SOUND ON SOUND REVIEWS
SOUND ON SOUND magazine Vol.10 No.2 and 3. January 1995
By Chris Carter
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR KORG WAVESTATION - PART ONE (and TWO)
A CLASSIC IN IT'S OWN LIFETIME ?
There aren't many contemporary synth's that can be called classics, especially digital ones but I'm going to stick my neck out and state that personally I think that the Korg Wavestation - and in particular the A/D version - is one of those classic synths. Although the following article is intended for those of you who use a Wavestation A/D - or are going to - many of the techniques described can be applied to all versions.
ON THE CREST OF A WAVE
The original Wavestation WS1 was released in 1990 for £1600 and broke with accepted tradition by not being a workstation but a dedicated synth without a drum kit or a regular on board sequencer. It arrived with a 61 note aftertouch sensitive keyboard, 32 oscillators and filters, 64 envelope generators and LFO's , 365 PCM waveforms, 2 multi-effects units and 24 bit processing. With 2 card slots for PCM, Program Data and RAM cards it was extremely well equipped. But this was no ordinary synth because as well as as the familiar synth+sample, PCM/oscillator-filter-amplifier engine it also used two systems known as vector synthesis and wave sequencing. These involve manipulating the raw PCM/oscillator sources with complex vector envelopes and wave tables to produce some very unique and extraordinary sounds and was said to be a programmers dream, well maybe.
It has some exceptional on board ROM pre-sets that with just a couple of keys held down can sound like a complete demo tune rather than just a single instrument. In fact the pre-sets were so good that it seemed like every TV show or ad composer was using a Wavestation. Those instantly recognisable pluck, chiff and chime wave sequences were everywhere and in that respect it had something in common with those classic but totally over used Roland D50 "one note tune" pre-sets.
Two years later and an upgraded version, the EX was released with an additional 2Mb of PCM waveforms. These included some much needed piano, bass, and percussion, as well as some quirky voice snippets, "industrial" noises and a complete drum kit. Also included were 8 more effects algorithms which contained some very usable vocoder FX. It was immediately followed by an enhanced rack mount version the A/D and apart from containing the new EX waveforms and extra effects the A/D also had a some other added features. These were a very useful extra internal RAM bank with 50 more performances, the moving of the 2 card slots to the front and a smaller joystick for vector mixing. This made the joystick awkward to use but there wasn't space for a larger one.
Inconveniently tucked around the back were two small rotary controls and level matching switches which gave control over audio signals going two jack input sockets that can accommodate mic or line signals, with a helpful pair of LED meters on the front panel to give some idea of the input levels. There were also two rear balanced XLR connectors for the 1/L & 2/R output channels. These were in addition to the 4 jack sockets already present and were ideal for interfacing with pro mixers. This is especially the case when using the A/D in a live situation, as there never seem to be enough DI boxes when you need them.
A year later and the Wavestation SR was released and although physically smaller had an extra 8 internal ROM banks containing a "Best Of" collection of more than 500 performances from the Korg ROM card library. It also had a much smaller LCD screen and none of the extra audio inputs or outputs and as Korg put it, "is ideal for the non-programmer". As someone once said of the Roland D110 synth, "trying to programme the Wavestation SR is like trying to decorate a hallway through a letter box", an absolute nightmare!but still it's a very powerful piece of kit. If you are using a WS EX or A/D you could get a WS SR to supplement your existing set up and believe me I have seriously thought about it!
I've been using a WS A/D for about 2 years now and can safely say I am still as happy with it now as I was when I first got it. Personally I thought that it was fairly effortless to get to grips with compared to some synth's. This must be partly due to the large LCD screen and function keys under it, a layout similar to the Akai S1000 and this makes navigating your way around a doddle. I can't say a beginner would necessarily find it easy to use, but after giving the instruction manual the once over most people find it quite logically laid out. One problem with LCD screens like these is they are highly reflective and you have to be careful where you rack them. It often happens that I get a very strong reflection from my keyboard on it and it can become very difficult to read. In a live situation especially this can be a real headache (pun intended).
But to be quite honest for the first week or so after it arrived I did an awful lot of head scratching, manual reading and frantic phone calling to Korg. This was after I had edited all the factory pre-sets in the RAM banks beyond recognition and hadn't backed them up. I foolishly assumed there was some sort of initialisation process that would restore them to their original state. I mean these were RAM banks, dim or what? Anyway there's a Wavestation "Factory Reload" disc, #PSD01 price £6. 50 and a ROM card version, WPC00P price £45 that contain these banks.
A quirk that catches out almost everyone I know who first uses a Wavestation is that when you begin editing a wave sequence any changes you make are written to memory immediately without any undo available. There is none of that: "are you sure", "yes-no" safety net that you usually get when editing. I recommend that if you are going to edit a wave sequence make a copy to work on or back-up first.
A particularly confusing aspect of the WS operating system is that wave sequences and patches are not automatically linked to a performance when you save them and can appear to have changed when you load in a previous save, either from a RAM card or SysEx file. One of the reasons for this is that on the UTILITIES page (GLOBAL>UTIL) there are two different ways of transferring the internal RAM banks either internally or externally. Most people would think that to use the COPY option would be OK, but this is where the problem arises. Suppose you have a decent sounding performance setting in RAM Bank 3 that contains some patches also from RAM Bank 3. If you copy your performance data onto a RAM card using the COPY option the only information that gets copied would be the patch location numbers and not the actual patches. If you edit or even replace these patches with different ones the RAM card will assume that the patch numbers in those positions are still the original versions and you get a totally different sounding performance. The only way to ensure that all your performances, including patches and wave sequences are saved correctly is by performing the following operation, with the UTILITIES page selected:
from-RAM3(or 1, or 2)>to CARD>ALL>MOVE.
This will physically move all the relevant information onto the RAM card intact, while still leaving the original data in the Wavestation. There are still problems though if your performances contain patches or wave sequences from RAM Banks other than the one your current performances are in. In this case if you use the MOVE option it will only move patch data that's in the same RAM Bank and any other RAM Bank patches will only have their patch numbers copied. The only way around this problem that I could find was to make sure I have all the patches and wave sequences that are relevant to my current performances in the same RAM Bank. If they are not, then it is just a matter of moving them onto the same bank before you transfer anything to a RAM card. It would help enormously if all 3 RAM banks could be transferred to a RAM card at the same time but for some reason they can't.
When it comes to using MIDI SysEx dumps things are slightly different . On the SYSEX DATA TRANSMIT page (MIDI>SYSEX) there are a lot more options for transferring performances and patches etc. using MIDI. For a start there is the option to dump ALL, which does exactly what it says and transfers the entire contents of the A/D over MIDI. The only trouble is that the size of an ALL dump is 204k (138k for the keyboard version) and takes about 65 seconds to complete, so you should make sure that the device you are storing it on has a large enough buffer memory to handle this. Beware if you are going through a MIDI merge unit as some can only take a few kilobytes at a time. According to Korg the ALL option is intended to dump the contents of one Wavestation to another. A single RAM Bank dump from the A/D is 72k and only takes about 20 seconds to transfer over MIDI. The saving problems mentioned above also apply to MIDI SysEx dumps of single RAM Banks, the difference is that you can transfer other RAM banks (containing any relevant/associated patches) at the same time.
WAVING NOT DROWNING
The first time I read about the WS A/D was in 1992 travelling down a German autobahn while on tour. We were being driven at about 90 mph by a totally loony Dutch guy called Frank who must have been really short sighted because he was always about 10 feet from the car in front. It was such a traumatic experience that to take my mind off his driving I tried to engross myself in a magazine. A news item on the WS A/D mentioned that it would have external audio inputs and this would allow external sounds to be treated the same way as PCM waves within a wave sequence. I thought that this was a brilliant idea and mistakenly assumed there would be some sort of sampling memory included, but this wasn't to be. Actually I still think my idea is great and if you could sample on the A/D, even just short chunks, it would take it into totally new realms as far as wave sequencing and vector synthesis are concerned.
What you can do though is feed other instruments, tracks off tape or even entire mixes into the A/D and treat them through the dual multi-effects or place them into a wave sequence to get a sort of chopped up effect similar to noise gating.
USE YOUR OWN WAVES
If you have a sampler you can use your own samples as pseudo PCM waves.
After you have connected up your sampler outputs to the A/D inputs you must go to WS A/D ANALOG page: GLOBAL>ANALOG and set the ANALOG INPUTS to ENABLED.
Then adjust the input levels using the LED meters.
These inputs can now be dialled up on the wave sequence page as waves 516 (input 1) and 517 (input 2).
Choose some samples for your wave sequence - short percussive types work well for typical WS rhythmic sequences. Alternatively use one or two longish sounds for a staccato or tremolo effect sequence. In fact you can use both types by feeding them into each of the separate A/D inputs and then into two separate wave sequences simultaneously.
Next you must set the wave sequence SYNC to MIDI on the GLOBAL page and your sequencer to transmit MIDI sync clock.
On the WAVE SEQUENCE page (EDIT>PATCH>WAVES>WAVSEQ) the wave sequence duration's must be set to even number divisions of 24. 16 for quarter-note triplets, 12 for eighth-note, 8 for eighth-note triplet and so on. You will probably need to set the cross fade settings (Xfd) to a minimum of 1 or 2, a setting of 0 usually results in a click at each step.
The samples should be triggered by your sequencer at the same clock divisions as the wave sequence, 16 ths, 8 ths etc. but on a different MIDI channel to the A/D.
To hear a wave sequence when the Wavestation is synced to MIDI you will need to send a single continuous MIDI "note on" to the A/D from the beginning of the sequencer track or a separate note from the beginning of each bar. Either way Midi note number 60/middle C is a good starting point, this must be on the same MIDI channel as the WS.
For a regular 4/4 rhythm to begin with you could start with a wave sequence of 16 steps, all duration's at 6, all cross fades at 1 and all waves at 516 (for input 1) . Set an infinite repeat and forward direction.
By running your sequencer in record and looping at the same time you can begin placing your samples within the wave sequence. The BPM can, within reason, be set to anything you want. The benefit of this procedure is that unlike a single WS wave sequence you can stack samples (your pseudo PCM waves) on top of each other at each step or even between steps to intentionally cut the sound off. After this you can begin placing some WS PCM waves with your own and possibly extending the number of steps.
Also as an alternative the audio outputs of a drum machine could be fed into the A/D, particularly if it's a basic model without any internal FX. Anyway when you are happy with your wave sequence you can then add some internal A/D effects , possibly a pitch shifter or a DDL.
A couple of years ago a company named Double Dutch released a sample expander unit for the Wavestation called the SAM-1. This was a rack mount enclosure with a built in floppy disk drive. It was attached to the synth PCM card socket by a ribbon cable and could inject up to 1Mb worth of samples from Akai S1000, Roland S330, S550 and EPS disks. It was also a MIDI data filer and allowed you to save MIDI SysEx information back to floppy disk. At around £600/£700 it was an expensive and slightly unwieldy way of adding your own PCM waves. A more convenient but less versatile way is to use some of the Korg PCM ROM cards that are available. There are only a few and they're quite expensive but the quality is good and if you have a WS SR then your options are bit wider as the SR can read Korg 01/W PCM cards also.
VECTORS R US
The core processes for sound reproduction in the Wavestation are vector synthesis and wave sequencing. When both methods are used together some absolutely brilliant sounds can be produced. One of my favourite techniques is to recreate those old 70's Tangerine Dream bouncing analogue sequences that skip and change key. Although it can be done with a computer sequencer it can get a bit intricate if you want to start changing key, bring in different sequences and change effects in real-time. On the WS by mapping wave sequences over the keyboard and applying vector synthesis you can get some very nice evolving and shifting sequences that you can trigger and change key from the keyboard.
For this example you need to make at least 4 wave sequences and each of these should have the same total step duration length of 96. That is, if the main wave sequence is 16 steps and each step has a duration of 6 then the next wave sequence could be 8 steps, with each step having a duration of 12. Of course any combination of duration's can be used as long as the total is 96. Using these figures the wave sequences will sync up to a single bar in a time signature of 4/4. To work with longer bars then a total step time of 192 would equal two bars, 288 would equal three bars and so on.
MAKING THE SEQUENCER PATTERNS
Start by programming 16 steps using PCM wave 420 (Deep Bass in this instance), with duration's of 6, levels of 99 and cross fades of 1 for each step. The tuning at each step can be whatever sounds best to your own ear.
Make a copy of this wave sequence into the next location and try changing the duration's to the following: steps 1 to 4 are set to 3, steps 5 to 15 are set to 6 and step 16 has a duration of 18, you could also change the tuning if you think it's necessary. Copy this wave sequence a couple of more times and change the the duration's and tunings each time to something you like.
APPLYING THE VECTOR ENVELOPES
Make a four-oscillator patch structure and place each of the four wave sequences into each of the A, B, C, D positions with all the levels set to 99.
Go to the EDIT MIX ENVELOPE page (EDIT>PATCH>WAVES>MIXEV) and program a standard diamond shape vector as follows: point 0/A=100%, point 1/B=100%, point 2/C=100%, point 3/D=100%.
Set all of the TIME values to 90, with the LOOP set to 0<->3 and REPEATS to infinite.
When a note on the keyboard is held the first of the wave sequences will start playing followed by the the rest slowly cross fading and evolving out of each other into the next until they repeat ad infinitum. You can change key by pressing a new note (preferably on the beat) , the speed of the sequence isn't affected. If you move the joystick it will override the vector envelope and you can mix the sequences manually if you wish.
Other options include:
• Playing more than one note, maybe octaves apart .
• Staggering the start time.
• Making longer more complex wave sequences (32 or 64 steps).
• Using different PCM waves for each sequence (waves 352 to 363 simulate a nice stepped VCF effect).
• Varying the step LEVEL of each wave sequence to give more dynamics.
• Adding a DDL, reverb, chorus and so on from the internal multi-effects.
If you are feeling avant garde you could try adjusting the wave sequence SLOPE values on the WAVES page, this will take you into micro-tonal territory. Values of 0. 75 or 0. 5 are good starting points. You could assign MIDI control to the multi-effects to modulate the filters or phaser's etc. from the keyboard or modulation wheels. More than one performance set-up could be mapped across the keyboard using different groups of four wave sequences in each location, Though a different MIDI channel would be needed for each performance if the entire length of the keyboard was needed for each one. You might find yourself running out of wave sequence step memory as well if you use a lot of long sequences.
If you feel that the speed of the wave sequences are to slow with a step duration setting of 6 (approx. 106-8 BPM), then there are two ways in which you can change this. Firstly you could go to the WAVE SEQUENCE UTILITIES page (EDIT>PATCH>WAVES>WAVSEQ>UTILS) and compand all the time values by 50% (this would double the speed) or you could change the Wavestation sync from internal to external MIDI clock (GLOBAL page). In which case you can leave the step duration's as they are and instead adjust the speed from your sequencer. If you do have the WS synced to a sequencer then you can record any keyboard playing, joystick movements or filter modulation into it and have it sync up with any other rhythms or sequences you might already have.
Apart from the Joystick the vector envelopes can also be controlled from a number of different MIDI sources on the EDIT MIX MOD page (EDIT>PATCH>WAVES>MIXEV>MIX MOD). Examples are:
• Keyboard position
• Aftertouch, velocity
• Modulation wheel
• LFO's 1 or 2,
• External midi controller or an external foot pedal.
This is an outline of what's possible with this type of performance setting but there's plenty of scope for further experimentation within this sort of configuration. The appeal of using a performance like this is that it can achieve impressive results without involving any other equipment.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR KORG WAVESTATION - PART TWO
THE JOY OF IT ALL
The Waveststion joystick can be used to control a number of the synth's functions simultaneously. For instance with the example above, along with controlling the vector envelope the joystick could also adjust the amount of DDL level on it's Y axis and the delay time on it's X axis. Or the phaser LFO rate, the auto pan speed and depth, the reverb depth, there are endless internal routing possibilities available.
The Joystick can also be used to control an external MIDI instrument either simultaneously or independently. The X axis transmits controller no. 16 and the Y axis transmits controller no. 17 but the receiving instrument must be on the same MIDI channel as the Wavestation for this to work). If you have another MIDI synth or FX unit that can respond to controller information this can be a very handy feature.
At this point it's also worth mentioning that if the PARAMETERS setting is enabled on the MIDI page (PERFORMANCE>MIDI), the WS will send out SysEx messages whenever any of it's parameters are edited, such as filter sweeps or effects adjustments. These can also be sent to your external sequencer (assuming it can record MIDI SysEx info)and played back with all your twiddles faithfully recorded. Be careful though as this method eats megabytes for breakfast.
If there is one thing missing on the WS it must be a proper dynamic resonant filter, or a VCF as we used to call em' when I were a lad. The nearest to it is on the FILTER page but this isn't really up to the job and has a very bland sound. To make up for this Korg included some very nice resonant PCM waves (over 40 of them). With clever wave sequence programming using smooth cross fades you can get quite convincing effects. Another way is to use one of the muti-effects filters number 43 or 44, but both include a distortion or overdrive control that can't be totally eliminated. The filter section has a resonance control and high and low EQ and is capable of very powerful analogue sounding effects. Also it can be manipulated from almost any source in the A/D and even external MIDI controllers.
UNDER THE WAVES
In my opinion effect no. 3 D-STEREO ROTARY SPEAKER is underrated and overlooked. For a start , it can do a very passable impression of a ring modulator. The trick here is to always have the SLOW speed a lot higher than the FAST speed. You can also modulate the speed from all the usual WS sources or even cascade two filters, very Dr. Who.
Another feature of the ROTARY effect is it's ability to give a pretty good RSS 3D simulation. Of course there's no control over the positioning of the sound field but there's some strange phase shifting going on that definitely makes the sound appear to stretch out beyond the speakers. Here's what you need to do:
Set the MIX to WET.
Set the SLOW speed to between 0. 15 & 0. 27 and the depth to 15.
By placing effect no. 34-STEREO MOD PAN in series before effect no. 33 and setting the MIX to WET and the LFO to between 0. 18 to 0. 24 you can enhance the 3D impression even more - though this does use up both effects processors.
AN EXTRA EFFECT
If you have a fairly basic set-up and you don't have many effects units then it's handy to know that one of the A/D multi-effects can be isolated from the rest of the synth and press ganged into use as an independent processor. The secret to doing this successfully is to keep internal patches on busses A&B and the external audio well clear on busses C&D.
First connect your audio source to the A/D and adjust the rear levels.
Select a performance to start working within and choose a patch to initialise and edit.
For stereo you need to make a 2 oscillator patch structure and name it INPUTS or something like that, then enter the waves as A=516 (input 1) and C=517 (input 2) with levels set to 99.
On the ANALOG INPUT ASSIGN page (GLOBAL>ANALOG) set the input channels as follows:
Input 1 FILT=99, A=OFF, B=OFF, C=ON, D=OFF
Input 2 FILT=99, A=OFF, B=OFF, C=OFF, D=ON
The exciter (XCTR) setting can be set to whatever you want.
On the PATCH BUS ASSIGNMENT page (EDIT>PATCH>FX BUSS) set the buss assignments as follows:
516-input 1 A=OFF, B=OFF, C=ON, D=OFF
517-input 2 A=OFF, B=OFF, C=OFF, D=ON
On the EFFECTS MIX page (EDIT>EFFECTS>FX MIX) set the routing as follows:
ROUTING=PARALLEL, MIX 3=OFF, MOD 3=OFF, MIX 4=OFF, MOD 4=OFF.
Finally select your INPUT patch and go to the PERFORMANCE PART DETAIL page (EDIT>DETAIL) and set the FX BUSS: to PATCH.
You can then copy the INPUT patch to other performance locations if you want, always making sure that nothing else is sharing the A&B or C&D FX BUSSES
From now on the A/D will go through FX1 and exit through outputs 1&2 while the external audio will be processed by FX2 and will appear at outputs 3&4.
Of course you can still use any of the A/D's modulation sources to control the FX settings or use MIDI to control the external audio level.
Due to a quirk in the design if you layer four single-oscillator patches in a performance they will always sound a lot louder than one four-oscillator patch on it's own. So if you are looking for maximum volume remember this. The only problem with using lots of single oscillator patches is that you can't apply vector envelopes to them individually.
Deep within the bowels of the WS A/D is a strange undocumented feature called the SPECIAL SCREEN. To access it follow these instructions to the letter - and make sure you have no RAM or ROM cards plugged, or it won't work.
Make sure the WS is switched off. Now switch on and between the word KORG appearing and the flashing WAVESTATION A/D press the DOWN cursor and number 4 on the keypad simultaneously.
Instead of a performance page appearing you will now be looking at the SPECIAL SCREEN with the A/D version number, a date and a time. There are also a number of options above the function keys. Most of them are meant for testing the machine and don't actually do much.
INIT-RAM wipes your RAM banks by copying the ROM Banks into them (all of them).
SHOW doesn't seem to do anything.
D-IN and D-OUT are for copying to and from some sort of RAM or ROM card.
KSD seems to freak out the instrument.
CONT takes you back to the performance screen and normality. Fun, eh !
If I had a wish list for the Wavestation A/D it would include a larger memory for wave sequence steps, because 1500 steps don't go far if you have a lot of long wave sequences mapped across the keyboard (the SR has 5, 500 steps). Also a faster central processor as your editing slows to a crawl if your wave sequences have more than 40 or 50 steps and the display is constantly trying to catch up with your button presses. Similarly if you move the joystick or data wheel too much when any internal wave sequences are playing then their timing slows down. It would be great if the A/D could read the newer 01/W PCM cards as there are far too few EX or A/D PCM cards available and to my knowledge only 3 by Korg and there's no 3rd party PCM support at all. Also a way of saving the entire contents of the A/D onto a RAM card. In fact this should be possible anyway because the Korg RAM card (the MCR-03) has a capacity of 256k and an entire dump from the A/D is only 204k but there is no way of doing it, why Korg?
THAT SYNCING FEELING
Occasionally I find when that when I try to sync the A/D wave sequences to MIDI it won't always recognise the MIDI clock signal. Alternatively notes sometimes just drone on and on in an almost random fashion. It's either not syncing or droning, one or the other and it 's usually after the A/D has been on for a 3 or 4 hours. These problems occur whether I'm using an Atari STE or an Apple Mac as the master clock (each with a different interface). So far it hasn't happened in a live situation but I do know of other users getting similar problems with large midi set-ups. Switching the A/D off then on again doesn't always solve the problem either, but I discovered that if you send the A/D a MIDI reset command that usually cures it. I've spoken to Korg in the past about this but they couldn't shed any light on the problem.
I've really only scratched the surface of the Wavestation here and in all truth a book could be written about it (and there probably is one somewhere!). It's a very complex machine and to really get to grips with it you do need to spend a lot of time sitting in front of it programming your heart away. I know it's very tempting to use the pre sets as they sound so wonderful and if you have an SR version then you are not really encouraged to edit anyway (although you could use a graphical computer editor). I must admit that I have used a couple of pre-sets on some releases of my own (hang's head in shame!). But such a lot more can be achieved by getting your hand 's dirty and editing your own sounds. Even using one of the pre-sets as a starting point and then tweaking it is better than wasting the potential of a phenomenal piece of technology.
As I said at the beginning of this piece in years to come I'm sure the Wavestation series will be seen as a classic of the nineties and as is happening now with old analogue gear you can be sure that in ten or fifteen years time everyone will be trying to get that '90's retro sound' and the Wavestation will be high on peoples lists. So why not become a part of history and - get Waving !
WAVESTATION A/D FACTS AND FIGURES
01 to 09 Reverbs
10 to 14 Early Reflections & Gated Reverbs
15 to 20 Stereo & Mono Delays
21 to 28 Chorus, Flangers & Exciter
29 to 30 Distortion/Filter/EQ combinations
31 to 33 Phasers & Rotary Speaker
34 to 36 Autopan & Parametric EQ
37 to 46 Delay combinations
47 to 49 Pitch Shifters & Compressor
50 to 55 Vocoders & Delays
Aftertouch & Mod Wheel
Joystick X Axis
Joystick Y Axis
Filter Cut Off
Mixer X Axis
Mixer Y Axis
484 PCM waveforms
32 Wave Sequences
32, each with 1 Low Pass Filter, 1 Amplifier,
2 LFO's & 2 Envelopes
200 Internal, 50 in card
140 Internal, 35 in card
128 Internal, 32 in card
Wave Sequence Steps
500 in ROM, 1500 in RAM, 500 in card
1 ROM Bank, 3 RAM Banks & 1 Card Bank
16 Configurations on 16 MIDI channels
2 Stereo Multi-Effects, 55 Programs,
Up to 6 FX simultaneously
MIDI - In, Out, Thru
Control Inputs - Pedal 1, 2, both assignable
Audio Inputs - Analogue Inputs 1, 2 with 64x oversampling ADC
Outputs - 1/L, 2/R, Balanced 1/L, 2/R, 3, 4 & headphone
First published by Sound On Sound (UK) Jan 1995
Making The Most Of Your Wavestation - UPDATE
Additional information received from Owain Pedgley concerning the Wavestation A/D 'SPECIAL' page to SOS after publication of the above article.
Most functions on the "SPECIAL" page are potentially destructive to the operating system, but in all cases the "INIT RAM" command can put everything straight again. The screen can also be accessed on the Wavestation EX, using the 4 and down-arrow keys.
The "SHOW" command toggles whether or not another screen called "HI MOM" is available, detailing who developed the Wavestation software. To get this, press "SHOW" once, then "CONT", then "GLOBAL" and then the same soft key on the global page (although there is no graphic display showing that this key has a function related to it).
KSD relates to a sample-dump hardware device (apparently only two were ever made), and was used when the Wavestation was being developed. It currently has the effect of muting ROM waves VS** onward. Press "INIT" to get back to normality.
It appears that "D-IN" and "D-OUT" are for service diagnostics cards. Without the appropriate hardware attached, pressing "D-OUT" won't do much, but pressing "D-IN" copies junk into RAM and is guaranteed to do some funnies to the Wavestation and generally screws up patches and performances. If something goes really wrong, you'll get a "HELPFUL INFORMATION" page detailing a "System Error Number 0 x **" and a number of parameters which are only useful to Korg service engineers. Again, press "INIT" to get back to normality.
After publication I received a number of letters from Wavestation A/D users experiencing problems with SysEx memory dumps/loads. A common problem is saving and loading SysEx data with a MIDI sequencer. Users often get "CHECKSUM ERROR" on the SysEx page when reloading a previously saved bank dump. This usually results in a scrambled RAM bank and occasionally means resetting the Wavestation using the "SPECIAL PAGE" (and losing any internal user patches, performances and wave sequences in the process !).
There are a couple of things I can suggest to help safeguard you loosing hard earned data:
Avoid using the "ALL" command and saving everything as one bulk dump. Few sequencer programs can handle this much SysEx information in one go.
Try copying the bank you wish save into one of the other two A/D RAM banks first, or to a RAM card, as a form of safety net. Then save the bank to your preferred program by the the most direct route possible, bypassing any MIDI thru or MIDI merge units. Make sure no other MIDI information gets sent along with the SysEx dump (e.g. no keyboard information).
Don't press any of the front panel buttons or fiddle with the joystick while a SysEx dump or load is in progress.
Make at least two separate SysEx dumps and send some form of MIDI reset to your preferred program between each dump (if you have that facility available to you).
When loading back into the Wavestation, go by the most direct route possible. If you still experience problems send the Wavestation a MIDI reset (or turn it off, then on again) and try loading again, possibly with the second version of your SysEx dump. Once you have made a successful load the additional SysEx dump can be deleted.
If you still experience problems try saving and loading patches, performances and wave sequences as separate, individual dumps. This is laborious and time consuming, but it usually works.
For Apple Macintosh users with problems it is worth trying an alternative MIDI driver such as, OMS or Free MIDI and Mac OS 8.1.
I experienced more Wavestation SysEx problems when using MasterTracks Pro 6 under MacOS 7.6 on the Mac, but things are a lot smoother using Cubase VST version 4 and MacOS 8.1.
Good luck to all of you...
Copyright ©1995 Chris Carter / SOS Publications.