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H O W   I T   W O R K S

Korg WS first model was released in 1990. Its technology is the Vector Synthesis, a dynamic timbre control procedure which permits to create evolving sounds and the Wave Sequencing, a method of multi-timbral sound generation in which different PCM waveforms data are played successively. Korg produced several different models (WS EX, WS A/D, WS SR) until the 2004 software version (named "Legacy" - this software also includes MS-20 and Polysix emulations).

Korg WS synths are very particular instruments with a unique sound. Their great possibilities make it a very creative and expressive synth and not only for the New Age music style as we too often heard it. Yes, it's certainly one of the best 90' synths to create deep evolving pads or special ambient FXs, but if you take the time - and the pain! - to explore its possibilities, you'll be more and more surprised by its powerful and the large music styles you can play or create with it!!

I personally use a Korg WS A/D rack model which includes 486 "waves" (ROM 32-517) that you may consider as the basic oscillators to create sounds. It gathers sampled attacks (electric piano, voices, bowed strings, brass, reeds,...) as well as typical analog synths or inharmonic waves.
You can combine until 4 of these waves to create what we call a "Patch" (you can store 35 patches in a bank). Each of these waves can be controlled separately by an amplitude envelope, a filter envelope and two LFOs.
You can program too a "mix envelope" which will slightly or moderately modify in the time the balance between the oscillators in such a way to obtain great evolving or moving sounds. That's what Korg call the "Vector Synthesis" according to the technical developped by Sequential Circuits with the Prophet VS or Waldorf with the Wave PPG synths.

Bobby WS A/D
MY WS A/D is a very cool synth!!

Other great Korg WS feature is the "Wave Sequencing" which permits to mix until 255 waves in a step-by-step order. You can adjust fade out/fade in or crossfade levels between the segments and expand or diminish their lengths. This very versatile option give you the possibility to create common drums patterns, analog sequenced lines and an infinite variety of groovy or rythmic loops FXs. You can store 32 Wave Sequences in a bank (internal Waves ROM 0-31 already contains pre-programmed Wave Sequences).
You can choice through 13 different sources to modulate each sound (modulation wheel, foot pedals, MIDI 1&2,...) and you can control in real time the balance between the waves of each patch (A-B-C-D) via the joystick on the front panel (not available on WS SR model).

WS joystick
WS joystick

But it's not all... What is more interesting is that you can create a "big sound" layering until 8 patches. That's what we call a "Performance" on the Korg WS (you can store 50 Performances in a bank). Yes, the more you add patches in your performance, the more you lose polyphony voices.. but with 3-4 patches you can already create very large and evolving top sounds! You may also define split points to use different sounds on several keyboard zones.
Multi-effects section includes some great features such as Enhancer, Distortion, Flanger or Rotary Speaker in addition of the common Reverb, Chorus & Delay.
Korg WS A/D has even a very interesting added option: two analog/digital converted inputs which permit to plug an external source (guitar, bass, micro,...) on it and to treat the input signal via the internal multi-effects processor. As the Korg WS A/D include in its multi-effects section a vocoder, you can create great FXs such as used by Kraftwerk or in the 70's disco/dance top hits (what a pity that they don't include this option on other Korg WS models!)

Here are particularities from different Korg WS models:
Korg WS (1990):
keyboard - 2MB PCM ROM (365 samples) - 47 effects - 2 RAM banks/1 ROM bank - 1500 Wave Sequence steps
- 16 multisets
Korg WS EX (1991):
keyboard - 4MB PCM ROM (484 samples) - 55 effects - 3 RAM banks/1 ROM bank - 1500 Wave Sequence steps
- 16 multisets
Korg WS A/D (1991):
rackmount - 4MB PCM ROM (484 samples) - 55 effects - 3 RAM banks/1 ROM bank - 2000 Wave Sequence steps
- 16 multisets - analog inputs
Korg WS SR (1993):
rackmount - 4MB PCM ROM (484 samples) - 55 effects - 3 RAM banks/8 ROM banks - 5500 Wave Sequence steps
- 32 multisets
Korg Legacy (2004):
software -  700 samples - 55 effects - 3 RAM banks/14 ROM banks - 8500 Wave Sequence steps
 

Bobby sings
You can use the WS A/D as a vocoder with a micro plugged in

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