Korg Wavedrum Global Review

In this video, Andy McCreeth of Sonic State reviews the Korg Wavedrum Global Edition – the latest version of Korg’s Wavedrum percussion synthesizer.

The Global Edition has all the features and playability that made earlier Wavedrums cool – but also some of their limitations, like lack limited connectivity. 


  • 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

See the Korg site for full details on the Wavedrum Global Edition and see the Sonic State site for more of McCreeth’s comments.

12 thoughts on “Korg Wavedrum Global Review

  1. I’d buy a new Wavedrum in a second if it had some sort of MIDI/USB connectivity. Doing anything with the current interface is like pulling teeth.

  2. I feel the same way; aside from the interface/programming hurdles (how 1990 can you get!?), I cannot believe that they haven’t made the effort to implement a USBMIDI port to allow us to use this as a percussion controller. I’d love to use it with BFD2 or Stylus RMX kits…

    1. A USB interface would be amazing.
      The reason (or excuse?) Korg used to say was the control you get playing the wavedrum is beyond 127 midi levels, and some cannot be translated as midi data at all. Just imagine if you could load the patches crafted by your favorite percussionists… Korg would sell 3 times as much wavedrums.

  3. I bought a Wavedrum about a year back and returned it about a year ago. The interface didn’t even bother me that much, and the expressiveness was great, the big problem was that the output level was really low. Especially on headphones, you could hardly hear the thing. Even after the “2x” boost in the firmware, the levels were very low. Apparently it’s a known problem (which is why they added the boost in the firmware) and you can find many reports of it on the net. I wonder if this new version fixes it.

    I traded it in for an SPD-30, which I absolutely love, though it’s a totally different kind of instrument.

  4. So where are the rest of the comments ?
    Besides mine there were quite a number of them in the morning that i don’t see…

    1. Not sure what you’re referring to.

      I did not delete any comments from this post and I checked the spam filter for comments from you and there were not any matches.

  5. Please correct me if you know better, but I believe the reason neither the Wavedrum nor Roland’ s HandSonic output MIDI controller data is that the sheer amount of it would choke most synths. Both are meant to be solo instruments. The hand drum paradigm is a different beast from typical percussion control. I’m sure a few setups could process the data, but that’s not the point when the designs are so specific. A USB port would be welcome as a general thing, but in this case, I don’t think its a deal breaker.

    1. It’s a deal breaker for me. Got to at least have USB connectivity. Not even a WIST connect??? Korg’s usually right on it.

      Actually, I’m kind of lying 🙂 I have a regular wave drum for my school that I bought. It’s awesome to play. Ver responsive and wonderful timbres and dynamics!! But I was thinking of buying a second one, just that I’m disappointed there’s no connectivity. I passed and bought a maschine Mikro instead. Not apples to apples certainly, but Korg’s got to make connectivity happen on this one.

    2. I think with any sort of powerful synth/audio device, lack of control and connectivity is quite understandably a dealbreaker for many. The nature of the device means it can’t be used as a controller, or triggered effectively externally, but it really ought to have some means of editing and exporting patches.

      Hell, even my Variax guitar – which is similar conceptually – has a software editor.

  6. I can appreciate the desire to be able to swap patches, because that’s inherent in popular synthesis, but I stand by my statement. The particular data stream here is a beast, because the purpose of the thing calls for that. You’ll note that no other e-percussion tools behave in a like manner, just these two HAND drums. You’re not really being denied a vital function; you’re gaining a unique & detailed intimacy.

    1. Really struggle to understand why basic patch management/editing would be so impossible to achieve. Even if it doesn’t use standard MIDI, patches are ultimately still just a set of values that take up at most a few kilobytes of space each. We are being denied a vital function whizh has zero impact on the nature of the instrument itself, other than making it bloody awkward.

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