Korg Wavestate Synthesizer Hands-On Demo (2020 NAMM Show)

At the 2020 NAMM Show, Korg introduced the Wavestate wave sequencing synthesizer, an updated take on Korg’s 90’s Wavestation, which featured wave sequencing and vector synthesis.

They say the Wavestate is built from the ground up, though, “taking cues from sources as diverse as modular synths, groove boxes, and algorithmic composition.”

Here’s an intro from Korg product rep Raymond Johnson, aka Theta Flux.

The Wavestate features Korg’s Wavesequncing 2.0, deep modulation capabilities and 64-note polyphony (64 notes), with up to four parts and 14 effects simultaneously.

The Wavestate was designed by Korg’s R&D department in San Diego, California, the same team behind the original Wavestation and several other of the company’s synths and technologies.

See the examples below for studio quality examples of the Wavestate in action:

Pricing and Availability

The Wavestate will be available in January of 2020 for $799.99

43 thoughts on “Korg Wavestate Synthesizer Hands-On Demo (2020 NAMM Show)

  1. Sounds pretty.
    Imo it doesnt matter if the sound is generated digitaly or analogue. As long the keyboard doesnt cause lag and wood, brass, strings etc do sound natural.
    I’m ok with the limited amount of keys but customers should have a choise for a 5 octave keyboard as well. Especialy those who are buying their first or second synthesizer.

  2. The Casio CZ5000 would do eight parts with its sequencer. I miss that, and I miss having an 8-stage envelope. I pulled pranks with that envelope generator on other musicians.

    The sequencer on this is really good, though. The site mentions algorithmic compositions. If the user could upload a composition algorithm, that would be really neat.

    1. “I pulled pranks with that envelope generator on other musicians”

      That’s one of the geekiest comments I read in a while…LOL. Like… “Dude, I really got you fooled with that Envelope Generator! Goteeem!”

      How do you play a prank on someone with an EG? Just curious…lol

      1. Hit a key and nothing happening until you let it go, then you can make the volume, filter and pitch go up and down and keep playing for quite a while – value 0-99 and timing 0-99 for each stage and applied to 3 different parameters.

      2. Yeah, Rupert’s method is one. I liked doing a normal-sounding patch first, let it go silent for a while, and then go wild. Oh, the expressions of shock and surprise! “Did I break it??” Heh heh heh heh heh…

        Yeah, I just have a thing for synths that I can make squeal like a stuck pig.

        See, the trick is that there are a limited number of voices. When someone just sits down and plays on the keyboard, then the voices get recycled much faster than the envelope’s decay release. So when they stop playing, about 15 seconds later the synth goes nuts.

      3. Using music gear to just MESS with people is a tradition. I had an Ensoniq clinician give me a Mirage floppy that contained a 60-cycle hum patch and a crackling-cord patch. He said “I’ve used that twice to give snotty guitarists a smack.”

        The orch strings on this thing are very impressive, so I could trust the rest of the library on that alone. My Korgs have always been decently muscled. The main deal here will be seeing how many people dig into its next layer or two. That’s where this can beat out many other synths, even a few with stiffer prices. Watch Daniel Fisher’s long demo of it for Sweetwater. Either way, you’ll know for sure after that.

        1. I like the sounds of the Wavestation. I have two A/D’s, and the iWavestation app. It’s a very, very cool sound. However, I don’t find the “animated wave sequence”-type voicings satisfying to play in the same way I never found KARMA satisfying to play. It always felt like it was playing itself, and I was on the side with a stick poking it the direction I wanted it to go. Some people like that. I find it cool to listen to. It can be fun and surprising to hear the results. Buuuuut, afterward, it never felt like “my performance”. For the updated samples alone this is Wavestation Fanciers delight.

          1. Loopop’s video shows how this synth is a generative music tool. I quite like that, but the key is that you have to build your own sequences and probability steps – not use the canned one. Then it becomes your own performance, as you can play and respond to the automated happenstance.

            I’ve been reading the user manual, this is a particularly deep synth with a number of unusual features, I’ve never seen a multi-stage filter cut-off scale for example. And a lot of thought has gone into how the wave sequences are synced to master.

            1. I need to look into the filter too. Interesting! At a minimum it gives me some cool ideas for some Prologue multiengine user oscillators ideas. I really prefer 5 octaves though, like the original Wavestation..

  3. Piggybacking off the guy who posted “Hydrasynth or Argon8?” the other day (which I feel isn’t a fair comparison due to price difference), I implore you:

    Wavestate or Argon8??

      1. Oh there are orchestral samples? Cool! Wavestate for then in the Argon vs Hydrasynth vs Wavestate. Then again, I’m too busy with Prologue user osc’s for another massive synth right now.

    1. I’ve pre-ordered a WaveState because it’s a much deeper and complex synth – and I like the generative music aspect.

      The Argon-8 and Hydrasynth are both nice, but don’t really break into any new territory (except for poly-aftertouch), and have very limited polyphony. They don’t even have custom wave-forms! Get a Waldorf Blofeld if that’s the sound you want.

      My single biggest gripe yet about the WaveState is the 3-octave keyboard, especially for a synth that supports splits and is effectively multi-timbral. Can we have a module please??

      1. YES!

        For those of us with a huge, nice midi keyboard at our workstations, the modules are a godsend. It’s all I’ll buy these days.

  4. I loved my sadly deceased Wavestation AD so this is an almost-definite purchase, but with no aftertouch the keyboard seems like it’s just useful for triggering while programming, and use a better controller for playing.

    Which means a desktop/rack version would be ideal. Also a remote programming app would be useful – programming the original WS was a real pita without one (the phrase was “wallpapering the hall through the letterbox”), but this looks a lot nicer.

    Also, user samples was massive on the wishlist for WS, although there was a card-based 3rd party solution which was expensive.

    The other main desire was for filter resonance, so we now can celebrate having that.

  5. Always wanted a Wavestation when they first came out. No brainer purchase for me. I do wish music stores (and Korg for that matter) would give realistic estimates on availability.

  6. Probably the only Wavestate produced was the one shown at NAMM and in the korg videos. Many stores brag about non-existent synthesizer availability. Production must begin. It may take months. An Italian shop talked about 24 weeks …

        1. I love when someone tells you to look something up in the dictionary, but they themselves haven’t actually checked the dictionary to make sure they were right.

          “a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest or personal profit.”

          Look, I love half those guys and dislike the other half, but they’re all shills. If you asked them the worst part of their job, I bet 90% of them would say “the shilling.”

          My suggestions is you change your perspective on the word shill from automatically having a negative connotation, to just seeing it as a word with a factual dictionary definition.

    1. They are already shipping to Japan- just saw a video from a user who bought and received his. Probably a few more weeks to the US and Europe.

    1. It does seem that a number of the new synths are nothing more than a soft-synth in a hardware package. The new Roland Jupiter-Xm is $1500 for a tiny box with mini keys. $1500 for a tiny synth with mini keys??!! What a joke that is nowadays.

  7. “Low effort bait,” heh. You’re not wrong, if you just walk up and noodle on it. Every new synth has to go there to some extent, to make its first-quarter quotas. This one sounds big too easily in one sense, but you can program it in micro-detail. Its like an old Corvette: a cheap-a$$ed shell over an engine from proverbial Hell. Stay tuned for a PC/Mac editor that’ll open the parameter map & make it approachable.

    There’s no serious battle between this, the Argon8 and the Hydrasynth. They’re three different approaches. The Hydrasynth could even reach the renown of the earlier Nord Leads for soloing. It’ll do a lot more, but with poly AT and a ribbon, it invites you to make real-time Rodan sounds.

  8. Powerful but closed machine.The experimentation will be bound by the sounds provided. The updates of the o.s. will they be the only openings?

    1. I think this is an incredibly versatile and creative synth, it will definitely carve out a new niche for itself in the generative music and ambient scenes. I can only hope for a module or 5-octave version.

      KORG have a poor track record of updating products after launch, they’re mostly fire-and-forget – other than the occasional glaring bug-fix – so I wouldn’t hold your breath for any new features.

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