REMAGEN, GERMANY: having initially introduced its Iridium concept as a high-class synthesizer in a compact desktop form factor with welcomed added extras building upon the German developer’s demanding design standards set by the then-flagship Quantum keyboard’s futuristic functionality and advanced tonality to the wider world with widespread critical acclaim back in 2020 (followed by its semi-weighted polyphonic aftertouch pressure-providing Iridium Keyboard counterpart coming online in 2022), Waldorf Music is proud to introduce Iridium Core — genuinely getting right to the heart of its Iridium synthesizer product line as a small form factor variant featuring the full Iridium synth engine (itself implemented as the deepest available in a hardware instrument while being super-intuitive in use), this time providing 12-voice polyphony (including all the two layer setups) while retaining patch compatibility with all other Iridium variants, as well as Quantum and Quantum MK2 — as of October 10…
While weighing in at a comfortably carriable 2.2 kg, Iridium Core’s attractive all-metal enclosure merely measures 346 mm (W) x 200 mm (D) x 64 mm (H), making for a rugged road-ready creative companion that fits into laptop-sized bags and carry-on baggage while leaving enough space also to accommodate other devices for performance purposes. Put it this way: it is clearly worthy of its small form factor Iridium variant product description.
Duly providing 12-voice polyphony, Iridium Core features the full (MPE-compatible) Iridium synth engine, encompassing three oscillators — OSC 1, OSC 2, and OSC 3 — with five synthesis models — Wavetable (consisting of all the classics, as well as new tables of single-cycle waveforms), Multi-Sample & Granular (based on the simple idea that instead of playing back an entire sample, only short portions of the sample — so-called grains — are played), Waveform (standard oscillator model to create typical analogue synthesizer waveforms with cool features like morphing, hard-sync, and detuned unison), Resonator (creates sounds by using an initial exciter signal — mostly a short noise impulse or sample — that goes through a bandpass filter bank, where its resonating filters finally produce a ringing sine-like sound), and Kernel (effectively enabling one oscillator to become up to six sub-oscillators that can be interlinked through FM at audio rate and arranged in user-definable constellations) — that can be combined and mixed in two-layer setups together with dual digital FILTERS plus a digital FORMER section with various modes like Bit Crusher and Comb filters; furthermore, the 40-slot MOD (modulation) matrix — with five LFOS (Low-Frequency Oscillators), five ENVELOPES, and Komplex Modulator (defined as a complex LFO with two different curves that can be mixed together) — and an EFFECTS section (with five effects per layer that can be arranged in various parallel and serial topologies), as well as useful utilities like an Audio recorder, spectrum Analyzer and oscilloscope, and microtonal editor all see to it that the synth engine involved is the deepest available in a hardware instrument.
Iridium Core centrally features the same (1024 x 600) touch screen shared by its Iridium Desktop and Iridium Keyboard synthesizer siblings, with its encoders at the sides and the main encoder below — an intuitive and easy-to-use UI (User Interface) which, when operated in combination with the top row buttons, also allows all sound parameters and pages to be reached quickly and easily. Enabling the exploration of a huge sonic universe of electronic sound in a way that helps keep creativity flowing is at the core of Iridium Core’s design ethos. It impressively includes over 1,700 factory presets and samples from an array of sound designers, driving anyone’s sonic wanderlust with much inspirational fuel for their musical endeavors. Equally, it shares the pad matrix — used to call up freely-programmable notes, chords, sequences, and arpeggios — found on Iridium Desktop, albeit in a reduced 2 x 4 arrangement accommodating its smaller form factor, while sharing six freely-programmable MACRO buttons — with which users can define functions from a wide range of features for additional performance control — with its Iridium Keyboard counterpart. As a unique design element, however, Iridium Core features four user-definable potentiometers that can be used on a patch or global basis (as well as additionally being able to be used as modulation sources). Speaking of which, Iridium Core is patch compatible with all other Iridium variants, as well as Quantum and Quantum MK2, and, as another member of the Waldorf Synthesis Platform OS (Operating System) — the common platform for all Iridium and Quantum variants — will, likewise, benefit from all future firmware updates.
Ultimately, Iridium Core connects smoothly with computers, controller keyboards, drum machines, modular synths, sequencers, and more to integrate into various live performance and studio setup scenarios. Situated on its rear are MIDI In and Out connections on TRS Mini Jacks adhering to Type A standard, while Iridium Core comes complete with two DIN MIDI adaptors. Additionally, there are also two precision CV (Control Voltage) inputs — In 1 and In 2 — alongside Eurorack-compatible CLOCK In and Out connections. Connectivity continues with the same I/O included on Iridium Core’s Iridium Desktop and Iridium Keyboard synthesizer siblings — namely, stereo AUDIO In, AUDIO Out, and a headphone output with Volume potentiometer, as well as USB Computer and Controller ports for MIDI and storage, MicroSD Card slot, and DC In 12V / 3A (external) power.
Proudly ending on a high note, Waldorf Music CTO Rolf Wöhrmann puts Iridium Core — genuinely getting right to the heart of its Iridium synthesizer product line — into its rightful perspective: “Many performing musicians have asked us for a more compact and portable form factor for the incredible Iridium sound engine to pack into their travel bags or allow already densely-packed studio environments to more easily accommodate another hardware instrument. Inspired by their feedback, we came up with the Iridium Core concept, and are very proud of the finished result. Indeed, it’s a thing of beauty, ready to be taken anywhere, and we can’t wait to hear all the music made with Iridium Core!”
Iridium Core is available through Waldorf Music’s growing global network of distributors (https://waldorfmusic.com/distributors/) at an introductory promo price of €1,849.00 EUR (including German tax) for four weeks — rising thereafter to an SRP (Suggested Retail Price) of €1,941.00 EUR (including German tax) — and also directly from Waldorf Music’s Online Shop here: https://waldorfmusic.com/shop-english/
For more in-depth info, including some superb-sounding demos, please visit the dedicated Iridium Core webpage here: https://waldorfmusic.com/iridium-core
Watch Waldorf Music’s must-see Iridium Core teaser video here:
Watch Munich-based modular ambient and electronica artist Panic Girl getting up close and personal with Iridium Core here:
Watch Berlin-based electronic musician JakoJako integrating Iridium Core with her modular setup here:
Watch Waldorf Music’s stunning sound demo for its Iridium product line, including Iridium Core, here:
About Waldorf Music (www.waldorfmusic.com)
The well-known Waldorf Music marque has been synonymous with high-quality synthesizers for over 30 years; indeed, its innovative position in the electronic musical instruments marketplace dates back to 1989 with the release of the wavetable synthesis-based Microwave, an amazing ‘reincarnation’ of the legendary PPG Wave series — arguably amongst the most coveted high-end synthesizers of the early Eighties — that was instrumental in providing some called-for counterbalance to the dominance of Japanese and American designs. While Waldorf continued this unique technology tradition with successive synthesizer releases ranging from the mighty Wave — perhaps the most impressive, expressive, and user-friendly sound synthesis tool ever built — to raising the bar for VA (Virtual Analogue) synthesizers with the introduction of the popular Q series from 1999 onwards, the new millennium saw the trailblazing company making a timely move into the brave new world of music software with the release of its first VST Instrument, PPG Wave 2.V, a tradition it continues to this day with more recent software releases including its Nave advanced wavetable synthesizer. Subsequent successes in the high-quality hardware arena include the Blofeld synthesizer — forging sound and design into an unbeatable price/performance ratio in both desktop and keyboard versions — and Zarenbourg, a contemporary electric piano par excellence, as well as the cost-conscious Rocket (synthesizer), 2-Pole (analog filter), and Streichfett (string synthesizer) desktop modules. Meanwhile, Waldorf broadened its appeal further by introducing Nave to transform any iPad into an advanced wavetable synthesizer. Fast-forwarding to today sees the high-quality synthesizer manufacturer musically returning to its roots with M, bringing back classic Microwave and ‘modern’ Microwave II tone generation as a new-generation classic hybrid wavetable synthesizer complimenting a slew of contemporary high-quality synthesizers taking the well-known name into the hands-on musical masses — whether working with its (flagship) Quantum high-class hybrid or (polyphonic aftertouch pressure-providing) Iridium digital synthesizer keyboards, (FPGA-based) Kyra and Iridium digital desktop synthesizers, or other hardware (including a welcomed move into the ever-expanding Eurorack modular synth system format) or software (including iOS).
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