The PPG Waveterm B was a step up in terms of raw computer power for the PPG owners.
It featured the new 'smaller' 5.25 inch floppy disks - the PPG Waveterm A used 8 inch floppies - , and a much faster Motorola 16 bit 68000 processor compared to the PPG Waveterm A's 8 bit Motorola 6809 processor. It allowed its user to connect several PPG components (PPG Wave 2.2, PPG Wave 2.3 and PPG EVU) to produce advanced music on it - if you could afford it.
The PPG Waveterm B - like the PPG Waveterm A - does NOT produce any sound itself and you will need a PPG Component like the PPG Wave 2.2, PPG Wave 2.3 or PPG EVU to use it properly.
The PPG Waveterm B uses a PPG built motherboard, but in true PPG spirit the PPG Waveterm B also included the Motorola 6809 CPU that was used in the PPG Waveterm A. This allows you to boot the PPG Waveterm B in PPG Waveterm A mode should you want or need to.
The casing is the as on the PPG Waveterm A, but you can easily spot the difference when looking at the floppydrives.
I am a happy PPG Waveterm B user and I am honestly surprised of some of the things you can do with this machine. It is nothing short of amazing. And to be able to operate a rather advanced system like this using 20 buttons is something that manufactures today could learn a lot from.
To be honest I was kind of surprised the first time I took it apart. There are a lot less cables than I had expected - and everything is placed very neatly inside.
Probably one of the reasons why this 1980's computer does not need a fan of any kind - it is silent (if you don't count in the noise from the floppies) and does not get particularly hot due to the huge rack case and rather small motherboard..
The sample quality is really astonishing. It samples in 16 bit, but compresses to 12 bit in order to play the sample back on the PPG Wave 2.2, PPG Wave 2.3, or PPG EVU.
I have never myself used a CMI Fairlight, but I have heard people state that the Sony A/D converter in the PPG Waveterm B makes it sound better.
Imagine that you could have a sampler (with sample manipulation like reverse, ring modulation etc.), a sequencer, a wavetable generator, and the ability to save and load your programs from one single machine - fantastic - isn't it ?