Waldorf M Wavetable Synthesiser
“Modern-classic” M brings back late-80s Microwave wavetables in a new hands-on, desktop synth venture from Waldorf
Waldorf Music is bringing back classic Microwave and ‘modern’ Microwave II tone generation as part of its roots-returning M, a new-generation classic hybrid wavetable synthesiser with an analogue lowpass 24dB/Oct VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter) with resonance and analogue saturation feature, true stereo analogue VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) with panning option, and much more to explore in a desktop-friendly form factor featuring a wide range of unique sounds.
At M’s heart is an eight-voice polyphonic, four-part multitimbral wavetable synth. Two wavetable oscillators with independent wavetable-generating Classic Microwave 1 and Modern Microwave II/XT modes, meaning that the wavetable oscillators behave differently in both of those modes (accessible by pressing the Mode button beside the high-resolution graphic display with four endless encoders). Consequently, there is no hard Sync or ring modulation available in the Classic Microwave I mode, where 16-bit wavetables are bit-reduced to 8-bit and a 240 kHz non-anti-aliased sample rate is offered, whereas the Modern Microwave II/XT mode offers a 40 kHz sample rate with band-limited wavetables, although both oscillators — OSC 1 and OSC 2 — offer the same panel parameters.
The central dual dial governs the oscillators, with Wavetable (outer black ring dial) selecting the 96 factory wavetables and any user’s custom wavetables (UWT 1-31) for the corresponding oscillator and Wave (inner red dial) determining the start point of the wavetable. 45 additional dials and many buttons are spaciously spread across the full-metal housing.
Meanwhile, two LFOs can be used for modulation purposes. However, unlike other Waldorf synthesisers, there is no modulation matrix in M. Making a conscious design decision to set up M’s modulation facilities directly on the corresponding display page, its creators are again playing at paying tribute to the 1989-vintage Microwave. M also features a performance-oriented ARP with 16 preset patterns, chord mode, and an ability to synchronise to MIDI clock. Furthermore, four programmable ENVELOPES allow adventurous users to manipulate sound parameters via rate or timed modulations.