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Waldorf Q Rack

see the kb version review




I don't make separate pages for rack versions of my synths, but this time I'll make an exception for those of you who, aside from the synths themselves, like to read about their origins.

This rack version popped up in a village located 70 km (43 miles) away from my home. I like traveling (travel for the sake of travel) and I like villages (because they're such a different environment compared to the cities), so I jumped on a bus. I always look around and look through the windows on both sides of the vehicle, so my neighbors on the bus always eye me suspiciously and probably think that I am very nervous about something or have some mental disorder. I won't deny that I have some kind of slight mental disorder, but as a matter of fact, I constantly look around because I love noticing the details; the landscape, the road, the traffic, the shape of the trees, the patterns in the sky. But especially I like to travel at dusk and peek into illuminated windows of roadside houses. This way I manage to catch glimpse of people's room decors and the inhabitants of these rooms themselves, and I wonder for those several seconds who they are and what kind of lives they lead, what current joys and problems they are going through. This way a curious and sensual process takes place: I manage to scale up or enhance my perspective, so to speak. When I'm at home, slightly bored, I'm thinking that there's only me and the four walls around me plus the familiar belongings within. But on the bus or in a car, observing all those random people and looking at all the unravelling objects that are made of billions and billions of molecules, knowing that each of these persons and each of these molecules has its individual fate and context and description, makes me realize that I'm just a grain of sand in a huge mill of matter and historical events that relentlessly grinds us all toward an unknown future. Plus, the bus is like a market; a small & quick explosion of community - there's always something happening, eg. someone mistakes the buses, argues with their neighbor and creates a commotion, etc. This journey also had its entertaining little fate.

After the purchase, I kept the Waldorf in a cardboard box on my lap. I never sit by the window, always by the aisle. But when we reached Wadowice, the birthplace and the family home of Pope John Paul II, the bus got pretty crowded. A senior woman embarked and looked around, then looked at me and asked: "Is that seat taken?". I answered: "No, that one's free". She asked: "what's your destination?". I said "Cracow". And she said "Ooh, I'm just going 7 minutes east, so maybe it would be better for you to sit by the window for that little while lest we make a clumsy commotion?". I thought to myself: "Shiiiit, does she want to get me killed? Ooookaaaay... just 7 minutes, I have the panzer Waldorf with me so I''ll cover myself with it in case of a truck crashing into the side". Fortunately for me - and unfortunately for somebody else - a truck crash was meant for a different geographical location in the scope of these seven minutes. The radio on the bus was constantly blasting some grim news from Ukraine, because it was the day of the largest fights and all the rich rats of the former power elite escaping to Moscow in their private jets.

Then there was this grandma with a funny accent who carried a big suitcase and a big bag with a sapling inside and could't manage  all that weight. So when she reached my row, I helped her with positioning the suitcase, and then during disembarking. She was very curious about the Ukrainian news and each time it aired she put her head higher as if to make her ears closer to the speaker. When she was leaving, she thanked me sincerely and said that she's going to Lvov by train. I asked: "Are you Ukrainian?". And she smiled and nodded. I said: "I think there's some revolution unfolding right now?". She grimaced, squinted and said "There's some helter-skelter going on, I need to visit my daughter who is there". I wondered what that little tree was for. Are they going to plant it, or cook it when she gets to Lvov? Or maybe it's some religious object?

But the best part was the bus door and the bald biker-chav guy sitting by it, on the very first seat. The door opened every 5 minutes while the bus was driving!!! It was a shaggy, 35-year-old Mercedes going by the name of "Comfortbus", however, it was the furthest thing from the definition of comfort. It was smelly, noisy, cramped, slow and definitely not comfortable, with the slat of my seat scratching against my back. Plus the door. So when I first saw the bald biker-chav guy in his leather jacket, I thought "oh shit, he's gonna beat me, he's gonna walk up to me and say: now what do we have here, a big-city nerd with a fancy knob-thing? I'm gonna fucking break it against my knee and we'll see what kind of sounds it makes then". But actually he turned out to be the nicest guy on Earth. He helped all the grandmas with getting in and out, and he would shut the door each time they spontaneously opened. It was like his mission and his natural talent; just a nanosecond after the door clanked and opened wide onto the road, he would jump off his seat and grab it by the handle and pull it forcefully so that it made a loud SLAM and we could all continue our journey safely.

I love harmless trouble. It excites me but keeps me safe; it's like killing two birds with one stone.

Apart from the Pope's home, we passed a weird little town that all it had were just furniture shops and factories. It was crazy; literally 90% of all the businesses and signs read "Furniture" or "Furniture Accessories" or "Industrial Equipment for Manufacturing Furniture". And there was me, amongst all of it, observing all the details - the furniture town, the bald head reflecting light, the silhouettes in the rooms, the wild & uncontrollable door - and all of it happening amidst the news of people just like me dying in flames just 800 km away. That was one of the most sublime days of my life. Or maybe I inhaled too much smoggy Cracow air and had delusions.


The well-grounded fear of racks / desktops comes from the expectation that smaller size means less efficient and less comfortable user experience. But I think that the Waldorf Q, side by side with the Viruses, is one of those models where you don't have to worry about it. The Q-rack user interface is practically identical to the Q-kb, with the only difference that the knobs in the Oscillator + the LFO + the Mixer sections are shared. To say it more precisely: in the kb-version each of the three Oscillators and each of the three LFOs and each of the three Mixer Levels have their separate knobs, whereas in the rack-version you have to select the LFO or the Oscillator / Mixer by pushing its button first.



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