The German synthesizer and software company Waldorf has released Iridium, a digital polyphonic synthesizer that elevates the hybrid properties of the flagship synthesizer Quantum into digital spheres and a little more.
In 2018, Waldorf released the Quantum, an analog synthesizer with its powerful sound generation and versatile modulation options, actually brought some good arguments for the title Dream Machine to its side. At the beginning of 2020, Kyra will be followed by a digital VA synth, which offers a flexible sound architecture in the desktop housing for a very independent sound.
With the Iridium designed by Axel Hartmann, Waldorf is now launching a desktop synthesizer that lifts the complete sound engine with the five synthesis forms of the hybrid quantum into digital spheres and offers a lot more. While the Quantum’s filters were still analog, Waldorf chose digital counterparts for the Iridium, which also increased the eight-part polyphonic of the Quantum to 16 voice in the Waldorf Iridium.
The Iridium is also data-compatible with the Quantum, whereby the digital filter design of the Iridium brings with it nuanced sound changes when you compare the two instruments directly, says Waldorf.
Five different synthesis models are provided by Iridium for each of the three oscillators:
- Waveform (Virtual Analog)
- Particle (Sampling and Granular Sampling)
Six Envelopes, six LFOs, and many more are just waiting for being used as sources in the 40 slots of the Modulation Matrix. Each slot has one additional control amount. Modulations can be directed to almost every numerical value in Iridium. All sources and destinations can be used as many times as desired until the Modulation Matrix is full. It can generate further LFOs or Envelopes with a freely drawable line.
By implementing six kernel operators, the Iridium polyphonically synthesizer can also produce FM sounds that were current in the 1980s. These can also be loaded directly for further processing via SysEx files in Yamaha DX-7 format. The editing process is also simplified by visualizing the sound relationships of the kernels (operators) used.
Looking at the case of the Iridium, it offers a form factor similar to that of the Kyra VA synthesizer. The 5.7 kg heavy iridium cannot deny its quantum origin, which can be seen immediately on the large touch display that sits enthroned on the left of the control panel. The built-in buttons and controls are reminiscent of the Quantum, although not all the controls of its big brother are housed on the surface of the case.
What also catches the eye are 16-voices plus two-part multitimbrality, 4 x 4 pad matrix for the sequencer, arpeggiator, sampler or live performing control, which can be used multi functionally to feed the internal sequencer with data. This not only allows you to trigger notes but also arpeggios and chords, which means that the Iridium can also be used as a performance instrument.
To match, Iridium offers the display of a special X / Y pad on the touch display, with the help of which pitch, mod wheel, and aftertouch can also be controlled on the display. There is also a start/stop button and speed control, which further underlines the live performance suitability of the voice synthesizer.
Compared to the Quantum, which is equipped with a keyboard, there is also a patch panel on the back of the case, which allows Iridium to be integrated into a modular system, which makes its use very flexible. It offers 4 CV inputs plus Gate In and Trigger In, Clock In and Clock Out will get your gear in sync.
In addition, all commercially available master and USB / MIDI controllers can be connected via the built-in MIDI trio and host connector, in order to have further options in the studio and on stage.
Waldorf Iridium Features
- 16-voice polyphony, duo-timbral
- Compatible with the Waldorf Quantum synth engine
- 3 Oscillators with Modes: Wavetable, Waveform (VA), Particle (Sampling and Granular Sampling)
- Resonator, Kernels (up to 6 sub-oscillators which can be interlinked through FM at audio rate)
- 3 Stereo Filters per voice
- Dual Digital Filter: Nave, Largo, PPG, Quantum and StateVariable models
- Comb filter
- Analyzer displayed in Filter view
- Filter curve moves when modulated (optional)
- Sophisticated filter routing options with modulatable panning and levels
- 6 Envelopes
- 6 LFOs
- Komplex Modulator (LFO/Envelope combination with user-definable shape)
- 40 slots
- Fast assign mode
- One additional control amount per slot
- Identical Sources and Destinations can be used multiple times until the matrix is full
- 4×4 silicon pad matrix with RGB backlights
- Pads can play notes, chords, arpeggios, and sequences
- Latch mode
- Step sequencer with up to 32 steps for notes and parameters
- Favorites screen for quick patch recall
- Onscreen Mod Wheel, Pitch Bend and Aftertouch
- Industrial-grade highly responsive touch screen
- Over 1000 factory sounds
- Capacity of 7000 patch memory slots (numbers 0000-9999 can be used)
- Patches from Quantum can be loaded and vice-versa
- Category filter for patch list
- 2GB user sample flash memory
- Connections: 2x TS output, 2x TS input, Headphones output with Gain control, DIN MIDI In/Out/Thru, USB MIDI, USB host for storage and MIDI devices, MicroSD slot, Kensington lock
- 4 CV inputs plus Gate In, Trigger In, Clock In, Clock Out
- Inputs can be used as modulation sources in the Mod Matrix
- Dimensions: 440 x 305 x 85 mm
- Weight: 5.7 kg
Price and availability
Waldorf Iridium 16-Voice Digital Analog Synthesizer is now available to pre-order via the Bhphotovideo.com for 2,499.99.
Back in May, Moog audio has announced the Semi-Modular Polyrhythmic Analog Synthesizer named Moog Subharmonicon. This Synthesizer is designed upon the success of the Mother 32 and DFAM semi-modular synthesizers, and Eurorack-compatible too.