Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Artesia

Inside the Waldorf - Blofeld (plus: q+ & Andro' patch comparison)

21 posts in this topic

not alot in these frankly.. even when compared to the XT ;)

ah well, thats dsp synthing for you :)

its a fair contender for the virus market; and its graphical menu systems is very nice :) ..reminiscent of the roland jd & xv synths & the Andromeda. Sounds pretty decent, however i still preferr the q+ ;) ..only this is affordable :)

Also afew bugs crop up in using this synth; occasionally envelopes dont redraw on the screen, etc. Hopefully waldorf will address this soon, and it may explain in part why the sods havnt been churning them out by the thousands so far. Tho overall its working very nicely.

made from a ridiculously thick steel chassis, alps encoders, knobs are solid milled aluminum - feel real nice :)

another bloody wall wart psu :/

btw these are an absolute sod to take appart; so appreciate ;) ..the knobs are fixed on with a dab of superglue and a particular knack is required to break this seal without damaging anything. The volume knob in particular is a sod.

cpu & usb comms is - Freescale - MC9S12UF32PBE (16bit 30mhz capable)

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=S12UF&fsrch=1

Audio engine DSP is Freescale - DSP56371 (24bit 180mhz dsp ?)

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=DSP56371&fsrch=1

Flash Memory is - Samsung k9f1208uob (64m x 8 bit nand Flash mem 3.3v)

Dac is - akm438?? (some chars unreadable, although likely 24 bit 192khz 106db/snr)

http://www.akemd-eu.com/audioconverter/dac/index.html

Line out opamp is - NE5532 (stock, decent opamp :)

Headphone amp is - national semi - lm1877 (2w a ch into 8 ohms)

http://www.national.com/mpf/LM/LM1877.html

Two crystals, one clocked at 11.289mhz (dac ?), the other at 12mhz.

UPDATE:

Heres a quick comparison of a q+ patch i created, rendered as best i can, exactly the same way on the blofeld.

had to use drive curves to beef up the LP a tiny bit, as i used the analog filters on the q+ originally.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/q/Q99-rec.mp3

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/BLOFELD/BLOFELD_QSOUND.mp3

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/alesis_andromeda/ANDROMEDA_QSOUND.mp3

(plus another shoddy improv with the andromeda)

sounding distinctly different, the blofeld sounds very digital to my ears.. comments welcome :)

BLOFELD_11-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_13-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_14-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_15-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_16-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_17-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_21-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_25-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_26-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_27-SM.jpg

BLOFELD_30-SM.jpg

more about the MC9S12UF32 CPU:

The MC9S12UF32 microcontroller unit (MCU) is a 16-bit device composed of standard on-chip peripherals including a 16-bit central processing unit (HCS12 CPU), 32K bytes of Flash EEPROM, and 3.5K bytes of RAM.  In addition to the in-chip full-speed USB 2.0 interface, the MC9S12UF32 has built-in the following interfaces and host controllers: ATA-5 interface, compact Flash, secure digital / multimedia, smartmedia, and memory stick. Together with the flexible I/O ports, 8-channel, 16-bit timer, this MCU is well suited for applications such as multi-card readers, USB thumb drives, and USB to external harddisk drives.

igh-performance 16-bit HCS12 CPU core

    * Upward compatible with M68HC11 instruction set

    * Interrupt stacking and programmer's model identical to M68HC11

    * Instruction pipe

    * Enhanced indexed addressing

    * Multiplexed external bus

    * Maximum 30MHz bus operation at 5V

    * Memory

          o 32K byte Flash EEPROM

          o 3.5K byte RAM

    * Up to 75 input/output (I/O) lines

    * Integrated Queue controller (IQUE)

    * 8-channel, 16-bit enhanced capture timer

    * Full/High speed universal serial bus 2.0 (USB 2.0)

    * Serial communications interface (SCI)

    * ATA-5 host controller interface

    * Flash memory card interfaces

          o Compact Flash host controller

          o Secure digital/multimedia card host controller

          o Smartmedia host controller

          o Memory stick host controller

More about the 56371 DSP:

Targeted at audio/video (AV) receivers, home theaters, surround sound decoders, mini stereo systems, digital TV audio systems and automotive audio systems, the DSP56371 is designed to meet the demands of audio electronics system designers by supporting the latest generation decoders, such as Dolby, THX and DTS, among others.

The DSP56371 is capable of running delay management, bass management and DTS96/24 while using less than half of the DSP's computing capability. This enables designers to add system enhancements that the discerning audio consumer now expects. The performance increase is made possible through the use of a higher core frequency, fewer memory wait states, a larger amount of on-chip static random access memory (SRAM) and the addition of an Enhanced Filter Coprocessor (EFCOP). By removing the need for external high-speed SRAM and making smaller, less complex boards, the DSP56371 is performance-rich and cost-effective.

Multimode, multichannel decoder software functionality

Dolby and/or DTS license required

    *      Prologic II

    *      DTS Neo6

    *      DTS 2.3

    *      WMA

    *      AAC

    *      Dolby Headphone (DH)

    *      Dolby Virtual Speaker (DVS)

Digital audio post-processing capabilities

    *      Parametric EQ

    *      Tone Control or Graphic EQ

    *      Dynamic range compression

    *      Loudness

    *      Bass Boost

    *      Speaker Comp

    *      Fade/Balance

    *      Music Search

    *      Compression

Digital Signal Processing Core

    * 1.25 V core with a 3.3 V peripheral I/O

    * Object Code Compatible with the DSP56000 core with highly parallel instruction set

    * Data ALU with a 24 x 24 bit multiplier-accumulator and a 56-bit barrel shifter. 16-bit arithmetic support

    * Program Control with position independent code support and instruction cache support

    * Six-channel DMA controller

    * PLL based clocking with a wide range of frequency multiplications (1 to 255), predivider factors (1 to 3) and power saving clock divider (2I: i=0 to 7). Reduces clock noise

    * Internal address tracing support and OnCETM for Hardware/Software debugging

    * JTAG port

    * Very low-power CMOS design, fully static design with operating frequencies down to DC

    * STOP and WAIT low-power standby modes

    * EFCOP running concurrently with core

On-chip Memory Configuration

    * 16K - 48Kx24 Bit Y-Data RAM and 32Kx24 Bit Y-Data ROM

    * 36Kx24 Bit X-Data RAM and 32Kx24 Bit X-Data ROM

    * 28K - 64Kx24 Bit Program and bootstrap ROM

    * 4Kx24 Bit Program RAM

    * Various memory switches available

Peripheral modules

    * Enhanced Serial Audio Interface (ESAI_0): up to 4 receivers and up to 6 transmitters, master or slave. I2S, Sony, AC97, network and other programmable protocols.

    * Enhanced Serial Audio Interface I (ESAI_1): up to 4 receivers and up to 6 transmitters, master or slave. I2S, Sony AC97, network and other programmable protocols.

    * Serial Host Interface (SHI): SPI and I2C protocols, 10-word receive FIFO, support for 8, 16 and 24-bit words.

    * Triple Timer module

    * Digital Audio Transmitter (DAX): 1 serial transmitter capable of supporting the SPDIF, IEC958, CP-340 and AES/EBU digital audio formats

    * Pins of unused peripherals (except SHI) may be programmed as GPIO lines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool! Now put it back together and send it to me! Thanks! ;D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what amuses me the most; is what now essentially equates to the synth, -would- fit into a matchbox, or for that matter a pcmcia card or usb stick.... anyone want to challenge waldorf to make a picofield ? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the DAC is clocked by a 11.289MHz crystal, then the DAC sample rate is more likely to be 44100, 88200 or 176400 samples/second.

this would give exactly 256, 128 or 64 cycles per sample respectively.

I like those knobs. - I found some larger ones (like about 27mm dia) from HKSS, but they were a little pricey for my liking (somewhere in the region of $5-$10 each, hard to justify for a piece of milled al). Nice though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you notice that this is a hand-soldered board? What serial number does the unit have? Is it a very early model, or don't they (Waldorf) expect to sell the Blofeld in quantities??

Best regards, ilmenator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well.. id like to see someone solder those smt's on by hand ...dont think its early model; its ser is 7440070134

also, i have a sneaking suspicion that the assembly & some physical aspects of the design is done by the access virus people. just look at that serial sticker for one....

which may not be as daft as it first sounds; they shared premises together back before they went bust. This super cool big german castle apparently !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also, i have a sneaking suspicion that the assembly & some physical aspects of the design is done by the access virus people. just look at that serial sticker for one....

When I got my Virus A second hand it still had the price sticker on the bottom and it read "Waldorf Access Virus". I have also heard rumor that the Waldorf guys helped design/implement the wave table features on the TI. Anyone know if this is true?

Luke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quite likely; i heard off the uk distro people, that when waldorf sunk the most recent time round; some of the guys immediately got jobs working for access. Those people may have also pooled in the expertise of other ex waldorfer's too, to complete the implementation..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UPDATE:

Heres a quick comparison of a q+ patch i created, rendered as best i can, exactly the same way on the blofeld.

had to use drive curves to beef up the LP a tiny bit, as i used the analog filters on the q+ originally.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/q/Q99-rec.mp3

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/BLOFELD/BLOFELD_QSOUND.mp3

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nausicaa.valley/ucapps/alesis_andromeda/ANDROMEDA_QSOUND.mp3

(plus another shoddy improv with the andromeda)

sounding distinctly different, the blofeld sounds very digital to my ears.. comments welcome :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like Waldorf needs to come up with a Blofeld+ model...  ;D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeh there is.. its supposed to be the stromberg:

http://www.waldorfmusic.de/en/products/stromberg

"Additionally, Stromberg renders sounds from the legendary Waldorf Wave, Microwave and Q with awesome accuracy."

if this is so; the stromberg is going to have to be quite a significant departure sound engine wise from the blofeld.

another thing; is they announced this product ages ago ..and they still havnt released it ..which is ticking me off a little ..i have the desire to find a trade show and play one.. tho not seen Waldorf billed for exhibiting in the uk lately.

..oh, also ...according to their webpage the q+ has generated so much interest.. that they are putting it back into full production and making new ones :) ..yey for everyone who wants one ...ack damn ! :/ ..for it becoming abit of a nice rareity ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Additionally, Stromberg renders sounds from the legendary Waldorf Wave, Microwave and Q with awesome accuracy."

if this is so; the stromberg is going to have to be quite a significant departure sound engine wise from the blofeld.

Well, they all run the same DSP chip, don't they?  Heck, I bet you could render those sounds on a farm card with awesome accuracy too...  ;D

"The Waldorf name has always been synonymous with converged digital and analog technology. With a-filter and valve, Waldorf shows again that they are far ahead of the rest. a-filter is a 16-way analog filter bank. valve is a freely routable tube module that generates warm saturation on individual parts or the master bus."

"Far ahead of the rest"??  ???  Marketing...  ::)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

waldorf on a cpu farm.. now there would be something :) ..then again there was a protools waldorf plugin that did just that :)

well, almost all the waldorf stuff is based on the motorola/freescale 560000 series processors ..however they went from custom digital ASIC, with analog filters to motorola high power, general purpose pic, to rigs consisting of a right mix of general purpose pics & loads of dedicated DSP chips. then theres the fact that in some cases different programmers developed different core code for each of them; so theres making sense of, and extracting all of the relavent bits from that for accurate recreation.. then theres the matter that the codes will use individual optimisations/explots specific to the variant of the hardware it was on to get the job done ..converting that over too ..would be 'fun'..

so i'd imagine its not quite so straight forward to actually live upto that promise 100% :/ ...will see :)

(notably, it was apparently only one chap who developed the core code to the q !)

yup on the last point ...sigh, marketing :/ :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PM from: icenyne

I saw your post about the Blofeld and am very interested

in the internals.

Do you have higher resolution photos of the board you

could send me?  In particular, I'm interested in what the

flash is connected to.  The 56371 does not have an

external memory interface and I'm wondering if they

implemented one with GPIO pins on the DSP instead.

If you don't have any higher resolution pics, would you

mind taking a full frame shot of the S12 MCU, the 56371,

and the flash on both sides of the board so I can trace the

connections in that general area?

best answered here...

Hi,

the flash mem is definitely connected to the DSP, the bottom row of pins with the orientation dot to the left; the top side of the wiring traces for this are clearly visable in the above post.. where the traces follow underneath can be seen on photo below. Tho frankly theres probably not alot extra special to learn from those traces...

BLOFELD_31-SM.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

anybody see the specs for the new blofeld keyboard: 60mb of user-loadable sample memory.

i cross-posted this thread in a discussion on vintagesynth. some people were speculating about whether the blofeld would get this "upgrade":

http://www.vintagesynth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=41531&p=460867#p460867

if i'm not mistaken, the original blofeld already has a 64M flash chip on it. something to ponder, huh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I got my Virus A second hand it still had the price sticker on the bottom and it read "Waldorf Access Virus". I have also heard rumor that the Waldorf guys helped design/implement the wave table features on the TI. Anyone know if this is true?

Luke

That is true, Wolfram Franke of Waldorf:

From the Waldorf user-forum mailing list:

"He did the design of the Wavetable engine in the

TI together with Christoph Kemper. "

Cheers,

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well.. id like to see someone solder those smt's on by hand ...

http://www.howardelectronics.com/jbc/dragsoldering.wmv

Also some others on youtube, but I can't get there from work. search for Drag Solder. some guy does a huge QFP...Pretty cool actually

Not saying the board is hand soldered, but it can be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just about to pick up one of these white monsters but I'm wondering about the build quality.

On the unit I tested, the volume encoder felt a little wobbly, the rest of them were very solid.

I suspect that the volume encoder is fastened by its solder legs and not the metal base.

Did you experience anything like this Artesia? or were you just eager to get inside the box? ;-)

//Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

arumblack ...respect :)

mind i do solder smt chips for prototyping ..tho i just wouldnt fancy soldering all those smt resistors n caps for a production run ;)

wobbly volume pot; its secured by shell and pins like the rest; however its a different kind of pot (resistive not encoder) ..and has some slightly different mechanic tolerances to the shaft ..which makes it seem to wobble more. not a problem ..tho i did trash one in trying to get the casing off (caps superglued on) ..which is why its missing from one of the photos, pending replacement.

thus i can confirm, short of outright abuse, itll be fine ..as for the rest of it, i suspect you could tie it to a stick and use it as a cricket bat ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

REspect to me? That wasn't me in that video. I've begun practicing the technique and I got all kinds of bridges. good thing I have lots of junk boards at work to practice on, just heatem up with a heat gun and tap against the table, then the chips just jump right off. This technique is not recomended if you actually want to reuse the chips though. and clean the board real good, that has a major affect on the outcome. I am going to try liquid flux next time instead of paste. This guy here has some mad skillz and the comments give away what is not explicit in the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V7tBPsECjc

He uses liquid flux. watch his other videos as well and drool over his workstation. As for all those smt resistors and such.....you could try the Frying pan reflow method.....

I hand soldered my MBFM chips yesterday (point to point technique) and it came out OK, but by no means a work of art. not bad for my third attempt at SMD soldering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0