Video: A Hands-On Look at the New Korg Wavestate | NAMM 2020

Back in the early 1990s, Korg released an innovative new synthesizer called the Wavestation. It racked up accolades all over the community for introducing the world to Wave Sequencing—a brand-new method whereby different PCM waveform data is played successively, giving players continuously evolving, multi-timbral sounds just by holding down a single key.

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Now, 30 or so years later, Korg is back with a brand-new synth that definitely has it roots in the Wavestation format—but don't call it a reissue. The Wavestate is what Korg sees as the "next step in digital synthesis," taking its cues not only from the legendary Wavestation but also from an examination of modular synths, various grooveboxes, and algorithmic composition.

With this second generation of Wave Sequencing, for example, players are getting so much more than just a single unique pattern repeated over and over in perpetuity. Wave Sequencing 2.0 splits apart the timing, sequence, and melody of a sample so that the sounds you hear can evolve and change more organically. It also adds extra manipulatable characteristics, like shapes, step-sequencer values, and gate times.

If you're looking for even more inconsistency or randomization in your sounds, just hit the "dice" icon on the front panel to engage the Wavestate's intelligent randomization effect, which lets you randomize either the entire sound or any individual aspect—the filter, effects, or sample lane.

While remaining compact and easy to slide into any production rig or studio space at 37 keys, the Wavestate also manages to be satisfyingly tactile, with dedicated front-panel controls for basics like filters, LFOs, effects, and envelopes. It also features eight programmable modification knobs, which can be used to tweak real-time performance (along with the Wavestate's expression controls, like the modulation wheel or Vector Joystick) or to save a special new sound.

As you might expect from a 2020 release, the Wavestate also features a sample library that's more than a thousand times larger than the original Wavestation's. Pair that with its impressive cache of filters and massive arsenal of effects, and we can see why Korg isn't calling it a reissue.

For a more in-depth look at the new Wavestate and its Wave Sequencing 2.0, check out our video above. Click here to order yours on Reverb now. Or discover all vintage, used, and Korg gear on Reverb here.

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