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PPG | Wave 2.3


The PPG Wave Synthesizer, is no doubt considered one of the most respected high-end synthesizers of the 1980s. developed by Wolfgang Palm. Its featured on countless records, and it inspired a whole generation of producers, composers and listeners.

The PPG Wave 2 was the very first digital Wavetable synthesizer with analog filters that allowed completely new worlds of sound and endless sonic possibilities. Shortly afterwards, the successor PPG Wave 2.2 came out and was born to make history. With a gigantic arsenal of waveshapes, it could not only reproduce known analog sounds, but also brilliant choirs, bells and whistles. The digital sounds of wavetables had been unheard until then and offered sensational sonic evolutions by smoothly going through 64 waves back and forth. A characteristic anomaly of the Wave's sound was harsh artifacts and aliasing. At the time of it's release it was considered a caveat by critics of the instrument, however now it is a desired aspect of it.

The 2.2 offered two oscillators per voice which opened up a whole new realm of sonic possibilities because two separate wavetable sounds could now be combined.

The combination of digital waveshapes and analog filters of the PPG was responsible for an unparalleled fat and thrust boosting character.

The original PPG featured a unique user-interface, the "Analog Control Panel" offered direct access to many parameters, while digital menus were edited with somewhat cryptic acronyms that you had to look up in the manual in your lap.

The next step was the 2.3, in which the hardware was changed, and there were two modes. One was the digital oscillator mode, and the other was the sampler mode where you could play through the entire memory in a linear fashion, like on a sampler. Of course, you could transfer waveforms from one mode to the other, which was very interesting. You could sample something and then take out periods, make Fourier analysis, and put that back into a wavetable.'" ...Not only did it allow linear playback of samples in memory, but the resolution of those samples was increased to 12-bit, which greatly improved the Wave's sound quality. The 2.3 was also multitimbral, sounding up to eight different wavetables at once. And it had MIDI, the implementation of which was a sore subject as far as Wolfgang Palm is concerned. 'PPG had an 8-bit parallel bus system before MIDI came out,' he says, 'because we had to transfer samples from the Waveterm to the Wave - a very thick amount of data. Our bus was much quicker, so we didn't like MIDI very much. It was okay for some things. The problem was, MIDI was a second interface that we had to use and support. It took much more effort to redesign our existing machines than it would have been to implement all the MIDI capabilities from the beginning.'"

ModelWave 2.3
Engine TypeDigital
Voices (max)16
LFO1 Saw Up, Saw Down, Square, Triangle
Engine Detailed2 WT OSC, 30 Wavetables with 64 waves per table. 12-Bit
Filter (VCF)4 24dB Slope (4-pole), Low Pass (CEM3320)
Envelope (VCA)2 ADSR, 1 AR
Recording8 track, 1000 note, 10 sequences.
Key typeKeys
Produced:1984 - 1987
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.


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