Korg Wavestate by Chromalord
History: The Korg Wavestation, released in the 80's was a boutique style rompler with a flair: wave sequencing. Simply put, that unit allowed the arranging of waveforms, samples, and sequence in them in user-defined number of steps. Some of the results were quite stunning as well as iconic. Unlike Roland, Korg will revisit and expand upon older concepts. The Wavestate being an excellent example.
Whereas the Wavestation, equally functioned as traditional rompler, (it also had a vocoder) say, you want a piano, or a sax you can play it that way. Yet, the Wavestate assumes you already have something for normal utility patches. This doesn't mean you cant make the Wavestate DO that, I simply mean it doesn't prioritize it.
Memory and polyphony, were at a premium in the 80's, so the fidelity, particularly sample resolution/time was lacking in the original Wavestation, as well as most PCM-based units AND samplers. So it comes as no surprise that when Korg revisited this tech, they could employ more samples, longer samples, with higher resolution. The screen is brighter, more polyphony, less menu driven, and internal FX expanded.
What struck me right away was how the patches were presented: very polished, brilliant combination of timbres, great stereo imaging, and above all; inspiring. There are very smooth sounding analog-style sounds, low-fidelity bit crushed sounds as well as resolute harmonically complex sounds thats shift and change over time. Bets of all is how musical the patches are. Take "bell" patches which for the most part I loath and always ridiculed them in other synths, but in the Wavestate they are excellent and totally useful; all of them. I Tons of song and production ideas came to mind.I played for hours.
Its VERY easy to tweak stock sounds. The UI is very logical, and there is a flash card for instant gratification that will get you started. Within minutes I was changing filters (which are excellent: MS20 and Polysix are featured) the envelope times to various sources, substituting samples, altering the FX, assigning performance control parameters. More advance programming is layering various patches with different wave sequencing, assigning live-performance soft-knobs and splits.
The 3-octave keybed is adequate, pitch and mod wheels, octave switch. Rear panel hook-up is stereo TS, headphones, MIDI i/o, and USB-Device. Small external power supply. The unit is attractive enough, very light- maybe 8 pounds.
Bang for buck, this is a GREAT piece of gear. Its not for everyone, it IS a boutique piece. Despite the technological upgrades from the Wavestation, it still may be too "80s" sounding for some.
I gave this unit high marks PRIMARILY BASED on the price point which has an average street price of $799 (the original was $2200).
Are there things I'd love to see included in a more "professional" level unit? YES? I'd like to see at least a 5 octave keybed with poly after touch, more polyphony, higher resolution of samples, longer expanded list of samples and waveforms and events, balanced outputs, USB port to import wave forms and immediately integrate them into the sequence lanes, CV jacks for conjunctions with a modular. But all of those things would triple the price (but Id buy it in nanosecond).
Highly recommended. Enjoy!