Top 10 Things I Love about the Waldorf Blofeld

I’ve been going on about the Waldorf Blofeld a bit. As you know, I’m pertty much 100% laptop based with piles of VSTs and many have been asking me why I’ve added a hardware synth and why I picked the Blofeld.

To put it simply, there are times when I just don’t want to mess with a computer and I’m looking for instant-on. However, if I was going to go with a hardware synth, I wanted something that would compliment my Ableton Live rig. In a nutshell, a synth that:

  • I could throw in a backpack
  • Had contemporary sound with built-in fx
  • Had a strong interface that would allow quick tweaking with visual feedback without using a computer
  • Supported Mutli-Mode so I could pair with Tenori-On
  • Had a USB and MIDI In so I could use it with either a computer or a generic MIDI controller
  • Had an option for loading and playing back sample-data
  • Was affordable

While there are a number of instruments in the sub $1,000 range, I found the Blofled to have the richest and widest variety of features at a great price point that met my requirements. After using it for a few months I’m still very happy with my decision.

What are my favorite features? Checkout my top-10 list below.

10 Build Quality/Form Factor – A metal enclosure with 7 endless metal knobs. It’s built like a tank. It’s also heavier than you might think so the weight of the cables won’t pull it off your stand or controller. It’s plenty small enough to fit in a backpack.

9 Quick Editing – The physical parameter matrix with default mappings set to common parameters is fantastic.image

8 16 Channel Multi-Mode 
image
 
Like the Tenori-On 16 layer sequencing model find yourself wishing for an a more aggressive pallet? Blofeld 16 channel Multi-Mode is a great answer. You can setup splits and layers making this perfect for gigging.

6 Computer-Like Display Without a Computer 
Waldorf Blofeld  Filter 
The display is fantastic. It’s like using a soft synth. You see immediate feedback of envelopes, waveshapes etc… when you manipulate parameters.

5 Robust Synth Engine
Subtractive, wavetable, FM, adequate sample playback, built-in FX, arpeggiator… there is plenty under the hood for producing a wide variety of sounds and for those who like to program. Ships with more than 1,000 sounds for those who want to play and not program.

4 Ability to Load Your Own Samples and Use them as Oscillator Sources
The keyboard edition, or the desktop edition with the License SL option support 60M of non-volatile sample RAM which can be managed via a software app called – wait for it – Spectre :^)

3 A Killer Modulate Matrix
A 16 slots matrix! Includes the ability to assign custom MIDI CC’s to 4 controls W-Z (see my previous post for more on this).

2 Huge Sonic Palette
I personally love it. It can be warm, harsh, metalic, and you can radically change the character of a sound via the user interface or through MIDI control. I posted this previously, but if you missed it, check out this sample
Blofeld LFOs Gone Mad – One Patch Performance Series.

1 The Name 
Blofeld_villian 
And my number 1 favorite – why the name of course. I love Waldorf’s tongue-in-cheek naming and Bond branding. Check out the official product page to see what I’m talking about.

Links:

By the way, I’m not affiliated with Waldorf – just a fan :^). I also want to thank Jeff at Sweetwater who answered many questions and did some research for me before I bough the Blofleld – and no, I’m not affiliated with Sweetwater either.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com
www.REBOOTalbum.com

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Hi, this is Mark Mosher. Welcome to my blog. I’m a synthesist, Composer, Producer, and Visualist living in Boulder CO. I’m also the founder of the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet and Synth Patrol.

I’ve been blogging wince 2005 and this blog is a mix of posts on artistic news as well as synth tech & technique posts under the category Modulate This!

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3 responses to “Top 10 Things I Love about the Waldorf Blofeld”

  1. Hi Mark,
    Seeing you’ve got both a tenori-on and Blofield. Am thinking of getting a Blofield to complement my Tenori-on (am trying to get a set up on the go which doesn’t involve a lap-top) and was hoping you could answer a question…
    Specifically, if I switched from one ‘song’ to another on the tenori-on, how would I change the set of sounds on the Blofield? Would this be controlled by a program change on the tenori-on, or is there a way of instantaneously changing all 16 patches on the blofield?
    Hope this makes sense!
    Thanks,
    Nick

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  2. I think the desktop version is more compelling becuase I can throw it in my backpack, and then just use it with my laptop and lpk25 as in previous post, or with my battery powered Remote SL 25.
    I don’t mind the License SL upgrade fee. This concept of “de-optimizaing” to create price points has been around for a long time in the electronics industry. I also prefer it to KORGGs sample expansion options where I have pay to buy a card and a bunch of memory that is hard to find and crack open the case.
    Mark

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  3. The only critique to this synth I have is that they could have done better with the keyboard version. I mean, it’s just the desktop module in a keyboard enclosure, ut they charge you double the price… and to keep the desktop module cheaper, they invented this stupid thing with the licence… so it’s like: we sell you a crippled product so you have to pay us later to uncripple it. That’s a bit stupid.
    For the rest I think it’s one of the best synths around, especially considering the performance to cost ratio! And I will get one soon!

    Like

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