Top 10 Vintage Synths (Under $10,000)
PPG Wave (1981)
With starting prices in the high six figures for a Synclavier or Fairlight, buying a digital synth was a costly proposition at the dawn of the ’80s. That changed when Wolfgang Palm of Palm Products GmbH (PPG) began shipping the 8-note polyphonic Wave. It was built around a new technology that Wolfgang invented called wavetable synthesis. Its $10,000 sticker price was apparently the sweet spot many were waiting for, because Waves started flying out the door as quickly as PPG could make them. It didn’t hurt that its knobs and display more closely resembled those of analog synths than their earlier digital synth, the Wavecomputer 360.
In the Wave’s initial release, each voice has an 8-bit wavetable oscillator, an analog 4-pole filter, and a single modulation wheel. Its sequencer records not only notes, but also any real-time changes to the oscillator and filter. The Wave 2.2 followed in 1982 with more wavetables, two oscillators per voice, and two mod wheels. PPG sold the final version, the MIDI-compatible and 8-part multitimbral Wave 2.3, from 1984 until ceasing operations in 1987. Not long after that, however, Waldorf adopted the Wave’s technology, and wavetable synthesis remains popular today.
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