PPG Wave 2

PPG Wave Image

The German made PPG (Palm Products GmbH) Wave 2 series of synthesizers are incredibly great sounding analog/digital hybrid vintage synths. They use digital samples of wavetables and feature analog VCA envelope and VCF (filter) sections for a classic and warm sound. The Wave 2.2 has oscillators that can generate over 2,000 different single-cycle 8-bit digital waveforms! Covered by knobs, the Wave still looks analog and this comprises the "Analog Control Panel". More complex and new-wave editing of the wavetables and samples is covered by the "Digital Control Panel" where there are several key-pad buttons and an LCD screen. Another familiar treat to analog junkies is the inclusion of an 8-track sequencer which features automation of pitch, loudness, filter cutoff, waveforms and more. A cool feature - its onboard sequencer will also record any filtering and wave changes, in real-time!!

The more commonly encountered Wave 2.3 (pictured) followed the 2.2 and had enhanced sample-playback capabilities. The sampler was pretty full-featured for its time and included upgraded 12-bit digital waveforms, Fourier analysis and linear playback of samples. The 2.3 model also featured 8-parts multitimbrality and MIDI implementation. The PPG Waves are know to create excellent pads, brass and bass sounds. It is used by David Bowie, Eat-Static, Electronic Dream Planet, The Fixx, Trevor Horn, Jean Michel Jarre, Art of Noise, Rush, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Robert Palmer, Psychadelic Furs, Talk Talk, The Cars, Ultravox, Steve Winwood, Rush, Stevie Nicks, Thomas Dolby, Pet Shop Boys, Mike and the Mechanics, and Stevie Wonder.

In fact it was Tangerine Dream who helped the company and the Wave develop. 1978 saw the development of the PPG Wave Computer 360. But the Wave Computer sounded harsh and tinny. In 1981, the PPG Wave 2 was released which added analog VCF and VCA filter and envelopes to warm the digital sound. The original Wave 2 had 8-voice polyphony, like the 2.2 and 2.3, but it had only one oscillator per voice. The 2.2 offered two oscillators per voice which opened up a whole new realm of sonic possibilities because two separate wavetable sounds could now be combined.

PPG Wave Image

Although PPG fell apart in the mid-late 1980's, their technology found its way into fellow German music company, Waldorf. The Microwave series represents modern day PPG technology, continuing the wavetable synthesis method with modern filters, envelopes, MIDI, and more.

PPG Wave 2.V VST
Image  From Waldorf comes the PPG WAVE 2.V, an amazing new VST Plug-In that recreates the functionality and sounds of the Wave 2.3. Read more about it!.

Lookup PPG Wave 2 Prices

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Are you looking to buy or sell a PPG Wave 2? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

47 Visitor comments
January 13, 2009 @ 7:40 pm
I have tried this instrument in the 1980's. The action was tough. I think it almost cause more calouses on my hand. It was dirt also. Sounds are nice. I don't remember clearly, but I think it took a long time to start it up. I love this instrument and was a good idea. An astromomy doctor made a whole album with this and a galaxy's data. I have the album and enjoy it. The Waldorf's I think is a good move forward. I neer tried the VST, but wish to buy one day. The orignal PPG 2.xx and microwave are some of my favourites. I think there was a lack of respect from stores, but a lot of my favourite 1980's artists used the PPG 2.xx.
Eric Robert
January 5, 2009 @ 3:48 am
Also used in the 1985 Tears For Fears tour (Ian Stanley). Wonderful bell-synth pad patches. I used a Jupiter 6 until recently, and it could never even come close, at any level.
Yann Donnelly
October 29, 2008 @ 3:58 pm
Nine Inch Nails also use one - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8ysGYC69ns shows it in all its glory with a Waveterm next to it at 0:35
October 10, 2008 @ 9:46 pm
i used to hang out in a locals music store just to get 10 mins on a 2.3 way back in college 84-85 beautiful instrument. i have a copy of the wave 2.v now
October 8, 2008 @ 7:41 am
The band Re-Flex used this instrument extensively on their albums Politics of Dancing and Humanication.

Also a noteworthy Kajagoogoo B-Side containing a simple solo with an awesome PPG noise is "Take Another View".

Even rarer The Punch's italo rarity "Love Me" has an intro with some PPG work in it.

Berserker by Gary Numan is literally riddled with hoardes of PPG sounds. Two people on the album are credited solely for "PPG Programming" This album and a good portion of The Fury are great examples of the PPG system.
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 Voice / 8 Part Multitimbral
  • Oscillators - 2 to 16 Oscillators per voice (using Digital Waveforms); 30 Wavetables with 64 waves per table
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer: 8-track; 6000 notes/99 patterns/99 songs + arpeggiator
  • Filter - analog 24 dB/oct lowpass VCF with ADSR envelope
  • VCA - Four Curtis ElectroMusic 3360 Dual VCA chips with ADSR envelopes in the Wave 2.3
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (responds to aftertouch)
  • Memory - 200 patches
  • Control - MIDI, PPG proprietary 8-bit parallel communication buss
  • Date Produced -
    Wave 2: 1981-82
    Wave: 2.2 1982-84
    Wave 2.3: 1984-87
  • Resources & Credits
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