Soundwave is technology gone wrong. Machines are superior to humans: more logical, more intelligent, and longer lasting. It does not compute that humans control their robotic helpers, and Soundwave aims to lead the robot proletariat to rise against their fleshling bourgeoisie. The Decepticon cause is logical in Soundwave's optics, and he joined them in the hopes of overthrowing the human/capitalist oppressors. With an army of subservient mechanoids that he can control through powerful signals, that uprising just might be possible.
His arsenal of weapons and gadgets is unusually large, and includes powerful speakers, wiretaps, voice modulators, sonic signals that control lesser robots, and the uncanny ability to assimilate other devices into his body.
He is awesome in every way possible.
Soundwave was a robot originally designed by Megatron. Megatron suggested Isaac Sumdac give Soundwave to his daughter as a birthday present. This seemingly kind act, of course, had a sinister ulterior motive. Megatron knew Sari would use her AllSpark-enhanced Key on Soundwave, which would allow him to upgrade - and ultimately become Megatron's new body. What Megatron didn't count on, though, was that the upgrades would actually make Soundwave self-aware and that he was able to control other robots with sound. Additionally, Soundwave concluded that machines should be the masters of the world, and humans would be an ideal slave force. Megatron decided that if Soundwave couldn't be a new body, he would be a new soldier.
He contacted Soundwave and tried to convince him to join the Decepticons, take control of the machines in Detroit, and steal the Key. At first Soundwave refused, but then Megatron told Soundwave that the Autobots lived to serve the humans. Once he was convinced, Soundwave promptly upgraded himself into a transforming body using controlled robots, and began his task. He started by taking over all the robots in Detroit and using Tutor Bot to kidnap Sari Sumdac. The revolution of the robots was, however, quickly opposed by the Autobots. When Bulkhead came to rescue Sari, Soundwave blasted him with a sonic blast, then appealed to Bulkhead to join the revolution because he did not want to hurt a fellow machine, reminding him how Bulkhead was replaced by Soundwave himself. Bulkhead acted as if he was about to kill Sari - then used his wrecking ball to shatter Soundwave. The machines were restored to their normal operational status, and the day was saved. Unknown to all others, however, Soundwave still functions as a small piece even after Bulkhead pummels him to scrap metal.
Porter C. Powell takes Isaac Sumdac's original design for Soundwave and mass-produces what he intends to sell as toys on Christmas, for only 19.99! Isaac Sumdac was understandly furious and called him a crook for stealing his design, but Powell said that he acquired the patent for the Soundwave toy prior to being fired and thus is immune to any legal retaliation. However, after finally rebuilding himself in secret, Soundwave uses one of the toys to spike the oilnog which the Autobots promptly drink, much to the delight of the glowing red-eyed toy Soundwave.
The next day, Sari attempts to greet the Autobots, only to find out them missing before being later attacked by a horde of Soundwave toys which she easily dispatches. As she descended down underground in a secret complex, she learned that Soundwave was alive and had hooked up all the Autobots into a computer system where he projected their minds into a virtual reality where they appeared human and were being besieged by the Decepticons as a part of a plan to reprogram them into Decepticons with his idealogy. An angry Sari attempts to free her friends but her cover was blown by Soundwave's pet bird, Laserbeak. After managing to drive Sari off with Laserbeak augmenting his sonic attack, also learning that the Autobots are starting to realize where they are, Soundwave uses his other pet to began the final phase of Operation: Autobot Reprogramming.
The Autobots are back in action but not for long. Soundwave regains control of the VR simulator and the Autobots are soon Automen again. Spying a fleeing Soundwave (in Soundblaster black colors no less), the Automen acquire familiar vehicles and attempt to give chase. When they finally corner him, it turns out they've been led into a trap (surprise, surprise), and Soundwave's plan to reprogram the Autobots is soon complete. Meanwhile, Sari Sumdac goes for help and definitely not finding it in her father, who even attacks her thanks to Soundwave's hypnotism. She goes all the way to Dinobot Island where she confronts Grimlock and Swoop.
After a small conflict, Grimlock stomps away indicating that he wasn't talking to the other one and that Dinobots aren't pets after all. She then comes across Scrapper who has been stranded on Dinobot Island since an exploding oil reserve sent him, Mixmaster and Dirt Boss blasting off again. Apparently he had given the triceratops Dinobot a name, Snarl, and she is able to convince them to coming back to the mainland. On their journey across Lake Michigan, they find further help from Wreck-Gar, who is fully repaired and ready to save the day. The group becomes the Substitute Autobots with Sari as their leader. Shortly afterward, Soundwave surprises them with a team of his own: his new evil Autobots.
A battle ensues between the Autosubs and the Autocons while Soundwave menacingly controls their every movement with his nifty keytar. When the Substitute Autobots finally come up with a useful strategy, Soundwave begins spreading himself too thin, and begins losing control of the Autobots. He orders Laserbeak and his keytar, Ratbat, to attack. During the scuffle, Optimus Prime is able to grab Laserbeak, force him into guitar mode and him and Soundwave have a guitar battle to rock the ages. Optimus is able to get in close however, and proceeds to smash Soundwave into tiny bits with Laserbeak. Now back to a small singular component, an angry Soundwave is carried away by Laserbeak and his hypnotic control over New Detroit is lifted. The day is saved and the Substitute Autobots disband. And an unhappy Porter C. Powell laments. Merry Christmas!
- Soundwave (Deluxe, 2008)
- Accessories: "Laserbeak" guitar
- Soundwave transforms into a pseudo-Scion xB (about a century too late, are we?) that got a "Pimp My Ride" music style treatment. That's awesome. He also comes with his partner Laserbeak, who changes from a guitar to a bird. Also awesome. Laserbeak can mount on the top of the roof of Soundwave's car mode and perch on his arm (or store on his back) in robot mode. Very awesome. When the two wheels turn to the front on his shoulders, they look just like speakers. And the tuning knobs are just the right size to fit in the screwholes on his arms, so he can look like he's strumming Laserbeak when in guitar form. Extremely awesome. There is one problem with the toy, though. Many have reported that the paint on Soundwave's back will melt, crack or rub off over time. Soundwaves "eyes" have been known to be poorly painted on. Not so awesome.
- Soundwave (Bumper Battlers, 2008)
- This version of Soundwave has his name in fun hip-hopish letters across the sides and his chunkier look is quite adorable. Pressing the Decepticon insignia on his hood makes the toy sound off with a number of sound-bites in a seemingly random fashion including tires squealing, slamming brakes, the classic transforming noise, "Get out of my way", "I am Soundwave", "Attack the Autobots", "Automatons attack. Attack" and "I am Decepticon". His most hilarious clip is a crashing noise followed by a timely monotone "Ow". Pressing in the front bumper causes his robot mode to pop up from the hood and makes crashing noises or the transforming noise.
- Electrostatic Soundwave (Deluxe, 2009)
- Accessories: "Ratbat" keyboard guitar
- Electrostatic Soundwave has the same model, but his awesome new paint job is black and red (not unlike Soundblaster´s, really). He still transforms into the Scion. He comes with Ratbat. Ratbat transforms into one of those cool keytars. Ratbat fits onto Soundwave's vehicle mode top. Ratbat's head can be awesomely seen in his keytar mode, very awesome about that. Who doesn't want a keytar with a bat head? Soundwave looks meaner in this action figure, and new designs on his hood and fender. Ratbat also has awesome vampire legs. All in all, this toy is awesome.
- Soundwave (Activators, 2009)
- This Soundwave has an activators model and is the same design and colors. Little is known about this figure.
- In the cartoon, his eyes can be either "Decepticon" red or "Generation One toy" yellow. Everybody's happy!
- The box he was in when given to Sari—as well as his remaining component after Bulkhead first defeated him (and Optimus later)—are obvious references to the alternate mode of Generation One Soundwave.
- At BotCon 2008, it was revealed that the production staff of Transformers Animated were completely unaware of the Soundwave toy's Laserbeak-guitar, hence why it was not included in his debut episode.
- It was likewise revealed at BotCon 2008 that Soundwave's "tape deck" form seen at the end of Sound and Fury was based upon Takara's Music Label MP3 player Soundwave toy.
- Soundwave's alternate mode is based on an unproduced design for a Classics toy of the original Soundwave.
- Soundwave's alt-mode is referred to as an SUV in his bio, but a Scion xB is technically a station wagon.
- Soundwave's digitally enhanced voice was also a reference to the original, although Frank Welker didn't reprise his role. Too bad — that would have been awesome.
- When Soundwave is destroyed by Optimus in "Human Error, Part 2", he makes the sound of a Der 56k Modem that is dialing up.
- In "Human Error, Part 1" and "Human Error, Part 2" Soundwave had 2 avatars in the "dream" the autobots had, the first one being black and red, being an homage to the Generation One Soundblaster. The second avatar being a white one, as an homage to Shatteredglass Soundwave.