Analog vs Digital: The Waldorf MicroWave I vs. The MicroWave II

This audio comparison pits the hybrid analogy synth Waldorf MicroWave I against the digital (DSP-based) Waldorf MicroWave II.

Which sounds better to you?

via retrosound72:

A comparsion of the Waldorf Microwave I Rev. A (hybrid synth with analog curtis filter CEM3389 from the year 1989) and the Waldorf Microwave II (DSP based synth from the year 1997).

A demo with absolute identical sound programs (basses, pads, wavetable sounds, bells, fx sounds…)

7 thoughts on “Analog vs Digital: The Waldorf MicroWave I vs. The MicroWave II

  1. Oh, very interesting. In general, as I would expect, the Microwave II sound is clearer and brighter. Sometimes the sounds are completely different. But occasionally the MWII sounds like it has been shut in someone's underwear drawer.

    Given a choice, I'd take the analogue version. But then, I would say that, wouldn't I?

  2. Sounds like the internal scaling of the LPF cutoff is different, such that the same setting in the patch results in different actual cutoff values in the two machines. I wouldn't expect an exact correspondence, anyhow. Upshot is filter at Fc= X1 Hz on the MW1, and Fc=X2 Hz on the MW2, with X2>X1, even though the patch settings are the same on both. The MWII samples sound like the cutoff is generally a bit higher, apart from any other differences in the filters. Big kudos to Retrosound for doing this comp, but I think that factor makes it somewhat apples-to-oranges. I generally find filter differences easier to hear when the filter is being moved around dynamically, like slow or fast sweeps.

  3. I expect to get dissed for saying so, but I preferred almost all of the II sounds to the I, really.

    That said, neither of these have sufficient knobs. Pass me the XT, please!

  4. Despite what I say below, I'll second the notion that filter sweeps are generally more revealing than anything, if you're after the character of the filter.

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