Monday, February 13, 2012

Korg Wavestation EX and A/D "Top 10 reasons" ad, Keyboard and Electronic Musician 1991

Korg Wavestation EX and A/D "Top 10 reasons" 1-page advertisement from page 1 in Keyboard Magazine and page 23 in Electronic Musician August 1991.

My brain doesn't always work properly. Names are a good example. Once I start using the wrong name for something, I can't shake it. Humans. Gear. Magazines. And even when I correct myself, its like I'm reinforcing the wrong name, not the right one. This may be why you will often read "Computer Musician", when in fact I'm referring to the magazine "Electronic Musician". I equate "Electronic Musician" more with computers, and as I write quickly, I'll often flip back and forth between the two names. Gah. I think I've cleaned up everything now.   :)

Anyways, you will remember that the last time the Jan Hammer "Portraits" ad ran, it included a small band of text that referenced the fact that the original Wavestation now had expanded memory and more sounds. I suggested that they were referring to the new EX version of the keyboard, and sure enough, a month later Korg came out with a new ad that promoted both the Wavestation EX AND the Wavestation A/D.

But Korg seemed to be running out of steam with the Wavestation brand in terms of advertising. Or maybe it was just the fact that the Wavestation was so different from other synths that it was selling itself at this point. Either way, Korg didn't push the EX and A/D as much as the original Wavestation. The ad ran off and on between August 1991 and November 1991 in Keyboard Magazine, and only seems to have appeared once in Electronic Musician in August.

A shame too, because I really like this ad. There is *a lot* to read - but it still seems short and snappy. And there also still feels like it has room to breathe. Good layout and design.

Plus it includes a few surprises. For example, Reason #5 includes a 1-800 number you can call and LISTEN to a special phone demo. Brilliant. I don't recall see this when I originally saw the ad back in the day, and am kicking myself that I never had a chance to call that number. Another great surprise is Korg's promotion of 3rd party sound designers in Reason #10. Always good to give 3rd party developers some props. But the best is Korg's offer of a free video demo of the Wavestation. Again, never took advantage of that opportunity. Still kicking myself.

Like the original Wavestation before it, regular readers of Keyboard would have found out about the A/D waaaay before the ad appeared. This was most likely due to its appearance at the January 1991 NAMM show. Although this time, the Wavestation A/D had to compete with a lot more new exciting gear for attention. The darling of Keyboard's NAMM article, titled "Retro Mania", was the new JD-800 and it's 59 sliders. And that opened the door to get Roland's other gear to the front of the line in the article too, including the JX-1, S-750, S-770 and Studio-M. Still, Korg's Wavestation A/D managed to get third-billing after Roland's Rhodes division. Not too shabby.

The Spec Sheet for the A/D appeared a month before the NAMM report in the March 1991 issue, coincidentally right at the beginning of the Jan Hammer Wavestation ad-run. It is interesting to see that even as the latest A/D is being hyped at trade shows, the original Wavestation was still being hyped in ads.

The Spec Sheet really gives a good introduction to the instrument:
"Korg rack-mount Wavestation synthesizer. Korg's Wavestation A/D is a two-space rack-mount version of the Wavestation keyboard. It features 32 digital oscillators, 32 digital filters, and 64 envelope generators and LFOs. Wave sequencing allows each oscillator to play up to 255 different sounds, or waveforms, in sequence. A programmable and constantly varying mix of up to four different sounds, each of which may also be a wave sequence, is available within each patch. Up to eight of these patches can be layered across the keyboard with velocity switching. A stereo pair of analog inputs allows external sound sources to be processed through the Wavestation A/D's built-in effects. External sounds can also be used as waves for processing through filters, amplitude envelopes, and pan control. Each input can be independently controlled using MIDI volume data. new effects that have been developed for the analog inputs include two vocoders and a combined compressor/limiter-EQ-noise gate. About $2,400.00. Korg USA, 89 Frost St., Westbury, NY 11590. (516) 333-9100. Fax (516) 333-9180."
Now, here is where things get a little out-of-step. Even though the A/D made it into the Spec Sheet in the March 1991, issue, it would be a full eight months before the EX upgrade would be announced in the Spec Sheet section. A full three months after this ad started to run.

This promo also included some good reference info including prices for both the EX model and the upgrade for the original Wavestation:
"Korg Wavestation upgrade. Among the 119 new sampled waveforms within the Wavestation EX are piano, drums and percussion, guitars, basses, flutes, and alto sax, bringing the total number of waveforms to 484. The EX comes with a program card containing 50 new performances, 35 new patches, and 32 new wave sequences. Also new are eight effects algorithms, including vocoder, pitch-shift, and stereo compressor/limiter with gate. $2,333.00; upgrade for current owners $110.00. Korg. 89 Frost St., Westbury, NY 11590 (516) 333-9100. Fax (516) 333-9108."
I think I've mentioned it before, but if I haven't screamed it from the highest mountain top, I'm a big fan of the Korg Wavestation A/D. I've had one for quite a while, and while other rack gear has been moved from my main rack to the secondary "grave yard" rack, the rack screws on the A/D have never been unscrewed. I still spend hours online looking for new information on this synth, but one of my favorite stories appears on the Wikipedia page for the Wavestation, and explains how the A/D prototype was first developed using a hacksaw and a Prophet 2000 sampler.
"The Wavestation A/D was the brainchild of Joe Bryan, then-Senior Design Engineer at Korg R&D. A guitar player, he wanted "something that worked with a simple midi guitar that would merge the guitar, synth and effects, and could be controlled from one or two buttons on the guitar." The idea was of little interest to his colleagues at first. Nevertheless, he found a prototype of a Sequential Circuits Prophet 2000 sampler and literally hacksawed the analog-to-digital converter circuitry from it, soldered that and a digital interface to the Wavestation's ROM bus to create the first prototype of the Wavestation A/D. The prototype convinced Bryan's colleagues of his idea."
After this ad appeared, the Wavestation brand would go silent for exactly a year. Just enough time for mommy and daddy Wavestation to do what comes naturally (in the presence of engineers)...

...give birth to baby.

No comments:

Post a Comment