Synth modules are always slightly harder to recommend than their keyboard counterparts. You’re typically restricted to a more limited set of controls, you lose the hands-on immediacy and, at worst, you end up digging through menus searching for the parameter you want to adjust rather than actually making music.
Waldorf have become specialists in modules that buck those irritating trends. Yes, the controls on synths like the Blofeld, Rocket and the more recent Pulse 2 might be limited, but their logically designed interfaces and intuitive approaches to programming mean that they’re much more pleasant to use than some modules can be.
The original Waldorf Pulse featured on our list of the most underrated synths, where we praised its fat sound and Moog-rivalling filter. The Pulse 2 carries on where the original Pulse and Pulse+ left off, with countless upgrades to bring it up to date. The three oscillators now feed into a filter with added high-pass and band-pass modes. There’s a filter FM option, ring modulation and a distortion effect built into the VCA.
The main benefit of the module format over a one-knob-per-function keyboard is evident in the Pulse 2’s price: this is a hell of a lot of synth for the money.