Korg Wavestation

Korg Wavestation Image

When Sequential Circuits finally went belly-up, their research and development into vector synthesis was picked up at Korg. This led to the hugely successful Wavestation Synthesizer which was based on Sequential's ProphetVS. The Wavestation incorporated the 2-dimensional vector joystick of the ProphetVS which allowed the user to alter and animate sounds.

Korg added to this a second break-through form of synthesis: wave sequencing, by which short segments of sampled audio waveforms could be played one after the other and cross-faded into each other for some complex and unusual tones, pads, textures and rhythms. The Wavestation had 2MB of ROM based samples at your disposal. Programming is not exactly easy but this great digital synth is capable of lush ambient sounds and strange effects. It has the obligatory lowpass filter, though it is non-resonant and digital sounding. Also on-board are some multi-effects which are pretty nice. This synth is easily upgraded and expandable with PCM cards too.

Korg Wavestation EX Image

In 1991 the Wavestation EX, also called EXK-WS, was released (pictured above). The EX added 150 more waveforms (4MB) including acoustic instruments and drums. The EX also adds 8 multi-effects including: Mod Pitch Shift-Delay, Stereo Compressor-Limiter/Gate, Vocoder, Overdrive and Distortion effects, transposable keyboard and added MIDI implementation and control. Wavestations are used by Orbital, The Future Sound of London, Genesis, Jan Hammer, Depeche Mode, Toto, Vangelis, Legendary Pink Dots, Biosphere and Sin.

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50 Visitor comments
Daniel Fletcher of DS
March 19, 2014 @ 2:09 pm
Does anyone know if where is an known issue with midi out or the hole midi section on the Wavestation or EX?

Daniel Fletcher of DS (Swedish synthrock/synthpop band)
January 31, 2014 @ 1:46 am
The Wavestation is a mixed bag for me. I love some of its features but there's a lot of late-80s/early-90s Zeitgeist in his tone that you can't really get rid of, same goes for the D50. Perfect machine if you want to make tracks that sound like the music of science TV shows and movies of the early 90s or long, drawn out pads with all that clickety-clicky metallic fx noodling that goes on in the background, not so perfect for anything else in my opinion. Yeah, the WS borrows some stuff from the Prophet VS but the latter has way more character and oomph.
October 12, 2013 @ 8:43 pm
@bachmanioff, the noise is most likely caused by the inverter whine from the display, a common complaint on WSs keep meaning to solve it on mine by fitting a new display, which solves the problem as the inverter is not necessary for new/ alternate displays
September 14, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
Just bought a WS-1 off of Ebay. $150 including shipping. Good cosmetic condition, but I'll be taking it apart to clean (couple of sticky keys) and replace the display/backlight. There is a tone coming from the unit not present in the audio signal, about 670Hz (or the 2nd E or F above middle C). I've never heard a synth do that before. Is this indicative of a problem?
September 12, 2013 @ 3:24 am
It has been used also by Eric Troyer on stage with Electric Light Orchestra PART II (1994 line up).
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User Rating

Rated 4.27 (733 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Up to 32 Voices
  • Oscillators - Digital synth with 2MB ROM samples, Vector Synthesis, Wave Sequencing
  • Multitimbral - 16 parts
  • Filter - 1 LowPass filter per voice
  • Memory - 150 patches
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity / aftertouch)
  • Effects - 2 onboard effects
  • Control - MIDI (up to 8 channels at a time)
  • Date Produced - 1990-94
  • Resources & Credits
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