Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld Preformance Sound Design

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard Tip: Droning with the Free Button

This article describes the general function of the “Free” button as well as how to lock sustain for drone work.

Extra Buttons on Keyboard Edition of Blofeld

The keyboard version of the Waldorf Blofeld has 3 extra buttons on the front panel – 1) Octave Down 2) Octave Up 3) Free.

P. 17 of the Manual  describes the Free button

Free Button Just for fun we added an additional button with assignable function. The functions are accessible from Global Menu.

Set the Function of the Free Button

blofeld-free-example-annotated

  1. Press and hold “Shift” + “Global” button to enter Global Menu
  2. Rotate “Display” knob to find the “Free Button / Pedal” page. On the current OS, it’s the last page – so just crank the knob get their quickly.
  3. Use the left-most “Display Dial” to rotate through the possible options for the “Free” button. The button can be assigned to 6 different functional states as shown below. For the purposes of this article – select “Sust. toggle“.
    1. off – nothing happens when you press the Free button.
    2. Sustain – The button acts like a sustain pedal. But please use your fingers!
    3. Sust. toggle – Also sustain, but it acts like an on/off switch. 
    4. Control W, X, Y, Z – the corresponding controller is sent to internal sound engine and MIDI out.
    5. C. W, X, Y, Z toggle – Emits the assigned controller but acts like an on/off switch.
    6. mute – mutes Blofeld while pressed.
  4. Press the “Play” button to return to patch selection and play mode

Drone Machine Usage

The “Free” button can now be used as a toggle to latch sustain thereby turning your Blofled keyboard into a “West Coast” style drone machine.

Presets with No Arpeggiator

On presets without the Arp enabled, toggling the “Free” button simply gives you infinite sustain without having to hold a pedal down. This is perfect for both sound design work and real-time drone performances. Hit “Free” and start working the matrix!

Presets with Arpeggiator

The arpeggiator has the following modes:

  1. Off
  2. On
  3. One Shot
  4. Hold

If the mode is set to #3  “Hold” – the Arp is already latched and will hold by default. If you would like instead to toggle holds without menu diving to get this parameter (which is burred pretty deep) – set the value to  option #2 – “On”. Now if you toggle the “Free” button, the arp will hold. Press the “Free” button again to toggle the Arp off.

More Articles on the Waldorf Blofeld

Check out some of the many articles I’ve written on the Waldorf Blofeld here https://modulatethis.com/category/blofeld/.

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Categories
Podcast

Sonic Encounters Podcast 004 – A Day in the Life of a Krell Technician

Over 2,000 centuries ago – the Krell technicians went about their day in the 8,000-cubic-miles of the fabric of the great machine on Altair IV. This is the day in the life of one technician.

Subscribe now on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please leave a rating or review if you are enjoying the podcast. If you use a different podcatcher, paste this RSS link.

Production Notes

Inspired by the ground-breaking work of Louis and Bebe Barron on the film Forbidden Planet I use oscillators rather than samples as sound sources for this piece.

The sources are from original sounds I created on the Waldorf Blofeld. What’s a little unusual about my approach was to not play the Blofeld using it’s own “instrumentalities”, but instead drive the blofeld using only the instrumentalities and MIDI capabilities of the Elektron Octatrack. In other words, I used the buttons and knobs of the Octatrack. This also included some on-the-fly sequencing, and even sampled the Blofeld in real-time so I could bend the sonic content of the Blofeld even further.

Then – after many rehearsal sessions – I recorded the piece in one real-time pass with no edits to a Zoom H2 running on battery.

Subscribe now on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please leave a rating or review if you are enjoying the podcast. If you use a different podcatcher, paste this RSS link.

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld

Waldorf Blofeld Public Beta Firmware V1.16B2

blofeld_1-16B2

A few months back Kay Dee from Waldorf support has been participating in an unofficial Blofeld Facebook group. There has been discussion and buzz about Waldorf starting to work on a firmware update for the Blofeld including a thread where Kay requested feedback on new feature requirements. For those not familiar with Waldorf, they are a very small company and tend to focus the company on a product at time then rotate through to do updates.  It’s clear work has begun on a new update as evidenced by this interim bug fix update that’s now in beta.

image

Interestingly, Waldorf announced this on a Facebook post as a first move even before posting on their web site. It’s a small touch, but a nice way to give back  to the FB group who’s been giving them feedback.

So what’s new in V1.16B2?

Blofeld Public Beta Firmware V1.16B2

– Fix for some units that exhibited occasional clicks with Reverb and/or Modwheel
– Less sensible [I think they mean “sensitive” so you don’t get erroneous values] encoder scanning for improved accuracy
– Possible fix for spurious 'Init' sound program deadlock situation
– Category search improved

Since the most annoying bugs are those that only occur on some units under
very specific circumstances, we would be happy about any feedback, positive
or negative, about this public beta firmware.

Please send you findings to blofeld@waldorfmusic.de

Your Waldorf Team

Be aware, this is a beta release. I installed it and works fine. Some people on the FB group are reporting that some patches that used to have “pops” in them have been cleaned up.

Links

 

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld Synth: Largo

Waldorf Largo vs Blofeld

image

I own both the Waldorf Blofeld keyboard edition plus the virtual instrument Largo so I thought I’d offer some notes on what is the same and what is different.

98% The Same

First let me say that Largo is indeed a Blofeld expressed as a virtual instrument. I’d say that the patch architecture about 98% similar. If you programmed a patch on either using parameters common to both without effects the resultant output would almost identical with just slight variance in timbre you’d expect from hardware vs software implementations. The parameter differences are not simply that one has more features than another -each has exclusive features, and some cases – such as effects – the features are similar but implemented differently.

I’ve created a mindmap to illustrate only the differences. Green highlights on a branch indicate which synth is better in a particular area.

View embedded map full-size
http://www.mindmeister.com/maps/public_map_shell/106790260/waldorf-largo-vs-blofeld-by-www-modulatethis-com?width=450&height=400&zoom=0

Which is Right For You?

This depends on your priorities. If your primary goal is programming patches from scratch and you don’t care about samples being used as oscillator sources, Largo has a bigger sonic range in my opinion. If you want to use samples, you have to go with the Keyboard or Desktop Edition with License SL. The effects processor section is definitely stronger in Largo, especially the chorus. The color coding in the mindmap should help you make your choice.

Why Do I have Both?

I got the Blofeld first and fell in love with Waldorf waveforms, oscillators, filters, and architecture. I actually got the desktop, then sold it to get the keyboard edition for studio and jam use. However, my current performance rig is laptop-based and fits in two carry-ons (including my controllers) and I didn’t have room haul even the desktop Blofeld. So by adding Largo I have that Waldorf sound and architecture on my laptop and can use it in live performances out of town. Largo’s effects – especially the chorus are also quite fantastic. As a matter of fact, I have a new song on the upcoming album that was built almost exclusively around one patch where I do crazy things with the chorus using automation from dummy clips in Ableton Live.

Using Blofeld as a Dedicated Hardware Interface for Largo

The company Touch Digital Controllers is getting some buzz around their dedicated ImpOSCar2 hardware controller. What you might not know is that you can do something similar on the Waldorf side by using Blofeld as a dedicated control surface for Largo. This is possible because Waldorf designed both Largo and Blofeld such that each parameter has a corresponding MIDI CCs (which is how third party editors communication with Blofeld). That being said, I don’t think this is currently an intended use as it’s not document, a bit fiddly, and as you can see from the mindmap there are architectural differences. Also, some parameters like waveshape number are 0-based on Blofeld and 1-based on Largo (Blofled uses waveshape 0 as oscillator off where Largo has a dedicated parameter for this). So while it works it’s a bit sketchy.

Wish List

I wish that Waldorf will go a step further with both synths to bring them to parity and line up synth parameters such that we all could could:

  1. Use Largo as a VST/AU editor for Blofeld
  2. Use Blofeld as a control surface for Largo
  3. Add sample support to Largo
  4. Share patches between both.

Links

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

http://modulatethis.com/
Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html


Thanks for reading,

Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Producer
Boulder, CO
ModulateThis.com


If you found this article inspiring, helpful, or a time-saver, click here.

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld

How to Make Your Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Go to 11!

As you walk through the factory patches, you might notice some patches are louder than others. Or perhaps you programmed your own patch and can’t quite get it to be loud enough to be in balance with other patches in your set. Here are a few quick tips to take a quieter patch and make it go to 11.

Make Sure the Amp Volume is set to 127
image

Hit the “Shift” button and navigate to the “Amplifier Page”. Verify that overall “Volume” is set to 127. Note the “Velocity” parameter is a global patch parameter that determines how much velocity effects volume. If you play with a light touch, you might want to take this parameter down some. If it is set to 0 velocity does not effect the volume.

Crank Up Your Oscillator Volumes
image

Make sure the oscillators that are active are high enough for your needs. Click the Oscillator button in the matrix to turn select the first menu for Oscillators, and crank the 4th knob over. Repeat for other oscillators.

This Parameter Goes to 11!
SNAGHTML5142362[4]

Now for the secret sauce. Let’s say you have a patch and all the levels are perfect and in balance, yet it’s still too quite relative to other patches in your set. You can get a volume boost quickly with on parameter set, Filter Drive.

The “Tube” drive curve with values down in the teens can add a volume boost without distortion. To make the patch rip the audience’s face off, set the value to 127! Experiment with other drive curves.

More Blofeld Please
I hope you found these tips helpful. You can view other posts on the Blofeld category of Modulate This here.

I’m slowly working on some patches that I plan to make available as a library down the road. If you’d like to be notified opt-in to the Modulate This! mailing list and check the box for “Patches for Waldorf Blofeld”

image

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Thanks again for reading.

Mark Mosher
Experimental Musician and Multimedia Artist
Boulder, CO

Artist Site: MarkMosherMusic.com
Tech & Technique Articles: MarkMosherMusic.com/category/modulate-this/
Podcast: SonicEncounters.com
Meetup: RockyMountainSynth.com

Categories
Ableton Live AudioCubes Blofeld

My Blofeld + Ableton Live + Lpk25 + AudioCube Couch Potato Setup

markmoshermusic_couch_audiocube_lpk25

I wanted to create a small couch-friendly setup where I could play the Waldorf Blofeld with my little Akai LPK25 Controller and an AudioCube. Here is how I set it all up.

AudioCube Configuration
I use Percussa’s MIDI bridge to configure a sensor cube so that face 1-4 send CCs 10-13 (click image to enlarge).
audiocubes_sensor

Blofeld Global Configuration
The Blofled supports custom mapping of 4 CCs to controllers that are labeled W,X,Y,Z. Hold down “Shift”+”Global” to access the global params and turn the Display Parameter Dial to access the “Global Controls” page. In my case, i set W-Z to 10-13 respectively to match the CC numbers coming from the AudioCube.blofeld_w

Blofeld Patch Modification
Now I modify any patch to respond to AudioCube modulation by going to the Matrix menu and then setting W-Z as sources. In the example below I map Z (AudioCube Face 4) with Ring Modulation Level.blofeld_z_to_rmod

Ableton Live Configuration
imageAbleton Live 8 is running on a laptop which is the hub that makes this all work. The LPK25, Blofeld, and AudioCube are plugged in via USB and configured as MIDI devices in Live options. I create a Midi Track and specify the Blofeld as the output and arm the track.

At this point MIDI is merged from the LPK 25 and Percussa MIDI Bridge and sent through to the Blofeld allowing me to rock out from the comfort of my couch.

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

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld Synths & Instruments (Hardware)

Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer 411

I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with the wonderful Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer. I put together an interactive mindmap of things I’ve learned that will help you understand the differences between the keyboard and desktop version including the License SL sampling option. Along the way I’ve also found many links and utilities (such as computer editor/librarians).

Click here to view the interactive mindmap on mindmeiseter.

blofeld-411

View the interactive map on Mindmeister.com

 

 

 

Mark Mosher
Composer, Sound Designer, Consultant
Boulder, CO

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

image
Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld ONE PATCH PERFORMANCE Sound Design

“Blofeld LFOs Gone Mad” – One Patch Performance Series

blofeld_lfos_gone_mad 

In the past I’ve posted “One Patch Performances” series tracks as videos. I decided to add Soundcloud as an additional publishing method for posting these short performances as I really like it’s timeline-based commenting system.

Blofeld LFOs Gone Mad”
For this performance I am playing Blofeld factory patch H005 DCS3 Bubbles and I’m changing modulation parameters in real-time. This preset has interesting modulation routings in that LFO 1 modulates the speed of LFO2. Mod wheel controls speed of LFO1.

I think this performance also shows off the huge sonic range of the Waldorf Blofeld. Using this one preset and modulation, the Bolfeld produces timbers that are bell-like, bubbly, wet, warm, harsh and metallic. I’m also using knobs and keyboard scaling to control motion. It’s just an amazing synth. See my annotations on what I'm doing across the timeline.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fmarkmosher%2Fblofeld-lfos-gone-mad
Blofeld LFOs Gone Mad on Soundcloud by MarkMosher. Download embedded MP3.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

image
Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes

Categories
(Modulate This) Blofeld

“From Germany With Love” I Reenter the Programmable Hardware Synthesizer World with Waldorf Blofeld

markmosher_blofeld_knobs

Since 2006 I’ve been working exclusively with virtual synthesizers. Prior to this I spent years, and years – uh, and years working with digital hardware synthesizers and samplers. I’ve officially reentered the programmable hardware synthesis realm when I took delivery of my new Waldorf Blofeld yesterday.

I’ll post more on why I went with Blofeld and what I’ll be doing with it in the future. For now, enjoy some synth porn. Click the pictures below to see larger versions.

markmosher_blofeld_withlove

markmosher_blofeld_matrix 

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

image
Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
Buy on iTunes