MATRIXSYNTH: Waldorf Q | Transmission Coefficient

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Waldorf Q | Transmission Coefficient

Published on Oct 24, 2019 Alex Ball

"An unexpected visitor from 1999; The Waldorf Q in the "Halloween" colour scheme.

The Q is a DSP-based virtual analogue synthesizer from the era when knobs, sliders and analogue sounds came back in fashion, but when digital engines were able to handle the reproduction, provide comprehensive control over them and add newer features. The Roland JP-8000 and Korg MS-2000 are two other examples of this era of instrument.

The Q has three oscillators (plus two sub) per voice with your usual pulse, saw, sine and triangle, but the first two oscillators also have two "alt" settings that are wavetable generators somewhat in the territory of synths like the PPG wave. Not overly surprising as Waldorf founder Wolfgang Düren had been a distributor for PPG in the 80s. In fact, the dual multimode filters even have a dedicated "PPG" setting along with 24db/12db low pass, high pass, band pass, notch and comb.

There's three LFOs that can be clocked with various note values or they can be free running. There's also four envelopes that are bipolar and can loop if desired.

It's multitimbral and has 16 or 32 note polyphony (with expansion) dependent upon how many parts you're using.

There's a sequencer and arpeggiator, eight different on board FX, ring mod and even a 25 band vocoder which I used in the vocal section at the end.

Everything is controllable over midi CC and even though there's loads of knobs for quick access, there's quite a lot of menu diving and the knobs can have numerous secondary functions dependent upon what you're doing via the main menu. I did have to use the manual quite a bit so I could figure out what I was trying to do.

It's got 300 single patches and then 100 multis. I set up a few sounds of my own from scratch and also took some of the presets and altered them. The presets are usually overblown to demonstrate what the instrument can do, so they are quite unusable in a mix, but if you cull all of the whistles and bells, you can get at a part of the sound you like and mold it.

I did quite a few sounds via midi with the cc mapping various parameters and clocking things. Whilst this got everything where I wanted it, filming a static synth with a midi cable going into the back of it didn't make for compelling viewing, so this video isn't quite as hands on as my others. However, I did make sure to perform some parts so that I had something to show."

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