Korg Wavestate Review

The latest loopop video offers an in-depth look at the new Korg Wavestate synthesizer, introduced ahead of the 2020 NAMM Show.

The Korg Wavestate offers an updated take on wave sequencing, introduced with their classic Wavestation synthesizer.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:00 What is Wave Sequencing 2.0?
3:00 Vector synthesis explained
3:50 Overview
7:10 Navigating the interface
10:40 Timing lane
12:35 Crossfade
13:45 Sample lane
14:20 Probability
15:15 Pitch lane
16:20 Shape lane
17:55 Gate lane
18:10 Step seq lane
18:40 Master lane
19:50 Lane controls
21:50 Filter
23:55 Envelopes
25:30 Vector envelope
27:10 LFOs
29:10 Mod matrix
31:40 Mod knobs
31:15 Arpeggiator
34:05 Effects
37:20 Single v Waveseq
38:30 Misc
40:10 Pros & cons

37 thoughts on “Korg Wavestate Review

    1. Hold out, Korg will likely have a follow on, just like the many flavors of Wavestation that came out, almost got an AD, but settled for two EX’s!

  1. I couldn’t bother programming the Wavestation. I’m not even going to try programming this beast. Takes too long. I’d rather program music with a real sequencer/daw.

    1. Arrive on xyz synth page and complain about programming it….and then talk about a “real” sequencer….perhaps some users want a synth that does what the Wavestate does in it’s own unique way in one package and are not concerned with programming?

    2. And while your computer becomes obsolete for your favorite DAW software, Wavestate will always remain the same powerful machine.

  2. Have always loved the wavestation, never experienced it as complex. This one adds a lot to the original concept, most importantly being those 6 sequence lanes.
    Technically very good and interesting introduction by Loopop, well done!
    From an audio point of view (hmm, queer statement) I’m not at all convinced. Filters, and modulation matrix, as presented in the video, don’t appeal to me at all. No character.
    Anxious to see some demos following Namm on actually playing the instrument, and a walkthrough different presets. Also curious on how it will balance with the Hydrasynth desktop price wise.

  3. I noticed the vector joystick seems a bit laggy, much like the original Wavestation.

    One reason the Prophet VS trumps the Wavestation is that its vector envelope is lightning fast. It’s quick enough to turn a looped wave into a pseudo-attack transient. The WS’s vector envelope was OK for making swirly atmospheric pads, but useless for moving between static waveforms quickly enough to make the timbre sound plucked or struck.

    I hope the speed of Korg’s vector envelope is improved on the Wavestate. I’d need that for it to replace my Wavestation A/D, and to cure my Prophet-VS lust.

    1. Also, the Prophet VS’ joystick is encoded using 10-bit ADCs, which is a lot better than the 7 bit resolution typical.

      1. No mainstream synth manufacturer is using 7-bit ADC converters to read knob, slider or joystick potentiometers. Cheap 8-bit AVR chips typically have 10-bit encoding, and most manufacturers have migrated to ARM Cortex M3/M4/M7 chips with 12-bit resolution. I think you’re thinking of standard MIDI CC, which has only 7-bit resolution.

    1. Do you not listen? Did he not say it does not accept samples nor is Korg currently planning for that facility?

    2. I think lack of user samples – even in prospect – is a missed opportunity here. Won’t stop me buying one though, so I guess they know what they’re doing!

  4. Sweet. Would like more Keys but i guess nowadays Studios are too crowded and it make s sense to have Modules and “Compact” synths. I know i wouldnt have space for another full blown flagship sized Synth in mine.

    1. Yes studios are definitely too crowded now days since everybody has abandoned the 19” rack mount standard we use to have. I’m sure if this Wavestate is a success Korg will make a desktop module version like they did for the Minlogue .. but your still going to need more horizontal space for it, I wish they would at least give us 19” rack mount options for their desktops, that goes for the other companies as well.

      1. Agreed wrt to 19inch rack mount. I have tons of 19inch rack mount – seems like today it’s either desktop (without mounting ears), or eurorack if you don’t want a keyboard. I guess big iron is no more unless you’re paying professional gear prices.

    1. There’s at least 2 hours worth of non-talking demos on YouTube. Or were you just wanting someone to tell you how it sounds? Awesome! But you should probably hear for yourself…

  5. Korg is doing a lot of interesting stuff recently.

    I wasn’t too excited about the Volcas, because they’re too stripped down for my taste. But I clearly underestimated how big of a deal they are as entry level synths, and people are doing some cool things with them.

    Their pro level instruments are a lot more interesting to me. The ‘Logue’ synths aren’t just great synths, but have also become a really interesting platform, because you get the flexibility of soft synths in a hardware synth, plus analog.

    The new stage piano looks great, and the Wavestate has me drooling, too. I’m hoping there will be interest enough to justify making a bigger Wavestate keyboard and a module version.

    And they still have stuff to announce for NAMM!

  6. I’m with gridsleep. This one has “bigger MIDI controller” written on it, much like the Jupiter X-m, Argon8 and various mini-modules. IMO, the market will like the Wavestate (and similar 3/4-oct. synths) at $800 where it might NOT like 5-octave versions at $1400. Bigger cases and tooling cost ya. That piano sounds nice, but most will use it more as a synth.

    I’ve really prized my Korgs and this one is a smart WS upgrade with an eye-popper library. The OS is about as accessible as it can be without offering a pricey Quantum-type touchpad. It makes doing your own wavesequencing a bit more rational, like Roland’s TR drum machine grids. Its also clear that they’re trying to straddle a certain line that makes this a good DJ tool. I have a full kit, including the Legacy WS, so I need this like I need a 3rd butt cheek, but the WANT light is on anyway. Look, Mom, a Prologue grew a giant Wavestation d***!

    1. Yeah, not really. If you check out the video, you’ll see how they made this really easy to program considering how deep it is. Lots of dedicated buttons to jump right to whatever you want to edit. The only part that looks like it could get tedious is scrolling through hundreds of samples, but you can sort at least.

  7. As a Kronos owner, very hard to get excited for this. We can already import our own samples and layer up tons of different wave sequences in program and combi modes. Creation and editing on the Kronos is also fairly simple.
    I do however recall the hair standing up on my neck the first time I heard the WS at NAMM so many many years ago. I promptly got a bank loan and purchased one back then.

  8. It seems to have inherited one or two things from the Kronos (envelopes, combined modulation system, effects). And the Kronos has much of the Wavestation already (https://sites.google.com/site/wavestationreloaded/).

    So I do hope Korg is going to offer the engine of this beast for the Kronos as well. That would be great. After all, since the release of the Kronos, no new synth engine has been released…(which was the original idea of the OASYS platform…)

  9. In every review of the Wavestate I have seen yet, everyone bemoans the lack of a 61 key version and rags on the small one. Here’s another way to look at it. I am very excited to be getting one for around 800 U.S., there will undoubtedly be a bigger version at some point, but shockingly, (!) not all musicians have $2500 or more for new synths, so this is accessible to more people this way and those of you with the bucks can buy the controller of your choice or just wait. I own a Wavestation EX, its a heavy beast but the lack of res filter did make it harsh. And having the EX, I’m used to obtuse programming of sounds.

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