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Korg Wavestation Advanced Vector Synthesis Wave Sequencing

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The Korg Wavestation is a vector synthesis synthesizer first produced in the early 1990s. Its primary innovation was Wave Sequencing, a method of multi-timbral sound generation in which different PCM waveform data are played successively, resulting in continuously evolving sounds. The Wavestation's "Advanced Vector Synthesis" sound architecture resembled early vector synths such as the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS.

Designed as a "pure" synthesizer rather than a music workstation, it lacked an on-board sequencer, yet the Wavestation, unlike any synthesizer prior to its release, was capable of generating complex, lush timbres and rhythmic sequences that sounded like a complete soundtrack by pressing only one key.

The two primary synthesis concepts designed into the Wavestation were Wave Sequencing and vector synthesis, the latter Korg dubbed "Advanced Vector Synthesis". Although the Korg Wavestation was the first keyboard that used Wave Sequencing, its roots can be traced back to the preceding variations of wavetable-lookup synthesis, including the multiple-wavetable synthesizers like the PPG Wave, the Prophet VS and the Kawai K1 in 1988.

Wave Sequencing improved the vector synthesis on Prophet VS, by incorporating the ability to crossfade up to 255 waveforms, rather than only four. Moreover, a wave sequence can be programmed to "jump" to any PCM wave in ROM memory, whereas similar synths were designed to move sequentially through the wavetable. By combining wave sequencing with vector synthesis—the process of mixing and morphing between multiple waveforms of audio samples—the Wavestation differed from other sample-based synthesizers of the digital era.

Wave sequencing

A wave sequence is a programmed list of PCM waves playing in succession. Each step in the wave sequence can have a different duration, pitch, fine tuning, level and crossfade amount. Additionally, wave sequences can be looped (forward or forward/backward directions) to play indefinitely or for a finite duration; they may also be synchronized to the Wavestation's internal clock (at 100 beats per minute) or to MIDI clock signals from a sequencer. The result is a continuously changing sound, producing either a smooth blend of crossfaded waves, or semi-arpeggiated and rhythmic sequences, or a combination of both. In a Patch, different wave sequences can be assigned to each of the four oscillators, thus the Wavestation is capable of generating four distinct wave sequences playing simultaneously during a single note. In Performance mode, up to thirty-two discrete wave sequences can be played at the same time by layering eight 4-voice patches, although the actual number of playable wave sequences may be less because an additional oscillator is required to execute a crossfade.

Vector synthesis

Vector synthesis concept: Controlling the mix of four sound waves by defining a point on a vector plane using a joystick. Simply, vector synthesis is dynamic timbre control over 2 or more voices (oscillators). On the Wavestation, vector synthesis can be applied on any two or four-oscillator patch. The volume blend (or mix ratio) between oscillators is varied over time via a dedicated mix envelope, in real-time via the front panel's vector joystick, or via other controllers such as LFOs, aftertouch, and MIDI.

The mix envelope for a two-oscillator patch structure is arranged on a horizontal line or axis, and is interpreted as one-dimensional vector synthesis. Two dimensional vector synthesis requires a four-oscillator structure, with oscillators A & C arranged on the horizontal X axis and oscillators B & D on the vertical Y axis. A patch's mix envelope can be looped for a finite or indefinite amount of time as well as modulated by controllers. Moving the joystick whilst playing overrides the pre-programmed mix envelope, giving the user dynamic control over the timbre of the sound.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: ROM, Vector synthesis
Oscillators: 4
Waveforms: ROM
ROM Size: 2MB
ROM Resolution: 24 bit
Osc Modulation: After Touch, Envelope, Glide / Portamento, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Mod Wheel, Oscillator, Pitch Wheel, Velocity
Envelopes: 2
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Envelope Notes::
Vector Envelope and Joystick for controlling Vector Synthesis
Filters: 1
Types: 24dB Slope (4-pole), Low Pass
Filter Modulation: After Touch, Envelope, Keyboard, LFO, Mod Wheel, Pitch Wheel, Velocity
LFO: 2
LFO Parameters: Saw Up, Saw Down, Square, Triangle, Clocked, Delay, Freerun, Key Sync
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 32
Timbrality: 16
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono, Polyphonic, Split, Unison
Patches RAM: 105
Multipatches RAM: 150
Storage: Internal, RAM Cartridge, ROM Cartridge
Editing: MIDI
+2 Effects blocks
+55 effects
+6 simultaneous with modulation
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 61 keys, Non-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Aftertouch, Velocity, Buttons, Mod - Wheel, Joy Stick, Pitch -Wheel, Pedal - Control, Pedal - Sustain, Pedal - Volume
Display Type: LCD, LED, Backlit
Display Count H: 240
Display Count V: 64
Dimensions (WxDxH): 100 cm x 35 cm x 11 cm
Weight: 12.5 kg.
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Main, Stereo 2, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 6
DAC Bits: 19
Power: 11 Watts
Year Released: 1990
Year Discontinued: 1994
Used By
Throbbing Gristle, Tangerine Dream, Steve Roach, Rush, Moody Blues, Yes, Jan Hammer, Robert Rich, Joe Zawinul, Phil Collins, Gary Numan, Tony Banks, Michael Jackson, Mark Snow
Design Notes:

The Wavestation was designed by a team which included Dave Smith, who designed the Prophet-5 and, along with Roland, helped to invent the MIDI protocol in the early 1980s. His synthesizer company, Sequential Circuits, was purchased by Yamaha in 1988. The division was renamed DSD (intended by Yamaha to stand for Dave Smith Designs). The team, ex-SCI engineers Dave Smith, John Bowen, Scott Peterson, and Stanley Jungleib, then went on to Korg in May 1989 and designed the Wavestation, refining many Prophet VS concepts.
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] i.korg.com
Repairs and Support
[+] www.danphillips.com
Editors & Software:
[+] www.soundtower.com
[+] www.squest.com

Virtual Software
MSRP List Price: $2,195 - convert
Retail Street Price: $1,999 - convert
Used Price: $400 - $500 - convert
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