Waldorf Iridium Core Puts The Synthesis Engine Of The Quantum / Iridium Platform Into A Compact Package

Waldorf today introduced the Iridium Core, a compact synthesizer that they say puts the full Iridium synth engine into a compact desktop synth with 12-voice polyphony.

The Iridium Core is compact enough to fit into laptop bags and in carry-on luggage, but still features 5 synthesis engines: Wavetable, Multi- & Granular-Sampling, Waveform, Kernel FM and Resonator. Combined with a broad selection of digital filter and processing options, Iridium Core lets you explore a huge range of electronic sound.

Iridium Core shares the same software platform as Quantum, Iridium Desktop & Iridium Keyboard. All instruments are powered by the Waldorf synthesizer OS and will receive joint updates.

Specifications:

  • Compatible with the Waldorf Quantum synth engine
  • Software: Waldorf Synthesis Platform OS
  • Oscillators
    • 3 Oscillators each capable of 5 synthesis modes:
      • Wavetable
      • Waveform (VA)
    • Particle (Sampling and Granular Sampling)
    • Resonator
    • Kernels (up to 6 sub-oscillators which can be interlinked through FM, AM or Wavetable-position at audio rate)
  • Dual Stereo Filters per voice
    • True stereo pathDual Digital Filter with independent modes:
      • 12/24dB LP/HP/BP in all combinations
      • Nave, Largo, PPG, Quantum and State Variable models
      • Analyzer displayed in Filter view
    • Filter curve animation when modulated (optional)
    • Sophisticated filter routing options with modulatable panning and levels
  • Digital Former
    • Filter models like State Variable, Waldorf Nave, Largo and PPG in HP/LP/BP/Notch
    • Comb filters, Bit-Crusher, various Drives, Ring-Modulation
  • Modulators
    • 6 Envelopes
    • 6 LFOs
    • Komplex Modulator (LFO/Envelope combination with user-definable shape and morphing)
  • Mod Matrix
    • 40 slots
    • Fast assign mode
    • One additional control amount per slot
    • Identical Sources and Destinations can be used multiple times until the matrix is full
  • Effects
    • 5 slots per layer
    • Various parallel and sequential routing options
    • Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Drive, EQ, Compressor, Tremolo
  • Performance features
    • Advanced Arpeggiator
    • Step-sequencer with up to 64 steps for notes and parameters
    • 2×4 button pads assignable to notes or chords
    • 4 user-assignable potentiometers
    • 6 user-configurable macro buttons
    • Favourites screen for quick patch recall
    • XY control on touchscreen
    • Wheels touchscreen for MIDI controls like mod wheel, pitch bend, aftertouch and velocity
    • MPE capable
  • Screen
    • Industrial-grade highly responsive touch screen with Brightness control
    • 1024×600 pixels
  • Voices
    • 12 voice polyphony
    • Duo-timbral
    • Mono, Legato and Unisono modes
  • Patches
    • Over 1700 factory patches
    • Capacity of 7000 patch memory slots (numbers 0000-9999 can be used)
    • Patches from Quantum and other Iridium variants can be loaded and vice-versa
    • Category filter for patch list
    • 2.6 GB sample flash memory preloaded with 2 GB factory samples
  • Connections
    • Stereo Audio Out: 2x TS jacks
    • Stereo Audio In: 2x TS jacks
    • Headphones TRS output with level control
    • DIN MIDI IN & Out, mini-TRS Type A (two adapters to DIN MIDI sockets included)
    • USB Type B (device) for MIDI connection to computer
    • USB Type A (host) for storage media and MIDI devices
    • MicroSD slot
    • 2 high-resolution CV Inputs which can be used as modulation sources in the Mod-Matrix
    • Analog clock In & Out with clock divider settings
  • Sturdy metal case

Iridium Core Audio Demo:

Pricing and Availability:

The Waldorf Iridium Core synthesizer is available now with an intro price of € 1849 (normally € 1941).

29 thoughts on “Waldorf Iridium Core Puts The Synthesis Engine Of The Quantum / Iridium Platform Into A Compact Package

  1. No brainer, I’d sell my keyboard if I didn’t think I’d miss it a bit. The interface here looks more intuitive than the keyboard. It ends up being more knobs than is necessary for the amount of buttons you have to press to navigate anyway. One place to come back to for envelopes seems good. Interested in some hands on videos.

  2. Always wanted an Iridium but its always been beyond my reach financially. This, brings it into ‘maybe its possible’ if I sell some gear!! Good move Waldorf – an Iridium for the rest of us…

  3. This does look appealing – the original Iridium is massive, and in practice I rarely used the knobs. The touchscreen is excellent too. The only question really is how does this compare to iOS synths?

    1. In my estimation every sound from the video is doable on ios, there’s synths for everything there now. But I can see the appeal of owning an Iridium core for having it all in one hardware package.

      1. Totally agree. It is digital synthesis and therefore easily replicated on modern computer platforms including iPads.
        It’s just a rompler – purely digital synth with no VCA or VCF present.

        1. It’s humorous that some people think dismissing synths as digital, or that are duplicated as a VST, is somehow an intelligent critique.

          There is no ‘purely digital synth’ in hardware.

          EVERY synth – analog or digital – can be recreated as a VST, and most have. And the slight differences between an analog synth and the VST version are no different, at this point, than the slight differences between a digital synth and the VST version.

          Also – if you call everything a ‘rompler’, people just think you know nothing about synthesis.

          1. Romplers can be very comprehensive in what they’re capable of.
            Just take a look at SynthMaster for example and don’t forget the rest:
            Arturia – everything
            NI – everything
            .., and every single plugin ever released.
            ALL DIGITAL,
            Hardware synths that don’t have Analogue VCF or VCA are just digital emulators easily emulated with software – aka virtual analogue

            1. @ Leslie it’s interesting how adamant you come across in relation to how little you seem to know about synthesis definitions – to the extent that this might as well be flame bait.

              just in case it is not; for a synth to be an ’emulator’ it would have to ’emulate something’. from your restrictive (“aka”) VA definition, an all-digital wavetable/fm/granular synth – 3 synthesis technologies that far exceed the spectrum of sounds that you could generate with analogue synthesis alone – would just be a shoddy attempt at emulating an analogue synth with ‘different waveforms’ or effects. as if all synths basically try to emulate synths from the analogue era, which is obviously technically and historically nonsense.

              moreover, even though the term is indeed used somewhat loosely for e.g. NI plugins (still, that would technically be a ‘rampler’), there are myriad plugins that don’t use prerecorded unalterable samples stored in RAM( or ROM for that matter) as source material for their synthesis, so applying the ‘rompler’ label would just be silly.

              i don’t use this lightly, but either you really don’t know what you’re talking about, or are just trolling.

            2. a bit off-topic, but ‘rompler’ is often thrown around as if it is an insult. i feel it shouldn’t be, as many of them have left a distinctive mark on tons of iconic records throughout the years.. and still do.
              conversely, some of the voices who talk bad about romplers have not contributed anything positive to anyone’s life, missing the very chance to shine like a rompler.

              so a big cosmic love shout out to all you romplers out there: you are good just the way you are!

              1. Leslie’s comment suggesting that anything digital is a ‘rompler’ is completely and utterly incorrect.

                Leslie is completely wrong, both from a technical standpoint and from the standpoint of how the term ‘rompler’ is generally used.

                ‘Rompler’ refers to a specific category of synths that emerged in the late 1980s, when ROM memory became affordable and complete samples could be stored and read back from memory.

                Earlier digital hybrid synths essentially replaced analog oscillators, which were limited to a handful of waveshapes, with wavetable oscillators, which offered a huge variety of waveshapes. With these hybrid synths, the architecture was similar to what came before (VCO-VCF-VCA).

                With romplers, complete sounds were read from memory, which was a giant leap forward, if you wanted to recreate acoustic instruments. A static sample was indistinguishable from the original sound, so these instruments blew people’s minds when they came out.

                But these instruments generally had much less flexible synthesis capabilities than earlier synths, which meant that sounds tended to be more ‘static’. Synthesis options were often limited to things like looping part of the sound, adding a filter, and adjusting the attack and decay. As a result, rompler ‘realistic’ sounds tend to have an ‘uncanny valley quality, because when you play a note two times in a row, the notes sound exactly the same, and when you play up and down the keyboard, it sounds like a sound pitched up and down. This uncanny valley quality, and limited synthesis options, is what has given romplers a bad rap.

                None of this applies to Iridium, which has an extremely deep synthesis architecture, supporting a bunch of different types of synthesis.

          2. 99,9% of the digital recreations of analogue synths are just a rendered image of the original and usually that’s where the similarities end.

        2. the reason why it’s called a rompler is not because it’s ‘purely digital’; technically a synth could have a vca and vcf, and still be a rompler.
          also, it should be clear that iridium isn’t one

        3. @Leslie – you clearly have no clue what a Rompler is. The Iridium is NOT a Rompler. A Rompler is an instrument that plays back pre-fabricated sounds based on Samples; such as a stock Piano sound, Violin sound, Brass, etc. without the capability to create new sounds or record samples (a Roland JV-1080 or Emu Proteus is a perfect example of this.) The Iridium/Quantum line of synths is the exact opposite of that, a full blown synthesizer and sampler that allows you to fully sample your own sounds and then manipulate them in a variety of ways (e.g., Granular synthesis, Wavetable synthesis, etc.)

          And the difference between a Digital Synth and a General Purpose computer running a VST is that the processor on a Digital synth is dedicated solely to producing and editing the sounds from the Synth engine and Sampler, not to mention the Digital to Analog convertors purpose built for that Digital synth… as opposed to a General Purpose computer made for Web Browsing, Emails, Spreadsheets, Photoshop, Games… and oh yeah, Music software, but not optimized to do any of those singular things in a dedicated way like a Digital hardware synth. Computers have come a long way as have VSTs, but there is a reason Hardware synths still exist, and if you don’t get that, then that’s your issue.

          1. There’s probably a “tight” definition of a ROMpler– looped samples retrieved from ROM, and played back– often through various synthesis processes.

            And a “loose” definition– samples, (even single cycle waveforms) retrieved from ROM, combined with DSP-based oscillators, through various synthesis processes.

            I’d call a Kurzweil PC3 a ROMpler, even though not all oscillators are sample-based. But that’s using the “loose” definition.

            I think the lines get blurred because of so many advances in the tech.

            There is a reason that hardware synths still exist– digital or analog or hybrid. There is something very satisfying about that kind of physical interface that is more satisfying and efficient to work with than rubbing glass, zig-zagging a trackpad, or mouse-hopping.

          2. Depending on the architecture of a synth, you can create a vast number of “new” sounds with a specific set of samples. Kurzweil synth’s as well as emu’s ultraproteus/ultrmorpheus synths of the era are prime examples of that. I’d say in constrast to a nord lead 1 or an Yamaha AN1X those synths had a vastly wider sound palette. The benefits of analogue, va’s, etc does not lie on their wide sound palette.

            1. @xrx and others are missing the point, and/or don’t understand the difference in the types of synthesis. Romplers are sample playback devices that have samples permanently stored in ROM memory, period. Some, as you mentioned such as the Ultra Proteus, have some basic subtractive synthesis features, and maybe even a filter, but you are still stuck with those ROM-based samples as the basis of the sound. Comparing that with a Virtual Analog like the Nord Lead 1 (which I still own) is comparing Apples to Oranges. Virtual Analog like the Nord Lead and the JP8000, digitally models the entire architecture and characteristics/nuances of an Analog synth to allow full control over the sound just like you would with a true Analog synth. It may not have as many “samples” as a Rompler, but it usually has way more control over your sound design…

              Which brings me back to the point, which is, Leslie was and still is completely wrong! The Iridium is NOT a Rompler by any definition at all. Just because a synth is Digital, doesn’t make it a Rompler. There are many different types of synthesis in both the Analog and Digital world. The Iridium, like its big brother the Quantum (which I also own) is currently one of the most powerful synths and samplers on the market today. It is a full blown Wavetable synth like its predecessors the Microwave series and its cousins the PPG Waves. It’s also a full blown Virtual Analog synth like it’s predecessor the Waldorf Q and Micro Q, with all the modeled waveforms of a great VA. It’s also a Granular synth with full sampling capabilities. It’s also a Resonator synth which is pretty mind blowing to have all of these capabilities in a synth like this. And oh yeah, to top it off, the newish Kernel engine turns it into an Additive synth with FM capabilities… what it is NOT is a Rompler by any definition at all.

              1. And you think you are not stuck with the sawtooth, pulse, sine and triangle on your Nl1? The diversity of sounds one can create with a synth like the ultraproteus with its fuction generators (think a couple of control forges), the z-plane filters and the sample scanning, is magnitudes biggers than what with the 2-oscillator, one filter, two lfo’s and two envelopes engine of a nord (and pretty much 99,9% of va’s and analogue synths out there). Yes the Iridium brings more synthesis types, but 20-30 years later. If you ask me, it is too late. Synths like these in the 20’s are relics to work with. We already have max msp, supercollider, kyma, csound, and other musical programming languages in our disposal to program all possible synthesis, processing methods.

                1. You are so not getting it. And my original point to the OP is, the Iridium is NOT a Rompler. Period. I had Romplers back in the day, I’ve owned and/or worked with just about every synth/sampler/rompler imaginable in both hardware and software, including Modular (both Eurorack and Buchla) for the past 40+ years. And all I was saying is, something like the Quantum/Iridium series is miles beyond a Rompler… but regarding your extremely weak and outdated Software vs Hardware argument, again, I’d much rather have a purpose built Hardware synth with dedicated controls like the Iridium (or in my case, the Quantum) over any software-based synth on a General Purpose computer with a generic MIDI controller, if I had no choice. Luckily, I do have choices and use both in my Film Scoring work, from all of my Hardware synths to a ton of Software ranging from Omnishpere, Max/MSP (which I’ve used from the inception) Csound, Supercollider, etc., etc,. not to mention all the film scoring libraries from Spitfire Audio and others. The only thing I haven’t used but wanted to is the Kyma system. But the fact that you are just arguing for arguments sake is getting ridiculous.

          3. Leslies are supposed to spin, aren’t they? Even the other way around.Leslie did good as such. He spun and we spun.

  4. No offense to the opinions of others. I personally don’t find the VST/IOS equivalency critiques helpful. Some creatives like dedicated hardware, some like hosted plugins or apps, some co-mingle both. You pick what works for you.

    Waldorf makes excellent instruments-several of which I use daily. My only critique with this offering is with the price point. Savvy buyers can snatch up an Iridium desktop for the same or less. I would think placing this in the $1,200 -$1,500 range would make it more attractive and keep it out of competition with the used market.

  5. Well, it has everything but real analog oscillators, so if you can’t do it with this, ooo, you’re a big ol’ poser! That seems like a very reasonable price for a power synth that does everything but fly. Classy GUI. MPE-ready, too.

    1. It’s obviously an extremely capable synth, but I don’t think anyone looking for the sound of a vco-poly would be satisfied with this. Not only does it not have vco’s, it also has no analog filters nor vca’s. It can do more than most (or all) other synths out there (except its bigger siblings), but it will not do a truly convincing emulation of analog. Which is not to be expected, but if what you want to do is dependent on the sound of vco’s going into vcf’s and vca’s, this will not float your boat nor plank. Maybe I’m pointing out the obvious here, but your comment seemed to invite it.

Leave a Reply