Physical-modeled electric piano, now a little more physical

The NAMM of the DJ? Don’t worry, synth lovers: beloved, long-lost synth maker Waldorf are back in a big way with a lineup of new synth hardware products. Drool over them in a gorgeous PDF brochure filled with mock-ups, but here’s the full lineup. (As reported by Sequencer.de and Music thing, but now publicly confirmed by Waldorf; we should have live photos from the show if they’re on display.)

The limited-edition exterior visuals are the work of Axel Hartmann, the talented designer of the (unfortunately failed) Neuron Synth, and Waldorf promises the new products are “handcrafted in Germany.” Here’s the lineup:

Q and Q+ keyboard synths: Virtual analog synths with 58 onboard encoders, up to five oscillators and two multimode filters per voice, and (on the Plus) 16 real analog filters (i.e., not modeled).

micro Q: Rack-mount version of the Q, with the same sound engine.

blofeld: USB 2.0-connected synth module with 1,000 editable sounds; this unit appears to be a smaller take on the more advanced virtual analog synths, but still with some editing.

zarenbourg: Here’s where things start to get really interesting: the Zarenbourg is a modeled electric piano with five EP simulations and effects, built into a 76-key, traditional case, with wooden keys. Optional internal speakers complete the effect. I love the optional “rockstar” paint jobs.

stromberg: Wavetable oscillators, two-way multimode filters, multiple filter types, 100-voice polyphony, and Waldorf Wave, Microwave, and Q sounds — this is the flagship keyboard synth. I had an electronic musician friend named Dirk Stromberg who went off to Europe, but I’m guessing this is not his design / celebrity endorsement.

Waldorf Edition PPG Wave 2.V: For software lovers, a plug-in that emulates 80s PPG synths.

Looks like really good stuff; now we just have to learn pricing and see what they’re like in person. In this competitive age of great soft synths, I especially like anything with something unique — electric pianos with awesome paint jobs, wooden keys, and built-in speakers, and great virtual analog synths with real analog filters are certainly in the running.

Updated: Matrixsynth notes pricing via Novamusik: Q Phoenix US$2299; Micro Q Phoenix $699 — both bundled (nicely enough) with Waldorf Edition plug-ins. That makes a decent deal, though you’ll find more speculation in comments — like the fact that you can get used predecessors of these models for less on a budget. (So what else is new?)

  • Michael

    I bought a Fender Rhodes stage 73 this fall and got it fixed up, but depending on pricing on the Zarenbourg I would totally trade it in. Having Wurlitzer sounds alone is tempting but the portability and the fact that it never goes out of tune would be awesome. Then again I doubt that they could undercut the price of the Nord Electro enough: this thing is going to be prohibitively expensive to ship although I'm sure much much easier to ship than a real electric piano.

  • http://symbioticaudio.com W. Brent Latta

    Here's hoping they ship 'complete' products this go'round, rather than shipping an only partially-complete OS (see: Original Waldorf Q).

    That Stromberg does sound tasty, though…

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