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Waldorf Pulse

Waldorf Pulse

The Waldorf Pulse was introduced 1995. It was Waldorf very first monphonic synth. This rack mount synth uses three oscillators that are clocked/pulsed (hence its name) by a digital created clock signal. This digital core of the oscillator it then using a full analog waveshaping to create the oscillator signals. So it is digital in terms of the pitch, but analog in terms of the analog audio signal that is created without a D/A converter. These oscillators are then mixed and send to an analog 4-pole lowpass filter as featured in the 12V versions of the Waldorf 4Pole. The filter is not completely built from individual transistors, but with more accurate transistor array chips on the top and bottom of the ladder. Only the 2x 2 transistors in the middle are discrete ones (type 2N2484).
More about its inside and some pictures are available here:

I never really liked the Pulse. It wasn't its sound. The sound is a wonderful bold analog one, but the editing isn't fun. The six knobs under the parameter matrix are not endless encoders, but pots. So once you got the right fine detune of the oscillator 1 and than selected the cutoff parameter that uses the very same knob for editing. Moving this knob now lost your setting of the cutoff as the moved knob sends it new position (as used for the tuning) now to the cutoff parameter. And once you set the cutoff right, going back to the Osc 1 tune changed its already adjusted value when you just liked to change it a little bit. You get the point: rather frustrating sound creation. I think this is why you found some editors for the Pulse online.

Soundwise this is a super monosynth suitable for deep bass to lead lines. But be carful with the mixer section: if you set the oscillators above 50% in level, you get a saturated filter. As this is not always the intention, be sure to give it a try with lower mixer levels to find the more sweet spots where the filter is not adding to much distortion.

Stereoping Programmer for Pulse

Waldorf Pulse and Stereoping Synth Programmer

How to make the Pulse even better? Add knobs! Plenty of knobs!
The small german company Stereoping developed and builds MIDI controller and programmer for many synths, including the Waldorf Pulse. The solid full metal desktop/rack housing with 45 knobs and 4 encoders and a Pulse matching display is a pleasant Pulse addition. this way, editing the Pulse feels way better and is way faster. And the new Drive parameter, actually it is Osc mixer gaining macro, helps a lot to get the right amount of VCF drive and saturation without the need to deal with al three mixer volumes individually.

Virtual Music Russian Filter Upgrade for Pulse

Waldorf Pulse and Virtual Music Russian Filter Upgrade

The Russian Multimode Filter integrated in the Pulse - a Synthesizer on Steroid!
The Austrian company Virtual Music developed and builds a Russian Filter Upgrade to fit into the Pulse without changes seen from the outside.

I really like the new filter sound. The Russian lowpass ads some nice bold character even when using very low oscillator mixer settings. With higher mixer gain, it screams nicely like a beast. The bandpass filter adds some sonic fields never heard on a Pulse before. And finally the lowpass or the bandpass with audio FM of the VCF by the OSC 3 gives you rich metallic, clangorous and abstract sounds not heard before. Very recommended!