Waldorf Largo vs Blofeld


I own both the Waldorf Blofeld keyboard edition plus the virtual instrument Largo so I thought I’d offer some notes on what is the same and what is different.

98% The Same

First let me say that Largo is indeed a Blofeld expressed as a virtual instrument. I’d say that the patch architecture about 98% similar. If you programmed a patch on either using parameters common to both without effects the resultant output would almost identical with just slight variance in timbre you'd expect from hardware vs software implementations. The parameter differences are not simply that one has more features than another -each has exclusive features, and some cases – such as effects – the features are similar but implemented differently.

I’ve created a mindmap to illustrate only the differences. Green highlights on a branch indicate which synth is better in a particular area.

View embedded map full-size

Which is Right For You?

This depends on your priorities. If your primary goal is programming patches from scratch and you don’t care about samples being used as oscillator sources, Largo has a bigger sonic range in my opinion. If you want to use samples, you have to go with the Keyboard or Desktop Edition with License SL. The effects processor section is definitely stronger in Largo, especially the chorus. The color coding in the mindmap should help you make your choice.

Why Do I have Both?

I got the Blofeld first and fell in love with Waldorf waveforms, oscillators, filters, and architecture. I actually got the desktop, then sold it to get the keyboard edition for studio and jam use. However, my current performance rig is laptop-based and fits in two carry-ons (including my controllers) and I didn’t have room haul even the desktop Blofeld. So by adding Largo I have that Waldorf sound and architecture on my laptop and can use it in live performances out of town. Largo’s effects – especially the chorus are also quite fantastic. As a matter of fact, I have a new song on the upcoming album that was built almost exclusively around one patch where I do crazy things with the chorus using automation from dummy clips in Ableton Live.

Using Blofeld as a Dedicated Hardware Interface for Largo

The company Touch Digital Controllers is getting some buzz around their dedicated ImpOSCar2 hardware controller. What you might not know is that you can do something similar on the Waldorf side by using Blofeld as a dedicated control surface for Largo. This is possible because Waldorf designed both Largo and Blofeld such that each parameter has a corresponding MIDI CCs (which is how third party editors communication with Blofeld). That being said, I don’t think this is currently an intended use as it’s not document, a bit fiddly, and as you can see from the mindmap there are architectural differences. Also, some parameters like waveshape number are 0-based on Blofeld and 1-based on Largo (Blofled uses waveshape 0 as oscillator off where Largo has a dedicated parameter for this). So while it works it’s a bit sketchy.

Wish List

I wish that Waldorf will go a step further with both synths to bring them to parity and line up synth parameters such that we all could could:

  1. Use Largo as a VST/AU editor for Blofeld
  2. Use Blofeld as a control surface for Largo
  3. Add sample support to Largo
  4. Share patches between both.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Official Web Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com
Listen/Download Albums: www.MarkMosherMusic.com/music.html

Blofeld Synth: Largo

Mark Mosher • Audio/Visual Synthesist | Boulder, CO View All →

Artist site: http://www.markmoshermusic.com
Host of Sonic Encounters Podcast: http://markmoshermusic.com/podcast/.
Boulder Synthesizer Meetup founder and host: http://www.bouldersynth.com

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Great article here! The map really helps one to put it all into perspective and make a decision about which machine is the right one to own. Thanks for taking the time to highlight the specifics! (itching to try Largo again now..lol..too bad my demo license expired ;()
    Yeah,…sad that the FX routing on Blofeld KB is not more configurable throughout the signal flow (although you can use an effect per part in MT mode), that I will agree, but it is a Great trade-off to be able to load in custom sampled source for use w layering in a patch along with 2 other oscillators (or using that sample layer as an OSC itself!) – Really makes me happy to be able to do that, on a sound design level. Also, the build of the Blofeld keyboard is absolutely FANTASTIC. It’s got a battle tank-like full-metal body w EXTREMELY STURDY (NO WOBBLING here) beautiful brushed stainless-steel knobs and huge bright 128×64 edit window (I LOVE THIS – You can SEE the OSC’s, PULSE WIDTH, ENV’s LFO’s and FILTER responses!)… and a headphone jack. This all makes it an ABSOLUTE practical pleasure to work with in a remote situation away from the DAW (fantastic live board). I am never worried for it to take damage (yeah, it’s heavy too..but that’s good!). The edit matrix is extremely intuitive and it is quick to edit even without the use of 3rd-party editor programs.
    One thing I recently started noticing, which seems to be an issue with many VA hw synths, is that the dial messages can be glitchy at times. I mean I can be dialing up edit parameters or scrolling through banks and some screens are skipped, which causes me to have to turn the dial back and forward again until I get the right screen. I KNOW this is not exclusive to the keyboard. It is just something inherent while working with a synth with a computer built into it. Nothing is fool-proof. This problem has never occurred so much to the extent that I become frustrated, yet it is a glitch to watch out for.
    The ability to save multi-timbral patches are a BIG plus as well for the Keyboard. Great to be able to make nice splits and creating thick patches with even the same sounds just detuned against one another. Lots of performance potential here as well. All-in-all, I definitely do not regret putting down the little money I did for such a fine HW unit over the Largo SW. There is definitely no a competition. The pluses in the KB version more than make up for the minuses when stacked up against Largo. It comes down to How one works with these things. I, for one, love the ability to completely disconnect and take my KB other physical places to design…This above all else is a HUGE PLUS.
    All that said, I am very curious to drive a Largo one day and see what my impressions would be. Speaking of Waldorf, I have my eye on Lector now too! Looks/sounds wonderful. I liked what I saw/heard of it in the demonstration they did back during Winter NAMM! They pitch it as a vocoder but my god it features some wonderfully powerful processing,layering and signal flow almost like a completely new synth even. Curious!
    Thanks again Mark for the comprehensive rundown!


  2. would really be nice if Largo was an editor for Blofeld. I’d settle for the Largo interface without any sound capabilities, as I don’t own Largo, preferred Blofeld, but quite loved the Largo interface and dreamed of it as an editor for Blofeld🙂


  3. I love hardware units, I have a Virus KC, which is rock-solid, no parameter jumping, no glitches. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to play a Blofeld that isn’t incredibly buggy. Buggy to the extent that it was almost uneditable. Values skipping like crazy, values not moving at all unless you turn the knob slowly, and also bugs like when changing oscillator shape, it didn’t change the oscillator sound for quite a few seconds. There seems to be lags. I like the sound, especially for pads etc, I’m not so keen on it’s bass capabilities – it seems to be missing something in the upper midrange for me, and opening the filter didn’t introduce those frequencies However, love some of the sounds, but unless I was to be gauranteed I would get a unit where the knobs worked, I’ll have to go with Largo. It’s a shame, but I really don’t like the knobs. They’re not easy to grip, which makes the value skipping worse. The problem is, this is a VERY common issue. It’s unforgivable really, even if it’s a great-sounding hardware unit – wasn’t digital hardware supposed to eliminate much of the unreliability of analogue (as well as there being much deeper synthesis possibilities also of course)?. Such a shame.


  4. Encoder jitter was a big issue until the 1.22 update. Kay Dee from Waldorf mentioned out on Facebook that if 1.22 update didn’t address issues, you most likely have a hardware issue and should have your unit serviced. Most people on the Blofeld facebook page report the updates fixed any encoder jump issues they were having.
    I’ve had my blofeld keyboard since 2009 and never it’s been rock solid.
    There is also a new update in the fall that allows you to incrementally add samples to the sample memory (rather than dumping the entire memory each time).


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