Waldorf Music has released a major firmware update for their flagship Quantum synthesizer.
Quantum OS 2.0 delivers the new Kernel oscillator type, to complement the four (Wavetable, Waveform, Resonator, and Particle) synthesis algorithms already available to each of its three oscillators. Waldorf describes the Kernel oscillators as a sort of “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.”
The Kernel oscillator lets you combine up to six Kernel Operators, which can range from sine and classic waveforms via wavetables through to noise. For example, you could combine three wavetables with a sine wave and noise within a single Quantum oscillator.
The Kernel oscillator can be used to dive into FM sounds, inharmonic textures and abstract tones. Templates are available to make getting started with Kernel oscillators, but you can create your own Kernel templates, too.
For full scale editing of kernels — where each could conceivably be an individual wavetable, classic waveform, or noise — and all of their parameters, Full Edit Mode offers deep features:
- individual audio rate modulations between kernels — classic Phase FM, true FM, wavetable position (allowing for strange structures in audio rate), amplitude modulation, and ring modulation;
- kernel self-feedback;
- free patching of kernels into algorithms with up to three modulation inputs for each kernel;
- classic FM algorithm presets;
- individual dual decay stage envelope for each kernel;
- three-segment individual level scaling over key range for each kernel;
- five macro parameters for each kernel oscillator;
- six-slot modulation matrix control of macro parameters within each kernel oscillator (with modulation destinations for each kernel including Level, Pan, Pitch, Freq Offset, Feedback, Wavetable — allowing for cross-wavetable modulations, Attack, and Decay);
- six pitch modes for each kernel (Ratio, Sub-Ratio, Radio + Offset, Semitones, Fixed, and LFO);
- individual phase control for each kernel; and
- import of legacy FM format.
Version 2.0 adds a wide array of other additions and improvements.
- Wavetable synthesis engine enhancement comes courtesy of three new user interface display modes — 3D, Wave, and Spectrum (with the latter two reflecting Phase, Position, Stepped, Limit, Spectrum, and Brilliance parameters).
- Particle, meanwhile, maximises its grain length to one second. Sampling (in Particle’s non-granular mode and Resonator) features new (Forward and Backward) Direction parameters and also respects Loop modes (including the newly-added PingPong) while there is also crossfade functionality for loops; sample start position can be used as a modulation destination in the Modulation Matrix; a new Edit screen for Particle and Resonator shows all individual settings for each sample entry in the Sample Map; various zooming and selection options are now available; and there is a fine-grained control for sample start and end points as well as loop start and end points.
- There are also new Output Level and Pan parameters for the analogue filter and digital former.
- The Routing display now shows effect type names and state. An auto-scaling Envelope curve is now shown. The Destination encoder can now be pushed for flipping through groups of Modulation Matrix destinations.
- There is a new Parameter-only Sequencer mode with up to eight parameter tracks, and Arp (arpeggiator) and Seq (sequencer) screens are now merged into a common screen. Sync now shows musical values for sync ratios.
- Enhanced editing is enabled by pushing the Display encoder to toggle between Normal, Fine, and Super modes, and if a parameter from the bottom row is edited and in focus then that parameter can also be changed with the main encoder while in focus.
- File browsing now reacts to the main encoder for scrolling and when performing open/save routines, while pushing the main encoder also selects options when scrolling through menus.
- USB storage devices are now supported.
- Expanded AudioFile Editor functions include zooming, scrolling, selection, and editing (Various Normalize, Trim, Cut, Fade In/Out, Reverse, and Silence); single-level Undo/Redo; Record Trigger (Manual, Note, and Signal Threshold); Input VU, Input Monitor Level, and Physical Recording Level.
- Patch management improvements include: a new feature filter for use with Arp, Seq, Mono, and Layered sounds, and more; a new bulk delete action Load screen action menu; an ability to export patches with samples — all related samples will be put into a Samples subdirectory within the export directory; samples matching patches in the Samples subdirectory will be imported, and if a sample already exists in the internal flash memory then it will not be copied.
- A screen saver can be set to run after a selected number of minutes to protect the main display from burn-in if the Quantum Synthesizer is left running for hours on end without anything being touched.
Pricing and Availability
The Quantum Synthesizer is available with an SRP (Suggested Reseller Price) of €3,550.00 EUR (excluding tax). Owners of the Quantum Synthesizer can download the version 2.0 firmware update for free from their myWaldorf account, where they can also download a sound set with over 250 new Quantum Synthesizer patches for free.