Waldorf’s Largo wavetable synthesizer has been around for quite a while now, but it’s one I missed out on when it was released. Largo is a three oscillator, two filter, modulation matrix toting, four part layered sound station with both analog modelled waveforms and 68 wavetables culled from several of Waldorf’s flagship synths.

For the uninitiated, a wavetable oscillator is a string of single-cycle waveforms which have been created to create various evolving sounds, with an index or pointer which can specify which waveform sounds at any given moment – allowing you to travel through the wavetable and hence vary the pre-filter spectrum of the oscillator via modulation with envelopes, LFOs, velocity or even keytracking or the mod-wheel. Neighbouring tones are crossfaded as you travel from one wave to the next, providing a continuously morphing sound.

Exploring The Map

The audio engine and base oscillator sound reminds me quite a bit of LinPlug’s now discontinued Albino 3, with the softer sounds bringing to mind the softness of cotton wool and the brighter ones being beautifully shimmery and glassy. If I were to place Largo on my own sound-map of different synths, it would go squarely between Massive and Albino 3. You can hear that this is slightly older technology, with the high end of the brighter sounds sometimes varying from note to note slightly as the anti-aliasing dampens (a bit over-zealously) the highs to varying degrees, but this provides the soft pads which I really miss Albino 3 for, so I really like it.

The oscillators have a control called “brilliance” which enhances the top end of the analog waveforms by adding spikes to the discontinuities of the waveforms, and fills out the high end of the wavetables (which often only have spectral information up to a certain harmonic) by applying the sample and hold which was present on the PPG Wave synths. This can get Largo much more into the territory of the PPG 3.V and does a good job of emulating the sound of that technology; however, the modulation possibilities in Largo are much larger, allowing monstrous complexity and multiple wavetables being layered and stacked however you could desire.

Largo audio demo by Sendy (article author):

The analog emulation side of Largo is not to be sniffed at, and although many newer analog emulation solutions out-perform it in terms of sheer analog realism, the PWM, sync and ring modulation features of the oscillators really open up the possibilities available to the sound designer. These can even be used on wavetables – oscillator sync on wavetables is great fun! As a side note, I really like the triangle wave, as well. Very pointy with a firm sound that the filters can really dig into.

The sub-oscillator deserves special mention. It can create square waves one to four octaves below the tones of oscillators one and two, but it interacts with oscillator sync in a very interesting way, creating a “harmonic see-sawing” type of effect as new cycles of the square wave pop in and out of the master oscillator cycle for extra-menacing tearing. It’s unusual, but I like it! Have a listen, I included it in my sound file which is embedded above.

Beyond The Wavetables

Getting the filter and post-filter drive involved can really rough things up, going beyond the cotton wool and glass digital-isms and into the realm of fizzing, fuzzing distortions and screaming resonance. If the oscillator section is where you plan your sound with a ruler and compass, the rest of the synth is designed to breathe life into it, featuring a flexible audio routing system feeding two multi-mode filters, including positive and negative comb filtering, and some competent effects; not to mention all the modulation you could ever need!

The four envelopes feature multiple modes with different stages, some of which have envelope looping, and the three LFOs do their job well, with the final LFO adding a 16-step graphic sequencer to the mix – a welcome addition to the architectural tools at your disposal.

The sound quality of the filters is excellent, with the resonance handling really well at high values, and with a bit of drive added and the right noisy modulation in the right places, you can get some reasonable analog-style filtering with your CPU barely noticing a scratch. Built into the filter is a bass boost switch which can really add some girth to bass patches, and if that fails, there’s always a global EQ to set things right.

Audio-rate modulations are supported in various places, adding quite a bit of grit and tonal variation. Even the LFOs can go whizzing into the audio spectrum, though they seem to create more aliasing than using another oscillator does.

Class Of ’09

Largo is a behemoth of a synth, allowing you to create sounds that will surprise you in their expressiveness. There are even modulation modifiers that let you do maths on two mod sources to get a new result, something that goes above and beyond the call of duty. While to the trained ear some aspects of the sound may seem a bit old, to me it’s “classic” old rather than “outdated” old. It represents the best of the late 2000’s and is an endless wellspring for that sound.

I haven’t mentioned the GUI much, and that’s because it didn’t really get in my way much, and it has its own unique identity which is easy on the eyes. The only minor gripe was that on my system, every time it appeared, it took about a third of a second to get drawn. Big deal, I know!


Many people may overlook Largo for not being so relevant now – perhaps even being made defunct by Waldorf’s own newest wavetable creations. But the massive modulation potential, large amount of well-chosen wavetables, classic sound, ease of use and low CPU use (because we now live in the future!) make this something to check out – especially if you miss Albino 3 or wanted a more modulation-ready version of the PPG series synths.

More info: Waldorf Largo (€149 on sale, €229 standard price)

Waldorf Largo Review


The massive modulation potential, large amount of wavetables, classic sound, ease of use and low CPU use make Waldorf Largo something to check out.

  • Features
  • Workflow
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Sound
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About Author

Sendy has been making music in her bedroom since she was 14 using computers, synthesizers, samplers, and whatever else was at hand. She does not subscribe to any one genre but enjoys energetic, constantly changing rhythms, disorienting synthesizer manipulations, and heroic chiptune melodics.


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