The waldorf Microwave "Mk1" is the first version of a serie of expanders born after the PPG project.
A bit of history: PPG 2.2 was released around 1983 and 2.3 in 1985 introduced dynamic spectral dynamic process synthesis, but soon PPG went out of business... but not the Wolfgang Palm project, reincarnated a few years later in the MICROWAVE rack (PPG 2.4?).
RACK This expander is two units rack height with blue or grey panel (exists also in a limited green edition) depending on the release with minor hardware differences like the filter CEM models.
Quite aseptic and monolithic, the rack offers just six buttons for edit and a big red wheel encoder for data entry, that soon became one of the most famous Wsldors' s logo.
All edit is done on a micro 16 x 2 pixel display with active backlight, in other words, programming a sound could be a tough job! but even if a bit poor-sober, the Microwave has its own philosophy with a kind of matrix for access to all parameters... German logic, I presume?
Behind the synthesizer there are a pair of main audio out jacks, 4 individuals out assignable to stereo or mono and a MIDI I/O . Strangely enough, no headphones out nor Volume pot.
The power supply is internal but it sticks out of the rack... UGLY.
VOICE The main core is a Motorola 68000 CPU generates eight voices of polyphony and the multimode manages up to eight parts.
A sound is made by two detunable oscillators reading digital waves called
"Dynamic Spectral Wavetable Synthesis" each with different spectrum and
harmonic contents. D.S.W.S has 32 wavetables each with 64 waves
the same of PPG 2.2 / 2.3 but in different
order, plus some extra wavetables called "R31-R32". Others 12 RAM are user free but Edit is possible only by Midi Sysex. If you need more slots, RAM card are needed.
The main synthesis engine is the famous "Wavescan Technology" that reads waves at 64 different start positions cycles or random, then the oscillator "moves" on the waves changing in real time the harmonic content using a special 8-stages Envelope with possible loop points. Standard digital SAW / SQUARE / TRIANGLE waveforms are available (without Wavescan) and a white noise is summable to the oscillators.
Often the sound results may results harsh with digital artifact, but an interpolation option can be activated between the waves to smooth the transition values - nevertheless "Raw" or "Stepped" sounds are very interesting! De gustibus non disputandum.
ENVELOPE Wavescan has also special eight stages Envelopes with multi split segment and loopable parts, while Amplitude and Filter have their own classical four segments "A-D-S-R".
A good option for programming are the internal "Macros" some template presets for common sounds patch type for a quick edit.
FILTER analogCEM 3389 for my machine called "REVISION A" and CEM3387 for "REVISION B".
VCF with Low pass 24 octave/slope resonant filter. Did you say powerful o' punchy? you just can't be disappointed... like you could be with Microwave 2.
LFO two syncable LFO.
First one only with Delay START - both have the these waveform: Sinusoidal / Triangle with Symmetry adjust (a kind of width) / Pulse with PWM / Saw / Random.
The LFO modulates PITCH / AMPLITUDE / FILTER / WAVESCAN EG.
MATRIX rack has a powerful matrix modulation with quite flexible Midi parameters allowing a quick routing with source and destination parameters.
OS Some Os version like the famous ultimate 2.0 have even more Karplus-Strong waves (but nothing so fantastic).
MEMORY A / B banks with each 32 sounds in RAM plus 64 "Performance" multitimbral. The RAM works with an internal Lithium type CR-2032 battery. The sounds can be also saved on special external RAM cards.
MIDI complete sysex programming and Dump. Four assignable Control changes called "W-X-Z-Y" from Midi CC 0 to 120.
RELATED MICROWAVE 1 FAMILY
MICROWAVE GREEN LIMITED EDITION cool green color as limited edition. Basically the same, except the steal second hand price since it's VERY limited.
HINT: Buy a green spray can - cheaper way.
WALDORF SLAVE also known as the GIMP (directly from Pulp Fiction :-) OK it' s a "slave" one rack unit called "wave slave" that can be linked to the Microwave doubling the voices. Pretty stupid, the Slave doesn NOT work standalone.
Not much units sold and seems to pretty hard to find and technically it also won't work with OS2.0. You've been warned, the Slave is hard to please.
ACCESS PROGRAMMER The Mw can be also programmed with the ACCESS PROGRAMMERfor quick editing of the most common parameters.
For deep programming you need an external computer or Controller with more Sysex edits.
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