How easy is the Korg Wavestation to use?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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Andywanders
KVRAF
2694 posts since 3 Aug, 2003 from Narnia

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:11 pm

beely wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:48 am
A lot of really useful stuff.
Just wanted to chime in here with a huge thank you to beely.

I've only scratched the surface with regard to programming the WS, but your explanations have inspired me to dig deeper.

Cheers :tu: :tu:

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arkmabat
KVRAF
4051 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:34 pm

The M1 is harder to use. Wavestation VST is dead simple.

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arkmabat
KVRAF
4051 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:39 pm

Korg stuff goes on heavy discount around Christmas. Worth waiting for a sale, imo.

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beely
KVRAF
1968 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:26 am

gentleclockdivider wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 3:49 pm
Here's a patch with 4 waves , yet only the first one is heard (glass hit )
4 oscillators (3 playing PCM waves, 1 playing a Wave Sequence)
gentleclockdivider wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 3:49 pm
I obviously checked all amp levels for the other waves , no luck
It can be difficult to reverse engineer someone's edits when you can only see a limited number of parameters. It might be easier to upload the patch to examine.

Anyway, from a quick glance, you have a (looping) vector envelope going on, so the mix of oscillators you hear is dependent on the position the vector mix is at at any given time. Looking at the points, when you play a note, when it starts basically you'll only hear oscillator C (Flute), before moving to a 30:70 mix of A & D, then a mix of B & A - so the oscillator mix is changing over time (which is what the vector envelope does).

(I can't tell if you have any vector mix modulation going on either.)

Remember too that, if your oscillator is playing a small, quick single attack transient hit, it doesn't matter what the mix envelope is doing after about half a second - the hit will be over by then! Just because the mix envelope says in four seconds the mix is 100% oscillator A, if the non-looping sample that oscillator A played was finished playing three and a half seconds ago, that oscillator won't be making any sound.
PatchAdamz wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 4:33 pm
It looks more difficult then it is, in fact once you understand the basic design you will find its not that difficult after all.
Exactly! :tu:

Thanks for the people saying this is useful - happy to help demystify the WS a bit - honestly, I guess like many thing that look superficially complex, it's far simpler than you might think, especially if you are clear on the architecture/fundamentals. I used to do *all* my WS programming from the front panel of the hardware synth, and always found the layout and interface were really well designed.

If you're wanting to mess about with learning the WS, here's some basic tips which I would heavily recommend, and how I generally go about programming the WS since the 90s:

- Create an Init bank preset (again, google for this) so that you can completely clear out RAM1 (thats RAM1 Performances (50), RAM1 Patches (35) and RAM1 Wavesequences (32). Save this as a preset in your DAW so you can easily init RAM1 to give you some working space.

- Always keep your own data in that one self-contained RAM bank, and don't re-use data - if you reuse the same Patch in multiple Performances, sooner or later you're likely to want to change something in that Patch for one Performance, and you'll have forgotten that it's going to affect all the other Performances that reference that Patch too. If you run out of resources in that one RAM bank (Performances typically use a few Patches each, so you'll usually run out of Patch entries in the bank first) - start a second bank.

- Start with Perf RAM1-00, and load Patch RAM1-00 into the first part of that Performance, and go into Patch edit mode. Now, choose say, 2 oscillators for the patch, and start experimenting with the internal waves.

- Unlike many synths which have a fixed architecture of, say 2 oscilllators, and you do all the heavy timbral lifting with oscillator modulation and filters and stuff, the WS is better thought of in a "layered" approach to programming. Here's an example of the kinds of thought processes I'd go through making, say an interesting pad sound:

Let's start with a foundation simple pad sound, so the first Patch RAM1-00 in my init Performance will be 2-oscillators, and we'll pick a couple of generic-ish waves - say 100 Synth Pad and 104 Supersaw. I'd detune them both a little, and assign oscillator A to FX Bus A and oscillator B to FX bus B (ie, hard panned left and right for width), tweak the amp envelope to slow down the attack and release, and maybe also the filter envelope just to smooth off the highs appropriately for a warm sound. A very small amount of slow pitch LFO also helps with thickness too.

Ok, back in the Performance, I'd add Patch RAM1-01 to the second part as the next layer. Here, I want a bit more interest and subtle movement in the highs. I'll also make this patch 2-oscillator, and follow a similar path as the first Patch (I'd probably just copy Patch RAM1-00 to Patch RAM1-01 to create an independent duplicate of it to save time, and make sure the filter is opened up to let the highs though).

This time, I'm going to pick more digital sounding oscillator waves with a more unique sound and more high end. I'll detune them differently to the first Patch (for thickness), and then set up a very slow looping vector envelope that just slowly mixes between these two oscillators over a few seconds.

Then back in the Performance I'll bring down the level of this second part to maybe 40% or something, so it's not drawing attention to itself as a separate part, it's just adding some upper harmonic movement into the timbral blend of my pad, and pan to taste.

I might still want more more harmonic richness. Let's add Patch RAM1-02 to the third part of this performance. Solo this, or Mute/turn the level down off the other parts for now so we can hear it. In this Patch, we're going 4-oscillators, and let's just pick a random bunch of PCM waves to see what happens. We can just move the joystick around to change the mix of these four oscillators, so I'll try a bunch of different waves and mix positions until I hear a texture combination/mix I like. Maybe mix up the octaves of some oscillators, or make one a fifth or seventh (again, the mix of the oscillators will determine how dominant this is).

And again, for movement, we could do some subtle vector mix looping envelopes to slowly morph the mix of these oscillators, if we needed the movement. It's really easy to go so overboard on "movement" that it becomes too much - I really like however some really slow, subtle movement, and this is stuff the WS excels at. Maybe we'll give this Patch an even slower attack and release so it "speaks" a little slower to the rest of the parts.

Back in the Performance, re-enable all parts, and again, bring the mix of the third part down to blend it in to taste.

Lastly, we can start with the effects, so I might choose a delay in FX1 and a reverb in FX2. I won't get into FX routing in this little pseudo-tutorial, but you can do quite a lot of cool things. Maybe I might decide to add some "whispies", and add a fourth Patch with some whispery/noise-type waves, and for this I'll bypass the first FX busses, and just route these super-wet to the reverb only, and have them really low in the mix.

So - you end up building up these composite sounds from layers - the elements are all relatively simple, but the end result becomes complex, especially when you have different elements looping for different times (and this is partly why reverse engineering the presets can be tricky - they are often complex because there's a lot going on, until you strip down to the components and understand what each component is doing.)

So we get this nice, beautiful thick complex pad, very unique to the Wavestation, with some nice subtle timbral movement which isn't done by modulating oscillators and filters - and we haven't even touched on Wave Sequences yet!

With the hardware, polyphony limitations (32 voices) were a restriction to this, but the software is *much* better in this regard (256 voices).

That's the kind of approach I use when doing WS programming, and it's a bit different to how I'd use a more typical VA or whatever.

I hope that gives some ideas and enables a bit more creative play..!

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:25 am

arkmabat wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:34 pm
The M1 is harder to use. Wavestation VST is dead simple.
Are you sure?

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:26 am

Chrisk-K wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 3:25 pm
Well, the Wavestation is super easy to use if you don’t want to create your own sounds. Even Tony Banks simply used presets on Genesis songs. There are thousands of WS performances and patches readily available, so why bother to program?
Did he use the wavestation with genesis?

Are those performances/patches available for the VST, since that was the subject of this discussion.

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:29 am

beely wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:26 am

- Create an Init bank preset (again, google for this) so that you can completely clear out RAM1 (thats RAM1 Performances (50), RAM1 Patches (35) and RAM1 Wavesequences (32). Save this as a preset in your DAW so you can easily init RAM1 to give you some working space.
Just to say I'm not sure you can init the VST version. You can open a performance and change from there, which I suppose isn't terribly onerous. I'm guessing that's because they assume you'd be tweaking existing performances, rather than starting from a completely blank slate.

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beely
KVRAF
1968 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:30 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:26 am
Did he use the wavestation with genesis?

Are those performances/patches available for the VST, since that was the subject of this discussion.
The We Can’t Dance album is full of Wavestation… I expect it’s all largely presets, certainly the obvious stuff is…
Last edited by beely on Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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beely
KVRAF
1968 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:33 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:29 am
Just to say I'm not sure you can init the VST version.
That why I said a few times now to google for an init bank if you need it.

But anyway, I've saved you the effort. Here you go - use the File -> Import facility to import the init RAM1 Perfs/Patches/WaveSequences.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:18 am

beely wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:33 am
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:29 am
Just to say I'm not sure you can init the VST version.
That why I said a few times now to google for an init bank if you need it.

But anyway, I've saved you the effort. Here you go - use the File -> Import facility to import the init RAM1 Perfs/Patches/WaveSequences.
Thank you, but the demo doesn't appear to allow that, and you woudln't be able to save it under the same restrictions

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beely
KVRAF
1968 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:47 am

Sure - if you buy it, come back to this thread and get stuck in if you like. It's not like you'll be investing making your own patches in a version that can't load or save anything anyway... demo's are mostly about noodling around anyway, rather than any significant investment of effort.

It should still be useful for the other people that already have it, and would like to get something more out of it, but haven't so far for various reasons.

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dumbledog
KVRian
674 posts since 25 Sep, 2014

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:53 am

What do y'all use for a joystick with the VST? Just assign a couple knobs to it and pretend it's an Etch-a-Sketch?

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am

What does the mix envelope do and how do you get the LFO to work? If i try modulating between 2 oscilaators with the mod wheel that's fine, but if I set it to the LFO it does nothing. Also the volume on some patches is far too low, you can barely hear the sound. How do you increase the volume?

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beely
KVRAF
1968 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:28 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
What does the mix envelope do
I explained this a couple of times above already - have another read through my previous posts.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
how do you get the LFO to work?
The same way as on any synth - there are a couple of LFOs (per Patch), and you assign them as modulators to whatever you want to change, and use the amount to set how much to modulate by. There are many things that you can modulate in the WS, even up to the FX level.

If you want to modulate the oscillator pitch, as an example, go to the Pitch tab, and there are two mod sources available for pitch. Set one to LFO1 or LFO2, and increase the amount. It basically works like this everywhere. You can change the actual LFO settings on the (surprise!) LFO1 and LFO2 tabs.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
Also the volume on some patches is far too low, you can barely hear the sound. How do you increase the volume?
Barely hear the sound? Something is wrong if you're loading a preset and can barely hear it. The overall output is generaly low-ish because the WS can output 256 voices, and you don't want to clip. There is a global Output Gain control in the Settings screen, which you can set to +6dB or +12dB if you want a hotter output.

But that's probably not going to help if you can barely hear it - check your gain staging I guess...
dumbledog wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:53 am
What do y'all use for a joystick with the VST? Just assign a couple knobs to it and pretend it's an Etch-a-Sketch?
Whatever comes in handy, mouse, trackpad, my hardware plugin controller, plus, you know I happen to have my trusty OG Wavestation to hand and the joystick conveniently sends out CC16/17 messages, so it just works... ;)

ghostwhistler
KVRist

Topic Starter

479 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 11:08 am

beely wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:28 am
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
What does the mix envelope do
I explained this a couple of times above already - have another read through my previous posts.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
how do you get the LFO to work?
The same way as on any synth - there are a couple of LFOs (per Patch), and you assign them as modulators to whatever you want to change, and use the amount to set how much to modulate by. There are many things that you can modulate in the WS, even up to the FX level.

If you want to modulate the oscillator pitch, as an example, go to the Pitch tab, and there are two mod sources available for pitch. Set one to LFO1 or LFO2, and increase the amount. It basically works like this everywhere. You can change the actual LFO settings on the (surprise!) LFO1 and LFO2 tabs.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:56 am
Also the volume on some patches is far too low, you can barely hear the sound. How do you increase the volume?
Barely hear the sound? Something is wrong if you're loading a preset and can barely hear it. The overall output is generaly low-ish because the WS can output 256 voices, and you don't want to clip. There is a global Output Gain control in the Settings screen, which you can set to +6dB or +12dB if you want a hotter output.

But that's probably not going to help if you can barely hear it - check your gain staging I guess...
dumbledog wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:53 am
What do y'all use for a joystick with the VST? Just assign a couple knobs to it and pretend it's an Etch-a-Sketch?
Whatever comes in handy, mouse, trackpad, my hardware plugin controller, plus, you know I happen to have my trusty OG Wavestation to hand and the joystick conveniently sends out CC16/17 messages, so it just works... ;)
Then why is the LFO doing nothing when I set it to modulate between 2 oscillators in one part? A simple 2 osc set up. Like I said, it works if i set the mod source to the wheel. But if I set to the LFO I can't hear any effect, even if i change the rate. Even if i set it to 127%

Unfortuantely I can't see anything you've said that explains the mod envelope setting. Could you point me to that particular answer?

There is no manual for this that I can find on Korg. The only one that exists is for an earlier edition of the Legacy collection and it is extremely lacking. It doesn't mention mod envelopes at all, for example

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