Reviewed: Waldorf Blofeld Virtual Analogue Synthesiser

Link Audio | linkaudio.com.au | Expect To Pay: Desktop $823 / Keyboard: $1411

It is no secret that I am a fan of Waldorf synthesisers. In the past I have owned the Pulse, a Microwave XT, and a Micro Q, all of which have served me well, especially when I get the urge for that thick and luscious synth-pop sound they do so well. So when the Blofeld first came out a number of years back I got my hands on one, not being able to resist hearing what was on offer. I think it was to the Blofeld’s detriment that it hit the market in a low point for hardware synthesisers and it almost went unnoticed for some time, only getting the attention of Waldorf fans. But now, with the introduction of its bigger, evil brother, Blofeld is back to take over the world once again.

Whilst I am a fan of rack synthesisers for space saving, I was never really keen on the compact desktop version of the Blofeld. It just felt like it didn’t offer enough tangible control - this coming from someone who coveted his Micro Q and its strictly limited seven knobs. To get this new model with a built-in 49 note keyboard as well as pitch and modulation wheels, it now feels like a serious piece of hardware, and users don’t need to worry about running a MIDI keyboard into it. It’s a solid build in a metal housing with nice, smooth rotary encoders and a clear, sharp screen that allows you to see exactly what is going on with your signal and sound source. This is what I, and perhaps many other users, wanted some years back with the original release of the Blofeld.

 

This isn’t just another synthesiser that makes a few sounds and then blends in with all the others on the market. It’s a wonder, and holds so much more under the hood than you might expect. Waldorf have drawn on the engines of their Microwave II/XT and the classic PPG Wave to give you some incredible wavetable synthesis in this unit. The level of control over the waves with these features allows you to create sounds that are delightfully rich in harmonics and full of character and depth. If you’ve ever heard a Waldorf before, you will know what they are capable of. Although the Blofeld might seem compact and appear limited, it lets itself be heard in a different way. I found it hard to get past the factory preset sounds with this thing to begin with. They themselves are pretty damn funky and have plenty to offer, even before you start tweaking any parameters.

 

In short, this is the follow-up to the Micro Q that I have been waiting years for, and I am glad that it has finally come around in a keyboard format. If you haven’t heard a Waldorf before, now is the time to invest in a Blofeld.

Hits and Misses

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Available in desktop or keyboard formats

Incredible sound capabilities

Solid build structure

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Not everyone likes these types of synths, but they should

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