With the now well established Eurorack standard continuing to prove ever popular amongst synth enthusiasts, we've seen a number of new units appearing at NAMM in possibly what could be the year of the Eurorack format.
Waldorf who are ever at the forefront when it comes to synths have decided to put a new spin on things by introducing the KB37 chasis. This unit is based around a high quality Fatar TB9 keyboard, which can host a total 100 HP worth of modules (around 4 in total) in its angled front panel.
What this means, is that Walforf is come up with a design based around a great keybed, allowing you to build your own synth using the modules of your choice. The base keyboard itself provides extremely flexible control for any of those mounted modules thanks to its high-resolution, temperature-stable 16-bit CV interface and the additional MIDI control offers fully programmable MIDI channels and velocity curves, making the kb37 the perfect partner both in the studio and for taking your modules out on stage.
Alongside the base KB37 keyboard, Waldorf has a number of new modules to tempt you even futher.
The NW1 is based on an advanced wavetable engine, which historically has always been a strong point for Waldorf, so we'd expect good things here. This is backed up by the fact that the NW1 uses the classic wavetable banks from the Microwave & Wave synths of yesteryear. Not only that but the NW1 also lets you easily create your own wavetables right from the front panel via time domain multiple foldover analysis. All you need to do is connect any sound source to the NW1 to transfer audio into a wavetable, or you can even use the integrated speech synthesizer to translate typed text into wavetables!
The MOD1 unit gives you three different modulation sources in one module make the MOD1 the control center of your modular patch. From simple envelopes and LFOs to complex looped multi-stage curves, the MOD1 delivers rich and endless modulation options, from gently undulating LFOs to ultra-precise hard cuts, you get it all based on innovative analogue circuits for a truly musical touch.
Built around two VCAs with a wide range of options including the most important one: the ability to musically colour the signal. Starting in dry mode, you get high-precision analogue amplification. But then when you turn the Colour knob, you add a warmer and more colourful timbre to the signal based on a finely-crafted state variable filtering circuit. Additionally positive gain control makes the dvca1 a true “amplifier,” and flexible link modes let you create modulated panning.
A true high-end analogue compressor not only adds punch to your signal, but it also can be modulated in intriguing and unconventional ways including side-chaining with a adjustable balance control that will open up a huge set of modular possibilities.
The Kompaktklavier otherwise known as the Zarenbourg Module, offers the sound engine of the Zarenbourg Piano in a rack unit. Just like its larger cousin, three different sound generators deliver uncompromising quality where physical modeling recreates the classic E-Piano sounds with staggering authenticity. The direct streaming sample playback engine with 4 GB of sample memory provides a selection of fantastic grand, upright and electric pianos. The third sound generation system is a 6-operator FM synthesizer, perfect for classic DX pianos and a variety of other trademark FM sounds.
Along with the sound generation capabilites it also provides a huge selection of high-quality effects, such as
Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Echo, Auto Wah, Equalizer and Overdrive, as well as many effect combinations. Each sound can be freely combined with an effect / effects combination and stored in the internal memory. New sounds and effects can also be added via the integrated SD Card slot.
It's an interesting setup that makes your module collection a little bit more portable than before. If you have the need to take them on stage with you, the KB37 should certainly be seen as an option.