Waldorf Quantum mk2 Adds Polyphonic Aftertouch, Improved Synthesis Capabilities & More

Waldorf Music has introduced the Quantum mk2, an upgraded version of its flagship synthesizer that adds polyphonic aftertouch, expands sample storage, offers enhanced polyphony options and more.

Here’s what’s new in the Waldorf Quantum mk2:

  • 61 keys Fatar TP8/SK with aftertouch – The Quantum MK2 is the first keyboard with a 61-key Fatar TP8/SK polyphonic aftertouch keybed. The polyphonic aftertouch is highly customizable in multiple dimensions globally, as well as for individual keys. The Quantum MK2 can also be controlled by any MPE-capable controller by directly connecting to Quantum’s USB host port.
  • 16 voices of polyphony, digital and analog filters – Based on an 8 voice analogue dual-filter architecture, the Quantum has been opened up for up to 16 voices of polyphony, in any combination of using digital dual multi-mode filters with the 8 analogue ones.
  • 59 GB sampling storage – Another cornerstone of the Quantum mk2 is its increased internal sampling storage from a few GB to 59 GB. From firmware 1.0 to 3.0, Waldorf Music has listened to the requests and needs of musicians to extend its polyphonic granular sampling engine, as well its traditional multi-sample engine.
  • Updated design and display – The Quantum mk2 features an updated mechanical design and naval blue color scheme. The updated mounting of the high-resolution touch display provides wider viewing angles and an intuitive way of controlling the more advanced features of the Quantum synthesis engine.
  • Sounds and samples – Sound designers from all of over the world have contributed to the huge library of factory presets and and initial sample content of 2 GB. The sound designers include Richard Devine, Howard Scarr, Reinhold Heil, BT, Matt Johnson, Joerg Huettner, Kevin Schroeder, Sascha Dikiciyan, Kurt Ader, Mike Huckaby, Thorsten Quaeschning and others. All sounds are compatible with Waldorf’s Iridium instruments in both directions.
  • Synthesis Platform – Waldorf Music has updated and improved its Quantum firmware, adding new synthesis capabilities and many feature requests by musicians. The Quantum firmware builds together with the Iridium firmware a “Waldorf Synthesis Platform.“

Pricing and Availability

The Waldorf Quantum mk2 is expected to be available at the end of January 2023, priced at 4.819,00 € (incl. German VAT).

47 thoughts on “Waldorf Quantum mk2 Adds Polyphonic Aftertouch, Improved Synthesis Capabilities & More

  1. This is good news. The Quantum appeared to be an amazing synthesizer with a few flaws. I’d heard numerous reports about the display being problematic. That said, a friend of mine has one, adores it, and has no defects. This version seems to address some issues of mechanical design and expand the instrument’s capabilities in a number of key areas. I’d like to know more about the expanded synthesis engine when that info becomes available.

  2. The way I read this is that Waldorf has introduced the almost perfect hybrid synth. It kinda
    sounds like an “Quntum V1” / Iridium hybrid. I still have most of the cash I had saved up for a Moog One still available and burning a hole in my pocket. After nearly a year with my Iridia, I think I’ve found my next major outlay while I’m waiting for the 3D Wave to make it to distributors. I can probably get enough if I sell the two Iridia to almost pay for this thing outright, but even that will be an option now. All of my reservations that I had when I didn’t purchase the V1 have been met. Analog AND, what I assume will be the same filter as in the Iridium, 61-key Fatar TP8/SK keyboard (the 49-key version on the Iridium is the best, by an enormous amount, feeling synth keybed I’ve ever played), expanded Sample memory (56GB is absolutely amazing), and improved Iridium-like display. I don’t even have to hear it. I’m 100% sold!

  3. The addition of polyAT, expanded sample memory & the USB MPE capability make this piece kit very attractive for this ‘deep synthesis’ type of capacity, that’s becoming a somewhat pricey proposition at this point these days, although it’s lucrativity into & onto the future seems to be a sealed endeavor indeed & certainly viable¡ thanx folks

  4. Can one not tell the difference between the 8 voices using analog filters and the 8 voices using the digital filters? If so, what is the point of having analog filters at all?

    1. There is a noticeable difference on my Mk1, the digital filtered voices are louder. Character wise, there’s no noticeable difference. In my opinion, the analog filters on the Quantum offer nothing. They have no character. And why two of the exact same filter? Having a multimode filter for the second filter have would make more sense. I have switched to digital only, with no noticeable difference in my patches. Thus I basically have a 61 key Iridium at this point. When it came out I was excited about the analog filters (even though I grumbled even then about two of the same LPFs), but quickly realized they were from my perspective, the weakest feature of the machine. I’m sure there are some out there who think the analog filters are great and I’m happy for them.

      All that said, I love my Quantum and would be hard pressed to eliminate it from my rig. The multiple synth engines are powerful and these specs are hard to match in hardware form. For all my gripes, it sounds stunning, which is the most important factor.

    2. The easy answer is, “To say it has them (analog filters, I mean)”, which makes people remember the PPG Waves with some kind of nostalgic reverence. Although they aren’t, exactly, my cup of tea with regard to analog filters, they do sound different than the Iridium’s digital filters, so you can tell the difference. However, because the statements made in the description of the implementation of the digital filters leave a lot to the imagination, depending on how those filters and the extra eight voices of polyphony are realized will make a big difference. One way of reading what is said above is that the new Quantum may have three modes. An Iridium-like 16 polyphonic voice mode using the digital filters, a Quantrum-like mode using the eight analog filters and maintaining 8-voice polyphony, and a third (hybrid) mode that allows 16-voices of polyphony using some combination of the analog and digital filters that isn’t too clear. What might be cool, would be a way to split the keyboard so you could have a virtual Quantum on one side and a virtual Iridium on the other.

  5. So, soundwise, this is as exactly as the keyed Iridium except for the inclusion of the analog filters that were taken out when it was upgraded from module to keyboard? I’m am still looking for a keyed ‘workhorse,’ so to speak (I only got modules due to limited space), for when I move places next year or so, and not needing 61 keys, it doesn’t look to me the Quantum MK2 is going to take the first place away from the Iridium keys, due to it having a few more knobs. Except, for maybe if I’m missing something?

    1. You are a little off. No Iridium ever had analog filters (I have one of each). The only difference between the Iridia is the case and keybed. Also, because there is room on the face of the Keyboard model, there is more space between knobs and they are all (along with with the display) organized in one row in front of the keybed. The Iridium module has the 16 almost worthless 1/2″ sq illuminated pads to the right of the display with most of the knob controls on a second row beneath the display (with its six knobs) and the pads. The filters on the Iridia are identical and both are digital and stereo, allowing the Iridia to have 16 voices of polyphony. The reason I have referred to the new Quantum as a Quantum/Iridium hybrid in my comment above is because the Quantum now has its 8 analog filters and, apparently the full compliment of the Iridium’s 16 (although I’m not entirely sure about that, because it just seems weird). That the original Quantum got by fine with its 8 analog filters, suggests that no matter how they implement the digital filters, there is a lot more flexibility in the Iridium filters so putting them as a choice on the Quantum is one hell of a big improvement (again, I haven’t been all that impressed with Waldorf analog filters since the original Microwave).

      In the picture, above, the new Quantum looks almost identical to the Iridium Keyboard as to how the controls and the display screen are laid out. That would suggest that they might even fit into the standard “Waldorf Module Case” the way the Iridium’s do. So, without a lot of heavy reorganization, it seems that there is an obvious path to a Quantum module, for somebody who has an Iridium and is satisfied with its 49-key keybed, or has an MPE controller they would prefer to use.

      1. Thanks! It looks like the early morning coffee hadn’t been doing it’s job… I misremembered the info from the video I watched from Tim Shoebridge comparing the Iridium to the Quantum, and the video comparing the two Iridia. 🙂 Also thanks for all the extra info.

        What I do remember well is not being all too impressed with the differences in sound between the analog and digital filters. These Waldorfs simply sound modern, which leads to analog filters not making that big of a difference compared to their analog counterparts. Sure, they’re somewhat more “thin” compared to analog ones, but not in an off-putting way; they suit the modern sound of the engines. Then again, having the choice between both is lovely. And they do need a way to elevate the “budget” Iridium from the Quantum in some way. It’s just not that overly drastic than I would have assumed from the price difference. ALso, it looks like the additional knobs on the Quantum are just for the Komplex Modulator. Handy to have dedicated knobs for them, but not even that is much of a dealbreaker due to that large touch screen.

        In a way these synths linger in that interesting space between those the proudly analog and proudly digital synths that are on the market today, and I like them for doing just that. It’ll probably save them from sounding like a product of the 2010s a few decades away… Except maybe for its granular synthesis. I can’t see that turning into a mainstay due to how distinct it is.

        1. “What I do remember well is not being all too impressed with the differences in sound between the analog and digital filters.”

          You see why analog filters aren’t needed anymore. 😉

          1. I don’t think you can really make any generalizations about analog filters just by considering Waldorf’s. While I haven’t played with the new Microwave clone, my experience with Waldorf analog filters since the original Microwave is that they sound like shit to me. They have almost nothing in common with the analog filters on the PPG Wave 2.x nor even the ones on the original Microwave. Personally, I like the sonic character of most of the Waldorf digital filters much more. I no longer have a Blofeld, but the digital filters on that machine were absolutely gorgeous, even when emulating analog filters. When I chose to purchase the desktop Iridium over the Quantum, the analog filters on the Quantum didn’t even enter into the equation. When I went on to get the keyboard Iridium, the polyphonic aftertouch rendered the Quantum as being pretty much obsolete for me. This new Quantum with polyphonic aftertouch AND the digital filters (assuming they are the same as the Iridium’s) makes it a completely different synthesizer and a hell of a lot more appealing to me. That’s why I will order one as soon as Sweetwater makes them available to order.

            1. I generally think we have digital zero delay feedback filters in all kinds of flavors everywhere now. they sound good.
              I dont care about analog filters anymore. 🙂

              1. Is it too much to ask that you stop quoting me totally out of context? There has been nothing in any remark that I’ve made in this thread or any other one on Waldorf synths that suggests that I like the analog filters on these instruments any more than I like the Waldorf digital filters. Indeed, the opposite is true. I much prefer the Iridium’s digital filters to the analog filters on the original Quantum. That being said, digital models of many analog filters (e.g., the Moog 24dB/oct transistor ladder filter) remain imprecise and don’t sound the same as the analog filter. They are getting better, and some digital filters sound fantastic to me. However, given the current state of digital filter technology, most digital filters DO sound different than the analog filters they purportedly emulate, and if you really want the sound of some analog filters, the only way to get it is to use the analog filter.

            1. they both have their sweet spots – but digital through analog filter is a truly great sound. love the combination on Prologue, exotic harmonics with that nice round analog filtered sound is literally music to my ears.

              1. I have to admit that I really never listened to a Prologue. However, because of the way they are laid out I have been pushing them as a nearly-perfect synth for my students who want to fully explore subtractive synthesis with real analog components. Somewhere, I missed the magic of that third digital oscillator. Mainly because of this forum, I have explored the Prologue more fully and I now realize that my former opinion of them was incorrect and that now I really want one of them. I agree, John, that what you can do with the digital oscillator being processed by the analog filter is truly unique. Maybe the new Quantum will do something similar, but in my experience the old one doesn’t (because of the horrible analog filters on the Quantum). Seriously. for $1200 (49-key) or $1700 (61-key with low frequency compression) the Prologue is one of the most remarkable polyphonic analog/hybrid synths currently available (and to the extent of my knowledge, the most inexpensive 16-voice truly analog synth currently available). I have learned a very important lesson from all of this.

                1. Prologue literally left me with nowhere to go. it’s that good – for me. the LF comp is a delightful addition, and the 16 voices are wonderful even without the layering. also, while the documentation is a DIY affair, there’s plenty of code to point the way – and lots of plugins to explore. most are pretty good! https://korginc.github.io/logue-sdk/unit-index

                  i hope they do a follow on. doubtful though at the rate things are going.

  6. Wow this is close to a perfect hybrid synth now. Amazing stuff.
    You need the analogue filters to help smooth the harsh wavetables. Now poly aftertouch…..wow.

  7. Amazing. I always pined for a Waldorf Wave back in the day, and this now seems a worthy successor.

    I’d love a high quality poly-AT keyboard. I was tempted to put in a preorder for the next osmose. But now should I save up for this instead?

    1. First of all, there was no “Waldorf Wave” back in the day. The only “Waldorf Wave” was the plugin that is still currently available and that bears little resemblance (tone-wise) to the PPG Wave 2.3 it is supposed to emulate. Second, unless the new Quantum has analog filters that are much different than the old Quantum, it is as unlikely to sound any closer to what a PPG 2.x sounded like than any other Waldorf attempt since the original Microwave (again, the Waldorf M may be an exception, and if it is and if the filters on the new Quantum are similar to those, you can ignore most of my second point)..

        1. I stand corrected 🙂 However, I honestly don’t remember this thing ever being available, or maybe it was so out of my price range at the time that I managed to block all memory of it. Needless to say I have neither seen one nor played one. However, given that it was released just a few years before the abysmal sounding Microwave II, I wonder which analog filters it employed. From what I’ve heard in the YouTube demos, I think it may have had the same shitty filters that have plagued Waldorf synths since the original Microwave. Except for a pretty extensive SoS review, I’ve haven’t found anything serious that has been written about it and how it compares to the PPG Waves. Anyway, thanks for pointing out my error.

          1. Cheers! I’m still not sure you’re not mixing things up. The Microwave II/XT has digital filters, not analog. And the digital filters in the MWII/XT are legendary, so much so that Waldorf have now attempted to recreate them in the M, by popular demand. Those digital filters are really very interesting, incorporating complex waveshaping, filter FM and all sorts.

            The Quantum is (I think) the first Waldorf poly with analog filters since the Waldorf Wave.

            1. Apparently I’m not the only person here confused with Waldorf history. The original Microwave had analog filters that were, apparently, worked on by Mr. Palm. Because of those filters, I think, the original microwave did a pretty decent job of getting the original PPG sound (although, not exactly). Apparently, the Waldorf Wave came next, and even though I missed it, it also had analog filters (that I’m not convinced were anywhere as good as those on the original Microwave). Here’s where I was wrong (again), the shitty sounding Microwave II filters were, indeed, digital. I knew that I hated the filters on the Microwave II, but I guess it never occurred to me that Waldorf would replace the only thing that made the original Microwave and the PPGs unique, except for the wavetables, was the wonderful analog filters they, apparently, shared. Then, I guess the XT came about, apparently with the same shitty digital filters that the MWII had (I cant be sure of that but it had pretty much the same shitty sound). Frankly, I’m not really sure what happened after that and before the Blofeld, that had an amazing set of digital filters (among the best that were ever made available in a hardware synth, IMO). Finally we get to the current line which have been discussed ad nauseam here. Also current is the Waldorf M. Far from having digital filters designed to sound shitty like the ones on the Microwave II or the analog filters on the Quantum that sound almost equally as shitty, it, apparently, has analog 24dB/oct low pass ladder filters with saturation control. As I have said previously, I haven’t played with one, but the promise of a PPG-like synth as an improvement on the original Microwave certainly seems like it may be a possibility. So, you’re correct. The Microwave II did have digital filters, and I guess that you are also correct that the first Waldorf synth since to to have analog filters WAS the Quantum.

              1. The M has digital filters as well as analog. Initially it just had the analog ones, but it now has digital too via firmware update 1.06, and they are inspired by the MWII/XT filters, as requested by users. If you read the forums you see lots of people are excited about this.

                You’re welcome to an opinion, but lots of people do rave about the MWII/XT sound. For example, the waveshaper filters let you use the wavetables for waveshaping, which is worth a try if you haven’t done it. (XT is just MWII with extra knobs, it’s the same firmware.)

                1. I think that says a lot about people who like the Microwave II filters. It’s neither a positive or negative thing, but different. We all have our opinions about what sounds good and what sounds horrible. In comparison to the analog filters on the original Microwave, the digital filters on the Microwave II sound horrible to me. Personally, I don’t like squelchy, noisy, over-emphasized high frequency response, and judging by opinions of things I read here, apparently a lot of people do. I guess that those MW2 filters are great if that’s the kind of sound you are looking for. I can’t wait to get my hands on an M, though. If they really did try to emulate the digital filters on a MW3 instead of those on either the Blofeld or the Iridium, personally I think they are nuts. Should I ever acquire one, I seriously doubt I would even bother to use the digital filters after I reestablished how shitty they sound to me.

  8. Why “improved Synthesis” ? Does the Quantum 2 has a complete different Firmware on Board
    compared to the Quantum 1 ? And if no will the Quantum 1 will be getting same firmware updates in future ?

    1. It’ll run the same firmware base as the MK1 for now and in the near future. The underlying hardware is the same between the two. The only difference is the display and keybed. Rolf has said that development will continue for the MK1 but at some point they might stop upgrading the MK1 firmware.

      1. So, what you are saying is that the v2 won’t be released with the digital filters and 16 voice polyphony nor the 59GB sample memory, and all you really get is a v1 with a polyphonic aftertouch keybed and an Iridium-like display?

        1. no, thats upside down world
          if you have the version 1 you will get the same software as iridium and version 2. everything gets the software of version 2. 😉

          1. First I asked that question to evileye, since he/she made the statement to which I replied. Also, it is pretty clear that you have no idea what you are even talking about since your answer makes no sense at all! Either the v2 will ship with with those features that neither the Iridium nor the v1 have, or it won’t. And the answer should be the same whether the world is upside down or it isn’t.

        2. I’m sure it will ship with the digital filters and the 16 voices since those have already been in beta for the v1 and it is very near final release. It has been confirmed by the developer that mk1 and mk2 will run the same firmware.

          1. So, the only thing Waldorf is intending on doing for V2 is to replace the keyboard? If so, what would be the point of purchasing a new unit if all one needed to do to an old one to bring it up to speed is replace the keyboard?

    1. As per my reply, I realize I made an error. Forgetting it ever existed may be a function of my aging brain, but (because of the context of synthesizers and my memory of them) it is probably more likely that I never really knew of its existence. Having had a PPG Wave 2.2 in my studio for a while and having owned an original Microwave, I would like to think that I would have noticed the Waldorf Wave if it was really “very desirable”. Whatever the reason, the fact that I still don’t remember it (even after looking at all of the suggested URLs and doing further research on it expecting them to trigger some sort of memory), further suggests it wasn’t really that big of a deal, even in 1993. In fact, even Waldorf doesn’t appear to mention it in any of their recent ads for their newer wavetable synths, yet there is always mention of the historic importance of the PPG Waves (or maybe I missed those too).

  9. Ho hum.. I bought a PPG wave 2 back in the day.. and all of a sudden there was the 2.2, so I upgrqded quite instantly. It stayed with me for some years – long enough to figure out ways to transfer single patches to my casette deck and back – to build my own fav library. I never liked the sound of the thing. It was in a desperate need of fx.. so my unit was hardwired through a Dimension-D at all times. Nowadays all this is different. Ok – I got my Hydra Dlx.. but I might just also go for this one.. planning to sell my vintage gear and totally opt for whats presently going on in the world of synths.

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