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
Geddy Lee
July 28, 2013 @ 9:26 pm
"What I liked about the PPG was the fact that it was a digital *and* an analog synthesizer [digital oscillators with analog filters]. Mind you, there's nothing like an analog synthesizer when you want a powerful sound. Analog synthesizers like the Oberheim OB-Xa and the Roland JP-8 have an organic punch to them that I find difficult to get out of a digital synthesizer like the PPG. But they have their own unique areas where they shine. The PPG has a crystalline sound which sparkles. It has a very 'invisible' sort of sound that the guitar punches through very easily. "
Geddy Lee
July 28, 2013 @ 9:21 pm
Geddy Lee: "A lot times the sound inspires me. That's why I'm so in love with the PPG that I have now - it's almost like a magical instrument. It's got such a wide variety of interesting sounds. I prefer sounds that are like acoustic instruments but have something of their own; something undefinable. Whenever I stumble over one of those sounds, the melodies just pop out of me. As soon as I hear a sound and start playing around with it, things come to mind. Of all the instruments I've had, I think the PPG drives me the most to write."
The Wave Team
June 21, 2013 @ 1:46 pm
Mike Smith on Gary Numan's use of the PPG Wave 2.3:

Beserker started off with the guys in the band and various session people working on it. We were doing s PPG session in studio two for Drew McCulloch with Joe Fagin when Gary walked by and heard the PPG. He asked us to work with him and we worked on all his projects from the middle of Beserker to the end of Outland. So not much PPG on Beserker but ubiquitous from then on.
June 14, 2013 @ 1:45 am
Hi. I am looking to buy a Waveterm B and a PPG PRK (FD). I'm in Denmark, Europe. If you have one of these for sale please e-mail me: cybercardinal@hotmail.com
February 22, 2013 @ 12:44 am
Robert Henke, aka monolake, also use a ppg wave. a 2.2 version i think, but do not quote me on that.
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Rated 4.19 (421 Votes)

  • 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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