Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

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Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:26 am

i know people are going to point out right away that one has digital oscillators and the other is VCO... and also one has sophisticated wavetables and the other plain oscillators... but let's talk about the parts that overlap... which one does that part better?

for basic stuff like synth-pop basses... sweeps... brass... strings... kraftwerky percussion... resonant textures - which one wins? i've owned an xpander in the past and i think it's the best sounding analog poly i've owned besides the prophet-5 and prophet-600 - so considering that i already have a prophet-5... i don't mind the fact that the microwave has digital oscillators - the xpander didn't seem to be very drifty at all... which is fine... and the different LPF types seemed very similar sounding except for 1-pole and the bizarre combination filters

the size is also a reason why i'm considering the microwave - i do also like PPG-like sounds but that's not the big goal here - i used to own a microwave-2 and i always wanted it to be more old sounding... which is why i sold it - i know programming on both is not very immediate... any comments on one being easier to use than the other? microwave is definitely easier to bring to the repair shop - what do you all think?
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby Sir Ruff » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:11 am

Pretty hard to know what you're looking for here?

You want the usual analog "hitlist" (sweeps, brass, strings) and you also don't care about the PPG-sound, so what makes you want a MW in the first place? You've also owned an xpander and liked it... so why not just get another? It's not that the MW can't do that stuff, but I would think that if you want any Waldorf gear in the first place, it's because of the wavetable modulation. Also, the interface TRULY sucks, even with the programmer.

An SQ80 would be a cheaper option with a better interface that will give you the same wavetable + filters sound, just without the wave scanning. It also can truly sound "old".
Do you even post on vse bro?
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:55 am

well... i was looking for something that had more modulation routings than the prophet... like velocity->filter mainly - and multi-tiimbral mode - and then has some different character from the prophet too - the xpander is probably the best choice but i was seeing if anyone had any reason i should go for the MW besides the points i already mentioned - yeah if the MW has a bad interface then i guess the only reason it would win is the size and price factor... ppg sounds would just be a bonus

i always considered these 2 to be similar w/ the later CEM filters, modulation matrix, multi-timbral mode, lack of traditional unison mode or arpeggiator, and lack of keyboard (which is a good thing... i want to avoid more keyboards) - not really looking for other suggestions tho
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby Sir Ruff » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:39 am

Yeah, to me the filter on the Waldorf stuff is almost like a bonus... you're buying it for the wavetables; the filter on the MW1 is nothing special--typical mid-late 80's CEM sound, but none of the interesting variations of the Xpander. And I recall that the MW1 has a far simpler mod matrix than the MW2. I don't think you're going to get nearly as much of the weirdness that you can get on the 2/XT
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:44 pm

eh screw it i think you talked me out of both of these synths ;)
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby Sir Ruff » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:18 pm

Glad I could talk you down :lol:

Something in the middle might be like an OB8? More modulation than the prior OB-series, but still a great, classic sound. Or what about the OBMX? Kind of similar to the Xpander (same oscillators), but much more organic (drifty) and moog-like (using 4-pole filter at least).
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:34 am

hmmm... well i like the OB-8... but i dont want another large keyboard if i can avoid it - and the OBMX from what i heard is kind of like an analog version of a 90s synth... maybe i'm wrong... but that's what it sounded like to me

my fav era for synths is like... 1980-1985 - oh well... what would be cool is if the MKS-80 actually sounded like a jupiter-8 - i'd buy that - too bad that's totally incorrect... i tried it myself... and i was disappointed - i think once i get my prophet back from the repair shop i will stop being so curious about these other synths
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby padmonster » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:43 am

If you're serious about the MW1, definitely look for one with the v2 firmware. It's not completely programmable from the front panel - you'll need a MIDI editor to get the most out of it (especially the user-programmable wavetables). I've got mine running on an old Mac with SoundDiver 3.0.

The MW1 v2 is one of my desert-island synths - great for pads, evolving soundscapes and bass. The analog filter on the MW1 is what the MW2 is sorely lacking - the inclusion of the different filter types on the MW2 don't make up for the lack of warmth that the MW1 filter provides.
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:27 pm

I actually determined an in-between of the Xpander and MW1... the Prophet VS. I'm kinda suprised I didn't think of that sooner... looking for the rack version with no success... we'll see.
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby plikestechno » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:31 am

I've read some people say that the VS and Microwave 1 sound very similar so maybe save yourself some dough and get a MW1. Prices seem to have dropped a bit on them lately.

Of course, you dont get the Vector Synthesis but the general sound is similar.

I love the hell out of the Microwaves. Have a 1 and 2 side by side in the rack.
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:26 pm

i think i agree w/ your logic... but i'm still holding out for now - waiting for a payment to come thru for a job... and i likely will be using the microwave / VS / whatever i get on the job :D
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby wjmwpg » Tue May 06, 2014 3:45 am

I think you should give that SQ80 suggestion real consideration (unless of course you're already familiar with it). For $300 it's an insanely cheap experiment, and a really underrated machine.
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby 8bit9bot » Tue May 06, 2014 3:39 pm

wjmwpg wrote:I think you should give that SQ80 suggestion real consideration (unless of course you're already familiar with it). For $300 it's an insanely cheap experiment, and a really underrated machine.


i'd rather go with the ESQ-m because it's a rack... i am familiar with it... but there's one thing that really makes me not interested in it and that's the lack of being able to self oscillate the filter resonance
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Re: Oberheim Xpander vs Waldorf Microwave 1

Postby Music Maven » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:53 pm

The Xpander and Microwave are very different sounding synths. However, they do share a certain "mad scientist" approach to sound design. The Microwave obviously has the edge when it comes to interesting hybrid sounds. But the Xpander is probably the ultimate pure analog sound design monster (that can also do great bread and butter sounds).

Even if you don't use it all the time, the Microwave is still totally worth having, IMO. It's my all-time favorite synth (out of 20 hardware synths that I own). Also, I would disregard the dismissive "nothing special CEM filter" comments. The CEM filter in the Microwave Rev A is fantastic sounding and completely blows away the CEM filter used in modern DSI stuff.
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