Waldorf Quantum – The Deepest Synth Ever?

In his latest Blush Response video, synthesist and producer Joey Blush shares his thoughts on the Waldorf Quantum synthesizer.

He’s a big fan of the Quantum, calling it ‘the deepest synth ever made”, adding “It’s dethroned the Virus TI!”

This isn’t a straight review of the Quantum, and doesn’t cover all of its features. Instead, Blush shares an opinionated take on the Quantum and an extended demo of what it’s like for sound design, in experienced hands. “F***ing magic!”

Is the Waldorf Quantum the deepest synth ever made? Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

52 thoughts on “Waldorf Quantum – The Deepest Synth Ever?

  1. Waldorf Quantum MK2- £4.300 GBP, maybe the worlds most overpriced synth!
    You could buy a Novation Summit, a Hydrasnth and a Virus TI for the same money…

    1. And yet all those still can’t do what the Waldorf Quantum does. however I agree it’s too expensive, but that seems to be a trend for flagship. They have cheaper versions and used prices on Iridium can be found in the $1800 range.

    2. Yes you could buy all those… but you still wouldn’t have a 16 Voice Poly Granular synth or a Physical Modelling synth either

      1. Maybe swap the TI for an Osmose then you get outstanding Physical Modelling and a full MPE+ keyboard (not just poly AT), I think you could just about squeeze in a Korg Wavestate for the samples…but if you want it all in just one keyboard then yes, this may be for you! If it was 2K I would be interested!

        1. The Waldorf Quantum allows you to have a different synthesis engine per oscillator, which allows you to make much more complex sounds then anything you mentioned. However you can do it in something like Pigments.

          1. The osmose can have a user defined signal path for each patch, so although it doesn’t have all the different oscillator options, it is more flexible in design. And of course then, you also have the more advanced keyboard.. Plus you are left with 2.5k after that.

            1. “user defined signal path for each patch”

              this doesn’t even seem to mean anything

              the signal path is defined by the patch – which is in turn defined by the capabilities of the synth engine. In this case the Eagan Matrix

              There is little point in comparing the Eagan Matrix, Osmose (or Continuum) with the Quantum

    3. No other synth ever made can do what the Quantum can do. How do you put a price on that?

      In terms of in-production synths with poly aftertouch, there’s the Hydrasynth and the Osmose and not much else.

      Flagship synths are expensive, because there is a limited audience that will buy a deep, top-of-the-line keyboard. The Quantum is a true flagship synth, it can do more than any synth Waldorf has ever made and builds on decades of innovative Waldorf and PPG synths.

      When you buy a Quantum (or a Moog One, or a Prophet-6, or an OB-X8) you’re buying a modern classic, that can go head-to-head with just about any synth ever made.

    4. You could also buy a lot of toilet paper, cheese, beer, toothpaste, cat food, and deodorant for the same amount of money. I’m not sure the comparison makes a ton of sense.

    5. Oh how we are spoilt today. In my youth etc. we are too used to quite cheap polysynths. Let’s enjoy a flagship high end synth

  2. Old guy mode on: Does it actually matter which synth you use when you distort everything that much? I already have a headache listening to a few of his sound examples.

  3. I’m reasonably convinced that the Quantum is the most advanced hardware synth currently available, combining samples + granular + FM + virtual analogue + some physical modelling (comb filters).

    However whether you think all that hands-on control is worth it compared to a bunch of audio plug-ins on your computer is a different matter.

    1. I do like plugins, but hardware appeals more these days, especially going from System 7 > OS X > PPC > x86 and then saw the move to arm as my final straw. The platform changes and upgrade cycle were just an ongoing annoyance. I still use software but on Linux which I know isn’t for everybody but work great for me.

  4. This may be the first demo video for a product that makes me want it less. Sloppy presentation, distorted sound, and frantic overloaded patches turns a very sophisticated instrument into a hot mess. Sad, many such cases!

  5. I love Blush Response! Finally somebody who doesn’t torture us with the same old boring Berlin School/Vangelis/Blade Runner-geezer music, but does some proper, in-your-face techno.

    1. Old geezer here that likes all that old ‘Berlin School/Vangelis/Blade Runner-geezer’ music – and also appreciates what good synthesists are doing today.

      It’s a huge mistake to dismiss the work of synth pioneers. If you don’t know your history, you don’t know enough to be able to do anything new.

      It’s like building your house on a foundation of garbage.

      1. I have nothing but respect for electronic music history and enjoy learning about it. I just don’t need to see it being re-enacted at every chance. Blade Runner was exciting; watching a guy in a basement recreate it for the millionth time, not so much. Electronic music can sometimes feel like a museum, so I applaud anyone who stirs things up a bit and challenges me to shift my perspective.

      2. gee its old mans club here again, thats just silly.
        you dont need know Mozart or Beethoven to play the piano,
        neither do you need to know Suzanne Ciani to fart around with a synthesizer. 😉

  6. RLY like this demo, showing off hefty contemporary patches!

    Most of the sounds are heavy modulated – NOT distorted.

    for the synth: Yes it is posssibly all the synth you could ever want – but some may like multiple snyths dedicated to specific sounds more.
    When you want to use one big synth for a multitude of things this is probably it.

  7. I wish there was a bit more clarity here on what this Quantum in the video actually is. I’ve had my Iridium for quite a while now and I haven’t really seen or played an original Quantum in a very long time (several years). I notice that there isn’t a “Dual Digital Filter” control (like there is on the Iridium) and the only filter label on this Quantum is “Dual Analog Filter”. There doesn’t even seem to be a switch that that would cause the filter type to change, let alone a manual way to mix the filters. Again, except for momentary appearances of sound textures that didn’t sound like either malfunctioning aircraft turbo diesels or ancient electronic audio equipment being tortured with sledgehammers, it was really hard to hear anything he was demonstrating. I do agree, however, that if the Quantum 2 is anything like what its initial description makes it out to be it could be the “Deepest Synth Ever”. Right now, I’d have to give that title to the Iridium.

    1. With the latest beta firmware, the Quantum MK1 can do everything the Iridium can do except the Iridium has some CV in/outs. The digital filters from the Iridium are available as filter choices in the Quantum MK1. The Quantum MK2 is primarily an update to the keybed over the MK1. Both the MK1 and MK2 will run the same firmware.

  8. Love Blush Response and his gear demos. It’s not that I don’t like all the more traditional demos or am not aware of synth history. It’s just that on a day to day basis I like to listen to and make more gnarly abrasive music. It’s great to ALSO see/hear someone use the gear like I’d like to. I’d say the usual rule applies: if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. No need to whine about not liking it in the comment section.

    1. When something is purported to be a demo of something you are extremely interested in, you are kind of forced to “listen” to it. If this demo came with the disclaimer “Warning: This video contains abrasive noise that may cause nausea and vomiting”, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to watch it. I have no idea who Blush Response is but if this is the kind of semitonal noise he normally produces, I won’t be looking for his stuff any time soon.

  9. I love/hate these goofy debates, because most of them reek of Karens. Frankly, I still have an E-mu Proteus (20+ years old!) whose internal mod matrix is astounding. Filters & modulation often have more to do with a synth’s sound than the oscillators, so while I appreciate this one as a high accomplishment, the arguments seem weak. Having several types of engines is becoming more common, too, so those lines look more hazy over time.

    Between the Proteus, Pigments & Minifreak (among others), the only thing I really lack is that big ol’ surrogate iPad in the middle. Soundwise, I’m covered. Its a gorgeous synth, but its not the only one, nor does it replace all the others. I’d find it hard to believe that someone played this and nothing else. 😉 No synth seems that kind of good, so far.

    1. I think it kind of depends on what the word “deep” means, and how it one applies it. In my opinion, when I use the term “deep” in describing a synth it means how versatile it can be in accomplishing what you want it to. In this regard, the Quantum/Iridium synths are a lot more than three multi-purpose oscillators and how you can control them. Right now, I can speak only for the Iridium, but no other synth by itself, can do everything it can. That doesn’t mean that there are things that other synths do better (analog filtering, for example (and not the Waldorf variety), vector interpolation, additive synthesis, many of the things you can do with Kurzweil VAST, etc,), and I don’t think that anybody here is suggesting that they do it all and that either is the only synth you will ever need/want. I have a Kawai K5000S (that I just ordered a new TP/8 keybed and LED-backed display for). There are many things that it does using its additive synthesis/PCM-grafting engine that no synth, including the Waldorfs come anywhere near close to being able to do, and it’s almost 25 years old now.

  10. I had a K5 for a while, but it was like the breadboard version of what the K5000/S became. It was still too soon for additive in hardware form, but the S lifted the idea nicely. That’s one I wouldn’t mind seeing as a softsynth. Beef up the PCM side and it’d rock even more. I can easily understand re-fitting it because the feel factor is so right.

    1. I 100% agree about a plug-in version, because it is a completely digital synth and NOTHING would be sacrificed in a software port. I’ve been looking for something that does a respectable job in additive for quite a while, now. I’ve had some pretty good results with Blade/Blade II, some of the Image Line synths, Loom II, and even Pigments. My favorite ones that I found so far are VirSyn’s Poseidon (PC, Mac?) and Cube Synth (iPad). While the additive technologies employed in all of these synths are interesting on their own, nothing comes remotely close to the “envelope per harmonic” control you get with the K5000. Given that the synth came out almost 25 years ago, one can only imagine what would be possible now given the advances in computer technology. Why somebody hasn’t recreated something like it in software remains an unsolved mystery!

      1. Well, I may have been wrong in the last comment. I just watched this Loopop tutorial on additive synths …https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCujIf5eJ2w&t=409s … and found out something I didn’t know, or don’t remember. According to Loopop, Alchemy (at least the Logic X version), is capable of doing just about everything that the K5000 can do, and a hell of a lot more. I remember being impressed with the Additive capability of Camel Audio’s Alchemy, but I don’t remember it being capable of per-harmonic amplitude and frequency control (to which you can apply just about anything as a controller). Also, way superior to the K5000, Apple Alchemy apparently allows you to play with a lot more harmonics (360+) (I can’t remember if the Camel version did that too). The problem is that, although I still have a Win 10 functioning copy of Camel Alchemy, it now shows up about the size of a large postage stamps on my current monitors (hardly something you could even discretely see 128 harmonics in, let alone 300+). I purchased a Mac Mini M1 a while ago and got Logic for it at some point. When I played around with Alchemy there, it didn’t look familiar enough for me to dive into it. Now that I’ve found what it is capable of doing, I’m going to give it a lot more attention than I have previously. The Loopop tutorial is great for beginners but he fails to even scratch the surface of what should be possible with Apple Alchemy.

  11. This demo sounds like a particularly harsh, rough, raw instrumental electronic industrial track. It is headache inducing but cool, nonetheless. I think it was a pretty effective demonstration of the Quantum mk2’s synthesis abilities. It reminds me of some of the kind of stuff I used to listen to in the late eighties/nineties when I was in my twenties. I also listened to all of that other “geezer” electronic music back then too. I would be willing to bet that you can make those genres of music with just as well with this synth. However, for my workflow (and bank account), I would much prefer a plugin version of this synth — right down to a skeuomorphic, 3D-rendered copy of the hardware’s physical UI.

  12. There’s an old adage that is just as true today as it was decades ago:

    The more knobs and sliders on a synthesizer the better the synthesizer is.

    This must be a great synthesizer, right? LOL

  13. Eh..I messed with a mk1 quantum at a local shop and everything felt so slow (changing presets,flipping through menus etc. )

    An OG ipad is smoother and faster and I’d honestly have preferred if they just had the option of syncing with a tabler or pc/mac to pull up an editor that offloaded cpu so the whole process would be smooth. The big screen is useless if it has this noticeable delay between inputs.

    That being said the mk2 is probably addressing this and future iterations are probably going to be even better so glad it exists.

  14. Sounds like crap in this video, but I’ve heard Hans Zimmer messing around with his so I know it’s capable of some beautiful sounds, but this video is just ridiculous 🙁

  15. Massive migraine after listening to the demo sounds this guy was making. If I was staying at home I would have been put on restriction or threatened to be kicked out by my mom, if I were blaring sounds and music like that.

    1. I must admit that the most interesting thing to me in the presentation is how much this guy admires the faceless and random filtered noise.
      This “production” immediately reminded me of YT blenders or maybe, even playing with a Sherman filter, plugged into some old AM radio…

      Of course, my vision should not be taken seriously, because in the end it is all a matter of personal experience and understanding reality.


  16. Analog Addict has a good point. I think there are loosely two kinds of synth music: Things your mom can at least sort of like and things which make her run at your rig with an axe.

  17. I laughed at his comment, “It’s dethroned the Virus TI!”. If this is regarding relative complexity (‘deepness’), the TI really must have fooled a lot of people back then.

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