Thursday, December 15, 2011

Korg Wavestation brochure, 1990

Korg Wavestation 6-page horizontal brochure from 1990.

And here you have it.

Instead of walking out of my local synth store with an actual Wavestation one sad day in 1990, I walked out holding this six-page brochure in my hand, my head held low. With probably only $100 to my name, there was just no way that keyboard was leaving with me. I was an angry elf that day. But yet strangely satisfied that I managed to actually get a live demo of the machine.

Well... to tell you the truth, this isn't the *exact* brochure. My original brochure, which I still have, is all tattered and torn - much like my heart that day. This second scanned copy is one that recently appeared in my mail box.

And what a great little brochure it is. Sure, the font is a little small and the copy can get lost against that speckled background - but it includes some great info, not to mention a print date. I like that.  The diagrams and charts are clean and are not only informational, but great eye-candy.

It would be a long time before this poor grad student would finally scrap together enough coin to get my hands on a used Wavestation A/D. And even after I did, much like my grandmother who would instinctively pocket buttons whenever she came across them even though she had a collection of thousands and couldn't possibly need any more, that feeling of 'want' is still so powerful in me today that every time I see a used one in a music store or online I instinctively want to purchase it. Like a squirrel collecting acorns before hibernating. 

Anyways, after the relatively good response to my last blog post (one retweet and two emails - LOL!), I knew the Korg Wavestation had an equally large influence on others. As with most marketing and communications professionals, I calculate that every tweet or email is equal to three billion actual responses.  :D

And if my rule-of-thumb calculation of nine billion responses doesn't convince you this thing is awesome, you can find other references to the Wavestation's immense greatness online. For example, In 2009, Music Radar listed the Wavestation as #7 in it's "10 greatest synthesizers of all time" article. Bam!

Also - according to the Wavestation's rather well-written Wikipedia page, "Keyboard Magazine readers gave the Wavestation its "Hardware Innovation of the Year" award, and in 1995 Keyboard listed it as one of the "20 Instruments that Shook the World". Pow!

The Wikipage includes some great history, including Dave Smith's involvement in the Wavestation's development:
"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."
Makes me happy that other SCI engineers got creds too.

Well - I think you'll find my write-ups get smaller through the holiday break. Just too much work to do, and then time for a break. But I have a few more to go before Xmas.


synthetic said...

I drooled over this brochure for YEARS. I even have a picture of it hanging on my refrigerator in 1991:

I finally bought one in 1993 or so. Goodman Music in LA, CA used to have an ad in the free LA Weekly newspaper with great deals. They blew out the WS-EX for $999. I remember asking a friend who said, "No brainer man, you have to buy it." And so I did.

I loved that synth. One of the reasons I sold it was that I was tempted to use it on everything, so all of my music had that belly-stringy-voicey pad sound of the 90s. I sold it to a guy who just wanted a trumpet and sax sound to play in mariachi bands, a cruel fate for such a killer synth.

RetroSynthAds said...

That's frickin' awesome! Thanks for sharing that image.
- Retro!

David Vector said...

That ad brings back memories for me as well. I remember first seeing the WS in a NAMM preview in Keyboard and thinking that it would probably be my dream synth...since I owned a Prophet VS and the WS looked like a supercharged version of the VS with a dash of PPG thrown in. (Apart from the wavesequencing, which can produce wavetable scanning-like results in practice, the WS of course also has approximations of waveforms from the PPG's wavetable #13 on-board - all the waves that start with "13").

For some reason, I never got around to getting a WS until I snagged one off of eBay in 2002 for about $400. Used it a fair amount but didn't program a whole lot of original sounds until Korg released the software plugin version, which was much easier to deal with (and actually synced reliably to tempo, which my hardware WS didn't seem to want to do).

I've wished for years that Korg would wheel out a next-gen Wavestation with an expanded voice architecture, broader and more hi-fi-sounding wave palette, and much better filters, maybe even harking back to the Prophet VS concept and employing real analog filters. Unfortunately, the only way to get an updated version of Korg's vector/wavesequencing synthesis is to buy a big-ticket workstation like OASYS or Kronos, which is kind of a white elephant when all you really want is a Wavestation MKII.

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