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Waldorf Announces Its Next Major Synth, the Iridium

Geary Yelton

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Describing it as the Quantum’s smaller sibling, Waldorf expects to ship the Iridium before summer’s end.

German synth builder Waldorf Music GmbH has announced the Iridium, a forthcoming 16-voice, bi-timbral polysynth that packs the sound-generating power of the mighty Quantum keyboard into a rackmountable, tabletop form factor. Housed in an industrial-grade metal case manufactured with the same craftmanship as the Quantum, the Iridium is a direct descendent of the legendary PPG Wave.

With three oscillators per voice, the Iridium employs five synthesis methods. Each oscillator can harness a different type of synthesis from the others at the same time.

Wavetable Synthesis

The Iridium’s wavetable synthesis encompasses classic wavetables from PPG and Waldorf, speech synthesis, spectral analysis, and more. It can also generate user wavetables from recorded audio material.

Virtual Analog Synthesis

The Iridium’s virtual analog goes beyond standard analog-type waveforms with as many as eight simultaneously selectable waveforms per oscillator, enabling infinitely dense, fat analogue-sounding tones, with detuned modes, tunable noise, and hard sync.

Particle Synthesis

Particle synthesis is Waldorf’s brand of sample-based sound generation. In addition to traditional stereo sampling—with 2GB of internal flash memory—it offers granular synthesis and lets you manipulate audio data in innovative ways. It can even process external audio in real time.

Resonator Synthesis

Ideal for manipulating multisamples or noise, resonator synthesis applies an exciter and modulates spectral parameters to generate sounds with lots of timbal motion. It’s well-suited to processing signals from modular synths via the Iridium’s control-voltage inputs.

Kernel (FM) Synthesis

Kernel synthesis, which is available in the 2.0 update to the Waldorf Quantum, allows a single oscillator to function as six suboscillators. You can interlink the suboscillators through frequency modulation at audio rates and arrange them in user-definable configurations. FM synthesis is greatly simplified by means of the Iridium’s high-resolution, haptic multitouch display accompanied by seven encoders and plenty of dedicated knobs.

Advanced Capabilities

The Waldorf Iridium’s twin stereo multimode filters give you an assortment of variants. These include switchable 2- or 4-pole lowpass, highpass, bandpass, notch, and comb filters borrowed from Waldorf’s soft synths and enhancer effects inherited from PPG synths. All six LFOs can be looped, and the modulation matrix supplies 40 slots from routing mod signals between numerous sources and destinations. If six envelope generators aren’t enough, you can use the versatile Komplex Modulator to draw custom envelopes or LFO shapes using your fingertip.

Another notable feature is the color-backlit 4 x 4 silicon pad matrix, which can summon user-defined chords, scales, sequences, and arpeggios containing up to 32 steps. The Iridium stores as many as 7,000 patches. Users can load patches from the Waldorf Quantum into Iridium and vice-versa. Connections include stereo audio inputs and outputs, USB over MIDI, DIN MIDI In/Out/Thru, an SD card slot, and more.

The estimated price of the Waldorf Iridium is less than $2,200. If all goes as planned, it should begin shipping in 9 to 12 weeks. For more information, visit Waldorf online.

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