Waldorf has announced a new desktop synth – the Rocket. I’m happy to see that Waldorf is sticking with their tongue-in-cheek marketing.
No one expected this Rocket launch, which is in clear violation of several UN resolutions and basic laws of physics. Unlike conventional missiles, this one comes in a square shape and will be sold world-wide in complete ignorance of German governments exports restrictions.
It’s incredible sound is a powerful weapon of mass destruction, and never before has this been achieved with such an enormous fun factor. It features an analog multimode VCF with lowpass, bandpass, and highpass, resonance up to self oscillation and beyond, a powerful monophonic oscillator section with Ultra High Density Sawtooth and unison for chord play.
Furthermore equipped with a powerful Arpeggiator and a destructive Booster circuit, this Rocket is technologically way ahead of all current defense systems.
Rocket is an ideal fun sound design machine, which in combination with its extremely attractive price, will appeal to any sound designer and musician interested in quality sounds. It works as a stand-alone instrument or in any imaginable music production environment. But its most important feature is of course its sound: a real Waldorf synthesizer, powerful, direct and with a lot of love for the details.
And of course, this Rocket is 100% Made in Germany – With Love!
Checkout the teaser video on YouTube here.
- Analog multimode-filter (VCF) with Low Pass / Band Pass / High Pass
- Highly flexible oscillator-section with pulse width modulation and hard sync
- Up to 8 oscillators in unison for chords or Ultra High Density Sawtooth
- Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) for modulation
- Envelopes for VCA, VCF and Sync
- Booster circuit to generate aggressive sounds
- Arpeggiator with different rhythmic patterns
- USB powered
- MIDI in and out
- Extensive control panel with high-end pots and switches
- Control via MIDI and USB
- MIDI clock sync
- Line output
- Loud headphone output
- Launch key for easy pre listening
While the synth isn’t available yet, the manual is. You can download the PDF here.
Below are a few items I found of interest in the manual.
The Rocket Development Team
Hardware: Oliver Rockstedt, Frank Schneider
Software: Oliver Rockstedt, Stefan Stenzel,
Design: Axel Hartmann
Manual/ Layout: Holger Steinbrink
Controllerism ready! This also means you can automate these parameters in your DAW.
As you can see on the back panel there is a handy switch to switch MIDI channels. The Audio Line in allows you to process incoming audio with the analog filters.
Runs on Bus Power… Firmware Updateable
The manual indicates USB is for MIDI communications and the unit will run off of bus power. USB is also for firmware updates.
No Presets – But There are Dumps
Going the same direction as Arturia MiniBrute, no presets here.
Presets are absent by design. Because of the very clear parameters we can assure you that you will be able to set an universe of sounds within seconds.
P. 24 of the manual does indicate you can dump sounds via USB. So potentially, you could save as a project within your DAW, but no companion software is mentioned – but still a great feature for sound designers.
8 Oscillators Mainly for Unison – But There Is a Special Case…
Special case: If Sawtooth is selected and the poly saw mode is active with a maximum value of the Wave parameter: With maximum setting of the Tune parameter you will get an unisono mode where all 8 oscillators will play the incoming MIDI notes. This is no real polyphony but will allow playing chords.
Analog or Digital?
The manual specifically mentions analog fitlers and filter calibration. The manual talks about waveforms and such, but doesn’t come out and say analog in the oscillator section – so my guess is modeled analog waveforms. Of course the Blofeld does a great job at this so I’m assuming this will be as good as Blofeld or better.
One of my beefs with the Moog Slim Phatty (and this also seems missing from Sub Phatty) is aftertouch is not implemented. For me this is a show stopper as I use aftertouch all the time. I’m happy to report that p. 36 of the manual says:
The majority of contemporary MIDI keyboards are capable of generating aftertouch messages. On this type of keyboard, when you press harder on a key you are already holding down, a MIDI Aftertouch message is generated. This feature is used to control the Cutoff frequency of the Rocket.
While limited to filter this is still welcomed – and quite handy if you have a Blofeld, UltraNova, RemoteSL… or any other keyboard with aftertouch.
A short tip on the Launch button sends out MIDI note C3 (MIDI note number 60). You can even use this button, if no MIDI master keyboard is connected. w The Launch button memorizes the last note received via MIDI and will use it for further triggering until a new MIDI note arrives. Incoming MIDI data is indicated by blinking of the Launch LED.
Press and hold the launch button to initiate a patch dump.
Price and Availability
Waldorf didn’t mention this on their site. Sound on Sound posted the press release which says SRP: 205 Euro plus taxes ($269 US). Create Digital Music says 250 Euro. Synthtopia says March availability at 244 Euro. Just in time for my birthday btw! Just sayin’.