Waldorf QUANTUM – a hybrid path to the future

Multi-technologies are trendy. Not only in the automotive industry, where hybrid automobiles will be part of our future. In the music electronics industry, hybrid systems are omnipresent as well.

Especially at Waldorf, where the symbiosis of DIGITAL and ANALOG has a long tradition. QUANTUM goes one step further and pushes sound synthesis to its extreme …
Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Rarely a synthesizer has been awaited with such high expectations as the Waldorf Quantum. Announced in 2017, great buzz words were soon glittering through the media: “Granular Synthesis”, “Re-Sampling”, “Wavetables”, “Dual Analog Filter”, “Digital Shaper”, “Complex Modulator”, and so on and so on … The hype was further enhanced by the exquisite design of the instrument. Graceful and noble: The Quantum quickly became an object of desire.

Whether the synthesizer meets these high expectations is the subject of this report.

Key word “body mass index”

The Quantum’s relation of size to weight is almost perfect. 100 cm wide and 40 cm deep, the instrument offers enough space for a multitude of switches and knobs. Its 18 kilos indicate massive hardware. Once the Quantum is on the table (or on the keyboard stand), it won’t move – no slipping, no wobbling!

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Well, simple specifications are just one side of the coin. But it’s the design that turns an instrument into an instrument. And as so often, Axel Hartmann has once more demonstrated his skills by creating one of the most elegant synthesizer designs of all time.

Quantum looks stunning! High-tech-layout in absolutely every single aspect. The unusual connecting rod on the underside (ideal for carrying the Quantum!), the myriad of LEDs (individually color-adjustable), the aluminum wheels (ribbed inwards – an adaptation of the classic Moog design?), the luxury display with touch function and through-the-glass-plate-mounted pots.

The latter point – the display – was one of the two main problems during the first production batch (the keyboard being the second problem). Quite a few instruments had to be returned, as, after several hours of operation, strange stains appeared on the display. But those teething troubles have long been solved …

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Waldorf has spared no expense in coming up with one of the most stylish and elegant synthesizers available. But in fairness it must be admitted that Quantum does crash from time to time (it simply stops operating for seemingly no reason). A side effect of our digital age …

By the way, the Quantum’s user guidance is absolutely exemplary. Be it the oscillators, LFOs, envelopes, modulation assignments, the sequencer or the routing of the signal path: the programming procedure – a mixture of hardware-operation and touch-display-operation – is always clear and straightforward.

The inner core

Quantum is an 8-voice synthesizer. This might raise questions as to whether such limited polyphony is justifyable in 2018. The clue: the question behind the question is sound quality, not sound quantity!

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Synthesizers with 16, 24 or more voices are of little use if their sound seems to be emiting from a Coke tin. We prefer 8 voices of excellent sound to a myriad of voices of questionable quality.

The key question is: IS the Quantum sound good enough to justify its restricted polyphony? We’ll try to give an answer … and time will tell if we’re right. But first, a few more facts …

Quantum sound-path features:

  • 3 oscillators per voice, with four synthesis algorithms each
    (Wavetable / Waveform / Particle = Granular, Sampling / Resonator)
  • 2 analog filters per voice (12dB / 24dB Lowpass)
  • 1 digital filter -“Digital Former” – per voice (23 filter types!)
  • 6 envelopes (Amp / Filter 1 / Filter 2 / Free 1 / Free 2 / Free 3)
    with Loop- and EnvelopeVar(iable)-Function
  • 6 LFOs (each with Sine / Triangle / Square / Sawtooth Down /
    Sawtooth Up / Sample & Hold)
  • Various amplifiers

Further sound-path aspects:

  • Flexible routing system (Osc, Filter, Digital Former, Amplifier …
    the signal path is freely routable)
  • Comprehensive modulation matrix
  • Komplex modulator
  • Effekt unit (with a maximum of 5 effects slots)
  • Compressor

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Performance Tools:

  • Pitch-/modulation-wheel
  • (digital) modulation-pad
  • Glide function
  • Hold function
  • Chord function
  • Mono function
  • Unison function
  • Arpeggiator
  • Sequencer
  • Audio-recorder
  • 61 keys with VEL and (monophonic) AT
    (incoming polyphonic AT messages are recognized)
  • Microtonal pitch configurations capable of importing Scala scl files
  • Single / split / layer sounds
  • Oscilloscope / Analyzer

Further Global Features:

  • Patch capacity of up to 10,000 (!) sounds
  • Favourit lists for quick recall of sound patches (e.g. set-lists)
  • Export and Import of presets, samples and wavetables via SD card
  • Sample recording (Audio Input or “internal” sampling of own sounds)
  • All parameters with MIDI CC function
  • Visualisation and in-depth sound editing via multi-touch display

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

At this point, it would make little sense to explain every single feature of the Quantum in detail. Technical explanations are of limited use when talking about the actual “value” of an instrument. Instead, we would like to contrast the – from our point of view – welcome special Quantum features with its few peculiarities that may require getting used to. And to recommend those musical uses for which the Quantum is in our estimation the most suitable.

The many positive aspects

“Flexible” Sound-Design

This is obvious. Wavetables, classic waveforms, sound design using particle elements, multi-sampling or resonators … all in a 3-way oscillator design and in any imaginable combination. In addition, a myriad of sound shaping details (analog / digital filters / flexible routings / tons of ​​modulation options and effects). Such a comprehensive “Synthesizer Engine” is almost exclusive with the Quantum.

“Quick” Sound-Design

Not obvious, on the other hand, is Quantum’s quick sound-design. The instrument may abound in details and features, but the user will never get lost in a jungle of choices and menues (or so we find). The combination of hardware and software, of real buttons and touch display is a nearly perfect work environment for the accomplished sound-tinkerer and programmer alike.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

A few inadequacies concerning the Touch Display will be discussed later …

Intuitive Performance

Broad stereophony, massive unison, ascetic monophony … Single Mode, Double Sounds … everything a question of a few seconds. Arpeggiator with direct access, a step sequencer as simple as it is flexible to handle. Pattern-transpose in realtime via the keyboard. Here’s the chord function, there’s hold, then the freely assignable modulation wheel, and much much more. Not to forget the audio recorder – for spontaneous recordings of your performances, or to create your own samples and then re-process the sound through the numerous forms of synthesis.

Sound-Pool Luxury

Quantum offers up to 10,000 sounds … who needs 10,000 sounds? But actually, the number is irrelevant. All sounds are organized in groups / sound areas, so searching for sounds is easy and access to the huge sound-pool is as simple as can be – via a central dial button or a (virtual) numeric keyboard. By setting favourites / set lists, you can limit yourself to a few dozen sounds, should the myriad of presets be more frightening than enjoyable for you. And sounds as well as samples can be easily imported / exported via SD card (key words: extension of sample material, sound backup). Everything is taken care of, everything is simple to operate.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Workplace Design Of High-Quality

Both its exemplary layout and its excellent feel contribute significantly to the intuitive operation of Quantum. After a relatively short training period – after 2 or 3 days, we’d say – operation of this complex instrument should have become a familiar work process to you. Familiar and pleasant, that’s important. No wiggling knobs here, no inadequate and annoying hardware … Apart from those rare system crashes, working on Quantum is a thoroughly relaxing and, yes, sensual activity. The possibility to adjust the LED colors according to your own needs (your own logic) is another advantage of its intuitive operational system. Renewed praise!

What might need some getting used to

Stereo – Mono – Stereo … Huh?

One great surprise: The analog filter acts monophonically. Although the oscillators can be individually positioned in their panorama – a big “hurray” – the soundpath is anything but stereo. Once sound passes the analog filter, you’re stuck to mono. Ok, ok, special signal routings – oscillators via the digital filter or routed directly to the amplifier(s), for example – do allow for stereo images. And double sounds can be adjusted just as comfortably within their panorama. Last, but not least, stereo effects (ping-pong delay, etc.) are there, too. So, there “is” some sort of stereo quality available, but (sadly) not in the instrument’s inner core, in its plain osc-ANALOG filter-amp signal path.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Harsh basic sound?

True, “harsh sound” is a very personal opinion. If you don’t agree, please skip this paragraph and go on. What we do know for certain is that the basic Waldorf sound is clear and digital rather than warm and analog. It’s harsh and, well … shrill. Full of exciting acoustic moments, sure, but tiring and exhausting at the same time, affording little relaxation for your ears*.

Part of the “problem” is the effect section. Especially the reverb algorithm, producing a hard digital sound of somewhat disturbing character. There will be an indication later of how the harsh Quantum sound might be perfectly suited to the “overall” studio sound, when combined with other synthesizers / sound modules.

[* By the way, sound quality in its historical context is interesting. The unique sound of those great-great-great-grandfathers PPG Wave 2 / 2.2 / 2.3 has never made it into the new millennium. Wavetables with all their refinements: Yes. Warm and vivid (dynamic) sounds: No.]

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Touch-Display – perfect for “slim” fingers?

The touch-sensitive display is an excellent tool. It is the key to effective operation and detailed sound design of the Quantum. Graphic Waveforms, Filter Resonance Peaks, Envelope Forms, Samples, Routings, Active Voices – it’s all visualized. The display (including its silver pots) is a wonderful tool.

But then, long thin fingers would be a real asset. Some of the “digital” buttons on the display are devastatingly small, hart to hit and sometimes a little stubborn (how “firmly” should you press?). Furthermore, scrolling down a drop-down menu or through a list of options sometimes unintentionally leads to the selection of unwanted functions. Slipped off, not precisely scrolled, wrongly wiped – everything is possible.

Acoustical experiences: Presets and Performance

Those first hours with Quantum were exhilarating. Many, many hundreds of sounds, uncountable presets (a good part of which sound really good) styled by well-known specialists and sound-designers. And we found ourselves – albeit unintentionally – amused. Because so many of those elaborate sounds were reminiscent of times long ago.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Some sounds, for example, were reminiscent of the famous “Universe” preset no. 001 of Korg’s M1 anno 1988. That atmospheric sound with its characteristic “Lore” sample in the background that became world reknowned. We stifled a smile, thinking: “Aha, so so much has not really happend in the last 30 years.” Classic wavetable sounds, aggressive arpeggio lines … we all know.

But that’s not to the point. The Quantum preset material can form an excellent basis for your own, extended sounds. Which is the way it should be. Because as soon as you leave the LOAD (Preset) area and dive into sound programming, Quantum brandishes its weapons. It’s down to the real nitty-gritty. Every sound aspect can be manipulated, every fiber of the sound structure influenced, (almost) every modulation itself modulated with (almost) everything else.

The Waldorf Quantum as a thousandfold (!) tool for creative sound design. The limits of the feasible exist only in the head of the user … taking into consideration the time available.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

The creative performance potential is vast and comprehensive as well. A sequence is easily set up, velocity values ​​are quickly converted and routed in the modulation matrix to any desired destination(s). Once you add additional controller data, that pattern transforms into something more: an ecstatic, a groovy performance. Some quick mod-wheel movements here, some fast sound adjustments (touch-display!) there … the performance becomes more and more lively, delving into new musical territory … and … and …

… and suddenly something interesting happens. Or something bizarre, to be exact. As soon as you stop the performance and just listen to it (as an exemplary studio musician, you certainly recorded everything in realtime) … so, as soon as you listen to the whole thing once more, you raise your eyebrows and state: “Oh, it sounds … very … nice!” Not more, not less – just nice. By magic, the wonderful ecstasy of performance got stuck somewhere. Maybe in the monophonic filter section, in the D / A converter or in the “Endless Reverb”. Or it was deformed by the Quantum compressor. Who knows.

Now, this doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then. We come to realize that performance experiences and sound results are perhaps two different pairs of shoes.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

No matter how much you tweak knobs, turn here and there, modulate this and that and try to program special tricks – somehow, the sonic results are occasionally unexplainably sober and distanced.

Evaluation of sound

So we come to one of two conlusions: Either Waldorf Quantum is not suitable to be your only solo synthesizer, your only tool for sound production. All in all, its character is somewhat cool, it lacks vividness and dynamic vibrance. And that, despite all its (theoretical) musical possibilities. Warmth and under-the-skin presence are not the top strength of Quantum. That this does not necessarily have to be, is demonstrated by our sound example “Classic Analog”, a lively lead sound that is adjusted directly during recording and enriched with beats or subtle stereo effects.

Or you reach the following conclusion: Waldorf Quantum is an excellent sonic complement to your existing composite synthesizer- / sound-module-setup. A distinctive component in the mix (a certain arpeggio line / sequence, a certain granular solo-sound, …), or an enriching supplement to layered sounds. Very often, it’s a combination of factors (characters / timbres / instruments) that leads to that sought-after “high-quality” overall sound you’re really looking for. To the amalgam sound that no instrument alone is able to produce, full of sonic details – many of which are indispensible and unique to Quantum.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Thus, the Quantum is ideal for the production and enrichment of all kinds of pads and atmospheres. Have a hear: sound example “Emptiness in space”, an indefinable, wonderfully mysterious emission of the highest quality. Quantum is also perfectly suited to modulation pads, as heard in the example “Astral Vocal Tables” (one of the factory presets, by the way). “Particle Samples” – another recommended soundfile.

Further highlights: remarkable rhythm-based soundscapes (as in the “Evolving” soundfile), all kinds of arpeggio / sequencer patterns (“Arpeggio 1” / “Arpeggio 3”), and FX creations as in “FX (Mixdown)”.

Brief wish list

We feel free to utter four wishes. First, the addition of a “printed” user manual. Costs: minimal. Kindness to the user (who has just spent 4,000 Euros for the instrument itself): maximum. An online PDF may have its advantages, but for a careful study of the instrument’s details, there is nothing better than a printed manual.

Second, a keyboard of higher quality. The Quantum keyboard (supposed to be a Fatar TP/8S, we’re not so sure about that) is certainly sufficient, but an instrument of its quality would gain from that high-end Fatar keyboard with its slightly roughened surface that was used in the Waldorf Wave / John Bowen Solaris / Schmidt Synthesizer / Baloran The River.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Third, a ribbon controller and / or a joystick. For even finer control of the myriad parameters (sound synthesis, effects and performance). Fourth, higher polyphony. 8 voices is quite OK, but 12 or 16 voices would bring all musical applications into safer terrain.

To sum it up

The Waldorf Quantum meets the highest demands as a sound design tool. Its cool sound character admittedly makes it only partially suitable as a pure solo instrument, its greater value lies in its capablity to combine its sound with that of other sound modules / synthesizers …

It’s in the mix that Quantum reveals its unique features, its tricks and peculiarities: groovy patterns with multi-samples (different sounds “per” key), lively wavetable-resonator combinations, shimmering self-resonance modulations and much much more.

Sounds that might not be too sexy or exhilarating on their own, but which are, in combination with other sound modules, the very spice that makes the difference.

Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer

Addendum 01/2019: The latest Operation System OS 1.2.3 is now available (free download via the Waldorf Website). Highly recommended – the calibration of the (analog) filters as well as the simplified workflow take the Quantum a big step forward. And in the meantime Operation System OS 2.0 is available!

Addendum 01/2020: The current Operation System OS 1.3 is available. And Waldorf is already working on a major update OS 2.0. However, it’s still in its beta testing procedure and thus not available yet.

Addendum 04/2020: OS 2.0 is now finally available for Download. A major update with KERNEL Synthesis (for Phase FM, True FM and Wavetable-Position-Modulation), Advanced Sampling Editing, and much more.

Addendum 08/2020: Waldorf released a Quantum rack version, the IRIDIUM. That synthesizer comes with 16 voices and 16 rubber pads (for enhanced sequencing), but with digital filters only – which is a little disappointing.

Addendum 03/2022: The rack is followed by a keyboard version: The 4-octave IRIDIUM Keyboard has (again) 16 voices and a user surface that comes very close to the Quantum. The rubber pads of the Iridium Rack have been abandonned thanks to the extra knobs that – like the Quantum – offer enough space to be tweakened comfortably.

Waldorf Quantum

Polyphonic Digital/Analog Synthesizer 
8 Voices, with Software-Sequencer


Waldorf Quantum: approx. 4,079 USD / 4,299 Euros
Waldorf Quantum MKII: approx. 4,799 USD / 4,799 Euros

Website Manufacturer:

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Filed under 2018, Featured, Featured, Reviews

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman, Synthesizers.com, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Synthesizers.com, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.


  1. Hi Theo,

    Nice review, and I wanted just to add, I think that it IS the same TP8 that I use for the Solaris. Best to check and verify, but from what I can tell, it is.

  2. Theo Bloderer

    … hi John,

    thanks for your note. I just checked the two synths – Solaris and Quantum – side by side. There’s a great difference in both physical length and haptic feel of their keyboards.

    Solaris black keys have a slight “rough” surface and an protruding length of 9,5cm. Quantum black keys have a smooth surface (quite slippery) and they are shorter, with a protruding length of 8,5cm. Visible part of white keys: Solaris = 14,8cm – Quantum = 14cm …

    Possibly there are different types of the TP/8S? Anyway, no matter what the Waldorf homepage tells us, Quantum seems to have one of those “economic” Fatar keyboards. But admittedly, it’s not so important at all. Quantum is a great machine, a fine piece of musical instrument …

  3. Jesus Diaz

    Hi, guys,
    I agree with Theo about the keyboard differences. The Solaris’ one has a more solid feel, with a less springy bounce. This one feels spongy and doesn’t invite to sit down and play. My Wave’s keyboard is just fantastic, on the hand, not spongy at all, with a great semi-weighted action. I dislike the Quantum’s action so much that I went and purchased an old Studiologic SL-161, with the crazy idea of swapping them. Problem is that this would void the warranty ☹️. I dunno. All I can say is that, to me, the keyboard action is usually a deal breaker, and so if I’m keeping it, I’ll have to perform “plastic” surgery on it.

  4. Hi Theo & Jesus,

    OK, I finally had the chance to check this as well, and you are correct. Interesting, as I thought there would be only the one model of the TP/8S. We were getting them from Access, so I’ll have to explore the actual part number more carefully to see what the difference is.
    Thanks for the info!

  5. Theo Bloderer

    … yes, that’s possible. If so, it’s surprising how the varying types of TP/8 keyboards differ from one another – considering their design / quality.

  6. Frank W. Kooistra

    Thanks for the review !
    When i listened at the demo sounds, it struck me: No instruments.
    Sure nice combinations of sounds, but fit for proffessional use?

    1/ No individual outputs so you record a mix , and redo all
    2/ No digital output

    The outputs are unbalanced , JACK only.

    A professional machine would have balanced individual outs, for each voice on XLR.

    Digital In and out preferreable on AVB/TSN connection, straight into the net, to the digital board.
    USB just for midi control in and out.

    Polyphonic aftertouch

    In the present configuration, it is a high quality toy, to have fun with or impress people.
    For a non recording life band. With DI’s

    Sad to see

  7. boohoo

    I own a Quantum…and I agree with a lot of the above. But, not all. Just a couple of notes – I have a PPG Wave 2.3, and quite a few Analog Synths (ObX, Trident, CS80, Synthex, MemMoog+, etc…). Lastly, I have spent quite a bit of time on the Quantum, so I do now know it fairly well. While it’s fairly easy to use, I did find that it took longer than normal to get great sounds of it – and when I say great, I mean SIMPLE and Great.

    The bottom line is that you CAN get it to sound warm and beautiful (maybe not Trident warm/lush, but that’s why many of us have more than one synth : ) – but very few if any of the presets provide examples of this. The preset sounds are too complicated, too harsh (as per the article above), and often too atonal.

    Forget the presets. To get great sounds, I’ve found that I often use only one or maybe two oscillators. And then, I rely heavily on the Mix Section. The synth is so capable – it’s like a Modular Synth – that if you’re not careful, it can get away from you. Less is more. At first, I disliked the analog filter because I found it too clinical, but now I’ve grown to like it. For the record, I recorded two tracks – one with the original PPG and one with the Quantum, and I ended up keeping the Quantum trax because they were less harsh than that of the PPG.

    Try dialing way back. One osc with a bit of PitchVar, and just a bit of Komplex Mod on the Fine Pitch (I’m talking like 4%). Then bring in a Wavetable at 50% volume – while running it through one of the digital filters. This is just a silly example. I’m simply saying that I’ve never spent so little time having to learn a complex synth. (I got 75-80% of it in 3 or 4 hours), and I’ve never had to spend so long trying to figure out how to get usable sounds out of a synth. But, since I’ve done that, I’ve really grown to Love the Quantum. It’s GREAT! (By the way, the one wavetable synth that is def warmer than the Quantum is the Prophet VS…man, that thing is butter, but I’d still take a Quantum over a VS because you can do so much more with the Quanum, and it’s easier to do it. Plus, you can sync the LFO’s, etc…can’t do that on a VS).

  8. Theo Bloderer

    … thanks a lot for your great report!

    Yes: The Quantum presets are not so important (ok, ok, Waldorf wanted to show muscles – voilà: Lots of complex sounds). And yes: Music gains from a reduction of technical gadgets. Less is more! Just one oscillator, maybe two, slight pitch modulation here, a subtle wavetable there … as you described! I’m also starting to feel more familiar with the Quantum. The instrument’s potential is amazing. Still don’t like the keyboard action too much, though.

    The Prophet VS is another incredible giant. Warm sounding timbres full of character. A legend!

  9. another lovely demo!
    the last one i listened to [sequential 6 trak] made me KEEP mine, then soon after I listened to the pro one demo [that demo is like a boards of Canada album btw – brilliant] i almost bought one at top dollar but gearslutz fellows talked me down off the ledge and told me to wait until the behringer reissue.
    This waldorf is out of my price range but I can see the appeal, it’s captivating and the UI looks friendly as hell.
    That said I am not hearing anything here that can’t be made with other devices and some hard work and imagination…..

  10. Theo Bloderer

    … oh, hm, I would “not” wait for the Behringer Pro-One. If there’s any chance, let an original Sequential Pro-One be part of your setup. It’s the greatest (most musical? most expressive? most performance-optimized? simply the most beautiful, yet most flexible?) vintage monophonic synthesizer. That’s at least my opinion. But who knows. Maybe the Behringer Clone is a real burner? We’ll see :o)

  11. “Harsh”, “shrill”, “tiring and exhausting”…oh man, that is the last thing anyone considering an instrument wants to hear. I want to love the Quantum so much, but just can’t. It’s a programmer’s dream, but the one criteria for a synth is that it SOUNDS good. And 99% of the demos out there show how right you are about the analogies you used to describe its character.

    I can already hear those saying that a synth can’t be judged until you play it yourself … which is definitely true. BUT, just find any demo of the PPG, Microwave XT, Q, etc. They ooze goodness. It’s seemingly effortless. Why then after so much effort the Quantum still seems to not have their magic?

    The one potential saving grace that has me doubting even your own words Theo, are your own demos themselves. Can this thing possibly be made to sound pleasing most of the time? I mean, I don’t want to have to limit myself to 5% of its capabilities because the rest of its capabilities make it sound like harsh garbage. Is there a way to overall circumvent the harsh, shrill, fatiguing sounds that have plagued it so far?

  12. Theo Bloderer

    … I discovered that the internal compressor (medium level) adds something pleasing to the sound. Not that the Quantum starts to behave “analog”, but with compressor the sound is a little more balanced …

  13. Roman Koziol

    I had just decided to buy a Quantum – a great synth but lots of $$$s. Then I read this article and now I am somewhat disheartened. Having spent the last 3 months trying to decide which way to go, I thought that spending the big bucks and buying such a great quality state of the art synth as the Quantum, I would have had all I ever need. However some of your criticisms suggest that perhaps there is a better alternative that does not have the gaps the Quantum seems to have in terms of fullness of sound.

    I am just a home studio/ambient/guy – so a lush warm sound spectrum is critical. No band, no gigging, no high quality recording, no selling of creations – so some of your points obviously do not apply. I truly hope I can draw upon your superiour experience and wisdom and ask just what currently available synth should I consider that plugs the Quantum’s gaps and delivers the full depth of ambient sounds I seek. Or do you believe the Quantum will do? Thanks so much.

  14. Theo Bloderer

    … the Quantum sounds really ok, especially when the onboard compressor is active / added. Two aspects are a bit tiring: First, he complex operation of the instrument. Second, the crystal clear, slightly unlively sound character. Don’t know which instrument could be a recommendable substitute for the Quantum. I love to play the Studiologic Sledge aka Waldorf Blofeld. It is different, of course, but it has all the pads and drones and sweeping things (3 LFOs) that guarantee lovely musical textures – with wavetables – in the shortest possible time.

  15. Roman Koziol

    Thanks for your input.

    It seems to come back to Quantum versus Solaris.
    Main points seem to be: Q ease of use; Q OLED versus LCD display; S better keybed; S seems to have more of everything (OSC, LFO, Voices) making S technically more capable; Q more elegant design; Waldorf seems more financially stronger. And then there are the Prophets (12, X, XL).

    Think I just have to take my time and and keep doing my homework. Given this is the last synth I will buy, I must have no regrets Cheers.

  16. Thank you for great review and excellent demo! Quantum is an incredible synth!

  17. boohoo

    Don’t despair. Read my comment above (BooHoo). I have lots of analog synths, and I Love the Quantum. It fits so nicely into a song with other Analog Synths, yet it adds its own character. You can get it to sound really warm. In the filter section, try running through the Dig Former First, and then the Analog Filter. Super Warm. Or you can run 100 LP Filters/0 Dig Former, which cuts out the Dig Former completely. I think the Reviewer posts some great demos above. Really warm and beautiful. (FX Mixdown and LFO Cont Pan are great). You can also run through a Tube DI, Tube Pre, etc, to warm things up… I don’t know. I’m a huge fan of it. What can I say. MemMoog in the Left Speaker. Quantum in the Right. Can go wrong! Just take your time with it. It will reward you.

  18. I’m a big fan of this synth, but it’s one weakness is its sound. It’s really good, but it’s not as good as a Prophet VS or a PPG Wave. It can lack magic. I blame the filters on the Quantum. They’re clinical. I bypass the filters in the filter routing section and send the signal out to an external filter, such as a Moog, etc. Makes a huge difference. Synth sounds MUCH better/grainy/vintagy when I do that.

  19. The Quantum is very ez to use. The recent firmware update is a big addition. Yes, it sounds a bit clinical. The one to get (slightly more $ than a Quantum) is the Prophet VS with a Steroping Controller. The VS is pure magic. Not a true wavetable synthesizer, but uses wavetables.

    But, if you run the Quantum through an external Filter, then it really improves the sound of the Quantum. The negative is that obviously, the filter is not controllable. I just run MIDI back into the Quantum and then move the Filter Cutoff by hand. WoW…it does sound great though. So upsetting. I wish they’d used the new SSM Chips to do the filter, etc….Anyway. You won’t be sorry with the Quantum. The sound is still very good. It’s far from a sonic dud. It’s a 7.8/10. With the external filter, it goes up over 8.3/10 for sure. At least a full 10% better. If the filter was SSM based, for example, and controllable, the synth would be a 10!

  20. Theo Bloderer

    … hello Boris …

    Good idea to run the plain Quantum sound through an external filter … hm … but the filter is then no longer “polyphonic”? I guess it’s sort of paraphonic playing then …

    You’re right – the latest firmware 2.0 is a big step upwards. I have to update the article and point at it … Cheers …

  21. Maurice Brunner

    The Waldorf is one of the most spirit driven keyboards ever created by creatures slightly lower than the angels. The sound is so plush it can make a grown Man fall on his knees and cry like a baby for years to come. How amazing of what great minds can create by being on the same page. This is why I smile going home. I have a Big bad ass. ‘./..:-/:: Board. The world has ever known.

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