Sound Design With Polyphonic Aftertouch On The Waldorf Iridium

Polyphonic aftertouch has long been a feature limited to a select few high-end classic synths. As a result, many synthesists don’t know how it works or even know why they should care.

But in the last few years, manufacturers have started offering new keyboards and keyboard controllers with polyphonic aftertouch, like they ASM Hydrasynth and the Waldorf Iridium.

In this video, synthesist Martin Stürtzer takes a look at the expressive sound design possibilities offered by polyphonic aftertouch support on the Iridium.

Video Summary:

“As a first day user of the Waldorf Iridium I was excited to get the keyboard version! Waldorf included a new keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch that allows the design of dynamic and “playable” ambient pads. In this tutorial I walk you through a first patch. Please let me know in the comments what you would like to see next, as I plan to record more videos with the Iridium Keys.”

7 thoughts on “Sound Design With Polyphonic Aftertouch On The Waldorf Iridium

  1. “Polyphonic aftertouch has long been a feature limited to a select few high-end classic synths”

    And some low-end modern gear like the CME Xkey, KMI QuNexus, iPad (Animoog), etc., and some MPE controllers which typically diverge somewhat from traditional keyboard design.

    What is particularly exciting is the return of full-travel poly pressure keyboards on midrange synths. It’s notable that the Iridium keyboard has a Fatar keybed with polyphonic aftertouch. Hopefully we’ll see more of this, as well as versions with more octaves.

    Knob-per-function is also nice. (And his cat apparently speaks German.)

  2. “Polyphonic aftertouch has long been a feature limited to a select few high-end classic synths”

    And low-end modern gear like the CME Xkey, KMI QuNexus, iPad (Animoog), etc..

  3. I’m waiting to hear some limited keyboardists tell us how unimportant aftertouch is and how much Poly AT is a gimmick.

    1. Hi Bill you must be such a super ability human to be able to “properly” utilise poly AT

      I’m in awe of you and your aftertouch expertise

      We “limited” keyboardists should be ashamed of ourselves

      But really I would just prefer more assignable LFOs, Envelopes and more extensive Mod matrix because poly aftertouch is a gimmick used to drive up the cost of synths

      1. The Iridium has 6 LFOs, 6 Envelopes and a “Komplex Modulator” plus a step sequencer you can use in parameter mode with 6 parameter tracks. Modulation Matrix has 40 slots to assign. These should carry you for a while doing your modulations even without using poly AT.

        1. wasn’t really referring to the Iridium in particular – despite what the article is about

          On a lesser synth – If given the choice over a better Mod matrix or Poly AT on the keybed

          I would choose Mod matrix

          the Iridium doesn’t need it no – but it also costs the better part of €3000

          So I would fucking expect it to be a deep Mod matrix AND have poly AT

          a keystep has rudimetary AT for €129

          how much could AT really be adding to the cost price ??

  4. About 35 years ago I got to play a Kurzweil K250 that was owned by the chairman of the department I was working in at the time. That was my first experience with polyphonic aftertouch. Since then, I have lusted for a polyphonic synth with polytouch. About six months ago I purchased an Iridium desktop and fell in love with the synth architecture. When I found that Waldorf was releasing the desktop Iridium I immediately put my reserve order in with Sweetwater. I have had a Hydrasynth-48 for almost a year now and after having its polytouch keybed available, I can honestly say I will never purchase another keyboard synth without the feature. To refer to polytouch as a gimmick belies the obvious naivety of the observer. I am also awaiting the arrival of my Kurzweil K2700. In retrospect, I drifted back in thought to my first experience with the K250’s hammer-action weighted polytouch keyboard and wished that Fatar would introduce a polytouch version of the TP/40L keybed and that Kurzweil would implement it in a modern synth (can you say K2800?)..

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