Waldorf M Wavetable Synthesizer A New Generation Of The Classic Microwave

Ahead of Superbooth 2021, Waldorf has announced that it is bringing back classic Microwave and ‘modern’ Microwave II tone generation with their M wavetable synthesizer

The Waldorf M is described as a “new-generation classic hybrid wavetable synthesizer”, with an analog lowpass 24dB/Oct VCF with resonance and analogue saturation, true stereo analogue VCA and more.

Here’s the official intro video:

With the M, Waldorf Music returns to its classic Microwave and Microwave II tone generation.

The Waldorf M synthesizer is an eight-voice polyphonic, four-part multitimbral Wavetable Synthesizer.  Each voice features two wavetable oscillators, with independent wavetable-generating Classic Microwave 1 and Modern Microwave II/XT modes.

Features:

  • Two oscillator modes:
    • Classic Microwave I mode, where 16-bit wavetables are bit-reduced to 8-bit and a 240 kHz non-anti-aliased sample rate is offered.
    • The Modern Microwave II/XT mode offers a 40 kHz sample rate with band-limited wavetables, although both oscillators — OSC 1 and OSC 2 — offer the same panel parameters.
  • Two LFOs are available, with adjustable frequency Rate and Shape, that can be used for modulation purposes.
  • Lowpass 24 dB/Oct VCF (based on the SSI 2144 Improved Ladder Type), with resonance and analog saturation.
  • Four programmable envelopes
  • True stereo analogue VCA with panning option
  • True hard Sync (when working in its Modern Microwave II/XT mode)
  • ARP with 16 preset patterns & ability to sync to MIDI clock
  • Chord mode
  • MIDI-syncable global LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator).
  • 45 knobs and buttons for quick editing
  • Full-metal housing
  • 2,048 presets (divided into 16 banks, each with 128 sounds, including all of the classic Microwave sound sets, such as MW1 Factory Sound Set, MW1 Soundpool 1-5, the fat-sounding Analogue and Bassco, as well as PPG Wave 2.3 sounds converted for the original Microwave.
  • Connections:
    • Six (rear panel-positioned) stereo analogue outputs — arranged as MAIN OUT (L/Mono and R) and AUX OUT (A, B, C, and D), the latter of which can be used to route each of the four Multi (multitimbral) parts to different outputs, if desired;
    • A stereo headphone output (with an associated Volume knob in addition to the topside Master Volume knob);
    • 5-pin MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU DIN connectors, complimented by a USB 2.0 MIDI port (for computer connection to transmit and receive MIDI data);
    • An SD Card slot (for updating M’s firmware, importing/saving sound patches, and importing/saving M-specific data, such as user wavetables); and
    • Kensington-compatible security lock slot.

Pricing and Availability

The M Wavetable Synthesizer is available through Waldorf Music’s network of distributors at an RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of €1,879.00 EUR (including German tax).

38 thoughts on “Waldorf M Wavetable Synthesizer A New Generation Of The Classic Microwave

  1. its interesting but honestly its the same waldorf design for decades now – sure the quality is there, but you will definitely pay for it

    1. I would so rather pay for quality than mediocrity.

      You don’t many Nord owners, Iridium owners, Prophet-5 rev 4 owners, Hydrasynth owner, Matriarch owners or owners of other quality synths complaining about their purchases.

      You definitely pay more for quality synths, but you also get gear that you could use for the rest of your life. I’ve got a couple of vintage Yamaha and Sequential keyboards and they are tanks that have taken 40 years of me banging on them and play as good as ever.

      This thing looks like it’s built like a tank, with the metal case and knobs, and has features (6 stereo outputs, multitimbral support, etc) definitely put it in the pro category.

      Frankly, I’d like to see them do a keyboard version of this so I wouldn’t have to lust after a PPG.

      1. I agree; the market is flooded with cheaply built and flimsy feeling instruments. It’s great that that end of the market is catered to, but at this point in my life, if a piece of gear is going to make its way into my studio, or see live use especially, I would rather pay a bit more and get something that feels substantial and good to interact with. I’d rather have instruments that feel built up to a quality rather than only down to a price. I think it’s possible. The Hydrasynth is an excellent example. It’s extremely well made and also not overly expensive, but feels (and sounds) uncompromising in its quality.

        Let’s not forget that this is a hybrid instrument with real VCFs and VCAs for each of its eight voices. It looks very well built. I think it has a real stereo audio path – something the hybrid Quantum keyboard lacks. If you want a classic Waldorf sound in your studio in a modern context, this looks like a great choice. If you need to save some money, the Blofeld is still a perfectly valid option.

        1. You dont need to slum it all the way down to a blofeld to “save money”, since this synth is $2500 which is incredibly high compared to the majority of other desktop modules or synths in general. You can argue endlessly about justifying that price with any subjective point you want. Its still $2500, which is objectively much more expensive than many other comparable if not arguably far superior synthesizers. Why do you think I need a waldorf? I already declared a lack of interest in waldorf in the original post. Perhaps you should simply curb your lust for corporate apologism instead.

  2. It’ll have a very hard time becoming popular, as it’s priced very high. Especially when Behringer releases their upcoming PPG Wave-inspired synth at $999 or less.

    1. Have pro synths ever been ‘popular’?

      Gear designed for serious and professional musicians has always had a pretty small audience, but most classic synths were designed for this audience, not to be ‘popular’.

      You know what’s really popular? The miniKorg. Volcas. Pocket Operators. The Behringer D. Any cheap synth that’s decent is going to sell well.

      There’s probably some overlap between the buyers of pro-level synths and the people buying nostalgia knockoffs, but not enough to keep today from being the golden age of great synths.

    2. The Waldorf M offers a lot more than the Behhringer PPG, doesn’t it? 4-part multitimbrality with seperate outs, two oscillator modes, user wavetables, four envelopes, two LFOs… a more versatile filter would have been preferable, but the SSI 2144 isn’t a bad filter by any stretch and saturation is a nice additional feature.

  3. Two retro wavetable engines but no complteley new mode that speaks 2021 ?

    Too many synths where you pay a lot to get into the past exist.
    Where can i buy a ticket to the future?

    1. it’s much closer to a MW1 than an XT, which has a fancy digital multimode filter.

      The long term high values of second hand Waldorf synths is good for the Waldorf brand because it sends out a message that they make high quality and desirable instruments. If they’d priced the M below the recent used prices of MW1s, it would have sent a mixed message about this.

      1. And the digital part made it sound so nice and different. Not sure why people automatically think an analog filter is always an upgrade. 🙂

  4. It’s everything I was hoping for…except for the pricing. Oh well, it looks like a Korg Modwave is in my future. Perhaps the Microwave XT desktop may drop a bit in value? Doubtful, but possible I suppose. I cannot really fault Waldorf, they construct high quality instruments.

      1. Agreed! that link took me to the Wavestate which I had bookmarked, but I’ve read both synths have the same architecture. They sound great which is ultimately what matters. The chief complaint appears to be having to do a lot of menu-diving.

        However, I’ve never owned anything from Korg that didn’t require that, so I’m cool with it. Frankly, I’d rather menu-dive than click and drag any day.

        Build quality is concerning though. The mid-range pricing is still expensive for the majority of the inhabitants of planet Earth.

        1. I just bought a wavestate – I really like the engine, don’t love many of the presets but that’s OK, wouldn’t have bought it without user sampling though. But the keyboard is horrible, and I keep pressing down on the keys expecting aftertouch! No doubt now I’ve shelled out a module version will come out…

        2. I’m not sure what you mean by the same architecture, but the Wavestate is about wave sequencing and the Modwave is about wavetables.

  5. Downloaded the manual cause it just didn’t make sense, and still doesn’t…where are the FX?! In an effort to make it semi analog, we lost something.

    1. I just went through the manual and you’re right. If it has onboard effects, they were omitted. It’s a bizarre oversight either way.

      1. The VCF is only Lowpass! They’re really banking on this to work. The box does sound good, but that’s just online tho. it’ll be boutique then, I guess, at that price.

  6. I was hoping with the way synths have become more affordable that this would be worth thinking about but that is way out of my range

  7. Waldorf M desktop, 4-part multitimbral, 8 voices, 1,879.00 EUR

    Access Virus TI2 desktop, 16-part multitimbral, 20-90 voices (depending on patch complexity), 1.709 EUR

    Find the mistake, Waldorf.

    1. The Access has a higher voice count because it’s digital. What makes this unit special is that it’s as close as you’re going to get to the original Microwave sound — 8 bit non-bandlimited oscillators running at 240 kHz through an analog 4-pole filter.

      If all you want is more voices, buy the Waldorf Kyra.

  8. personally, I love the very intuitive layout. Curiousy, it seems to be made on the same train of thought as the new dreadbox poly, but while that was focused on being affordable, this one focused on being premium and 3x the price. In an ideal world, I’d get both. butin reality I’ll have to make do with my Prophet 6 and resist all GAS

  9. People who says that it is too expensive has no clue about the meaning of “multitimbral”, if you get 4-part, that means that you bascially have 4 synthesizer in one and paid under 500 € per synthesizer.

    1. Think I’d rather have a cobalt 8x for the synth engine and the keyboard, a hydra module for the wave tables and a Typhon so I can chuck it all through an analogue filter for that that money, but I don’t mind lots of little boxes. Each to his own I guess

    2. Yes, in the same line of thought, Blofeld has 16 synths, less than $40 per synth new. Blofeld remains the best Waldorf ‘budget’ synth.

  10. The only value in a desktop, to me, is to try it before splurging on the big keyboard version. By themselves, desktops are not interesting.

  11. While I’m sure Roland could crank this out for $200 and still make a profit, Waldorf is a small company of passionate, devoted people and they deserve some respect.

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