MATRIXSYNTH: Waldorf Demos with Saga's Jim Gilmour at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1992

Monday, November 20, 2017

Waldorf Demos with Saga's Jim Gilmour at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1992

Saga - Jim Gilmour Demo - Musikmesse Frankfurt 1993 1992 Published on May 12, 2013 MadSevenFilms

"Jim Gilmour ( Saga keyboardist) in a demo at the Waldorf stand during the musikmesse in Germany.
Humble Stance, Wind Him up, Don't be late, Careful where you step, On the loose,etc ...."

Update: according the swissdoc, these videos are actually from 1992. That would make the appearance of the prototype Wave in 1992, not 1993. This post has been updated to reflect that. Note swissdoc's write-ups are from 1993 as you can see in the datestamps for the links, and I believe the production model Wave was indeed released in 1993.

Here's a blast from the past featuring a bit of Waldorf history in via swissdoc. This may very well be the only Waldorf footage from the event. Check out the non-working prototype of the Waldorf Wave in the background. 1992 was the year it made its first appearance to be released in 1993. Note the Microwave rack was released earlier in 1989. Further below you will find some notes on Musikmesse 1993 (the following year after these videos) from swissdoc, followed by a transcription of the Wave flyer. This is a fascinating look back on synth history. But first, one more video from the 1992 Musikmesse.

Update2 via swissdoc: "In addition, for those who can read and understand German, there is a big series of three articles available for download (email has to be provided) from the German Keyboards magazine. Inside Wave. Amazing level of detail plus in part three an interview with developers and users plus additional interviews with the people behind the Wave."

Update3: The following scans have been added to the bottom of this post:

Saga - Jim Gilmour Scratching the surface - Musikmesse Frankfurt 1993 1992

Published on May 13, 2013 MadSevenFilms

"Jim Gilmour ( Saga keyboardist) in a demo at the Waldorf stand during the musikmesse in Germany.
Scratching the surface"


The following is a Musikmesse 1993 recap via swissdoc aka George Mueller, who attended, from way back in 1993 (you'll find a transcript of the Waldorf Wave flyer text further below). P.S. for a quick look at the gear released at the 1993 Musikmesse see here and here, both from swissdoc.

"Before I go into this Wave stuff, I'd like to tell you a little about the Frankfurt Musik Messe. Those restless gear junkies, skip the next 24 lines.

The Frankfurt International Music Fair was held for the 14th time and was attended by a record number of exhibitors: 1194 from 40 contries. So it's the leading event for the music business.

The Messe Frankfurt has 10 halls of different sizes, three of them are used by the Musik Messe. Hall 9.0 is the most interesting, it's for electronic instruments, 9.1 is for guitars and amps, 9.2 is for stage light, sound and mixers. These halls are middle in size, rows range from A to F, with booth numbers up to 90 each. Hall 8 is for acoustic instruments and publishers; it's funny, all that noise from test-playing violins, flutes and so on. This is the biggest hall, rows from A to P. The monster booth of Yamaha is in the back of this hall with all their synths, FXs and personal keyboards. So it's a long walk to Yamaha. It's a bit risky in this hall, if you enter one booth, browse thru the pages of some book, after talking to the salesman you probably lost your orientation. Hall 10.1 is reserved for grand pianos and uprights. No elctricity allowed there.

It's funny, when you change from 9.0 to 9.1, all those long haired heavy metal guys. One amp or guitar company has a Hard Rock Cafe at their booth, evertime overcrowded with guys drinking cocktails or beer.

So, here we are, the promised report on the TSI shows WAVE MUSIC DEMO and INSIDE THE WAVE.

The Waldorf Wave live on stage (Axel Hartmann)

This show continued the tradition of bone shaking Messe-Demos by A. Hartmann (thanks to him, we now have this wonderfull BIG RED KNOB) as during the last years.

Before this show they had a slide show, featuring all products, distibuted by TSI, ending with pictures of the PPG Wave and the Waldorf Wave. Then the silver screen rose up and to shimmering (Micro)Wave sounds Axel sift out of the fog, hit by a spot.

To a running sequence driving two or three MicroWaves and a drum machine (can't remember which one) he played live on the Wave. Driving beat, more than enough volume to stir up the contents of your stomach and the great analog/hybrid/digital sounds of the Wave.

Well, words can't describe the mood of this show. Well, MY words can't.

Introduction into the mysteries of the Waldorf Wave (Claudius Bruese)

I take part in the show 3.00 pm. The soundproof demo-box was filled up with lots of curious people. C. Bruese (the Wave is his brainchild) explained the new features of the Wave (dynamic spectral wavetable etc.) while playing some music. The first persons left the box ("Oh, there is no piano in it, let's have a look at the 01/W"). Then he stated the advantages of the full front panel. To demonstrate this, he switched to the init-sound, tweaked some knobs, filled with enthusiasm like a child. During this, he continued to play some notes. The resulting unpleasant sound at this high volume drove away the next few listeners. So we were left with only the people which are really interested in the Wave.

Next point, the multiple modulation possibilities. Play speed as a modulation source. Number of pressed keys as a modulation source. Hold a chord with four voices, pad sound. The fifth note pressed, triggers a complete different solo-sound, independend of key number. Pad in mid range, solo with high or low notes.

The wavetable editor. Using the eight sliders, you can create new wavetables, either by defining the intensity of the harmonics, drawing in the time-domain or by means of frequency modulation. Create some waves and put them into a wavetable. Each fader movement can be heard in real-time. There are some glitches and pops during the editing process, because the Wave displays time-domain and frequency-domain simultaneously. They are gone in play mode.

Sample conversion. C.B. loaded a two second sample of someone saying MYSTERY. The Wave did spectral analysis of this sound, and some seconds later C.B. played the sound. You could hear the Wave singing MYSTERY. The quality is not best of all, but it's OK, they don't want to compete with full featured resynthesizers, so they don't call it resynthesis.

To my disapproval, he didn't demonstrate the multi-mode filter, so there is some mystery left. An ad of the Syntesizer Studio Bonn stated an additional 12 dB high-pass filter, but they stated end of february as the release date of the Wave, so who knows. The 24 dB low-pass plus panning unit, CEM something remains the same as in the MicroWave.

During the show he mentioned all those features of the Wave, which can be found in the 1993 Messe Flyer (see corresponding posting). [below]

After the show I asked C. Bruese some questions. He was very short and uninformative. The structure of the waves and wavetables remains mainly the some, he said. Same resolution (No of bits, No of steps). I'm pretty shure, they use the some ASIC in MicroWave and Wave. I tried to get more information about the sample conversion/analysis. Can one say, I asked, I like high resolution time-wise in the beginnig of the sample, lower at the end? Or is whatever analysis done in equidistant steps, giving the waves of a wavetable, which is than scanend to recreate the time evolution of the spectra? Well, the answer was actually none, at last in my opinion. He said, the Wave does no FFT, it looks at the spectrum, or at spectral groups, taking an overall approach, or some other blurb similiar in information contents. I think, he didn't want to give an answer.

Later I asked Axel Hartman about the price and the release date. According to his words, the Wave will be released in June or July, the price will be 14.000,- DM. They have allready orders from Vangelis and J.M. Jarre, to name some.

He think that they sold 2500 to 3500 MicroWave's worldwide until now.


As a thank you for those who read this text so far, I send an original Messe Flyer 1993 to the first TWO netters, which send me a little present by E-mail (milkshakes wellcome).



The following is a transcript of the original flyer for the Waldorf Wave, via swissdoc back in 1993.


Advanced Modular Wavetable Synthesizer with the most intuitive
user-interface avaiable today

The WAVE by Waldorf represents the logical refinement of Wavetable-synthesis, with the utmost consideration for a clear, concise and intuitive user-interface. In addition, the WAVE has been conceived to be completely modular in its hardware as to cater for various needs the best possible way. Options for soft- and hardware extensions allow for an even greater flexibility, putting the WAVE, as its predecessor, the MicroWave, into the best position to become a classic.


The WAVE refines the Dynamic Spectral Wavetable synthesis by Waldorf. Right at the unit *User-Wavetables* can be created and edited, putting the potential to realise an undreamed of host of innovative sounds at everyone's disposal. A truely unique function to extract single spectra or spectral groups from sampled sounds, including their timbral evolution over time, will stand out in the creation of new sound-colours.

The modulation-capabilities have been improved enormously as well: for example, MIDI-clock, playspeed, keyboard-status, and more can now also be utilized as modulation sources; modifiers can be turned inside-out by new, special modules such as *Control Delay*, *Control Mixer*, *Control Shaper* or *Control Comparator*; additional modulation inputs allow for even greater expressive capabilities than before.

Finally, there is a new, assignable four-stage Time/Level envelope, new LFO-Waveforms and -parameters, advanced voice-allocation algorithms, plus a whole lot of other beneficial improvements.

For simplicity, the WAVE always is in multitimbral mode, thus offering up to eight Sounds simultaiously in each *Performance*, which can be used in split- or layer- combinations as well as for sequencer-use or combinations thereof.

Each Sound is defined by its own virtual *Instrument*, which determines key- and velocity-zones as well as MIDI-channel, volume, panorama, detune, transposition, plus the level of two independent auxiliary sends for controlling effect-pathes.

Comprehensive makro-functions simplify the task of arranging complex split- and layer-arrangements. A total of 256 Performances and 256 Sounds are internally avaiable; an optional memory expansion board increases this number by a factor of three.

The 61- (or on demand 76-) key keyboard is ideally suited as a MIDI masterkeyboard. Each Performance of the WAVE holds up to eight additional key-zones for controlling external equipment; thanks to two independent MIDI-Outs up to 32 different MIDI-modules can be addressed, not only by channel, but also by name.

Extensive performance-controllers guarantee extreme and manyfold expressiveness: besides pitch- and modulation-wheels there exists a programmable *Freewheel*, two *Playbuttons, an a *sustain-* as well as two definable *foot pedals*, all assignable seperatly to each zone, and even with individual scaling for the pitch- and modulation-wheels. To round things of, the eight faders are available as additional realtime performance-controllers for both the internal instruments or external MIDIgear.

All data, Sounds and Performances of the WAVE can be saved on the built-in HD floppy disk drive. All dataformats can be stored and recalled separately, and naturally sys-ex data of other MIDI equipment can also be archived. As a reference, date and time will be stored along thanks to the built-in battery-backed realtime clock.

As the icing on the cake Sounds and Performances can be archived on disk by means of their own respective databases, which of course, offer subgroups, as well as several search-functions.

The disk format is MS-DOS compatible and thus can be read or written to on most standard computer systems.

The most important feature of a synthesizer today is not only its sonic variety, but its user-interface as well. ONly functions that can be accesed quickly and efficiently will stand up to the day-to-day workload of the professional musician.

Therefore, Waldorf did not allow for any compromise in designing the user-interface of the WAVE. Almost all sound-parameters can be accessed by their respective single-purpose knob, button or dial. On top of that, _the_largest_display_implemented_in_a_musical_instrument_to_date_ shows all information of the status of each sound-module. With related faders and buttons each depicted display-parameter can be manipulated immediately
as well.

Additionally, a range of unique edit-modes offer even more refined edit-operations:

- MULTI-EDIT: several Sounds of diffenrent instruments can be edited at
the same time in relation to each other. If, for example, the release
time of the filter shall be changed for all Sounds of a eight-part
Performance, a single twist of a knob does the job.
- GROUP-EDIT: a single parameter of all Sounds/Instruments can be edited
in parallel using the eight faders. Thus the finetuning of the
Instrument volumes, for instance, becomes child's play.
- QUICK-EDIT: several related parameters of a single sound will be edited
relative to each other to attain a large change of timbre. Additionally,
makro-functions for envelope- and modulation-settings can be exerted.
This way, a Sound can be perfectly finetuned or changed dramatically all
within seconds.

To never loose one's head, the WAVE puts extensive copy-, intialisation-and compare-functions at your disposal. Also, each Sound comes with its own edit-buffer, never leaving you crying over a lost original or edited version of your preciously crafted textures. And to top it off, you even may audition sounds from disk, try Quick-Edit makros or send MIDI sys-ex dumps to the WAVE - still none of your Sounds, be they originals or edited versions, will get lost.

By consequently employing a modern computer architecture, the WAVE can be expanded in software as well as by hardware curcuit-boards. You can, for example, increase the number of voices from 16 up to 48 by simply plugging
in two Expansion-Voice-Boards - and, of course, each voice still comprises two Wave-generators. Furthermore, two option-slots are available to hold upcomming hardware- modules that will make the WAVE even more universal and colourful. Any way you look at it, the WAVE is armed for future expansions and extensions, putting it on the cutting edge of technology.


8 Modebuttons:
- Performance - Intrument Edit
- Xtrument Edit - Wave Edit
- Global Edit - Quick Edit
- Option A - Option B
- Permanent Sound-Edit mode

Numbers of voices:
- 16, 32 or 48
- 256 Performances
- 256 Sounds
- up to 8-part permanent multitimbral mode
- 3 Stere-Outputs
- 2 Aux-Outputs
- System Volume Controller
- Power-switch
- 61-key Keyboard (optional 76 keys)
- Channel Aftertouch

Performance controllers:
- Pithcbend-wheel
- Modulation-wheel
- Free-Wheel (freely definable bipolar modulation-wheel)
- 2 Play-buttons
- 2 Transposition-buttons
- Sustain pedal
- 2 freely definable foot-pedals
- 8 Performance-faders

Sound-modules (per voice):
- 2 Oscilators
- 2 Wavetable-generators
- Noisegenerator
- Mixer
- Multimode-Filter
- Amplifier
- Panorama
- 2 Aux-sends
- 2 LFOs (6 Shapes each)
- ADSR Amplifier envelope
- DADSR Filter envelope
- 8 Stage Time/Level Wave envelope
- 4 Stage Time/level Free-envelope
- Controll-Mixer, -Shaper, - Delay, -Sample&Hold, -Comparator

- 1 Display, 480*64 Pixel (four hundred eighty * sixty four)
- 8 Display-buttons
- 8 Display-faders
- Mute button
- Group-Edit button
- OK/Cancel buttons
- Page Buttons
- +/- buttons
- 12-key Numeric keypad (program-selection)
- 4 Storage buttons (store, recall/init, compare, copy)
- Disk-access button
- 27 Sound-Edit buttons
- 53 Sound-Edit knobs
- 9 Sound-Edit increment-dials
You can tip up the front-panel a la MINI-MOOG.

The WAVE they showed in Frankfurt had eight additional buttons right above the keyboard for control of the onboard sequencer. The knobs were of greater diameter than last year. The three wheels are now black. Wave good-bye to those transparent wheels you all came to like about the PPG Wave 1.0."


I believe this is the first time some, if not all of the following scans, have appeared online. They include a flyer for the Waldorf Wave, a Preliminary Wave info sheet, and TSI Musikmesse flyers. TSi GmbH were the distributors for Waldorf. They later distributed Access Music and Novation as well. Wolfgang Düren, the chairman of Waldorf, was the man behind TSi. He partnered with PPG before Waldorf. See this post for some additional details on him.

You can find a handful of posts featuring TSi here.

Thank you to swissdoc for sending these in!

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