Desktop Conversion Kit For Korg Wavestate, Opsix & Modwave Synthesizers

Tall Dog Electronics has launched a Kickstarter project to fund production of a desktop conversion kit for the Korg Wavestate, Opsix and Modwave synthesizers.

The kit replaces the replaces Korg’s plastic keyboard case with a machined aluminum body. The result is a desktop synth that’s about half the height and depth of the original keyboard.

Installation takes about a half hour, and it’s reversible, if you decide you want to convert your synth back to having a keyboard.

Here’s an overview of the conversion process:

Pricing and Availability

Production of the Desktop Conversion Kit for the Korg Wavestate, Opsix & Modwave synthesizers is being funded via a Kickstarter project, and it is available to backers starting at $164 USD.

Note: All crowdfunded projects can involve risk. See the project site for details.

34 thoughts on “Desktop Conversion Kit For Korg Wavestate, Opsix & Modwave Synthesizers

    1. No VST has all these physical knobs, sliders, joysticks and the immediacy of using a physical device.

      Furthermore, after a day at work in front of a computer, the last thing I want to do in the evening is sit in front of another one.

      1. Since I originally made the remark, people in these forums appear to have almost completely failed to understand what I meant. Yes, and without argument, all of these Korg synths are, essentially, VSTs in a box. What is particularly notable about these synths is that each has a “Native Version” that is functionally identical to the hardware in every way except the box in which it is contained and the user interface. So, to argue that these synths are not VSTs in a box is absurd. Now, in no way did I depreciate the value of the “box”. In fact, although I purchased the VST, I still prefer to work on my hardware Wavestate. Obviously, the box does make a difference for me. However, if you can work using a mouse (or an external MIDI controller), you get identical musical performance using the VST. So, for people who don’t require the physical interface (including what has to be the worst keybed offered on any modern synth), you can save a considerable amount of money by just using the computer plug-in. These three Korg synths completely make the “VST in a box” case because of their availability as VSTs, but everything that I said applies equally well to any other synth with an audio path that is completely digital (even though most hardware synths don’t have computer native equivalents).

        This product solves the main concern I have with my Wavestate (i.e., where to put it). I really don’t have any room on any acceptable surface for my Wavestate. Since I can’t imagine any situation where I would need or want to use its horrible keybed, I have mine mounted on a pretty flimsy sheet music stand. It’s stable enough for me to fiddle with the surface controls, but the way I have it angled, I could never play it via its keybed, even if I was so intoxicated that I might ever want to. I have space on the desktop of my console desk that is currently occupied by a Waldorf Kyra (another VST in a box, BTW). Given that the height of the Wavestate is dramatically decreased by this mod enclosure, I can replace the Kyra with the Wavestate, because I use the Wavestate a hell of a lot more than I do the Kyra. I’m extremely happy that the developer has chosen to market this. I will be among the first in line to support/purchase it.

        1. Absent the performance element I generally agree, but also don’t understand what the point of your comments are despite the obvious effect, maybe reframing your point would illicit more thoughtful responses if the purpose is more than inflammatory. It’s an important consideration if you’ve been making the same post for a while and getting nothing out of the responses that maybe the message should be changed.

          Form factors and interfaces are actually an important element of an instrument, and the sound generation does not exist in a vacuum divorced from these elements, but I’m happy for those who make compelling music on a computer. I mostly make patches on my hardware synths, including my vst in a box Iridium Keybed, and it’s physicality contributes greatly to how quickly I make tweaks and therefore how often I reach outside of my comfort zone, the friction to make changes are lower than with a mouse and vst.

        2. I don’t mind drawing a connection between these and VSTs, since Korg have released VST versions, presumably with a closely related code-base.

          But IIRC, Kyra is running on FPGAs, and that’s a crucial part of it. Has anyone ever run a VST on FPGAs? Where do you draw the line? Does it have to be a custom ASIC chip? Or was the DX7 a VST in a box? Was Waldorf AFB16 a VST in a box?

          1. By definition, any digital synth could be a “VST in a box” if somebody did the appropriate coding. Just because the code resides in a ASIC or other specialty chip, it is digital and could be coded to run on any digital platform sufficiently fast to run it natively.. For whatever reason, this all became crystal; clear to me after Korg released the software version of the Wavestation.

            1. Thanks, I see. “Could be a VST in a box” is different from “_is_ a VST in a box”. But these are exciting times, with emulators like Osiris and MAME making the bridge quite interesting.

              I don’t actually know how the Wavestation VST was done. I don’t know whether it is a 100% accurate recreation. I imagine the later ones are, since Korg have a lot of code that was ported around onto various different platforms (OASYS etc). Which is great, by the way.

            2. Except you called an analog synth a VST in a box and you’re over here like “NOOOOOO EVERYONE MISUNDERSTOOD ME!!!” and are backtracking.

    2. Please stop calling every single digital synth a “VST in a box.” It’s condescending and shows a very real lack of understanding of digital synthesis and hardware in general.

      1. There is nothing condescending about it. These three Korg synths are VSTs in a box (with a shitty keybed), and given their actual availability as VSTs, I fail to see how you could possibly make the argument that they are not. Korg (to their credit) has demonstrated, quite convincingly, that they are!

        1. Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is a wrapper that allows virtual instruments running on a PC to communicate with a digital audio workstation that’s running on the same PC.

          Wavestate, opsix and modwave are stand-alone digital synthesizers.

          1. That’s only a semantic difference. A wrapper is a wrapper is a wrapper. So, although their defining acronyms may be different, a VST is the same as AU implementation or any platform-specific wrapper. “VST” is just easier to type than “Platform Specific Wrapper”. Any “digital synthesizer” that is coded so that it runs on a general computer platform can be wrapped to run in a DAW. Just because there is a stand-alone version does not negate any of my points.

            1. Here’s the thing. We code digital synths either on “bare metal” (code running directly on the microcontroller without an OS), or typically using a lightweight RTOS (real time operating system).

              That means we don’t have to worry about the latency of an operating system that has to juggle printer drivers, wifi packets and screen updates. Our digital synth is just concerned with sound generation and input from the musician. Taking things further, we can hang a multichannel audio DAC directly off the microcontroller, minimizing latency and allowing the selection of a part with better specs than the CODEC you’ll find in a cheap audio interface. We also have complete control over the audio amplifier circuit – I can throw in low noise op amps and drive the output as hot as I want with /-15V rails.

              Like it or not, there’s something magical about a digital synth like the DX7 or a Synclavier that goes far beyond your “VST in a box” dismissal. Heck, following your logic, one could argue that a Minimoog is also a “VST in a box” because there are several incredibly good digital emulations that run on general purpose computers.

        2. It’s not interesting or helpful, and at this point your insistence on arguing about it borders on trolling. Consider leaving your ego in the box for a few days.

      2. fwiw, I would buy ‘a VST in a box’ any day of the week over one that was in a PC shaped box. it wouldn’t be tied to a personal computer platform with all it’s various wants, needs, and demands. just an obedient instrument that doesn’t keep soliciting help, or going off on it’s own. The C-15 is one of my long sought after lusts. there is much value in immutable instruments.

      3. Every digital synth ever made could be called a VST in a box. These particular synths have an excellent set of dedicated physical controls which is why these are the only synths of which I own both the physical and virtual models.

  1. This is a brilliant idea. Of course you can take your existing KORG synth and chop off the keyboard, some folk have done that. But having a proper high quality case is a big plus.

  2. This is a sore indictment of KORG’s failure to put high quality keyboards on their synths.
    Modules would have been way better in the first place.

    1. Agreed. These are great sounding synths with an otherwise poor, cheap action. Their instruments are good and that is why I wish they’d put a keybed in that is befitting of their synthesizer designs.

    2. I recently acquired an eight-voice Prolog, if Korg had used that keybed (even with its lack of aftertouch) and put the electronics in a less flimsy enclosure, I think it would have made a more suitable product for inclusion in almost anybody’s studio.

  3. Love the Wavestate and Opsix so much that I’m tempted to get the Modwave.

    A lot of people get hung up on the keyboard, but it seems like typical synth action to me.

    I suspect what people are reacting to is that the synths are just not heavy. There really isn’t any reason for synths to be heavy anymore, though, because the electronics have been minitiarized so much compared to the old days.

    Regarding the “VST in a box” comments – I’m not sure what the point of the trolling is. These are real instruments and real instruments are way more fun to play than VSTs. Dismissing them as VSTs is completely ignoring the point of having instruments that you play, vs presets in a DAW.

  4. Excellent solution to the size & keybed issues! I’m in the box and happy with the native Wavestate. Too many manufacturers put such bad keys on their products, they might as well be modules. My fix has long since been to simply use a solid master controller and route it as needed. There’s always a way. “VST-in-a-box,” my arse. Make it simple & just call it magic.

  5. This discussion of whether a synth is a “VSTs in a box” or not is irrelevant. These digital synths are still hardware synths complete with physical controls making them physical musical instruments. It doesn’t matter what the circuitry is or what the software running on it is.

    Personally, I love the total integration of having synths and FX plugins running in my DAW. 1) The cost; VSTs are simply much cheaper than hardware synths. 2) All of the settings (patches) of a VST are saved along with the project on a per-track or per-channel basis. 3) I can invest my money in one, very high-quality keyboard controller to control the whole system (space is very limited for me too, I’m not a professional musician or producer, it’s a hobby that reflects my love for electronic music.

    I have spent my entire professional life in front of a computer screen, keyboard, and mouse. Doing music and audio using this interface is what is most comfortable and convenient, and cost-effective for me.

  6. Someone couldn’t take it anymore and was like I need to safe musicians from the terrible keys that Korg is giving us. That guy should get a medal!

  7. The keyboard hasn’t bothered me at all….I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s a compact synth, not a grand piano!
    If someone doesn’t like the keyboard, or they want to play on a larger one, they can always connect another controller keyboard via MIDI.
    I think the mod on offer here is for reducing the footprint and has nothing to do with the keyboard.

  8. I like this for the OpSix as a reduced size option … there might be a VST version, but the physical model means you can easily work two controls simultaneously (sliders or knobs) against each other to find a level/balance you like … for FM synthesis this is something you can’t do with a mouse in a VST, even with something like a nob control

  9. Playable protypes were on display and able to be played at the New England Synth Fest yesterday. They look and feel fantastic, I hope Tall Dog does well with them. I have no desire to purchase any more synths with keyboards. These mods are a great option and the resulting units are a good size for desktop use.

  10. Being a WavestationEX owner, I have been interested in the Wavestate as well. However, I don’t really need, nor do I have the space for, yet another keyboard (especially a really cheap one). I applaud Tall Dog for creating this case, and obviously a lot of other folks agree. I think it is now up to Korg to follow through by offering these synths for sale sans keyboard, at an appropriately reduced price. Why should anyone have to pay the extra money for a throw away keyboard? It will be not only an extra financial burden on Korg’s potential customers, but also that much more garbage going into a landfill.

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