Synth Site: Waldorf: Microwave XT: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Necrochine a part-time user from Toledo, Ohio writes:
Recently, my friend acquired an XTK keyboard and my evaluation is based on the time I've spent with it so far, which is a few days.

The XT series utilizes the wavetable synthesis pioneered by the PPG Wave back in the late 70's and early 80's. Essentially, an XT is a modern, working verion of the PPG Wave 2, albeit with a much higher available bandwidth (which can, by the way, be reduced to sound like a PPG if you so desire.)

The XT is unusual, as are all wavetable synths, and is capable of creating odd, evolving and moody textures as well as hard, stabbing pulses, bleeps, etc... The XT is great for new age, industrial or trance music. However, those seeking out analog emulation had best look elsewhere, in my opinion--as the XT is NOT a virtual analog, and falls short of recreating classic instruments like the Junos, Odysseys, Jupiters, Moogs, etc... Those desiring "true" analog sounds should look to another unit such as a Virus, Nord or Prophecy which are more true to the analog sound. (Especially the Nord, if you ask me.)

On the positive side, the XT is unique and offers great programmability, although the envelope settings can take a minute or two to get adjusted to. With onboard ring mod, FM/x-mod, and noise crazy sounds are always just around the corner. Sound quality is good, if a little bright, but the XT definately can cut through a mix when necessary. The arpeggiator is decently implemented, if somewhat buried too deep in the menus to be spontaneously useful. Pretty versatile too. The XT's construction is solid, and not nearly as ugly as I originally believed it would be. The XTK itself is about the right size and width of a synth--although it weighs much more than you would expect at first glance.

On the downside, the XT's filter is perhaps a little too whistly, and much of its self-oscillation algorithm is (to me) non-musical. The inability to dedicate different wavetables to each oscillator is a major disappointment--oh, the wasted possibilities! Too many annoying menus and sub-menus! When will manufacturers start creating both dedicated voice controls as well as program controls? A number of important functions are buried under menus that are not immediately obvious. For one reason or another, the LFO's on the XT seem noticeably weaker and less interesting than the Nord/Supernova/Virus crowd. As usual, the preset sounds are terrible. Typically, Waldorf feel that they must have stock presets of Moogs, "Arps", Wurlies, Clavinets and Junos in order to sell their product. What a waste, to make an unusual instrument such as this try (and badly at that) to sound like a Mini or 2600.

In all, the XT is unique and sounds good overall. However, all of the typical limitations of digital synthesis are present--weak LFO's and not-so great filter. The (typical) lack of good interfacing for control parameters can be frustrating at times, as is the way too small LED screen, which should be at least twice as large. I judge the XT as worth it for the sheer uniqueness of the unit.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-04-2000 at 04:09
Jonas Broberg a professional user from Sweden writes:
Well, let me add this to the list of reviews: The XT is truly an exciting synth, and its sound is unique. Among the features that I'm fond of is the ability to modulate the envelope times and levels plus (the brilliant) filter resonance. It sort of reminds me of the XPANDER in terms of modulation possibilities. A definite classic !

posted Friday-Feb-04-2000 at 08:24
Samuel Beckett a hobbyist user from USA writes:
The Microwave XT has a wonderful sound, and to my ears is probably the best-sounding real synthesizer available right now. I have a Nord Modular which is fantastic for programming, but for sound quality, the XT beats it by a long shot. Having years ago been obsessed with the Roland Jupiter 8, I can say that I am happier with my Microwave XT.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-26-2000 at 22:44
Max Potekhin a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Microwave XT is a bomb. I fell in love with its sounds.

I wasn't sure if the 2-line LCD display was adequate, but combined with the convenient menu subgroup buttons, data wheel and of course the famous set of knobs, it turned out to be all right.

I just started programming the thing, and it's not too easy, but in general if you know analog synth prgramming you'll be able to get some results right off the bat. Mastering the wavetables can take a while, I suppose.

The CC control is very nice.

The sound of this machine is huge. Two sweepable wavetable LFO's with a lot of available cross modulations, combined with a really nice filter, produce an incredible result. The filter is very smooth and self-oscillates nicely. In fact, it can be used as the third oscillator, because it can track the keyboard so precisely. The result is just stunning.

LFO's are syncable to the MIDI clock, and have settings like 1/8T etc. Which means you can have extremely interesting syncopated filter-swept arpeggios.

The arpeggiator is handy, and effects not bad, although many presets are over-effected, which is common. I wish it had more FX processing power, a little more polyphony and and extra set of outputs, but as it is it's well worth the money. I chose it over other synths and I'm very glad I did.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-26-2000 at 12:09
oxtragon a hobbyist user from sweden writes:
i tried a lot of different synths including the (super)nova, virus, jp-8080 etc. before choosing the microwave xt. none of the above could match the wide area range of perfect sounding that microwave can. from low sub-basses to screaming self oscilating resonance, this goes all the way! if you look up fat in a dictionary there is a picture of it! apart from more polyfoni what could i ever ask for. ok the build in effects aren´t the worlds greatest, only two stereo outputs, suckie presets, limited polyfoni etc. apart from that, i dare you to program this synth without falling in love with it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-18-1999 at 10:59
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