One Trick Pony

A friend of mine once lamented that the Korg Wavestation was just a one trick pony synthesizer that, once you had exhausted that trick (and he argued it had been played out by 1997), that it was boring and useless and no one needed it. I disagreed with him. Having owned one, I thought it’s trick was making the user hate it via its absolutely awful user interface.  I posited that it had a lot of potential that just couldn’t be easily tapped with that editing interface, and that the reason no one had driven it much further than the classic presets was because its UI discouraged experimentation.  We came to a stalemate and changed the topic.  I could only be proven if someone decided to put a modern interface onto Korg-style wavetable synthesis and, at the time, that seemed very unlikely to happen.

That discussion took place on about 12 years ago, and for the last few years, Korg has had wave sequencing (similar but not exactly like) that which was in the Wavestation.  I think I can safely say that I was right and he was wrong.  It’s a dream programming wave sequences in the Kronos, with it’s large touch screen and responsive UI.  Is it perfect?  No.  It also lacks a few things the WaveStation had (you need to go into combination mode in order to do 4 way vector synthesis, btw).  To balance that, though, it has *tons* of stuff the original didn’t (dual resonant filters, and enough modulation sources and destinations to make use of it).  It’s also a full on sampler which means you can load your own custom wave forms to be wave sequenced.  That opens it *way* up.

I think if I could point out any gripes about it, they’d be the aforementioned 2 element limit without going into Combi mode,  I’m disappointed that wave sequences cannot be used with MOD7 or the other synthesizer models that let you use an internal sample.  Mod7 with wave sequencing would have taken the Kronos into legendary territory.  Korg seems bent on issuing a new and incrementally more powerful Kronos every year, so maybe we will see this in a future iteration (if so, I will definitely trade up).

So, Yay to wave sequencing in the Kronos.  It’s not a one trick pony of either kind.



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