The Waldorf Edition bundles and updates three oldies but goodies—D-Pole, Wave 2.V, and Attack—with dozens of presets.
Plug-ins have come a long way since 1998, when German synthesizer pioneer Waldorf introduced the virtual filter D-Pole, followed by the soft synth PPG Wave 2.V in 2000 and the virtual percussion module Attack in 2001. Now all three are available in a suite called the Waldorf Edition ($149.95). They haven't changed much since their initial release, except that they now run on modern computers such as Intel-based Macs and cost no more than the original price of just one. They're now compliant with AU and VST 2.4, and you can control them using Novation's Remote SL and other MIDI controllers.
Installing the Waldorf Edition on my dual-processor 2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.4.9 couldn't have been easier. I ran the installer, opened Apple Logic Pro 7.1.1 and Steinberg Cubase SX 3, and immediately began using the plug-ins.
D-Pole is more than a simple filter; it's also a ring modulation, distortion, envelope follower, and delay plug-in. In addition to lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and notch, it has an allpass filter type called Resonator. All five are resonant to self-oscillation, and slope is switchable from 12 dB to 24 dB. D-Pole displays frequency in hertz and resonance as a percentage — very nice. You can increase overdrive to 52 dB and prevent overload by adjusting the volume.
D-Pole's maximum delay is two seconds, and delay's feedback can loop infinitely. Damping lets you dial down the high-frequency content. Delay automatically syncs to tempo, and clicking in the Time display reveals a menu for selecting rhythmic values. You can apply the plug-in's LFO to modulate cutoff, panning, or oscillator frequency.
Ring modulation provides an oscillator with adjustable frequency and three waveforms. You can even dial down D-Pole's sampling rate to as low as 210 Hz for bizarre distortion effects caused by skipping samples. An envelope follower can modulate filter frequency in a positive or negative direction. Thirty-one included presets show off how much fun D-Pole can be (see Web Clip 1).
The New Wave
Wave 2.V is an 8-part multitimbral soft synth that resurrects the sounds and front-panel layout of the PPG Wave 2.3, an 8-bit wavetable synthesizer. Wave 2.V furnishes 9 banks of 128 sounds, including the original factory programs. Many Wave sounds have a digital bite that's difficult or impossible for other synths to reproduce (see Web Clip 2).
When you turn a knob, its corresponding parameter is shown in a tiny display. Clicking on a row of buttons opens windows to select from 31 wavetables, program the arpeggiator, reroute modulation, graphically edit envelopes, and more. Copy and Paste buttons let you move programs from one bank to another.
Wave 2.V offers numerous ways to impart timbral complexity. The Basis knob spreads individual voices across the stereo spectrum. Three keyboard modes stack voices so that two, four, or eight sound when you play a single note; tuning the voices relative to one another by semitones lets you play one-finger chords and complex timbres. You can use Aftertouch or the LFO to scan the wavetable. And if you enable True PPG, the plug-in exhibits the original instrument's limitations, including aliasing and other signs of instability.
Attack Is Back
Attack is a multitimbral plug-in I've long admired because it offers capabilities no virtual drum machine has matched. Its analog-modeling engine has two 9-waveform oscillators, frequency and ring modulation, a 6-mode filter, and two graphic envelope generators with an unusual Shape parameter. The LFO and the sophisticated dual-delay section can sync to tempo. To simulate handclaps, a unique Crack Modulator generates a sawtooth LFO that's applied to amplitude.
Attack comes with 28 kits you won't find elsewhere, many focusing on unusual sounds (see Web Clip 3). When you load a kit, the names of its 24 parts appear on bars on Attack's left side; clicking on a bar plays its corresponding sound and allows you to edit its parameters. In addition to assigning the lower two octaves of MIDI notes to play individual drum and percussion sounds and effects, each kit has 12 sounds that include bass and pads you can play melodically and polyphonically on 12 MIDI channels.
A Tasty Salad
Wave 2.V and Attack were respectable bargains when they were sold separately, and they're outstanding values now. My only complaint about D-Pole and Attack is that the plug-in windows are so small that their text can be difficult to read. With a street price well under $100, however, any one of the three plug-ins is reason enough to buy the Waldorf Edition.
Value (1 through 5): 5
Waldorf/QTec Designs (distributor)