Synth manufacturer based in Waldorf, Germany. The company was formed in 1988 by the German distributor for PPG, to offer new synths using the wave scanning method of synthesis pioneered by PPG, after that company went out of business in 1987. One of their first acts was to hire Wolfgang Palm, the former head of PPG, to design a custom integrated circuit which would encapsulate the guts of the Wave synths that were PPG's main product. This became the basis for Waldorf's first product, the Microwave rackmount wave scanning synth, released in 1989.
In 1993 Waldorf released the Waldorf Wave, a massive, knob-laden synth that used wave scanning and resynthesis. It was offered in various versions having up to 120 voices. List price for the base model in 1994 was $9000. Less then 200 were made, but the synth gained Waldorf much favorable publicity. The collector value of the Wave today is nearly impossible to estimate since working ones seldom appear on the open market.
Waldorf's main sellers through 1998 were the Microwave, several tabletop effects devices, and the Pulse which was a monophonic analog synthesizer. In 1999, Waldorf introduced the Q, a polyphonic virtual analog synth, in keyboard and rack version. The keyboard version was noted for its generous selection of panel controls and its obnoxious yellow color. The same year, the company also introduced the PPG 2.V soft synth, which emulated the functions of the PPG Wave 2.x synths.
In 2004, the original Waldorf company declared bankruptcy. Over the next year, investors bought up the company's assets and were able to restart the company, with new owners and management, in 2006. In 2007, the new company demonstrated two new models, the Blofeld and the Stromberg. The Blofeld was a small, affordable synth in a tabletop package with wave scanning, virtual analog, and sample manipulation features, while the Stromberg was a large and complex analog/digital hybrid synth. The Stromberg never made it to production, but the Blofeld did and has become Waldorf's top-selling product. Since then, the company has focused on other small, lower-cost synths in the tabletop format, including the monophonic Rocket and the Streichfett, a modern incarnation of the string synthesizer.
Despite the connections to PPG, Wolfgang Palm has never been involved in the ownership or management of Waldorf, although he has worked for them as a consultant.