Opinion : Waldorf Microwave I Rev A vs SCI Prophet VS

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Opinion : Waldorf Microwave I Rev A vs SCI Prophet VS

Post by pulse3000 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:35 am

I am in the brink of getting one of those. Not that I didn't played them before, but still, it will be likely my final purchase for a digital synth in this caliber, so I want to ask for some opinions.

Now, Stereoping has this incredible fully parameter controller for MW1, which I learned , is instant control, and the controller can command in multi mode to all 8 parts. And also controller provides simplified modulation matrix , midi outs your knob moves which can be recordable on a sequencer etc. Already sounds amazing
Kind of a dream to come true.
++ Rev A has same filters as of VS.
++++++ Morphing wavetables

On the other hand there is the VS

4 oscillators (!)
12bit waves
editable waves (!)
unique morphing possibilities between 4 selected waves
internal arpeggiator .
SCI sound .

The sonic differences in the sound "quality" is not my first preference.
With same filter type, I am sure you are in similar ballpark between 2 machines .
I know VS waves can sound more defined with higher bitrate , but also lower bitrate of MW can provide lo fi ,not so sharp sounds .

MW having smooth scan between 2 waves against VS' 4 selected waves, which one has more palette ?
My purpose is to get either one of them is not to achieve classic synth sounds , but more textural stuff.

MW wins in multi mode , VS dual mode is a pain in the ass to program I know (unfortunately , and its a big con)

At the moment, MW with the stereoping controller is more appealing .
But even with controller and stuff, if majority would say VS has more spectrum, more magical , I would consider.

And no, I cannot get both.
Also not interested in Wavestation or Kawaii

thanks for your time !


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Post by Ranxerox » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:55 am

I have a Prophet VS, and a Waldorf MW II. You'll probably get a broader sound pallette from the Microwave. The VS voice is actually fairly basic - the vector mixing 'feature' (I hesitate to call it vector 'synthesis', which is kind of marketing hype) is a nice way to add some movement to the sound, especially if you detune the wave oscillators slightly, but it lacks the possibilities of proper wavetable synthesis.

The good things about the VS are the sound - those digital oscillators really give the filters some nice harmonics to bite into - and the arpeggiator, which beats the arpeggiators in all my other synths hands down. I really like the unison mode on the VS - can get some very thick, powerful basses that way. (It also has the classic 'Zeus' patch from Pretty Hate Machine...)

I think if you have a VS RAM cartridge you can also synthesise your own waves and transfer them to the VS' wave memory. I've not done this but am keen to try, as the ROM waves have too much emphasis on 'bell-like tones', and not enough gritty metallic waves.

For the amount these two synths are going for nowadays, have you checked out the new offerings from DSI/Sequential (Prophet 12, Prophet X) and Waldorf (Quantum)? If the sonic quality and identity of these old synths isn't your main priority, then the new ones go significantly beyond either in terms of textural synthesis possibilities, for only a fraction more money...

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Post by pulse3000 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:11 am

Ranxerox wrote:I have a Prophet VS, and a Waldorf MW II. You'll probably get a broader sound pallette from the Microwave. The VS voice is actually fairly basic - the vector mixing 'feature' (I hesitate to call it vector 'synthesis', which is kind of marketing hype) is a nice way to add some movement to the sound, especially if you detune the wave oscillators slightly, but it lacks the possibilities of proper wavetable synthesis.

The good things about the VS are the sound - those digital oscillators really give the filters some nice harmonics to bite into - and the arpeggiator, which beats the arpeggiators in all my other synths hands down. I really like the unison mode on the VS - can get some very thick, powerful basses that way. (It also has the classic 'Zeus' patch from Pretty Hate Machine...)

I think if you have a VS RAM cartridge you can also synthesise your own waves and transfer them to the VS' wave memory. I've not done this but am keen to try, as the ROM waves have too much emphasis on 'bell-like tones', and not enough gritty metallic waves.

For the amount these two synths are going for nowadays, have you checked out the new offerings from DSI/Sequential (Prophet 12, Prophet X) and Waldorf (Quantum)? If the sonic quality and identity of these old synths isn't your main priority, then the new ones go significantly beyond either in terms of textural synthesis possibilities, for only a fraction more money...
Arpeggiator I know. its amazing . its amazing that it extends what it plays and put rests . I used it a bit , and still to this day I believe , one of the best for music creation .

The new products I am not so much into. Because generally sounds without any character .
Of course I am into some sonic quality , but I was more referring between MW and VS

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Post by Sinamsis » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:42 am

I recently snagged a Microwave 1 (Rev B). Personally I really don't give a shit about the Revs. I got it at a great price. I use the MonstrumWave editor and it's fantastic. I have yet to use this feature, but it also allows editing of waveforms. I don't know much about the VS, but I haven't seen you mention the complex envelope of the MW I and modulation matrix, which makes it awesome. I also have the Access Programmer (my buddy found one for cheap and he's let me use it), but that programmer looks fantastic. I've only seen their editors which I wasn't too interested in. I still like having the computer editor for the visual feedback, easy mod matrix control and the potential for waveform editing.

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Post by Ranxerox » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:20 am

Sinamsis wrote:I don't know much about the VS, but I haven't seen you mention the complex envelope of the MW I and modulation matrix
Those are things the VS doesn't really have.

Some of the mod sources have multiple destinations, and vice-versa, but its more constrained than a proper matrix.

And there is a (relatively) complex looping envelope, but it's just for the vector panning, and can't be routed elsewhere.

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Post by Sinamsis » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:43 am

The photo posted looks like it came from a Reverb listing for $2800. Seems pretty high. I've seen MW 1 (I believe Rev A) sold for about $1500 with a programmer of some type (Access or the Stereoping controller, not programmer). The bigger Stereoping programmer costs almost $1000, but that price still seems inflated.

I would mention that I also own a Prophet 12 and 002 (what can I say, I'm a sucker for hybrid synths). The P12 I think everyone will say has kinda meh filters. But the programming options are insane. The 002 is pretty limited in terms of it's architecture since it relies heavily on the sequencer/animator. The animator/sequencer, however, has a lot of room for improvement in terms of making it more flexible (the update has been in the works for a couple years now). It uses NCOs, not a true wavetable synth. But it can sequence through the different wave shapes, though without interpolation. It does have a derez function that gives you some of the MW grittiness though, and the over all sound is wonderful. Also with two oscillators and two sub oscillators, the sub oscs can mirror the osc waveform. Nice ladder filter with the ability to overdrive it. And variable slope. My point is when it gets to that price range, I really wouldn't exclude newer synths. They have a lot to offer.

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Post by pulse3000 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:48 am

Sinamsis wrote:The photo posted looks like it came from a Reverb listing for $2800. Seems pretty high. I've seen MW 1 (I believe Rev A) sold for about $1500 with a programmer of some type (Access or the Stereoping controller, not programmer). The bigger Stereoping programmer costs almost $1000, but that price still seems inflated.

I would mention that I also own a Prophet 12 and 002 (what can I say, I'm a sucker for hybrid synths). The P12 I think everyone will say has kinda meh filters. But the programming options are insane. The 002 is pretty limited in terms of it's architecture since it relies heavily on the sequencer/animator. The animator/sequencer, however, has a lot of room for improvement in terms of making it more flexible (the update has been in the works for a couple years now). It uses NCOs, not a true wavetable synth. But it can sequence through the different wave shapes, though without interpolation. It does have a derez function that gives you some of the MW grittiness though, and the over all sound is wonderful. Also with two oscillators and two sub oscillators, the sub oscs can mirror the osc waveform. Nice ladder filter with the ability to overdrive it. And variable slope. My point is when it gets to that price range, I really wouldn't exclude newer synths. They have a lot to offer.
yes price is ridiculous , I just wanted to show the photo.
no body pays 1800€ for a MW
all in all will cost 1600€ max
the guy asking 1000 more . trying.

anyhow , sorry to say , but I have a strong allergy for new synths :)
I am no elitist , but they usually sound nothing special and very cheap made.
its my opinion I know , and only entitles me . now lets not start a debate :)

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Post by Ranxerox » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:22 am

Sinamsis wrote: It uses NCOs, not a true wavetable synth.
Actually, to be pedantic - a 'true' wavetable synth (in the sense of the PPG Wave) uses a phase accumulator to 'scan' the wave ROM address - together these do comprise a classical NCO. The wave ROM drives the phase-to-amplitude conversion; the clever bit is the way the phase 'word' can be updated under the control of a modulator.

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Post by Sinamsis » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:02 am

Ranxerox wrote:
Sinamsis wrote: It uses NCOs, not a true wavetable synth.
Actually, to be pedantic - a 'true' wavetable synth (in the sense of the PPG Wave) uses a phase accumulator to 'scan' the wave ROM address - together these do comprise a classical NCO. The wave ROM drives the phase-to-amplitude conversion; the clever bit is the way the phase 'word' can be updated under the control of a modulator.
Yeah, but it can't scan them... it's not a wavetable... it's a single cycle waveform.

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Post by rowsbywoof » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:55 pm

Take a look at the Yamaha TG-33 as well. It has been called the poor man’s VS for good reason.

I have a MW 1 and the Stereoping programmer. It’s really a lovely synth expanded out with full control. I would never steer you away from the Waldorf, but the VS is in quite a different price league, and from what I’ve read over the years, fairly fragile and difficult to fix. For that reason, I’m really 100% fine with the TG-33, as to me even with it’s all digital architecture, there is something so organic to how the vector stick can add some movement and instant flavor to the patch. Not bad at all for the $200-$300 they usually go for, and I think they sound great.

And, Dave designed the TG-33 as well.

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Post by LNerell » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:53 am

I use to own both, I ended up trading my VS for a Prophet 12 and kept the MW1 which unfortunately died :sad: . I also use to own the Access programmer but never really got into it that much, I found it to be a bit slow. I did most of my programming in the computer.

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Post by pulse3000 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:21 am

rowsbywoof wrote:Take a look at the Yamaha TG-33 as well. It has been called the poor man’s VS for good reason.

I have a MW 1 and the Stereoping programmer. It’s really a lovely synth expanded out with full control. I would never steer you away from the Waldorf, but the VS is in quite a different price league, and from what I’ve read over the years, fairly fragile and difficult to fix. For that reason, I’m really 100% fine with the TG-33, as to me even with it’s all digital architecture, there is something so organic to how the vector stick can add some movement and instant flavor to the patch. Not bad at all for the $200-$300 they usually go for, and I think they sound great.

And, Dave designed the TG-33 as well.
You know what, not that I wasn't thinkin about it.
I heard some gorgeous sounds from a guy who made it at youtube.
Is the machine multi timbral ? And is it easy to jump between sounds for editing ?
I have master degree on a DX, maybe wouldn't be hard for me to understand it.
I will check it out.
Afaik, Jeff mills used it entire productions

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Post by Ranxerox » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:38 am

pulse3000 wrote:
rowsbywoof wrote:Take a look at the Yamaha TG-33 as well. It has been called the poor man’s VS for good reason.

I have a MW 1 and the Stereoping programmer. It’s really a lovely synth expanded out with full control. I would never steer you away from the Waldorf, but the VS is in quite a different price league, and from what I’ve read over the years, fairly fragile and difficult to fix. For that reason, I’m really 100% fine with the TG-33, as to me even with it’s all digital architecture, there is something so organic to how the vector stick can add some movement and instant flavor to the patch. Not bad at all for the $200-$300 they usually go for, and I think they sound great.

And, Dave designed the TG-33 as well.
You know what, not that I wasn't thinkin about it.
I heard some gorgeous sounds from a guy who made it at youtube.
Is the machine multi timbral ? And is it easy to jump between sounds for editing ?
I have master degree on a DX, maybe wouldn't be hard for me to understand it.
I will check it out.
Afaik, Jeff mills used it entire productions
As an ex-SY22 user, I can say it's nothing like a VS. Yes it has vector mixing, but that's where the resemblance begins and ends.

The only thing I liked about it was that the joystick/ball thingy generates midi CCs, and hence made a cool X/Y controller for my plug-ins.

Also, Dave didn't design the TG33/SY22 and nor did his design team. The few that remained (at Korg, not Yamaha!) at that point (1989-90) were hard at work on the Wavestation.

It is true that through their brief parentage of Korg, who had acquired rights to SCI's IP, Yamaha were able to recycle the 'vector synthesis' concept without fear of litigation (as Korg did with the Wavestation, which also had vector mixing.) Interestingly Yamaha also recycled some features of the Prophet 3000 in the (coincidentally-named?) A3000 sampler...
Last edited by Ranxerox on Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Notron fn » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:30 am

Image

How are these with lemur based editors?
Insert pithy statement here

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Post by oldgearguy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Notron fn wrote:Image

How are these with lemur based editors?
There's something out there and I tried making one back when I had a MW I. The big problem is Lemur only supports a sysex message of 256 bytes, so if the machine sends/receives larger sysex, Lemur can't handle it. Which means you have to jump through all kinds of hoops just to deal with the communication.

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Post by tobb » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:55 pm

i say VS,because yes 4 osc,it can sound very lush,but a VS is another price range.

I have a VS,had a MW.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:31 pm

I have gone back and forth on this front multiple times. Each have their pluses/minuses, which have already been listed, and (frustratingly!) neither is better than the other and so it really comes down to personal preference for the final wavetable variant each delivers.

For shear tonal variety though, I think the MW1 wins. A lot of the VS waveforms are pretty samey to me. On the MW side, I personally prefer the rev. A filter to the B—it is more biting in terms of resonance and also more musical for that reason—but either filter is better than the standard and pretty dry low pass filter on the MW2/XT imho.

The “perfect” option on paper is actually the Solaris—it has all of the MW and VS waveforms and can do vector and wavetable morphing. The problem is that while it has great sounding digital emulations of analog filters, they still are digital at the end of the day and so a VS or MW is going to have that analog edge over it. Of course the Solaris has so many other great features that if you really have to have both sounds under your belt, it is absolutely the perfect “desert island” wavetable synth. But if funds allow I think a Solaris + MW1 is also justifiable.

On the programmer note, if you purchase direct from stereoping, it’s about $700USD shipped. Dude on eBay is inflating the price. It’s really well made and absolutely worth buying. Now, unfortunately, it does not allow immediate access to the last stage of the envelopes like the Access programmer, but overall it’s miles better than it and well worth the investment if the MW is what you end up going for. ALSO, there is a push for Stereoping to make a VS controller--if that's something anyone is interested in, please drop him a line, since he needs enough initial interest to start doing it.

Other cheaper options, aside from the Access programmer, include the 64 knob Doepfer Drehbank controller--64 knobs over two pages gives you pretty much immediate access to every parameter. The downside is that there is no visual feedback, and this ends up being a challenge given how many parameters are +/-. Anyway, I made a template if anyone wants it. After that, a PC controller really would be the best option.

EDIT: one other option--if you go for the MW1, you could spend all the cash you saved on an Ensoniq SQ-80. It fills a sort of weird middle ground in between the VS and MW and you can generate plenty of sounds that neither can do with all the weird 8-bit waveforms/Sync/AM, but also gets me closer to the "big pad" sound of the VS with the three oscillators.
Last edited by Sir Ruff on Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mmp » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:43 pm

My favorite thing about the VS is the stereo field. You can set the starting pan of each voice individually, and then modulate the panning for very interesting special FX. It is a monster pad machine as a result. The random patch generator is also a source of endless amusement and the starting point for many interesting patches. Years ago there was a Dr.T’s program for loading your own waveforms into the VS...I wonder if anyone has a program for that these days?

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Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:44 pm

mmp wrote: Years ago there was a Dr.T’s program for loading your own waveforms into the VS...I wonder if anyone has a program for that these days?
Yeah, think it's called Vector Surgeon... made by a dude on the Analog Heaven list. Is free and works great.

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Post by Happyanimal » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:05 pm

Good luck finding a VS in working condition. You’ll have a slightly easier time with a MW1. But, again- prices are going up. Get a synthtech e370, a planar and 4ch filter.

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Post by stikygum » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:01 pm

I owned a Prophet VS and have a MW1. My personal preference is the MW1 mainly because I think you can get 'far out' sounds on the MW1 easier with all it's editing options and mod matrix. The sound of both is great, but I want synthesis too and the MW1 gives me the sonic exploration I'm looking for. The combo of the MW1 and Stereoping controller I can only imagine will be a total win.

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Post by stikygum » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:10 pm

Sir Ruff wrote: On the programmer note, if you purchase direct from stereoping, it’s about $700USD shipped. Dude on eBay is inflating the price. It’s really well made and absolutely worth buying. Now, unfortunately, it does not allow immediate access to the last stage of the envelopes like the Access programmer, but overall it’s miles better than it and well worth the investment if the MW is what you end up going for.
How do you access the last 2 stages? The Stereoping left off the Time and Level for stage 7 and 8 on the faceplate. Maybe there is a shift function...

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Post by limpmeat » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:31 pm

I have a mk1 microwave, and was going to get that controller as a DIY kit but the price was a bit steep for me.

Instead, I am looking to try building my own midibox controller.

Recently I finished building an MI Ambika, it's worth a look. IMO it fits somewhere between a MW, ESQ1 and Juno106 (with the SMR filters anyway).

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Post by resetlfo » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:53 am

I am seeing from the manual VS filters doesn't respond to midi velocity ?
Only saying pressure .
Does it mean you cannot modulate the filter with midi thru a sequence ?
Or pressure from a sequencer can handle the same thing ?

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Post by Sir Ruff » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:11 am

stikygum wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote: On the programmer note, if you purchase direct from stereoping, it’s about $700USD shipped. Dude on eBay is inflating the price. It’s really well made and absolutely worth buying. Now, unfortunately, it does not allow immediate access to the last stage of the envelopes like the Access programmer, but overall it’s miles better than it and well worth the investment if the MW is what you end up going for.
How do you access the last 2 stages? The Stereoping left off the Time and Level for stage 7 and 8 on the faceplate. Maybe there is a shift function...
yeah, it's in a menu--pretty straight forward to access though.

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