Blofeld love


I used to have a Blofeld. That was about 10 years ago. I wasn’t ready for it then. I simply didn’t have the experience and programming skills to appreciate all that it could do. I don’t even know if Waldorf was ready then. But now we’ve both had enough years of updates to become fairly dependable. We might make a good team now. At least that’s what I tell myself. A Blofeld desktop is on its way. It was a recent purchase, so perhaps I have GAS too? But it doesn’t feel that way.

The Blofeld with its wavetables, FM abilities, envelopes, and sample support exists in a different space than my old Nord gear, and with the routing possibilities via its modulation matrix, it can go quite deep. Underground lair/evil genius deep. “Thorough” was the word a friend of mine who uses the Blofeld as the center of her live rig explained to me.

Some of the various Monomachine machines overlap into Blofeld territory, but even so, they both sit in different sonic realms. The algorithms, controls, filters, etc. are different enough that there’s arguments for both. I’m a fan of many things about the Monomachine. But in practice, I wanted a Blofeld again.


From the Blofeld manual (page 51):

Drive Curve
Determines the character of the drive. The following drive curves are available: Clipping, Tube, Hard, Medium, Soft, Pickup 1, Pickup 2, Rectifier, Square, Binary, Overflow, Sine Shaper, Osc 1 Mod.

You know me. I just love to mess with Drive Curves… I can guess what most of them are supposed to do, but am still wondering about ‘Pickup 1’, ‘Pickup 2’, and ‘Sine Shaper’.

Does anyone have some undocumented good guesses as to how these drive curves behave?


Honestly, in my brief experiments with the the drive curves, p1 and p2, make quite subtle differences.

I’m about to fire up the studio, so will make a point of checking these out again, with a simple sine and square, and report back on anything good.


So quick check and p1 and p2, to my ears, sound like an emulation of the DS1 sound. Kinda light, top layer of harmonic distortion, that perhaps maybe is a little detracting from the original sound. Imo


With the drive you can rise the output-level in case you are not satisfied with the low levels from the Blofeld in general.


Thank you, I understand the concept as well as the use of drive curves (most of the model names are pretty easy to guess the intent of) but I couldn’t find documentation for pickup 1 and pickup 2 beside their names.


There’s also a small tidbit from Waldorf to add (maybe) to the mix …

Overdrive, Saturation, Distortion, Shaping
You name it. The Blofeld offers a freely controllable "Drive" behind each filter with more than a dozen curves. These include such standards as the drive from the Q and Micro Q, low/medium/hard saturation, tube saturation, two types of electric pickups, a rectifier, digital overflow as well as esoteric stuff such as "binary distortion", a sinusoidal waveshaper and even a distortion controlled by oscillator 1. And because the Blofeld has two filters that can be routed in series, you can control the timbre of the drive output of Filter 1 by dampening or emphasizing certain frequencies with filter 2.


I was also reading that the Drive Curve shapes the sound even when the filter mode is set to bypass. I haven’t had time to verify that myself yet though.


I wonder if the two types of electric pickups are supposed to be guitar pickups, whereas I imagined them (based on my experiments) to be mic pickups with maybe some sort of modeled feedback circuit.

Anyway, with modulation it can sound kind of interesting.


What was the issue with the blofeld if I may ask? Considering buying one.


I need inmediate synths.

While the Blofeld seems a good deal to program, several pages with up/down buttons, the problem comes when you need more deep options, like Unison, or Osc routing. You have to select the Osc, then push a lot of times towards left or right with the multi-function knobs, and then do the changes. The buttons aren’t easy to press, and the knobs arent easy to grab.

If while you are creating the patch, you need tweak a lot of times those parameters… it’s really boooring. I simply ignored this all the times I purchased it. I thought I can overcome this problem since I’m older now and I have more patience. Wrong. Mal. It’s not about patience, it’s about how much time you need to program a sound, versus how much time you need to program a sound in, let say, my old Virus C. And while Blofeld sounds good, it’s not easy get those good sounds. At least I need tweak a lot until I get the sound I have in my mind.


There’s always this guy.

Not cheap, but custom made.


Thank you for the information. This is very useful and valuable to me.


Kinda makes me wish Waldorf would make a version of Blofeld in a box like this, for 1200 £€$


great, but an editor will serve you well


Great standalone editor but the aesthetics got to match the comtemporary Blo and this one doesn´t…


I concour. I returned mine and just got refunded. Phew, that was close!

I don’t want to start a ‘Have you fallen out of love with your Blofeld’ thread because there’s so much to love about it. It’s a very impressive synth at any price. I was able to navigate its logical, extensive interface and I learned how to access its depths. Ich kann Blofeld kein problem sprechen.

What made me let it go, was that the more interesting aspects of the Blofeld required diving pretty deep. Nope, if I wanted an editor for it, I’d just use a software synth from the beginning. Just because I could assign things via the mod matrix by the time I got down there, or by the time I got into the depth of programming the overdrive settings, or programming the arpeggiator it revealed the strength of a ‘simple’, more immediate interface like my Nord Rack. For me, immediacy won out. Also, it seemed like the Blofeld dsp could do a bunch of things, yet it seemed to balk at doing too many things at once. Programming in depth felt unnerving. Also, I never embraced multi mode. Just because it may have become more stable over the past few years doesn’t make it any more fun to use.

If Waldorf had spent the past 10 years enhancing and refining the Blofeld interface and engine and used that technology in future products versus whatever goofy things they’ve been doing (like getting into Eurorack) we might all be rocking a Blofeld XT. Until then, I can wait.


It will be so!


Finished my portable setup off with a beat up white blofeld desktop and it all fits! Wobbly encoders and dirty slightly tilted screen, love it.

I use it with my OT+MD and added a line6 M5 to the blofeld output for additional and midi controllable effects! It adds just enough to the digital VA character to make it more fitting with other sounds. It reminds me of the micron which I would prefer, but doesn’t fit my travelcase!

Enough rambling, yet a blofeld love thread seemed the place.


3 Blofelds in picture, but on shelf is another Blofeld keyboard that needs encoder and key repair!
The Black keys and white module are polychained.