Posts categorized "Synths & Instruments (Hardware)" Feed

New Waldorf Blofeld Firmware V1.15


I know, I know, three Blofled posts in two days. Sorry about that. Next post won’t be Blofeld, I promise.

Anyway, Blofeld 1.15 Firmware is now online. Update includes:

  • MIDI Clock reception improvement
  • System Exclusive handling
  • Workaround for USB on Apple computers
  • Sample/Wavetable start as Modulation Destination
  • User Wavetables
  • Changing Multi Programs via Bank MSB (CC#0) value 127
  • Local Off for Blofeld Keyboard
  • Minor bugfixes

I can personally vouch that this update fixes a bug for sending Multi dumps back to the Blofeld. Can't wait to try "Sample/Wavetable start as Modulation Destination ".

  • Visit for more info. Download the firmware from here.
  • Mark Mosher
    Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO

    Top 10 Things I Love about the Waldorf Blofeld

    I’ve been going on about the Waldorf Blofeld a bit. As you know, I’m pertty much 100% laptop based with piles of VSTs and many have been asking me why I’ve added a hardware synth and why I picked the Blofeld.

    To put it simply, there are times when I just don’t want to mess with a computer and I’m looking for instant-on. However, if I was going to go with a hardware synth, I wanted something that would compliment my Ableton Live rig. In a nutshell, a synth that:

    • I could throw in a backpack
    • Had contemporary sound with built-in fx
    • Had a strong interface that would allow quick tweaking with visual feedback without using a computer
    • Supported Mutli-Mode so I could pair with Tenori-On
    • Had a USB and MIDI In so I could use it with either a computer or a generic MIDI controller
    • Had an option for loading and playing back sample-data
    • Was affordable

    While there are a number of instruments in the sub $1,000 range, I found the Blofled to have the richest and widest variety of features at a great price point that met my requirements. After using it for a few months I’m still very happy with my decision.

    What are my favorite features? Checkout my top-10 list below.

    10 Build Quality/Form Factor - A metal enclosure with 7 endless metal knobs. It’s built like a tank. It’s also heavier than you might think so the weight of the cables won’t pull it off your stand or controller. It’s plenty small enough to fit in a backpack.

    9 Quick Editing – The physical parameter matrix with default mappings set to common parameters is fantastic.image

    8 16 Channel Multi-Mode 
    Like the Tenori-On 16 layer sequencing model find yourself wishing for an a more aggressive pallet? Blofeld 16 channel Multi-Mode is a great answer. You can setup splits and layers making this perfect for gigging.

    6 Computer-Like Display Without a Computer 
    Waldorf Blofeld  Filter 
    The display is fantastic. It’s like using a soft synth. You see immediate feedback of envelopes, waveshapes etc… when you manipulate parameters.

    5 Robust Synth Engine
    Subtractive, wavetable, FM, adequate sample playback, built-in FX, arpeggiator… there is plenty under the hood for producing a wide variety of sounds and for those who like to program. Ships with more than 1,000 sounds for those who want to play and not program.

    4 Ability to Load Your Own Samples and Use them as Oscillator Sources
    The keyboard edition, or the desktop edition with the License SL option support 60M of non-volatile sample RAM which can be managed via a software app called – wait for it – Spectre :^)

    3 A Killer Modulate Matrix
    A 16 slots matrix! Includes the ability to assign custom MIDI CC’s to 4 controls W-Z (see my previous post for more on this).

    2 Huge Sonic Palette
    I personally love it. It can be warm, harsh, metalic, and you can radically change the character of a sound via the user interface or through MIDI control. I posted this previously, but if you missed it, check out this sample
    Blofeld LFOs Gone Mad - One Patch Performance Series.

    1 The Name 
    And my number 1 favorite – why the name of course. I love Waldorf’s tongue-in-cheek naming and Bond branding. Check out the official product page to see what I’m talking about.


    By the way, I’m not affiliated with Waldorf – just a fan :^). I also want to thank Jeff at Sweetwater who answered many questions and did some research for me before I bough the Blofleld – and no, I’m not affiliated with Sweetwater either.

    Mark Mosher
    Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO

    I Join the Moog & Theremin Communities with My New Moog Etherwave


    Yesterday, I received the last instrumental element of my rig – the Moog Etherwave Theremin. It was actually a gift from my wife and extended family which makes it even more special! I’ve included a few pictures in this post and you can see more over on my Facebook Fan page.

    If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been slowly building out my live rig to add all sorts of interesting visual, tangible, and now spatial controllers. The real power of my rig is that when you combine all the pieces with Ableton Live at the center you can do some amazing things – after lots of practice of course ;^)

    The Theremin is amazing and I’ve always wanted one – for many reasons really. First I feel that through the Theremin I’m connecting to the history of electronic music, and to Bob Moog in a way. Second, I’ve always loved the classic use of Theremin in science fiction films. I used a Theremin patch from a virtual synth in the song “They Walk Among Us” and I’m quite excited to use a real Theremin to perform this live. Third, I’ve always been curious about composing using spatial movements of the body. Lastly, I think it will also add an interesting visual aspect to my performances.

    I plan to both learn classic Theremin technique, plus go well beyond the classic use of the Theremin by using it’s signal to control other elements in my rig and to heavily process it’s signal. I’ve already started working with it running through Ableton Live and using Percussa AudioCubes to modulate digital parameters that are effecting the analog signal. Very exciting!


    The instrument itself is very solid and beautiful and is quite a contrast to commodity plastic controllers in build quality. I like Moog’s form factor with the Etherwave as well. They’ve done a nice job creating a small but solid enclosure that is lean and functional.

    If you’ve not played a Theremin, it’s actually quite challenging. I’m very pleased that Moog included a DVD with two video tutorials by  Clara Rockmore, “the Greatest Theremin Virtuosa” and “Mastering the Theremin, by Lydia Kavina”. Bob Moog also makes an appearance in the video.


    Many, many, many hours of practice in my future with the Thremin. More to come on this including videos of performance and rehearsals. Stay tuned.

    Mark Mosher
    Electronic Musician (and now Thereminist)
    Boulder, CO

    Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer 411

    I've spent quite a bit of time working with the wonderful Waldorf Blofeld Desktop Synthesizer. I put together a mindmap of things I've learned that will help you understand the differences between the keyboard and desktop version including the License SL sampling option. Along the way I've also found many links and utilities (such as computer editor/librarians) which I've included in the map. This should be a real-time saver for you.

    View map on | Download Clickable PDF


    Mark Mosher
    Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

    Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
    Buy on iTunes

    Teenage Engineering Making headway on OP-1 Portable Synthesizer and Controller


    Teenage Engineering is at NAMM 2010 and appears to have made progress with the OP-1 (see video of demo at bottom of post). The OP-1 is a is billed as an “…all-in-one portable Synthesizer, Sampler and Controller. With additional features like the FM Radio and a G-Force sensor for pitch and bend effects.” The synth looks to have a stunning high-contrast display.

    Some notable features:

    • Built-in audio recorder
    • The 8 Synthesizer engines: FM, strings, DRW, Pulse, T10m Cluster, PSE
    • Built-in Mic
    • Sampling
    • 512 MB Nand Flash storage
    • image Hardened design with expected lifespan of 10 million keystrokes per key, industrial grade incremental encoders, Zinc diecast and fiber enforced high performance plastic, aluminum body

    MusicRadar posted a video from the NAMM Demo.


    In  the video above they estimate price between $500-$1,000 with a late 2010 or early 2011 delivery. So, start saving your pennies as this looks like a killer portable music workstation monster.


    Mark Mosher
    imageElectronic Music Artist
    Download my REBOOT Album: