I would buy the Waldorf Quantum over and over
I think in my future synthesizer purchases, I will wait until a synth has been available for a year. Most of the time, issues will be firmware, but sometimes there are hardware revisions. That may be common knowledge but I’m an experience learner, ha! That said, critiques in this post should be properly weighted; the Waldorf Quantum is an amazing machine. Under my new 1 year policy, I would not hesitate to pull out my credit card and buy the Quantum today, and I have little to no regrets about having bought one 6 months ago.
The Quantum is definitely my stranded on an island with only one synthesizer (and electricity) choice. Even analog purists would be well advised to open their minds. Those without $4k to spend would be well advised to move mountains to get one. Those who are not ready to appreciate the value of a $4k synth yet, need to spend time with a Quantum. The Quantum is one of the few pinnacles of synthesis on the market today.
I think there are a few resolvable hardware issues in some 1st year Quantums. Aside from miscellaneous defects or QC issues which all new electronics are likely to have a 1% rate of, here are a few to be aware of.
- Squeaky keys – This one is the easiest to fix. You don’t have to tolerate it or take pass on a used machine with the issue. This condition is common to many brands which use Fatar keybeds. The keybed just needs lubrication, check with Waldorf support or your dealer.
- Touch screen sensitivity and/or dead zone – Most of the issues with this are firmware design, fixed in the 2.0 beta 9. You may notice in the image at top of this post, the 6 control areas on the left and right sides of the screen are redesigned to reflect more accurately that there are no buttons for selections like normal and mod; the whole rectangular area is a touch area/button, which once you understand that, makes selection a snap. The middle selector knob between save and previous has been programmed to scroll through selection choices much more accurately and easier than previous touch only selections. You could get a new screen through warranty that is purported to be more sensitive, however the firmware changes make a world of difference and you may not care. Likewise, many Quantums have a dead spot on the right 1/4″ of the screen that can be fixed with a screen firmware update (not to be confused with the OS firmware, this is completely distinct and not currently upgradable from SD or USB. A user upgradable screen firmware may become available in the future, but there is no guarantee at this point). I think most people will not bother to deal with repair of these screen issues since the beta take almost all the pain away. To replace the screen or update the screen firmware, you will need to ship the synth to a warranty center.
- Voices with inconsistent resonance – See image at top of this post. I wouldn’t have even noticed this if I hadn’t read about it. Thanks to Paul Cotton, who provided these issue confirmation instructions and .wav files: Boot, load a patch > Init the patch > Turn off OSC1 in the OSC MIX (so audio will be just filter self resonance) > Left of the screen, change analog filter 1 cutoff to 67 and resonance to 85.5 , then repeatedly play middle c to cycle the voices. Before fix .wav / After fix .wav To fix this, you will need to ship the synth to a warranty center.
So I’m trying to decide if it’s even worth the bother to send my Quantum off to fix the 2nd and 3rd issues in February 2020, when I am buying a Sequential Prophet X and will be busy with that new synth for a bit and will have a fresh outer box to ship it in.
The Quantum 2.0 firmware beta
What happens in the beta stays in the beta. I will say this though, the current 2.0 beta 9 firmware is more stable and polished than the the non-beta 1.3.0 firmware release. Don’t be shy or paranoid, get the beta, you won’t regret it!
The Waldorf Quantum factory patches
Like most Quantum owners I would imagine, I didn’t buy the Quantum to use presets primarily. I bought it for sound design so I didn’t really spend much time cruising the presets. After 5 months, I did start checking out the presets in more detail. I was pleasantly surprised, there are some amazing presets. Like all synths, some are basic and they could be expanded. There is more than meets the eyes initially though.
- 1-88 are “best” of selections from the rest of the 100-1529 presets.
- 100-199 are Richard Devine presets and those are mind-blowing!
- 200-231 BT Brian Transeau Maryland musician and composer
- 300-314 Sascha Dikiciyan aka Sonic Mayhem LA Producer and musician
- 400-408 Wolfram Franke former Waldorf developer and sound designer
- 500-625 Peter Jung sound designer with KApro Kurt Ader Productions
- 700-787 Howard Scarr sound designer and composer (Blade Runner 2049+)
- 800-855 Reinhold Heil LA film and television composer
- 900-931 Lukas Schütte Waldorf support and composer
- 1000-1059 Rolf Wöhrmann Waldorf developer and designer, including Nave
- 1100-1120 Torsten Quaeschning with Tangerine Dream
- 1200-1244 Mike Huckaby Detroit techno pioneer and producer
- 1300-1329 Maxime Dangles French DJ and producer
- 1400-1429 more Richard Devine Atlanta musician and sound designer
- 1500-1529 Jörg Hüttner LA film and television composer
- Kurt Ader is mentioned on Waldorf’s site but I’m not sure which part he worked, though he is KApro
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More Uptown Oscillators Waldorf Quantum related articles
June 30, 2019 – Waldorf Quantum joins “Studio” ha!
July 28, 2019 – Some first month thoughts about Waldorf Quantum
October 2, 2019 – Inside the Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer
January 10, 2020 – Wavetable Synth Comparisons