I have to admit I was a bit dejected at first when I started my systematic wandering of NAMM Hall A. A lot of solid recording and computer gear, but one can only feign so much interest in one soft synth and digital mixer or latest incarnation of a popular digital workstation. My mood lightened when I came to the Waldorf Zarnenbourg.
Yes, it is just another digital modeling synth, albeit in a pretty package reminiscent of a Rhodes suitcase piano. But it was very playable, and immediately left behind the initial overstimulation and monotony by firing up the Wurlitzer electric-piano model and playing jazz/blues/funk riffs for a few minutes. In some ways it was even more convincing than my workhorse Nord Stage (although that remains an excellent electric-piano model, too). The electric-pianos were physical modeling synths, while the acoustic piano was sample-based. The effect sections are also more versatile, in particular the auto-wah. The Blofeld was connected to the Zarenbourg’s audio input so the instruments were mixed together in the piano’s built-in speakers for a fun combination of classic 70s riffing and esoteric electronic sounds. The Blofeld can get a bit intense at times, and it seems like one of the booth agents was having a little fun with the next unsuspecting soul who tried turning it on.