Common hardware issues to look for when purchasing a used, b-stock or unopened 2018-2019 Waldorf Quantum
The Waldorf Quantum is so unique and so amazing, it is worth a few rough edges in my opinion. Nonetheless, a consumer should be aware of product characteristics, good and bad. If you are going to buy a new or used Quantum made in 2018-2019, you should be aware of some common hardware issues.
I stress these issues do not apply to Quantums manufactured after 2019. All computer based technology including the greatest synthesizers ever made, of which the Waldorf Quantum is one, have probably a 1% defect rate. This post is not about standard technology defects and it is not about firmware issues either. Ordinarily, if you have a brand new synth of any type that is DOA or has some hardware flaw in at least the first 30 days, send it back to the reseller for an exchange or refund. If they won’t do that, cease doing business with them in the future.
I had 2 Quantums manufactured in 2019. The first one fell into that 1% defect rate, and went back for reseller exchange right way. Initially I was reasonably satisfied with the replacement. After 8 months however, I chose to send my mid-2019 purchased Quantum in for repair in February 2020 to protect my resale value. The following is quoted from my post 6th month thoughts about the Waldorf Quantum, It is important to note point 1 below is super easy to resolve, point 2 would be easy to ignore and point 3 you probably wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you.
- Squeaky keys – This one is the easiest to fix. You don’t have to tolerate it or take pass on a used machine with the issue. This condition is common to many brands which use Fatar keybeds. The keybed just needs lubrication, check with Waldorf support or your dealer.
- Touch screen sensitivity and/or dead zone – Most of the issues with this are firmware design, fixed in OS 2.0+. You may notice in the image above, the 6 control areas on the left and right sides of the screen are redesigned to reflect more accurately that there are no buttons for selections like normal and mod; the whole rectangular area is a touch area/button, which once you understand that, makes selection a snap. The middle selector knob between save and previous has been programmed to scroll through selection choices much more accurately and easier than previous touch only selections. You could get a new screen through warranty that is purported to be more sensitive, however the firmware changes make a world of difference and you may not care. Likewise, many Quantums have a dead spot on the right 1/4″ of the screen that can be fixed with a screen firmware update (not to be confused with the OS firmware, this is completely distinct and not currently upgradable from SD or USB. A user upgradable screen firmware may become available in the future, but there is no guarantee at this point). I think many people will not bother to deal with repair of these screen issues since the beta take almost all the pain away. To replace the screen or update the screen firmware, you will need to ship the synth to a warranty center.
- Touch screen bubble – I’ve heard no reports of this visual bubble underneath the top layer of the screen affecting the operation of the screen, but it is annoying. Ultimately, it is what pushed me to send my Quantum to be repaired.
- Voices with inconsistent resonance – See image above. I wouldn’t have even noticed this if I hadn’t read about it. Thanks to Paul Cotton, who provided these issue confirmation instructions and .wav files: Boot, load a patch > Init the patch > Turn off OSC1 in the OSC MIX (so audio will be just filter self resonance) > Left of the screen, change analog filter 1 cutoff to 67 and resonance to 85.5 , then repeatedly play middle c to cycle the voices. Before fix .wav / After fix .wav To fix this, you will need to ship the synth to a warranty center.
In repair, my Quantum was swapped out for a new one. This Waldorf Quantum rocks. It looks and feels like all $4000 of it should. Be sure to read New Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer is a Beauty for more details. More than 6 months later from that post, I can tell you I am still in awe of my Quantum. Currently I am running a beta version of OS 3.0 and that awe continues to grow.
I want to stress that I believe all currently manufactured Quantums are at this same level of high quality control. I would not hesitate to buy a new Quantum today. Waldorf is a top notch company, I have nothing but high regard for them and the Quantum. The true mark of a company is what happens when there are problems. Waldorf and Sweetwater pass with flying colors.
Waldorf related posts
Jun 30, 2019 – Waldorf Quantum joins “Studio”
Jul 28, 2019 – First month thoughts about Waldorf Quantum
Oct 2, 2019 – Inside the Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer
Dec 15, 2019 – 6th month thoughts about the Waldorf Quantum
Apr 20, 2020 – New Waldorf Quantum Synthesizer is a Beauty
Waldorf related pages
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Updated periodically – Quantum/Iridium Presets
Updated periodically – Quantum/Iridium Wavetables & Utilities
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Updated periodically – Waldorf Iridium Keyboard