Korg Intros Wavedrum Global Edition


2013 NAMM Show: Korg has introduced the Wavedrum Global Edition – a new Wavedrum that offers the largest palette of sounds of any Wavedrum to date; with percussion sounds from around the world, a boost in the sound quality and improvements in usability.

The Wavedrum Global Edition contains 60 DSP algorithms, which enable a variety of synthesis methods––analog, additive, non-linear, physical modeling, etc. Working with these algorithms, you can create various instrument sounds, natural sounds, or purely synthetic sounds – in addition to the Wavedrum Global Edition’s own unique sounds. The PCM sound engine – the other important part of the Wavedrum Global Edition’s sound creation system – contains 400 PCM sounds: 200 for the head, and 200 for the rim.

Here are the details:

The sound of the player’s strike is sensed by separate pickups for the head and the rim, and used directly as the sound source that drives the DSP-powered algorithm and PCM sound engine. In combination with this, the pressure sensor in the head allows the Wavedrum Global Edition to detect and respond to subtle movements of the player’s fingers or palm which can be used to strike, rub, or scratch the head, as well as use techniques such as open shots, slap shots, heel and toe, and mute. Tonal differences produced by using a stick, mallet, or brush, plus changes resulting from different striking locations are also faithfully reproduced, giving the musician a high degree of expressive power and a dynamic range that rivals that of an acoustic drum or percussion instrument.


  • 2nd Generation Dynamic Percussion Synthesizer that provides unparalleled musical expression
  • A sound engine that combines DSP-powered algorithms with PCM sounds to allow versatile and highly flexible performances
  • A pressure sensor and multiple pickups capture the subtle nuances of your strikes on the head and rim, generating expressive power and new sounds
  • Increased pickup precision provides improved dynamic range for low and high pitches, as well as enhanced response for soft sounds, making the instrument more sensitive
  • Play different sounds from the head and rim, or apply pressure effects on the head to create performance techniques that are possible only on the Wavedrum
  • 200 preset programs cover a vast range of sounds from classic percussion to unique and novel sounds
  • 200 user programs are available for storing customized sounds and settings
  • A new input sensitivity parameter has been added, supporting a wide range of users from beginners to pros
  • Fundamental sounds such as acoustic instruments have been enhanced
  • Live Mode stores up to 12 settings (4 favorite programs x 3 Banks) for instant recall
  • Compact and light-weight design; use as an individual instrument, or mixed in with a traditional drum kit or any performance/percussion rig
  • 140 loop phrases of various genres allow Wavedrum users to jam along or practice to them
  • AUX input allows monitoring or mixing of any audio source–CD, MP3, even a second Wavedrum

Pricing and Availability:

The Korg Wavedrum Global Edition is expected to be available in March 2013 for US $599.00. See the Korg site for more info.

22 thoughts on “Korg Intros Wavedrum Global Edition

    1. Yep. That’s puzzling, isn’t it? Their vision for this seems to be purely as an instrument to play – not something to be sequenced or to trigger other instruments.

      In this case, skipping MIDI doesn’t bother me, because a $600 Wavedrum doesn’t make much sense as either a sound module or MIDI controller. Others may see this differently, obviously!

  1. Regardless of what you think of this instrument (I actually think it’s rather cool), this is just further evidence that Korg is probably the most cool/fun of the major instrument makers.

  2. at 56 seconds its sounds like they may finally have introduced the hang drum like patch that users have been asking for on the forums isnce the original re-release (if that makes sense).

    But I realy dislike the slight of hand that Korg does here , by picking a load of outdoor looking locations, I think they aim to insinute that the new wavedrum is somehow a “take anywhere” instrument…its not, it needs a PSU. so me this is bordering on misleading.

  3. As much as I love my vanilla Wavedrum, the inability to actually transfer patches, or control the synth parameters via MIDI/USB is a total headache. If they added this feature I’d probably think about upgrading.

    1. Yeah, I like a lot of things about my Wavedrum, but have no interest in continuing to buy the line as-is. At a minimum, it should have USB. It would be really nice if it had a trigger out as well for use with my TD-30.

  4. I do not own a wave drum but I have the poor brother: impaktor. I know a bit about midi and in 30 years there is nothing in this protocol that could reproduce every nuances of that playing back from a midifile.
    The wavedrum would need a new protocol that goes beyond 128 values.
    I was in the WTFWD camp for a long time until I played with impaktor. Midi playback from a sequencer is a limitation. Only live is the key for now. Korg should push for some type of Midi2 protocol.

    But to use a USB port to back up your wd home made sound should have been a logical option.

    1. MIDI is not limited to 7 bit messages. You can send pitch bend and that is 14 bits. That’s a lot of nuances. MIDI can do a lot more than the typical note on/off messages.
      The limitation is not in the protocol, but in the hardware’s implementation.

    1. I have had the previous version for three years and I can confirm It’s a sturdy piece.
      Apart from the skin ;-), it’s made of metal and has been able to survive many random drumstick hits on the control panel. The only visible wear is paint slightly fading on the rim bumps.

  5. The streaming control data load is immense. That’s why you don’t see MIDI implemented either way. It *should* have USB and some means of patch-set construction, but you have to think outside the drum to appreciate this or Roland’s HandSonic. Its virtually every type of traditional percussion in the world, plus combination oddities, in a hand drum. The rules are different here. Its the opposite of a step-sequencer; it can ONLY be used by hand. In the synth world, these two instruments have a much higher shape-to-purpose going than a lot of things we see. Don’t grumble over how it doesn’t fit the usual paradigm; look at it as a huge rack of condiments and a left-turn secret weapon.

    1. It’s essentially a synth that uses audio input to modulate it, rather than MIDI controlling pitch. There isn’t really any excuse for not having MIDI control over all the other parameters (and the patch library). It’s the drum equivelant of a digital modelling guitar (e.g. Line 6 Variax) – and even they understand the need for some sort of external control over the engine.

  6. My bandmate has one and I could play it all day long it’s so fun. Midi?? This thing is the anti-midi! You have to actually play it, as disappointing/limited as that may sound to some.

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