Waldorf Pulse/Pulse+



Waldorf Pulse is a monophonic, three-oscillator, true analogue, 2HU rack mount synthesizer made by a German company, Waldorf, which has been around since 1996.
It has a three-oscillator design, similar to the Minimoog. The oscillators are digitally controlled analogue VCOs, with pulse, saw tooth and triangle waveforms each. To listen to our audio demo click here

Oscillator 1: Saw-tooth, pulse with pulse width modulation, triangle
Oscillator 2: Saw-tooth, pulse with pulse width modulation, triangle, cross modulation, sync to Oscillator 3
Oscillator 3: Saw-tooth, square, triangle / Noise generator - pink noise

The signal is processed by an analogue 24dB/oct 4-pole cascade filter with resonance going up to self-oscillation. Input can be overdriven for wide range of sound colors, cut-off and resonance can be modulated.

Modulation

The 15 source and 16 destination modulation matrix is a strong weapon in the Pulse arsenal.

The sources are: LFO1, LFO1 x Mod Wheel, LFO1 x Aftertouch, LFO2, LFO2 x Envelope 2, Envelope 1 and 2, Velocity, Keytrack, Pitch Follow, Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, Aftertouch, Breath controller and one assignable controller.

The internal modulation destinations are: Pitch, OSC1 to OSC3 Pitch, OSC1 and 2 Pulse Width, OSC 1 to 3 Level, Noise Level, Cut-off, Resonance, Volume, Panning, LFO1 Speed, Mod 1 Amount

Two low frequency oscillators (LFOs) provide extremely wide frequency range (0.0008Hz - 261Hz - equivalent to MIDI note C3) with triangle, sine, saw tooth, sample&hold waveforms for LFO1 and triangle for LFO2.

There are 2 ADSR envelopes with 4 different trigger modes.

Arpeggiator

The integrated arpeggiator is syncable to MIDI clock or can send MIDI clock to sync other MIDI devices. Modes available are: up, down, alternate, random. The tempo can be set form 30 BPM to 300 BPM, 1/1 to triplet 1/32 note, range 1 –10 octaves. Pulse can optionally send the arpeggio MIDI notes via MIDI out terminal.

Memory

There are 60 factory ROM presets and only 40 user programmable RAM programs. The complete MIDI sys-ex implementation for storing the sounds in external editors and librarians is supported, but a couple of user banks would be welcome.

All parameters can be edited in real time with the panel matrix and six pots. There are two modes for the external parameter control available, either sys-ex mode or standard MIDI CCs mode. Most of the cheap MIDI controllers usually used for VST instrument can thus be used directly under the MIDI CCs mode.

Interesting sounds can be created with the randomize function.

Physical appearance

Black front panel (dark blue on later versions) 19" 2HU rack unit.

Front panel: 4 keys, 6 rotary pots, 3x7 segment LED display.

Rear panel: MIDI in, out and thru terminals, power supply input (external power supply), stereo output.


Pulse plus

Pulse plus comes with the same synthesizer engine but with a newer, slightly improved OS (LFO1 MIDI synchronization, etc.). The main improvement over the basic version is a filter input and MIDI/CV interface. There is 1 CV gate input to control The Pulse from external analog sequencer or keyboard, 2 CV outs and one gate out was added to control vintage analogue synthesizers on a separate MIDI channel. The usual Oct/Volt (Moog, Roland, Sequential Circuits, etc.) or Hz/Volt signals (Korg, Yamaha, etc.) are supported, together with four selectable triggering modes.


Plus

  • Excellent real analogue sound with the "Moog" feeling
  • Fast envelopes
  • Three digitally controlled analogue oscillator synth engine
  • The mixer section can be set to overdrive
  • Moog type cascade VCF
  • LFO with wide frequency range
  • Flexible modulation matrix
  • All parameters editable with sys-ex messages or MIDI CCs (user selectable)
  • Arpeggiator can send the MIDI notes
  • Random sound generator
  • Two or more Pulses can be cascaded for polyphonic sound
  • CV terminals (the Plus version)
  • Nice sober German design, perfect quality and workmanship
  • Low second hand prices


Minus

  • LED display
  • Only 40 user memories … (well, better than nothing)
  • Matrix style editing with two "shifts"
  • Only one button to select the parameter line. Two Up/Down buttons are Pulse programmer dream
  • Lack of the filter input (first Pulse generation only)
  • External power supply
  • No power on/off button
  • Some bugs in earlier OS versions were reported


Web resources
http://www.waldorfmusic.de – Waldorf company web page