Advanced Keyboard Synths - Compared

There are several advanced keyboard synthesizers out now, or soon to be.

The synths i am thinking of exactly, in no order :

  • Waldorf Iridium Keys
  • Waldorf Quantum MK2
  • UDO Super Gemini
  • Hydrasynth Deluxe
  • Haken Continuum
  • Expressive E Osmose
  • Aodyo Anyma Omega Keyboard

Note : These all have poly-aftertouch / MPE keybeds.
Likely there will be more, someday, that can be added to this list. I think i have them all for now.
The ROLI Rise 2 nice as it is is not included as it is only a controller.

What do you think of these as synths ? Which do you prefer ? Have at it, it will be interesting to hear everyones opinions.

ADDED : New Waldorf Quantum MK2, with 61 key Fatar poly-aftertouch keybed, and 16 voices. January 16, 2023.

ADDED : The UDO Super Gemini, with 61 key semi-weighted keybed with polyphonic aftertouch. May 11, 2023.


Pick one that gives you another dimension and most mileage. Among the five, I think Iridium does a bit more for me sonically than the rest.

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I started this thread as a long admirer of the Waldorf Quantum / Iridium and Continuum, who owns and loves my Hydrasynth, and is signed up for the Osmose and the Anyma Omega. And things have been changing for me.

Except the Osmose, Continuum, and the Omega aren’t really just physical modeling synths.
No more than the Hydrasynth is a wavetable synth, though it gets labeled that all the time.

It’s fine to compare any two at a time.

Some basic facts :

  • Waldorf Iridium Keys
    $3800 USD, €2729
    49 Keys
    Bi-timbral, 16 voice

  • Hydrasynth Deluxe
    $1800 USD
    73 Keys
    Bi-timbral, 16 voice

  • Haken Continuum
    Full size: $5290
    7.79 Octaves
    Unspecified Timbrality, 16 voice ( depends on patch )
    Half size: $3390
    3.84 octaves
    Unspecified Timbrality, 16 voice ( depends on patch )

  • Expressive E Osmose
    $1800 USD
    49 Keys
    Monotimbral, 12 voice ( mostly )

  • Aodyo Anyma Omega Keyboard
    €1,650 suggested final price
    49 Keys
    Four part Multitimbral, 16 voice

ADDED : Iridium European Price.

ADDED : These prices are list prices, and you can always find sales if you are patient, so shop around. The prices here are just for a rough comparison.

I don’t own any of these, but if I could justify it, I’d get the half-sized Continuum. I already have a HS and Iridium Desktop, so I would just want the controller for fluidity of playing. Also, I have Korg Kronos, which I absolutely love, as my main controller. I do wish it had PolyAT, but wouldn’t replace it just because it doesn’t (I never get tired of KARMA for one thing). I am not a fan of Poly AT since I play for meditation, and don’t like having to press the keys hard to get there. I am glad, though, that things are moving back in that direction, since synths that are capable of Poly AT (e.g. HS, Iridium) are then nicely set up for using that parameter as another dimension of modulation. So, I use a Linnstrument to control AT, but instead use per note pressure, which can be set to different levels of sensitivity depending on what I am playing with it. I hope this doesn’t sound too cheesy, but I turn the lights down or off, put my fingers on the Linnstrument, and then oh so very lightly press and swirl various fingers to multiple notes simultaneously to create evolving, buzzing, churning, drones (especially with HS). Today, I will be receiving a Lyra 8 to do the same kind of meditative playing, but with portability (it will be my new “couch instrument.”

I really wanted a RISE, but bought a Seaboard Block to test it out, and it failed on me pretty quickly, and the company never responded to my support emails, even though I was still in warranty. If and when the Osmose becomes a reality, I might take a closer look.

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One thing to factor in standardization:

Left hand controls (Joystick/Wheels/Morphee/Touche)
Ribbon controller
Polyphonic Aftertouch
Note off velocity

These seem to be gradually getting more standard as more people get exposed to them.

Once they essentially become standard then you don’t have to worry about controls you learned on one not translating to another.

The danger with the Continuum/Linnstrument/Osmose/Seaboard is they tend to have controls that are different from anything else and in many cases patented so others can’t use it.

This does happen in the EWI world as well as there are plenty of people that don’t want to switch from their Yamaha WX controllers as they provide the controls they like and have become accustomed to. The problem is that’s currently a defunct product line that Yamaha doesn’t seem to care about so you end up having to do more and more work to keep everything working over the years.

It could very well become the same sort of thing with these bespoke controllers and Roli already went for bankruptcy once.

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The Anyma Omega.

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had never heard of that one yet, thanks


Check out the Omega’s thread, if you’re interested.

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External Editor - Availability and/or Requiredness

Haken Continuum/Expressive E Osmose seem to require an external editor to access functionality. Osmose looks like it will have performance controls available on the screen but it is unclear how deep it can edit. And it’s probably not going to be able to reduce down the giant matrix in the editor to fit.

Aodyo Anyma Omega/Waldorf Iridium/Hydrasynth all have hands on interfaces that should allow for editing without requiring a computer.

From my understanding the Anyma Omega will also have a computer based editor available as well (the Anyma Phi had this).

There are certain things like patch management that’s just going to be a fair bit easier on a computer but a required workflow with an external editor definitely makes it less of an immersive hands on workflow.

Signal Chain

I’m not familiar with the Waldorf Iridium but from my understanding both it and the Hydrasynth still follow the traditional oscillators -> filters -> effects sort of path.

Anyma Omega has a bit less traditional more modular design so you can plug and play whatever you want after the oscillators (within constraints).

Haken Continuum/Expressive E Osmose have a fairly nonstandard matrix configuration which goes even more modular than the Anyma Omega. Probably has some things it can do that others can’t but the increased routing likely comes with increased complexity.

Physical Modelling

I don’t think I’ve really seen anything physical modelling with the Hydrasynth.

I believe the Waldorf Iridium has some mechanism for physical modelling but I’m not sure.

Anyma Omega has a bunch of physical modelling mechanisms and resonators that can be combined as modules. I believe they are largely based on stuff from Mutable Instruments.

Haken Continuum/Expressive E Osmose has physical modelling mechanisms. I think at a glance it appears they may go a bit deeper than the Anyma Omega.

The biggest point in the Eaganmatrix’s favour is it has over a decade of preset design so there’s a fairly well rounded set of deep presets vs the limited amount currently available for the Anyma (hopefully that changes for the Omega).

Either way the Anyma/Eaganmatrix engines seem to have a fair bit of overlap in this area.


You’re getting into some difficult detail with this, thank you adamc.

As to physical modeling synthesis on the Iridium Keys i’ll quote from an article in Sound On Sound :

The Resonator oscillator offers a flexible physical modelling algorithm using a noise source (or a sample) processed through resonant filter banks. Through tight control of exciters and harmonics, plucked strings, wind instruments, bells, chimes, percussion and many sounds you’ve never heard before can be achieved. There are plenty of on‑screen graphics to help you visualise what is happening. Although the physical modelling doesn’t always nail any specific instrument’s sound, it offers a unique sonic palette with which to layer and experiment.


Interesting, depending on the level of control this could be deeper into the nitty gritty of most physical models as fine tuning the harmonics in an easy fashion would make it easier to replicate the timbre of certain instruments.

As an aside, anything with key tracking comb filters and noise can also get into physical modelling territory.

For instance this is on the Waldorf Blofeld which isn’t really known to have physical modelling capabilities (at 18:40): Waldorf Blofeld - Analog Voltage Soundset - YouTube

Here’s a video how to do this in Vital: How to do physical modeling in almost any synth - YouTube

There’s a bunch of noise sources in the Anyma engine and comb filters were part of the second stretch goal in the Anyma Omega kickstarter. That could potentially allow this trick to do doing physical modelling stuff without needing the resonator modules.

The Hydrasynth doesn’t have comb filters, at least not in the traditional filter slots. There is this trick: The Hidden Hydrasynth Comb Filter - YouTube

But I think because of how the mutators work it’s hard to get it into physical modelling territory but maybe someone will figure it out.

Waldorf Iridium Keys is only $2,458 USD from Juno if anyone is looking at one, fit whatever reason Korg puts Waldorf gear at crazy prices in the US.

$2399 USD from Thomann.

Usually comes down to wherever the GBP/EUR is at the moment for which is cheaper (Juno or Thomann) for Waldorf stuff.

There’s usually also duties to consider (and sometimes power supplies).

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… and returns — there was a E’naut, that had to ship a unit back across the Atlantic, IIRC.

The HS is funny, despite not having the formal structure that has been used to do physical modeling, it still does mysterious things, that sound like it’s doing physical modeling, it’s just less predictable, than let’s say using a string or wind module on the Omega.

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Definitely something else to factor in, given some of the quality challenges with the Iridium.

I think the Iridium Keys is mostly fine now, with the growing pains having been dealt with.

The Osmose and the Omega are now both unproven quality-wise, though both companies have good reputations.

The M I got from a user here looks totally flawless, build is great! I’d be confident about the Iridium at this point.


Oof, yeah, I’m never buying Roli again after my experience with Lumi Keys. Months of excruciatingly slow back-and-forth via email, and when I finally got the replacement, it had a different problem. It’s a shame the keyboard is so lightweight that I couldn’t at least use it as an expensive doorstop.

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