Submitted June 30, 2010 by a customer from gmail.com
"Small, dark, and handsome!"
zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
The Blofeld is a great synth to have in your setup if you're looking for a warm, phat, dark digital synth that can really add some edge to your productions. I wouldn't mark it down as a "critical" investment, but it's definitely a plus to have it. That beign said, a couple of critical omissions on the desktop model really prevent the Blofeld. The additional sampling upgrade is a must in order to truly appreciate the power of this synth!
The Blofeld sounds...fantastic. Rich warm, gooey bass, strange weird pads. Oh yes, this is a Waldorf through and through. MAN! This thing packs a MEAN wallop for the size and price! The basses snarl and rock, the pads are rich and creamy, the leads scream and roar. The wavetables, even by themselves sound good. The filters are alright. Clearly digital, crisp, and clean but they sound good. The FX is fantastic, especially the distortions. Everything from the squashing and slight distortion of compression, to fiery, ass-tearing hard-clipping, and guitar amp-ish FX. The Waldorf just breathes life!
The waldorf has three digital oscilaltors each with PWM, FM, limiting, "brilliance" (for fine tuning the sound), and sync features. Each oscillator has about 65 waveforms to chosoe from. From there we have the oscillator options section, with oscillator mixing, unison and unison detune, voice allocation, portamento/glide, pitch modulation, and overall oscillator coloring. From there we go straight into the dual, multi-mode filters. Both filters have keytrack and envelope amount, a modulation slot, an FM modulation slot, individual drive type and amount (nice touch Waldorf), individual panning, panning modulation, and serial or parallel routing. You can choose from 24 and 12db cutoff versions of lowpass, bandpass, and highpass filters as well as 12db Notch, positive and negative Comb filter types, and a PPG lowpass filter. Next up is the modulation section. We have a dedicated Filter and Amplitude envelope, as well as two more assignable envelopes. Each envelope is six-stage with two attack stages, two decay stages, two sustain stages, and a single release stage. You can also select traditional ADSR or One shot type envelopes, as well as a six-stage envelope type that loops between sustain 1 and sustain 2 stages, or a loopable six-stage envelope. There are three assignable LFOs with start phrase, tempo syncing, keytracking, sine/square/saw/triangle/sample and hold/random wave types, delay, and fade options. Almost any modulation source can be sent anywhere else in the synth. LFOs can modulate other LFOs, and even the minutest function of the Blofeld can be assigned to some sort of modulation in the matrix. Better yet? Ther are over SIZTEEN of these modulation matrix slots! FX slot 1 can select between Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, countless overdrive, and so called "Triple FX" that stack these other catagories in various combinations. FX slot two has access to the above catagories, but also has two complex types of delay FX, and reverb FX availible.
The Blofeld has a highly usable arpeggiator with Up, Down, Alt Up, and Alt Down options. However, the arpeggiator also has sequencer complex funtions availible, with accenting, glide, swing, and individual step length availible to tweak.
Externally, the Blofeld is a bit bare considering that lesser synths have external inputs and MIDI thru/out, thus the reduction of one point for features. This also means that the Blofeld can't control other synths, which is a shame considering that the Blofeld has one of the best step sequencers in a synth for this price level, thus the reduction of another point. MIDI, updates, samples, and patches can all be transfered via the USB 2.0 port on the synth.
It should be noted that the Blofeld does have sampling capabilities, however these must be unlocked as an additional purchase of $50. This allows the owner to transfer their own wavetables, which, believe me, is useful.
Ease of Use
The blofeld has all the necessary features availible for quick tweaking thanks to the four rotary encoder and four button matrix on the right of the synth. The four knobs on the left also allow for easy browsing of patches, and other critical tweaking features. However, the complexity of the engine is such, that it will likely take the novice user a week or two to begin to wrap their head around the full capabilities of the synth. The desktop module has no keyboard, but responds to any MIDI interface I hook up to it well, no glitches or problems here! The USB MIDI is also a big help in live situations, allowing you to set the Blofeld to "set and forget" if need be.
The blofeld is a solid metal chassis, with solid metal knobs, and is (as a result) built like a tank. Again, I've dropped this thing on hard floros several times, and each time the Blofeld comes up good as new. I've also accidentally poured water on it twice, and the thing never suffered a glitch, and no rust! The Blofeld is light and compact, but rugged. Excellent for studio use or live! The Blofeld's OS is rock solid and stable, and I've only had it freeze once.
The Blofeld's engine is fantastic. The complexity, depth, and quality of the engine is akin to one you would find on very high-end digital synths like the Virus TI, but with far more stability. The quality of the sounds on the Blofeld also speak for themselves, and at this price point, it's nigh impossible to find a hardware or software synth that sounds THIS good. That being said, I'm docking off a couple of points for two reasons. One, for a synth this price, external inserts and MIDI thru/out are a must! I also took off a point because the purchaser must buy the sampling upgrade for an additional $50. Not a major inconvenience, but for those tight on cash, it really limits the synth's true potential to not have it.
Waldorf support is solid. The few times I've had to ask them for help, they've responded quickly and accurately. No fluff, straight to the chase kind of guys!
The Wow Factor
Whether keyboard or desktop version, the Blofeld just looks (and sounds) great. It's a striking piece of equipment that really catches the attention of people when they see it. But when they hear the power contained within this synth, that's when the (and you) will really be sold!
Active musician, a
Electronic, hip-hop, trip-hop, dnB, big beat, jazz, soundtrack, ect.
26 of 28 people (93%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
Thanks for your opinion!