Waldorf Quantum Synth Gets Major Update, Kernel Synthesis Engine

2019 NAMM Show: Waldorf Music has announced a major firmware update to their Quantum Synthesizer. The update focuses around a new synthesis capability created in close collaboration with fellow German company Vision 4 Instruments.

The latest (version 2.0) free firmware for the flagship Quantum Synthesizer incorporates new venture Vision 4 Instruments’ Kernel synthesis engine. Extending capabilities above and beyond the four — Wavetable, Waveform, Resonator, and Particle (classic and granular sampling) — synthesis engines already available at the Quantum Synthesizer’s super-creative core, Kernel provides a fifth option for each of the three oscillators in its oscillator section.

Kernel Synthesis

Kernel synthesis is a modular approach, in which up to six audio kernels can be freely combined into a single oscillator. Effectively, each kernel is an oscillator in its own right, realizing a whole range of timbres — from using sine and classic waveforms via wavetables through to samples and noise. For example, users could combine three wavetables with a sample, a sine wave, and noise within a single Quantum Synthesizer oscillator.

On top of that, the kernels could modulate each other in audio rate using a variety of modulation methods, such as amplitude, frequency, phase, and ring modulation. Phase Distortion is also possible alongside unusual processes like audio rate wavetable- position modulation. Moreover, each kernel, of course, could also add self-modulation like classic FM feedback.

Furthermore, each kernel has its own multi-stage envelope, stereo output panning, plus multiple modulation options for velocity, various key tracking possibilities, plus presenting feedback, level, pitch, and wavetable position as modulation targets in the Quantum Synthesizer’s Modulation Matrix.

Meanwhile, kernel pitch can be set in relation to note pitch, as well as being set to fixed frequency in audio or LFO range. Pitch envelopes could be also applied to each kernel individually using the Quantum Synthesizer’s Modulation Matrix.

It is possible, then, to view Kernel synthesis as an oscillator construction kit, allowing for traditional approaches like a six- operator FM synth, as well as providing an experimental space for future-facing synthesis techniques.

Users could quickly start by using predefined kernel oscillator patches using the Quantum Synthesizer’s oscillator preset system, then continue to create a library of their own oscillator models.


The Quantum Synthesizer is available at an SRP (Suggested Reseller Price) of €3,525.00 EUR (excluding tax).

The latest (version 2.0) free firmware for the flagship Quantum Synthesizer will start beta testing after The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California. Quantum Synthesizer users interested in participating in the beta test can contact support at waldorfmusic.com.

12 thoughts on “Waldorf Quantum Synth Gets Major Update, Kernel Synthesis Engine

  1. I tried this at an event last year, great visuals on the screen especially! the screen is really great. I wasn’t very sold with the presets which were very standard however, kinda sadly. I feel the Bowen Solaris is far away better, in the same league.

  2. This just sounds like a super-complicated synth becoming even more complicated.

    It’s not just about features, it’s about musicality, usability & productivity too.

    I want to make music, not spend 4 hours programming a single patch and having to read deep & complex user manuals.

    1. I get that, but bear in mind that you could stick to one oscillator type eg. analog subtractive or wave table only and never delve into the extra menus and stuff if you don’t want to. I’ve played the Quantum and the user interface is genius – the best use of a touchscreen on a synth since the V-synth XT.

      The Kronos is a super deep synth but I rarely delve into some of the more esoteric engines like the plucked string and the fm engine.

      You only need to go as deep as you like and you’d still have a lifetime of cool tones. For people that do want to dive deeper, it’s nice that the extra functionality is there.

    2. Yeah @Richard!!

      I fully agree, in fact every synth manufacturer should conform to a basic standard of design. Knob per function should be an actual government regulated law. Waldorf should “re-call” all their Quantums, issue social media apologies, and then re-issue them with watered down OS and features so no one ever needs to feel intimidated or struggle through designing their own presets. If a customer wants complexity they should be informed that’s wrong and to seek complacency in the fact all new sytnths are easy peazy, so as not to offend

    3. i don’t see anything particularly difficult about this (except maybe the price). seems highly playable too, if you’re into 12 tone keyboards (which i’m not).

    4. I get that, sometimes…
      and also sometimes spending 4 hours programing a patching can be thought of as spending 4 hours learning to play/practing making and a sound you invented! I mean things like velocity, after touch pitch and mod, x/y co-ordinates are my go to modulations when i want to make a sound to really play on – so even regularish sounds will have more of ‘my’ feel.

      …I usually keep a recorder or sampler handy (and some envelopes, usually percussive) when making patches because much the intermediary sounds on the way to getting to the point of play, save or power down can be used to fill out the structure of a track as well. 🙂

      this seems closer to 4 op FM with super flexible oscillators and envelopes?

    5. As an owner of the Quantum, I set it up and started making my own patch without reading the manual. It’s actually quite intuitive.

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