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Waldorf MicroWave XTk
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Waldorf MicroWave XTk

Digital Synth from Waldorf belonging to the MicroWave series

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Published on 10/25/14 at 04:13
4-octave keyboard
2 oscillators + 4 + 2 LFO envelopes with a configurable multi pan and loopable + 1 + 1 multimode filter filter 6dB / oct + effects + template optimized for any modulation

The instrument is very well built, looks very solid (it&#39;s really heavy for a keyboard of this size) and is beautiful with its orange color, special screen printing and wooden sides.

UTILIZATION

The handling of such an instrument requires some prior knowledge in analog synthesis and wavetable synthesis. Once these two parameters are controlled in part, this synthesizer provides a good overall ergonomics, thanks to the many potentiometers accessible and willing as well as clearly defined menus. All this contributes to the rapid creation of rich and interesting sounds.
Reliance on manual may be necessary to uncover some hidden as possible modulations on certain types of filters features. Overall, it is possible to do without.

SOUNDS

The sound world of wavetables is special but so interesting and rich. The multitude of sounds that can emerge encourage research and creativity. The scanning of the waves is a key point of this synthesis which results in constant motion sounds.
The sound overall is a bit "cold" but the dynamics of this keyboard is still a very good level (especially if very powerful filter Sin (x) -LP a used !!!). Both oscillators obey the same table selected, unlike Blofeld wave, which can be frustrating sometimes. Similarly, the addition of a third oscillator, the basic waveforms such as the Q of the brand, model lacks in some cases as it would sit a little more serious when the register of creating sounds low, for example. However, these limitations shall not prevent quickly get the sounds of a very high quality with rich and dynamic textures.
On filters, the first is kind of multimode. It also allows, select the eternal LP, HP, BP, 12dB or 24dB in / oct, but also adds other types such as Sin (x) -LP, the FM filter or Waveshaper which will have a direct influence on the harmonic spectrum of sounds. By selecting and changing a key parameter affecting them, found in the sub-menus, the start-up sound will win additional harmonics. However, it should not be abused, according to the table and wave / waves choice (s), because the effect can be devastating. But this setting adds real value to this synthesis as experiments are even more numerous. The second filter, a slope of 6 dB / oct and only LP or HP, has a much more limited interest. It may possibly eliminate some harmonics smooth to slightly tweak a sound. Personally, I never use it.
LFOs are classic but configurable at will.
Envelopes are four in number. As the Q, graphically there is no visual difference between the filter housing and that the amplitude of only a small stroke of the two separating means. When I see Waldorf put a red knob to specify the Cutoff on synths, I think the brand could create a small hallmark between these two parameters - any personal appreciation. No big worries in absolute terms but sometimes it happens that my fingers are involved on the wrong dial (Virus is a damn better on this side). Apart from this concern, totally minor, must emphasize the importance of two additional envelopes, especially those with 8 sides: it allows any kind of complex modulation and can become, by closing one of these sections, a third LFO whose form wave is ultimately defined from scratch by the user. This allows for dramatic effects in terms of sound.
The modulation matrix to assign a large number of settings and poses no limitation in terms of connections. Only your mind certainly experience a limit in the interconnection of modules.
The effects section is a little dated: chorus, flanger, and wah are not convincing. The overdrive is ugly and spoils the sound. Only the time is used for my taste.
It should be noted that there are also outside the effect module, another chorus. It has the distinction of not being customizable, it&#39;s "On / Off". It thickens much sound and also tends to reinforce a little intensity. In some cases, this is significant, other times it is a bit exaggerated because the important modulation distorts the patch we created in the beginning. Waldorf damage that was not thought to offer this chorus with two or three predefined levels, much like a Roland Juno 60.

OVERALL OPINION

The MicroWave XTK is an exciting synthesizer. Rich in terms of creativity, thanks to its sound engine, some of his originals and a variety of modulations limitless filters, it can effectively escape the ordinary world of "Sin / Tri / Saw / Sq." Certainly a bit "cold" by its generally metallic sound, because of wave tables that refer to those embedded in the illustrious PPG, it requires a different approach and needs to spend time to get interesting sounds and of great wealth (like a Yamaha DX7). Out sound "Pads" type does not come as easily as other synthesizers but by being persistent, not only can be achieved, but in addition, we can transcend by creating a scalable texture. And that&#39;s when you discover the personality so specific to this instrument. Note that there is a memory location to create its own wavetables; this requires the use of a software.

For my part, I suggest plugging a module to more current effects in order to really enhance its sonic potential (nothing a little reverb and an effective and configurable at will Chorus)

A collector to own who is passionate about the synthesis and synthesizers:-)
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