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Waldorf Blofeld Desktop Synth Module
Overall Rating
Submitted: August 15th, 2010
by M-Masta
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Sound Quality
The Blofeld sounds excellent. End story. It's digital, but it's good digital. Big and phat and warm, with enough low end to knock your pants off and plenty of squelch n' juice on the filters. The PPG filter emulation is especially nice, adding serious warmth to the wavetables' raw sound. I also found the notch filter to be quite nice, with plenty of depth and a little bit of spark/spunk to it. The other filters are decent enough, not exceptional, but pleasing. The pads and basses are where this unit really shines though, and the unison adds a thickness to sounds that even higher-end digital synths can't match. The FX aren't fantastic, but work well with the synth. I'd especially like to draw attention to the distortion and the chorus effects.Both are quite nice for this price range, and the chorus is especially good, with none of the metallic harshness of similar synths' chorus effects. Unfortunately the reverbs and delays are all a bit trash, the reverb being the worst. It literally takes all the punchiness and phatness of the Waldorf and smears it near to death, so a point off for that.Of course, the highlight here are the wavetables, all of which sound fantastic! Rarely has a synth's raw oscillators sounded so good "in the raw", especially at this price range! the Waldorf is really quite surprising in the respect. Most VA's I've used or encountered rarely pay such attention to the sound quality on the building blocks of the synth. So the punch and weight the Blofeld's oscialltors have are really quite refreshing.The envelopes are punchy enough, capable of giving basses and leads enough snap to have some muscle, but all things being even, they aren't the best I've heard.
The Blofeld (both the desktop and the keyboard) is built like a tank. The knobs are metal, the chassis is metal, and the buttons are receeded and rugged. The screen looks tough enough to handle plenty of abuse and wouldn't likely crack if I were to smash something into it. I've dropped this synth from an appreciable distance several times, and it hasn't even suffered a scratch, so bravo to Waldorf on that front!That being said, the Blofeld has some quirks on the OS. for example, many of the patches are strangely quiet, forcing me to ram up the input volume on my interface to max just so I can get an appreciable volume level out of the thing! The OS also occasionally glitches out, ect.
General Comments
Like many reviewers hear, I find the Blofeld to be a wonderful sounding if a bit under-tested and under-developed unit. For the price point, it would be difficult to find a synthesizer that offers so much and that sounds as good. That being said, the Blofeld's bugs and the limitations on MIDI and USB really hurt the synth's potential. It's a solid addition to any musician's set up though, especially the desktop, whose compact nature and amazing sound make it more than ideal for live gigging. The Blofeld will also add that coveted Waldorf magic to any track, and its complex modulation matrix allows for the sort of programmability only available on higher-end VA synths. Better support and less bugs will bring out the true potential and power of this already amazing machine. Buy used if you get the chance.
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