Waldorf showed up at Musikmesse in Frankfurt this week with a prototype of a mind melter. The Quantum is an 8–voice polyphonic synthesizer that offers classic subtractive synthesis, Waldorf’s signature wavetable synthesis, and granular synthesis under the quantum–physics–inspired “particle sampling” moniker.
All of this means that Waldorf is grafting the finest aspects of digital synthesis onto a hardware synth with analog oscillators and infrastructure. The result is a synth that sounds like a cross between the company’s fantastic Blofeld and the Spectrasonics Omnisphere. Additionally, it features a touch screen, six envelopes, and multiple resonance modes for its filters. And effects. And an SD card slot.
Waldorf came back from financial insolvency in 2006 with bold a vision for 21st century hardware synthesis that resulted in forward–looking synths that sound like no other. It released the Blofeld in 2007 and the Pulse 2 in 2013, the company’s finest products from its new incarnation.
Both are incredible and idiosyncratic synths, though their emphasis on menu navigation and programming via computer software left many craving a better programming interface. The Quantum delivers on those desires, but it is worth noting that this beast will likely be a pricey one on par with Dave Smith Instruments’ poly synths.