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Waldorf | Microwave II


The Microwave II has tons of waves/wavetables for shaping all kinds of sounds, flexible resonant filters, a noise generator, a ring modulator, a programmable rhythmic arpeggiator, and effects! While the original Microwave was a powerful synth held back only by its restrained interface and lack of additional features (only 8-voice polyphony, no effects, no easy hands-on editing), the mkII did attempt to address some of the former's issues. However Waldorf made its biggest faux-pas by replacing the original's analog filters and envelopes with digital emulations.

The Microwave II upped polyphony to 10-voices. Hardly a major improvement after eight years, but better than nothing. Patch memory was also increased from 64 to 256 user patches and from 64 to 128 performance patches. An on-board effects processor was added. Four new quick-edit rotary knobs appeared under the LCD display to tweak certain parameters. This was a great and much needed feature for performing and just having fun with the Microwave II, however an external editor would still prove to be the best way to really dig into editing patches.

For 1997, the idea of a synth maker switching to all DSP/digital circuitry was nothing unusual at all. In fact, it was the norm. DSP technology offered far more stable and cleaner sounds. But compared with the original Microwave which used analog VCFs and VCAs, the warmth and character of the new sound suffered greatly.

Despite any sonic drawbacks, the Microwave II was still another success for Waldorf and led to an even bigger better and truly hands-on version with the Microwave XT.

ModelMicrowave II
Engine TypeDigital
Voices (max)10
LFO2 LFO's, sine, tri, square, random, S&H
Engine Detailed2 oscillators per voice of 64MB DSP wavetable synthesis (65 preset wavetables, 32 user wavetables); Osc-sync; FM; 1 Ring Mod; 1 Noise Source
Filter (VCF)13 digital filter models (12/24dB, LP, BP, HP, Notch, waveshaper, bit-reduction, dual BP). Additional in-series 6dB LP or HP filter with keytracking. ADSR envelope.
Envelope (VCA)1 VCA, VCA ADSR, 1 Free Envelope
FXChorus, Flanger 1 & 2, Autowah BP, Autowah LP, Overdrive, Delay (only available on units with board revision #2 or #3), Amp Mod
Memory256 user patches, 128 performance patches
ArpeggiatorProgrammable rhythmic arpeggiator, 16 steps, 128 patterns
Key typeN/A
Produced:1997 - 1997
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.

Manuals, patches etc.


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