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Wavestation FAQ

Wavestation Compare-O-Matic

My Wavestation's backlight doesn't work anymore, or makes a buzzing noise. Can I fix this?

Where can I find PCM and Program CARDS?

Can I use M1 PCM cards with the Wavestation?

Where can I get the owner's manual?

Can the original Wavestation be upgraded to a Wavestation EX?

Initializing the Wavestation, EX, and A/D

Initializing the Wavestation SR

Rhythmic Wave Sequence tips

MIDI Pan and the Wavestation SR

Wavestation gain structure (or, Why is my sound clipping?)

Fixing sticky keys on the Wavestation keyboard

Where can I find the Wavestation mailing list?

Can I make an SR PCM card?

Known bug in Delay/Phaser dual mono effect

Zadok SAM-1 sample RAM for Wavestation still available

Wavestation Compare-O-Matic

This chart shows the major differences between the four Wavestation models, at a glance. If you're interested in more subjective reviews, check out Nick Rothwell's "Gear -Head" site.





2 MB

4 MB

# of Samples


484 (adds piano, drums, sax, more VS waves, etc.)

# of Effects

55 (adds vocoders, compressor, pitch shift)

RAM Banks



ROM Banks



PCM Card Type

M1-style (see below)

# of Multisets




64x240 Graphic

2x16 Text

Pedal Inputs






Latest OS





Special Info

*Upgradable to 3.19, without EX PCM
ROM Program card with sounds featuring the new EX PCM
Analog Inputs, Balanced L/R Outputs
Multiset Names,
Multiset FX Bus settings

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My Wavestation's LCD backlight doesn't work anymore, or makes a buzzing noise. Can I fix this?


At least two companies offers replacement LCD backlights for synthesizers. I don't have any direct experience with them, but I'm sure that they would be happy to answer your questions:

Telesis (Anaheim Hills, CA, USA)

backlight4you (Germany; recommended by a happy Wavestation user in August 2008)

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Where can I find PCM and Program CARDS?


If you're looking for pre-programmed cards, check out the Wavestation Sound Developers links.

For RAM cards, try contacting your local Korg dealer or your national Korg distributor; they may be able to point you to a source.

Steve Smith also suggests Listen Up Pro Audio, Denver, Colorado. Listen Up also sells high end home audio, so make sure you specify their Professional Audio Store.

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Where can I get the owner's manual?


Your national Korg distributor should be able to provide you with a manual; they may charge a nominal fee.

Contact information for all Korg distributors, world-wide, is available on the Korg Inc. website.

If you live in the United States, you can send email to Korg USA's product support department.

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Can the original Wavestation be upgraded to a Wavestation EX?


When the EX was released, Korg also released a kit to upgrade the original Wavestation to the Wavestation EX. The kit included the upgraded operating system ROMs, the additional PCM sample ROMs, a manual addendum, and a cool "EX" sticker. Unfortunately, these upgrade kits are no longer available.

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Initializing the Wavestation keyboard, EX, and A/D


Note: these instructions do not apply to the Wavestation SR. To initialize the SR, see these instructions instead.

1. Turn the power on.

2. Wait for the Korg logo to come up.

3. While the logo is still flashing, press the down cursor and the "4" button simultaneously. This will take you to the SPECIAL SCREEN, most of whose options are for development and debugging purposes and will destroy user data.

WARNING: This next step will initialize RAM and then copy the ROM Performances, Patches, and Wave Sequences into banks RAM1 and RAM2. All user Performances, Patches, and Wave Sequences will be lost.

4. Press the INIT RAM button to initialize RAM. The ROM Performances, Patches, and Wave Sequences will be copied into banks RAM1 and RAM2.

The CONT softkey will simply take you to the PERFORMANCE page, as would happen normally on startup.

Press any of the other buttons at your own peril :-).

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Initializing the Wavestation SR


Note: these instructions do not apply to the Wavestation keyboard, EX, or A/D. To initialize these models, see these instructions instead.

This shortcut can be done at any time - not just during startup.

1. Simultaneously press the down cursor, BANK, EDIT, and +1/YES buttons. This will take you to the SPECIAL screen, which has many functions which were intended for development purposes only, and will destroy user data.

2. Cursor twice to the right; this takes you to the Init All RAM command.

3. Press the +1/YES button.

WARNING: This next step will initialize RAM and then copy the ROM Performances, Patches, and Wave Sequences into banks RAM1 and RAM2. All user Performances, Patches, and Wave Sequences will be lost.

4. An "Are You Sure" screen will appear; press the +1/YES button again to initialize RAM.

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Can I use M1 PCM Cards with the Wavestation?


For the Wavestation, Wavestation EX, and Wavestation A/D, the answer is yes - with some caveats, as detailed below. For the Wavestation SR, the answer is no; the SR uses the newer 01/W PCM card format instead.

The PCM playback chip used in the Wavestation treated PCM slightly differently than its predecessor (the chip used in the M1 and T-series). The chip's interpolation technique requires that there be 2 samples after the end of the loop, which the M1's PCM chip did not - so M1 cards don't have those extra samples.

When an M1 PCM card is inserted into the Wavestation or Wavestation A/D, the loops are adjusted forward by 2 samples. For some sounds, this will work; for others, it will not. It depends upon the particular sample data being played - specifically, how closely the two samples atthe end of the loop match the two just before the loop start.

Because of this, Korg does not officially recommend the use of M1 cards with the Wavestation and Wavestation A/D. If you have an M1 or T-series card lying around, though, you might try it out - as above, some samples on a given card will sound OK, some will not.

For hardware reasons, it was apparently impossible to provide a complete fix (I believe that the main CPU does not have access to the actual sample data, for instance, so it couldn't mock up an extra two samples....).

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MIDI Pan and the Wavestation SR


The original Wavestation did not support MIDI Pan at all. I thought that it would be good to add this capability to the SR, so we did so - within the limitations of the existing architecture.

With that in mind -

The Wavestation SR responds to MIDI Pan in MULTI mode only.

Response to MIDI Pan depends on the FX Bus settings.

For a good page of info on this subject, see the heading "MIDI Pan" in the Reference Guide's description of the EDT MULTI page.

For MIDI pan to work properly, the Performance FX Bus in the Multiset should be set within the following value range: Bus A, 1/99-99/1, and Bus B. Specifically, Bus C, Bus D, C+D, and ALL do not allow panning.

If the Multiset FX Bus setting for the Performance is set to PERF, then the Part FX Bus settings in the Performance are used. This gets complicated, so I would avoid using this setting when response to MIDI pan is desired.

Many Performances have some Parts with their FX Bus set to "ALL." This was a trick used by our sound developers to boost level, although it was not the intended purpose of the ALL setting.

The unfortunate thing about this is that, when changing a Part from ALL to another setting, its volume is reduced. So, the balance between the Part levels may be altered when the Multiset FX Bus parameter is used (i.e., when it is set to something other than PERF).

The most comprehensive way of dealing with these issues is to edit the Performances for which you will be using MIDI Pan. Set the Parts which were bussed to ALL to 50/50 instead, and then re-adjust the Part levels to restore the original balance between the Parts. This is a drag, I know.

Major changes would have been necessary to eliminate these difficulties, and such changes were outside the scope of the SR project. So, they had to remain.

Some of the effects can also obscure - or obliterate completely - panning. For instance, the overdrive/distortion, chorus>delay, and flange>delay effects sum the left and right inputs to mono, so when you go through them, all the original stereo information disappears. Similarly, the Rotary Speaker and the Mod Pan effects sum to mono on input and then create new stereo info within the effect. Finally, the X-over chorus and flange cross-pan the left and right channels, which obscures stereo information (e.g. panning) on the incoming signal.

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Can I make an SR PCM Card?


Mike Werning has written a program called PCM Card Workshop, which allows you to create custom PCM cards for the Wavestation SR and 01/W, using just a Windows laptop with a PC card slot. A functional demo of the program (limited to 50 multisounds and 50 drum sounds) may be downloaded for free, at http://members.aol.com/wrkshppcm.

The PCM Card Workshop program includes large amounts of halpful information for creating the actual sound data.

A discussion with InVision several years ago (before the availability of PCM Card Workshop) noted these caveats for those interested in commercial development of PCM cards, which may or may not still apply:

Sample data requires a lot of massaging and several different conversion programs, so that when creating cards, expect to send data back and forth from Korg Inc. in Japan. Their active assistance is probably necessary in order to create a professional product.

From InVision's description of the effort involved, it would probably be impractical for Korg Inc. to offer a single user this amount of support.

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Zadok SAM-1 sample RAM for Wavestation still available


The Zadok SAM-1 allows you to import samples into the Wavestation keyboard and Wavestation A/D. It features onboard RAM and a floppy disk drive, and plugs into the PCM card slot.

The SAM-1 is also compatible with the M1, M1r, M3r, and T-series, but not with the Wavestation SR, since the SR uses a different PCM card format.

For more information, see their website. The website recommends that you send mail to Dave Rush for more information.

Hyperreal's SAM-1 pages also have good information (and a photo).

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Rhythmic Wave Sequences


This material on rhythmic Wave Sequences is exerpted (with slight adaptation) from the SR manuals by Dan Phillips, ©1992 Korg Inc.

Rhythmic Wave Sequences - General Information

The original idea for Wave Sequences was that of a smooth, gradual transition from one timbre to another. Shortly before the Wavestation's release, however, Korg's voicing staff discovered another application: the rhythmic Wave Sequence, using abrupt changes in timbre. Some examples of these are The Wave Song (ROM11, #0) and MIDI Clock Song (ROM8, #10).

The main difference between rhythmic and smooth Wave Sequences is in the step crossfade times. Typically, smooth Wave Sequences use crossfade times of greater than 10 (often much greater); Rhythmic Wave Sequences, on the other hand, use crossfades of only 0-2.

Many of the factory Performances use rhythmic Wave Sequences to trigger drum sounds; you can also create interesting rhythms out of timbral shifts alone, by juxtaposing PCM Waves of different brightness, volume, and harmonic character.

Some rhythmic Wave Sequence programming tips:

* You can use steps with a volume level of 0 to produce rests.

* Crossfades of 0 generally give the best attack for transients when creating rhythmic sequences, but sometimes you may want to use a crossfade of 1 or 2 to smooth things out a little.

Syncing Wave Sequences to MIDI Clocks

If you're using a rhythmic Wave Sequence with a MIDI sequencer, it can be convenient to synchronize the Wave Sequence to the sequencer's tempo. This is done by using the Wave Sequence Sync feature, found on both the GLOBAL and MIDI pages.

* Press MIDI/GLOBAL to go to the MIDI page.

* Cursor left until you see the WaveSeqSync (Wave Sequence Sync) parameter.

* Set this parameter to MIDI.

* Make sure that your sequencer is set up to send MIDI Clocks - sometimes, this must be explicitly turned on. Also, note that MIDI Time Code is not the same as MIDI Clocks, and cannot be used for syncing Wave Sequences.

* Use MIDI Clock-compatible duration values, as shown in the table below.

NOTE #1: For best results when using a sequencer and syncing Wave Sequences to MIDI clocks, quantize all notes playing Wave Sequences to a few milliseconds before the beat. This will ensure that your sequencer will send out the notes before the clock message, so that the Wave Sequence rhythms will be right on the beat.

NOTE #2: Make sure to switch Wave Sequence Sync back to INT when you're done. Only the first steps of the Wave Sequences will play if you've left the Wave Sequence Sync set to MIDI and there are no MIDI clocks coming in.

MIDI Clocks and Step Duration

When Wave Sequence Sync is set to MIDI, each step sounds for the number of MIDI clocks equal to the step's Duration parameter. A step duration of 24, for instance, equals one quarter note; a duration of 12 equals an eighth note; a duration of 6 equals a sixteenth note, and so on. Many of the Rhythmic Wave Sequences in ROM are already set up with these MIDI Clock - compatible durations.

This table shows the Step Duration required to achieve a given rhythmic value when syncing to MIDI Clocks.

Note Value

Step Duration



quarter-note triplet




eighth-note triplet




sixteenth-note triplet




thirty-second-note triplet


When using MIDI Clock-compatible Wave Sequences with Wave Sequence Sync set to INTERNAL, the sequences will play back at about 105 BPM.

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Wavestation gain structure - or, Why is my sound clipping?


It is possible to cause digital clipping when programming sounds on the Wavestation. The solution is to reduce the internal gain of the Patches, on the Performance Part Details page. For more information, read on.

This issue is related to something you might be familiar with in mixers: gain structure. Basically, all systems (analog and digital) will have some point of maximum gain, after which they begin to clip. Analog systems may do this gradually; in digital systems, there's usually no middle ground. The irony is that, right up until that clip point, the louder the signal is, the greater the S/N ratio and thus the better the sound.

So, the trick is to get it as loud as possible before clipping. I'm sure that most of you have heard that before.

In a digital system, it's the same thing. However, in a digital synthesizer, it becomes difficult to realize the optimum automatically. This is because we have more than a single signal (say that ten times fast) to worry about; we have 16 or 32 or 64 (or more) separate signals, which then may be summed into a single stream. More complex, those voices each have their own varying levels. So, how do we deal with achieving an optimum gain structure?

The ultimate in conservatism would be to make sure that nothing clips, ever. This is pretty easy to achieve; you just assume that each of your voices is playing a full-scale sine wave, and scale the volumes back so that the summed result is just under clipping.

The result of this technique will be that your voices are pretty low-level, in which case S/N ratio suffers and overall output level is low. Play an original EPS keyboard for an example of this (*not* the 16+, which uses a different scheme and has a fairly hot output).

Most of the time, the voices will be considerably softer than a full-scale sine wave. For instance, they may have a loud transient, and then a softer sustaining tone. In this case, each individual voice can be considerably louder before clipping than is assumed in the conservative gain-scaling scheme above. In the worst case, with a number of full-scale waves sounding at once, clipping will be able to occur, but this can be handled at the programming stage, by reducing internal volume levels.

This is the approach used on the Wavestation. Levels are set so that, in the general case, sounds won't clip - but are kept hot enough to maintain a good output level, with low noise. The voicing staff takes care of the rest; when they create a sound which causes clipping, they scale back the Part levels (on the Performance Part Details page in the keyboard and A/D, or the EDTPERF page in the SR).

It is worth noting that this internal clipping can only happen when a number of waves are sounding at once.

A secondary place where clipping may occur is in the Effects, though I have not seen this terribly often. Large amounts of EQ boost, in particular, could potentially cause clipping.

The result is that some human discretion is necessary, but that the overall output level is hotter and S/N is better.

Korg's QC department ensures that factory voicing can play a reasonable number of voices without any clipping. For your own sounds, you'll have to do your own QC!

Note that reducing the main volume by adjusting the main volume slider (on the keyboard) or knob (on the A/D and SR) will *not* solve problems with digital clipping. This is because the clipping is happening at a gain stage prior to the final output volume.

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Known bug in Delay/Phaser dual mono effect


In the Delay/Phaser dual mono effect, the value range of the delay parameter appears to go up to 500 ms. However, the actual maximum delay time is 392 ms. Above 392 milliseconds, the delay section of the Delay/Phaser effect shuts down.

This is true on all Wavestation models.

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Fixing sticky keys on the Wavestation keyboard


(From the Wavestation Mailing List)

I helped a friend unstick the keys in his Wavestation. WE had to take the keyboard apart which is a delicate operation, but can be done with some care. In the Wavestation you lay the keyboard upside down on some pillows and remove the bottom (about 20 screws). Then you have to partly remove a contact board (we left it connected and laid it beside the keyboard). Each key can then be removed, greased, and put back. You can also spray lubricant into the key pivot points, but I think this would dry up. Grease is better.

I should warn you that when we first did this, the problem key became unstuck and worked perfectly, but other keys started to squeak. So we had to immediately open the board again and lubricate these keys. Then another key became sticky. We did the operation about four times. Very annoying, but it all worked perfectly in the end.

I had my T3 done by a professional, and this cost $60 or so.

- elia.sinaiko@factory.com (Elia Sinaiko)

Part 2

I just spoke to the main service technician at Korg USA to find out about any known problems with the Wavestation keyboard. He says that the problems that have been described on this list are caused by the metal key guides, in the keyboard assembly; if these become bent, they can catch on the keys.

He says that the problem will show up more if the keys are hit from the sides as opposed to straight on, such as when doing an organ-style smear across the keyboard; it's this action that can eventually cause bending in the guides.

Black keys are apparently more susceptible to this than white keys, as they are apparently slightly wider on the inside of the assembly. When they get in a keyboard with sticky keys, they shave off about ~1/64" of the rubber coating on the internal key assembly for each of the black keys, which he says should solve the problem. Lubrication, as has been suggested earlier in this thread, can also help.

You can contact your national distributor, or your local service shop, for more info.

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This site is not affiliated with Korg in any manner.


If you have questions about the Wavestation or any other Korg products, please direct them to your national distributor's technical support department. Contact information for all Korg distributors, world-wide, is available at http://www.korg.co.jp/company/distributors.html.

If you live in the United States, you can send email to Korg USA's product support department.