9 – Waldorf Pulse
Years of production: 1996-2002
Spec: triple oscillator analogue monosynth
Key features: seriously fat bargain analogue
Current second-hand price: £200-300
Waldorf have always flown under the radar. The German company, which emerged from the wreckage of digital synthesis pioneers PPG, has produced numerous great products over the years, but for some inexplicable reason they’re rarely the first name on people’s minds when they think of classic synth bargains.
If you’re in the market for a fat, powerful analogue monosynth and you don’t consider the Pulse, you’re missing out. If this unassuming little 2U rack module had the a Moog, Roland or Korg logo on the front panel it’d be a bona fide legend. Instead, you’ll have no trouble picking one up for £200.
With three fully analogue VCOs, two LFOs, two envelope generators, an awesome Moog-inspired resonant low-pass filter and a versatile arpeggiator, the Pulse can hold its own with just about any synth module you care to mention. Unlike some of the cheaper alternatives, the Pulse has memory slots for patch storage and every parameter can be controlled via MIDI. The design may be over 15 years old, but this is a synth which can slot into a modern studio setup with ease.
The Pulse+, which replaced the original model in 1997, is the one to go for. It’s virtually the same as its predecessor but features CV/gate sockets for interfacing with older analogue gear and an external audio input for processing signals through that excellent filter.
The company’s original Microwave module is also worth keeping an eye out for.