New developments for Waldorf's M

US Waldorf's hybrid synth has quite the development story      01/04/24

New developments for Waldorf's M


As a lover of Waldorf's Microwave XT, I watched the development of the M with interest. The allure of a 90% clone of the Microwave 1 (some components were changed, e.g. the CEM3389 - it was switched for the available SSI2144) was tempting, but not quite enough to make me part with my cash.

Over time, the hard-working VladiS started to fix bugs (iffy user wavetable import was an early inconvenience) and added more features to the instrument. These included:

  • A digital filter in series before the analogue VCF. This "DigiVCF" initially had lowpass, bandpass & highpass modes, but was later expanded to include all sorts of weird and wonderful filters from the XT, including those which use oscillator 2 for waveshaping & bitcrushing. The first 3 basic filters are available in both classic (8-bit) and modern (16-bit) wavetable modes, but the weirder ones require modern mode.
  • "Transition" playback - essentially the playback of 8-bit 22Khz samples, each up to 65k in size. This felt like a very quaint feature and took the unit into hybrid sampler territory, like the PPG Waveterm, Emu Emulator II, Ensoniq Mirage & Korg DSS1.
  • Inverse, Coin-flip & Random Modulators.
  • Smooth scan mode - to smoothly move through even chaotic wavetables.

It was one feature that really sold me on the M though - when the Filter FM mode from the XT was implemented. I absolutely adore those sounds on the XT, and was excited to use an FM'd lowpass (or highpass!) digital filter in conjunction with the analogue lowpass to tame down any overly-jagged harmonics.

So I bought my M, waited patiently, plugged it in...and it didn't work. On 1.08 the filter FM sounded broken, like harsh bursts of out of tune gargling. It wasn't even pleasing digital chaos, just unpleasant. In the following 12 months, I vented my frustration on forums (something I should grow out of) and rarely touched the M, not really diving into it's other cool playground of sounds.

In an unfortunate turn of events, VladiS, who had been perhaps one of the most available and approachable synth developers ever up to that point, kinda disappeared. Personal issues can take us out of the game at any time, such is life. So even though he said he'd take a look at the Filter FM (he even owned a Microwave II to compare) I thought that a fix might never come, I even thought about selling it on to someone with different requirements.

I'm so glad that I didn't sell the M! VladiS has just released a new update that fixes the Filter FM, plus another bug relating to LFO2). As soon as I found out I grabbed an SD card, downloaded the required files and got to work...

You need two files, the 1.09 firmware update and 1.10 DSP update. I was on 1.08 so needed to update both; the firmware first and then the DSP. The files are available here:

Firmware: https://waldorfmusic.com/my-hardware-m-firmware-updates/

DSP: https://gearspace.com/board/showpost.php?p=16961892&postcount=8240

The DigiVCF settings are on the mix page, you need to scroll to the right a couple of screens using the main knob. Let us know how you get on, and if you'd like to see a Sonicstate video covering the M.

Posted by MagicalSynthAdventure an expert in synthesis technology from last Century and Amiga enthusiast.


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