" -- just the ticket for leads, bass, and percussive effects. Keep your Sustain and Release switched on for lead sounds, or turn Sustain and Release off completely to create percussive effects. And since no Rocket should be without a booster stage, the Boost switch saturates the signal, resulting in warm harmonic distortion after the filter.
LFO and Arpeggiator Section
If you're using your Rocket as a standalone noise box, its LFO section lets you modulate the Rocket's synth sounds with a chugging pulse. If you're plugging in a controller keyboard, try the 8-pattern Arpeggiator to split incoming MIDI chords into single notes and repeat them over a range up to 4 octaves at the BPM of your choice.
Dump Your Settings Via MIDI
Because it's so fun and easy to create sounds on the Rocket, presets are unnecessary. But if you create a sound that you want to store it for later, you can use the Rocket's sound dump function to send and receive your exact sound parameter data via MIDI or USB.
- Monophonic synthesizer with digital oscillator and analog filter section
- Analog voltage-controlled filter (VCF) with low-pass, band-pass, and high-pass modes
- 1/4" input to the VCF: Use the Rocket as a filter effect for external audio souces
- Paraphonic chords: Stack up to 8 oscillators in unison for chords or dense poly-sawtooth sounds
- Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) section for modulation
- Booster switch: Saturate your sound after the filter for aggressive, crunchy distortion
- 8-pattern arpeggiator: Repeat notes and split incoming MIDI chords into arpeggios
- Glide knob: Control smooth slides from one legato note to the next
- USB powered via the included USB power adapter or your computer
- MIDI in and out: Plug in a controller or sequencer
- Control via MIDI or USB
- MIDI clock sync
- 1/4" mono line output
- Headphone output with volume control
- Launch key triggers a C3 Note On message or previews your sound with no controller present
- Made in Germany
The Waldorf Rocket is inexpensive, compact, lightweight, super-easy to use, and produces a huge variety of incredible synth sounds. Even without a MIDI controller keyboard, it's tons of fun as a noise box or as a filter effect for other audio sources. And it even lets you dump your settings via MIDI for total recall. With just the right amount of tweakability, it's an ideal first analog synth -- or a great addition to your monosynth collection.
zZounds is an authorized dealer of Waldorf products.