Synth Site: Waldorf: MicroQ: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Dan a hobbyist user from USA writes:
IMO, when considering the Micro-Q, it is important not to think of it as a VA. It sounds far more digital than analog. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but just keep in mind that it may not be suited for everyone's tastes. It has tons of possibilities for creating sounds. It can do FM synthesis and also has a couple wavetables to sweep through. The arpeggiator lets you do things that simply can't be done with most other arpeggiators. The sound is very "clinical" and cold. When you listen to the presets, it isn't hard to imagine scientists in a sterile room with white labcoats and clipboards programming them. Ironically, the preset sounds all show the initials of the Waldorf employee who created them plus I've also heard only good things about Waldorf customer service...even that Waldorf's programmers make themselves available for online chats with users. That's pretty warm and fuzzy for something I descrbed as "clinical and cold"! IMO this module is specifically for Euro-dance. Musically, I'm into 80's synth-pop, Brit-pop, and electronica and since I got a very good deal on my Micro-Q module several months ago, I'm glad to have it in my arsenal even if for limited useage.

-Dan

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-02-2002 at 11:13
de rik a part-time user from Belgium writes:
Quality speaks for itself and personal taste is the actual descision catalyst. I will not comment further on the qualities of the (µ)Q, but only on the voice expansion aspect.

Recently I had the µQ voice expansion installed, which brings it to a (potential) total of 75 voices. Because there is not an awful lot of information to be found on it, I'll share my experiences ...

The expansion itself consists of a little board with 2 extra DSP's on it (triples the amount of processing power of the original version), RAM and some glue logic. So it is NOT some software trick, as some "sources" are pretending.

If you have a yellow µQ, you'll need to send it in (via Tsi Germany if you're in Europe, but the actual upgrade is taken care of by Waldorf technical centre). The reason for this is simple: if you open the yellow µQ, you'll find the place where to put the board, but there is no feature connector soldered on to interface the board with. Additionally, to be able to screw the 3 support legs onto the backplane, you'll even have to remove all the front knobs and connectors to even be able to get the backplane out. If you don't wanna mess up your µQ, don't try this at home. Even Waldorf actually swaps the internals of the yellow µQ for a new board with the expansion already on it (like with the new full Omega), instead of "upgrading" it.

The newer µQ's (the blue ones) are supposed to have a connector present, which could allow you to carry out the installation yourself (still have to take it all apart, though).

Additionally, OS V2.18 needs to be installed to support the 2 extra DSP's.

After some initial ordering woes (not Waldorf's fault, but of my ignorant dealer), I got my µQ upgraded and tested. Only had to pay one-way transport charges (a couple of Euro's). Waldorf paid for sending it back to me. The total operation took 1 week, including shipping.

An afternoon of experimenting showed me I got somewhere between 45-65 "real" voices in multimode, with fairly high degrees of complexity. The 75 voice marker can also be reached for simpler voices (so it is not a marketing cry).

Summary: two additional µQ's for exactly 313 Euros, I'm satisfied. It opens up a range of new possibilities for me without having to invest in extra modules. Only make sure your dealer knows how to handle Waldorf stuff ... I had to find out myself by contacting Waldorf themselves. They were fast and friendly in their responses and told me how to proceed to get the deal done.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-28-2002 at 06:46
Rob J. a professional user from Midwest, U.S.A writes:
Well, I have had my micro Q for about one year now. Soundwise when your sitting there tweaking it you will notice a difference compared to a vco based synth. But this synth still has its own sound which is why I like it. Its a strong and musical sound which holds up in a mix for bass's, blips, bleeps, leads and pads. And, its character is strong enough that when recording it you won't worry if thats a VA or RA laying down the low end(unlike some wimpier VA's).

There are almost too many possibilities with this synth. You can easily make a patch which could function in place of any analog synth and sound good(albeit slightly different), and then you can easily go into overkill mode until that once analogesque patch sounds like a poorly programmed dx7 being run into a virtually analog filterbank.

In fact its too easy to go overboard programming this thing with all the modulations, the FM, wavetable's, combfilters, 4 envelope's, 3 lfo's etc. I did find many of the presets infinitely superior to one's on larger manufacturers synths, but they were almost too clever. Sometime's you don't need big brawny and complex sounds, you just need to use one oscillator, and one LP filter. And, I think this synth sounds great with simple straight ahead sounds just as much as it does when you add to that. However, often I don't know when to stop and I find I have all these strange noises taking up the banks of my mQ, fuzzy fm'd evolving twisting, turning, shattered, and/or silky strange sounds. Its hard to not get "clever" when programming the µQ, but it's modelled waveforms sound great and its filter is pretty fly so either way(or in between) you are set.

Considering the price, and that its polyphany is more than enough for most modern style's, with 16 parts, drum maps, and all that this is a steal for under $500. The music I make with this micro Q is kind of Idm'ish, but I have always though this would be great for straight ahead stuff like HipHop/R and B, electro,d 'nb or Trance as well. And it make's the strangest noises if your into that scene..and thick smokey pads..and and and and...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-15-2002 at 08:06
SandsOfTime a part-time user from USA writes:
I've now had a week or so to play with this thing. I still stick by my rave below but there are a few things I'll note here. One, some of the voice parameters hidden in the menus- enough to cause the occasional head-scratch and dive for the manual. Tweaking the factory patches does not always result in what you expect. This is probably a result of the depth of programming options and not of any fundamental flaw in the OS. My reaction was to create about a dozen "generic" patches (sub, basic and punch bass, swirl and ghost pad, scream lead etc) to use as a base to tweak from for specific sounds in specific sequences.

Two: I have not had much luck in making this thing sound "raw". Screaming and/or noisy, yes, but it still sounds classy, a bit controlled, and a little digital no matter what I do. Like ALL virtual analogues, it lacks a certain presence and serindipitious randomness. Whatever- almost no one notices or cares anyway. It's definately good enough, and definately one of the best digital synths I've ever heard (the fs1r beats it for pure sonic splendor, the k5000 for uniqueness, and ms2000 for "analogue-ness", but whatever, no one's going to not buy the CD because of it) because of the flexability and ability to go well beyond traditional analogue sounds while still being comprehensible. But if you're looking for a truely raw sound, you still need real analogue.

Conclusion: It's a keeper.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Aug-02-2002 at 04:50
SandsOfTime a part-time user from USA writes:
These are going for under $500 now...at that price you should run out and get one immediately before they're gone. I just got mine, and I had to open the case to fix a stuck button (slight misalignment of the front plate, easy fix). It does seem rather fragile in there. Everyting is attached directly to a PC board. IF you gig with this keep it in a rack with the cables plugged in so you dont stress the connections too often...Waldorf could have made it sturdier with a few washers to hold the outputs to the case, that's an extra 50 cents mabye? And why isn't there a retainer for the little power supply cable? Another 50 cents...Oh well, it's still a fantastic bargain. I compared this to the a-station (which is 1 part multi, the microq is 16) & the ms2000r (same price, nice analogue sound but 4 note poly vs. up to 25, no contest). The interface is REALLY good and easy to get around on and the front knobs transmit midi so you can overdub controllers in your sequencer, LFO's and arp clock to midi. Six outs, the a-station has two and with six I can put a drum kit (nice electro drums in here, fully programmable of course) on a pair and still have bass, lead, and a stereo pad on seperate mixer sends...it's a killer box, the ultimate (right now) "bread and butter virtual analogue". Does all your analogue right, hard or soft, thin or huge, pads, leads, basses, fx, drums (yeah gotta mention them twice, where else can you have 32 synthesized real-time tweakable drums at your fingertips?), this replaces my motley collection of analogue and semi-analogue modules (poly-800, ESQ-1, Prophet 600) in one swell foop, even the matrix-6 can go though I'll probably keep it, this thing totally rocks, but one now!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jul-17-2002 at 00:18
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