Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by madtheory » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:04 pm

Originally £400 for the entire bundle including a hardware MS20 USB controller.
http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/kor ... tion-part1

Just playing around with your patches desmond. Very nice :) I'd used them a few years ago when I got the plugin, I'd forgotten you'd made so many! Devilish synth to program. It's about time those mid nineties sounds came back into fashion...

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:44 pm

madtheory wrote:Originally £400 for the entire bundle including a hardware MS20 USB controller.
http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/kor ... tion-part1
That was the Legacy Analog collection - The MS20, PolySix, MDE and Cell (and later, the Mono/Poly).

The Legacy Digital was a different collection, with the M1, WS, and MDE - it was quite a bit cheaper as it had less plugins and no hardware...
madtheory wrote:Just playing around with your patches desmond. Very nice :) I'd used them a few years ago when I got the plugin, I'd forgotten you'd made so many! Devilish synth to program. It's about time those mid nineties sounds came back into fashion...
I never found the WS hard to program, I always quite liked the interface and much preferred to work on the synth, rather than an editor. Once you understand the hierarchy, and have sensible patch management practices, it all falls into place.

If anything, the only really thing to get used to is to use a layered approach to sound design, which is a bit different from using a standard layout synth...

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:53 pm

desmond wrote:
jxalex wrote:The hardware has totally different advantages over the software versions, but so far no-one have talked about it
You must have skipped my posts, then. The hardware, other than being hardware, having a keyboard and wheels/joystick etc has exactly *one* advantage over the software - that it sounds "worse" but that is the sound of the
Not at all just one advantage -- the second is the the compatibility and usability with anything which has MIDI. ANd this is most important as I use retro sequencing system by choice as I love it.
...and You skipped the line where I stressed the compatibility need.

BEcouse what is the use of all these zillion "good" features if it is not something to my liking nor considered to my benefit?! Currently this kind of things are done just as I hate it. BUt to you it may be suitable as you follow all the contemporary things.

In other words the VSTs are not a "one shoe for all sizes"!

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by NotASpeckOfCereal » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:58 pm

jxalex wrote:In other words the VSTs are not a "one shoe for all sizes"!
Not that anyone said that.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:59 pm

desmond wrote:
jxalex wrote:it is independent unit which does not demand upgrades and integrates with any software package and platform, whatever old it is until it has atleast MIDI! Neither it complains that it is "outdated" nor needs "updates". Neither it causes any trouble if You change other components in your studio. At the same time VST versions make their own demands, are for latest contemporary systems only. BEsides I cannot get old software versions. At the same time YOu can get old hardware.
You seem to have had a hard time with this. I just bought the software something like ten years ago (or whenever it came out and it's continued to work fine on all my systems as I've gone through the years.)
Well, but have you always used more than 10 years the same platform too?

We really count different things perhaps?
I count the system changes which are system teardowns destructive to workflows -- and those I hate. But at the same time I do not count how much I spent on hardware synthesizers.
At the same time I can say that neither I have bought new software nor newest hardware pieces in last 10 years.

THe next buy would be ZX Spectrum instead and not some 64bit CPUs.


jxalex wrote:Soundwise there is really no difference -- algorithms are the same or not?
There is one difference - the hardware goes through cheap convertors, which impart of crappy quality onto the sound, which the software doesn't do. If you wanted to replicate this, you'd need to find some combination of plugin processing that does a similar job, but it's a subtle thing and you could get 85% there by rolling of the top end a bit and maybe adding a very very slight amount of controlled distortion.

Personally, I like the clarity of the software, and I like the grunginess of the hardware. Yes, it would be nice to have a preference in the Legacy version to switch convertor emulation on or off, but in lieu of that, I'm fine with the extra fidelity - your milage may vary of course.
Is it not worth even listening in solo or in a mix, is that what You try to say? or You really got into your hands instrument in a really difficult shape with out of calibration zero level?
Perhaps I do not care about these microscopic difference. To me it is more important having the control than the fracture differences.

The software package can also create very big trouble if its own demands where I have to sacrifice the already established workflow.
I prefer that what is bought is evergreen usable and does not have planned obsolence. Korg Wavestation A/D is timestable instrument and I do not have hassle like always-going-to-be-outdated what the software means.

THats why I prefer to spend money to hardware and just skip the VSTs -- their nature to make demand always to
"upgrade" the computer platform. At the same time when I buy the hardware synth, I just have to plug it in the mains and to connect with MIDI port and thats all what needed and I prefer it anytime even if the VST versions would be free or easier to obtain!

desmond wrote: recordings) has a proper copyright protection (= "Sound Recording") as compared to patches which
What about all those "sound collections" which are for sale in e-bay been over a decade about Roland synthesizer expansion cards and Korg expansion cards in .wav and sampler formats? Totally legal to sell them this way that samples over a decade?

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by krzeppa » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:02 pm

jxalex wrote:Not at all just one advantage -- the second is the the compatibility and usability with anything which has MIDI. ANd this is most important as I use retro sequencing system by choice as I love it.
...and You skipped the line where I stressed the compatibility need.

BEcouse what is the use of all these zillion "good" features if it is not something to my liking nor considered to my benefit?! Currently this kind of things are done just as I hate it. BUt to you it may be suitable as you follow all the contemporary things.

In other words the VSTs are not a "one shoe for all sizes"!
Going back to OP, he never stated that he worked with old school sequencing or anything like that. So if you only work out of the box, than the software probably wouldn't be a huge benefit. However, if you like to work both in and out of the box, then the software is a very much advantageous product. The sound may be slightly different, but it still sounds awesome in a mix. The ability to make massive patches with little cpu drain may be huge benefit to the OP. VSTs were never meant to be "one shoe for all sizes." It is just another tool to use just as hardware is another tool. I think it all come down to you personal workflow (or in my case space). I personally prefer hardware stuff as well, but I can't possibly fit all these things in my tiny studio. So for convenience, it also be the better choice too.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:18 pm

to add one thing:

I have both Korg Wavestation A/D rack and Korg M1R rack.
And about 5 years ago I made separate machine for VSTs which had just these particular Korg VST counterparts. Just to give a fair chance so that I see which ones I begin to use or not and actually I had possibility to use them with their PCM cards. And so that machine 32bit VSTs were driven via MIDI.
These VSTs sound nice too, and I hear no difference when they are used in the mix, but I did not took them in use despite its expanded possibilities and all PCM cards included.
I still stick to the hardware units despite the fact that the VSTs have all the PCM cards included.
However I am more than willing to make extra effort to make the real hardware PCM clone cards, instead of just "migrating" all to the "vsts".


It is about the control not about the sound.

I have at the WIN98SE machine FM7, with that one no problem if I use MT2.6.1. But still I almost like forget that one and use that TX802 instead which I have despite its noise and which I gate in my console. Again, it is simpler to me this way, and I got besides that also FS1R and TX81Z rack.
Actually in the past I was very astonished to read the comment in VSE about the TX802 that "FM7 is definetly the way to go... " got changed becouse someone really likes these racks... ;) The TX802 can be modified to digital outputs, but I do not care about it so much.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:24 pm

jxalex wrote:Not at all just one advantage -- the second is the the compatibility and usability with anything which has MIDI.
So does the software - anyone who needs MIDI compatibility with their environment will already have MIDI ports going into their computers. But yes, as I said, obviously hardware can be used standalone, without a computer, but those things weren't what we were talking about and I already alluded to them to remove them from the equation. We were talking about sound and usability.
jxalex wrote:ANd this is most important as I use retro sequencing system by choice as I love it.
That's great, but how you choose run your system doesn't really have much to do with the comparative advantages of software. You choose not to benefit from them, and like the way your hardware system runs - that's fine, and it's your choice, and as long as you are happy with the limitations of the hardware, then it's all good.
jxalex wrote:Well, but have you always used more than 10 years the same platform too?
Well, starting from the VST days I used to run Logic on a PC (before that I was an Atari ST guy going back to Creator and then Logic days), but I think I was still on PC when I got the Legacy, then switched to a Mac laptop PPC system, then that changed to a Mac Intel system, then that changed to a 64-bit Intel system, so there have been transitions along the way. Never had a problem with the Korg plugins the whole time.
jxalex wrote:Is it not worth even listening in solo or in a mix, is that what You try to say?
I don't know what you are trying to say here, I never said anything of the sort, I just said that there *are* differences, and tried to describe how I perceive them (which is, broadly, the same thing as everyone else who has both has described). When you know the character, i's a fairly easy thing to hear. Both have their advantages.
jxalex wrote:THats why I prefer to spend money to hardware and just skip the VSTs
That's fine, and is totally up to you. I don't know why you seem to think we are attacking your choices..? :shrugs:
jxalex wrote:What about all those "sound collections" which are for sale in e-bay been over a decade about Roland synthesizer expansion cards and Korg expansion cards in .wav and sampler formats? Totally legal to sell them this way that samples over a decade?
What about them? Technically, it shouldn't be done as people are selling other people's products without permission. They get away with it, because no one really cares - i's small scale, the patch companies are long gone, or it would simply be far too expensive to get lawyers to go after people and try to stop it (which, being the internet isn't going to happen anyway). That fact that people get away with it doesn't change whether it's legal or not. There are plenty of criminals out there who haven't got caught... :lol:

Believe me, if a large company set up to sell Roland, Korg and Yamaha sound samples and wre making a lot of money, *absolutely* would those companies set their lawyers on them and shut them down.

SO, the fact that *you* prefer hardware has nothing at all to do with the discussion of the advantages between the hardware an software versions. In terms of sound, the hardware has one advantage over the sofware version, in that, well, it sounds 100% like the hardware Wavestation, whereas the software sounds *better* - though many of us prefer the character of the (poorer quality) hardware.

Like I say, I have extensively used both, and the software is *way* more convenient to me, for my needs. If I wanted wot whip and make a huge 80-voice WS layer now, I could do so - with the hardware, I'd need to get in the car, drive 30 miles, dig my WS out of storage, rig it up, connect it up to a mixer or audio interface, find some audio cables, find some MIDI cables, dig out my MIDI interface, dig out a VM with Sounddiver and dump some patches over to it, and start recording to audio the various layers - that's a heckuva lot less convenient, *for me* and my needs. For this, the software works great, and I haven't really used my hardware version for *sound* since... well, since I got the software version.

And if I sold the hardware version, I wouldn't feel I was missing anything, as I could still use all my sounds I made for the hardware version, in a few clicks...

So yeah, software is pretty great! Maybe it would be different of the WS had a control surface more like, say, the JD-800 - then you have a fantastic advantage in programming terms of a dedicated control surface, which a computer can't touch for hands on programming.

So anyway - the fact that many of us find the software great doesn't mean you should feel like we're making a judgement on you because you prefer hardware. It's all good, if the music's good... ;)

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:26 pm

jxalex wrote:It is about the control not about the sound.
You mean, the vector joystick on the hardware?

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:55 pm

desmond wrote:
jxalex wrote:It is about the control not about the sound.
You mean, the vector joystick on the hardware?

:D :D :D :D hehehee... really. I did not even thought that even THIS WAY my statement can be understood... :D

I meant with control that keeping system under my way as I like it, so that the software corporations greed for sales does not dictate requirements what I should or should not have for a computer or its platform if I want to use something. becouse rack units, being as stand alone devices does not care what I use for sequencer or how old is this or that platform.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:10 pm

jxalex wrote: I meant with control that keeping system under my way as I like it, so that the software corporations greed for sales does not dictate requirements what I should or should not have for a computer or its platform if I want to use something. becouse rack units, being as stand alone devices does not care what I use for sequencer or how old is this or that platform.
Ok, fair enough, and I understand the approach.

Note - you can always treat a software system like hardware - get the system working, as it is, with whatever software you want, and freeze it - don't connect it to the internet, don't update it, use it for the features it has and don't expect to be able to update it or buy new software to run on it.

It should be every bit as reliable, and remains totally under your control - just like your hardware. Plenty of people do this approach too - find something that works for them, and stick with it.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:12 pm

desmond wrote: Like I say, I have extensively used both, and the software is *way* more convenient to me, for my needs. If I wanted wot whip and make a huge 80-voice WS layer now, I could do so - with the hardware, I'd need to get in the car, drive 30 miles, dig my WS out of storage, rig it up, connect it up to a mixer or audio interface, find some audio cables, find some MIDI cables, dig out my MIDI interface, dig out a VM with Sounddiver and dump some patches over to it, and start recording to audio the various layers - that's a heckuva lot less convenient, *for me* and my needs. For this, the software works great, and I haven't really used my hardware version for *sound* since... well, since I got the software version.

(just could not let to be unanswered)
Hm, but what about those who love to work with modulars . There are way too many cables too?
And those of course could get the VST alternatives for this? And still dont we love that all physical thing and even get extra rooms for all this love.

well, perhaps someone (synth-freud alike character?) can describe or put it into words better than me what is really appealing about it.

there is something what I feel but cant put into the words in other way but with this example:

out of topic though -- I love photography and have Canon EOS1D camera, and also my FIRST flatscreen I ever considered was NEC2690WUXi for photowork, which I also consider as best screen for all music making. But still I would be very happy to be in a wet-lab again with all these chemicals for black-white pictures, and it has nothing to do with picture quality or price spent and despite the some dust and all other zillion limitations what I cant even remember right now.

And just as used Pentium IV, it makes me to miss my ZX Spectrum 48k even more. :S

But mostly... after making all vinyls and cassettes, tapes to digital, archiving them and making backups already at 1996, then just 20 years later I began using tapes and cassettes again and lastly... also I bought again my first vinyl and had like a retro-thematic evening with vinyls.

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:19 pm

desmond wrote: Note - you can always treat a software system like hardware - get the system working, as it is, with whatever software you want, and freeze it - don't connect it to the internet, don't update it, use it for the features it has and don't expect to be able to update it or buy new software to run on it.

It should be every bit as reliable, and remains totally under your control - just like your hardware. Plenty of people do this approach too - find something that works for them, and stick with it.
Exactly! And so it is how I have done. However I see that getting the rack synthesizers is a way better alternative becouse if getting PCs just becouse of VSTs then it requires every new additional computer after some time as the new ones make harder demands to hardware or require newer platform ... and I think that approaching to 6th or so many computers in setup that loosing count...plus backup expansion cards and CPUs, is enough already. ;)

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by desmond » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:45 pm

jxalex wrote:Hm, but what about those who love to work with modulars . There are way too many cables too?
I was quite clear I was talking about *for me*, at this point in time. There was a time for me when hardware was more convenient (as there weren't softsynths, computers were only MIDI sequencers, and I already had a full hardware rig sitting there ready to go.)

But these days, software is the better solution in many ways.

Modulars aren't for me - too much dicking around with stupid noises, not enough making actual music for my tastes. Plus I often prefer poly-type patches anyway, and ones I can *play*.

And note, I didn't ever say software is always preferable to hardware, or making generalisations. We are talking *specifically* about the WS here.

There is no substitute yet for a physical thing, that smells and hums and has a tactile, dedicated custom-designed control surface with knobs for all parameters. A (for instance) plugin Jupiter-8, even if it sounds *absolutely identical* to the real thing, is still not the "real thing". There is *absolutely* value, and a joy in hardware. I still love my hardware Wavestation... but the software is more practical... *for me*.

Hey, I've never particularly liked FM synthesis either - but a DX1 is a thing of awesome beauty, however you look at it! :)

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Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Post by jxalex » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:20 pm

(good topic and I am wondering offtopic, but just becouse I just thought to understand those for a moment.)

@Desmond:
... so that attaching to a hardware, platforms, tools is not actually the thing when You want to do something ready and then You are more somewhat neutral about the things, right? (I just asking becouse to understand more the different human natures.)

To me in this case is perhaps just recording stuff when I am more neutral, and however the analog with Dolby SR is more fun, I prefer 24-bit digital with best converters as possible and do not care if it is Burr-Brown or Analog Devices or Texas Instruments.




well, I was chasing quite long time the analog synthesizers, and then discovering that 90% my favourite sounds come from FM synths come to me as a big surprise! It was just the Soundblaster with its OPL3 chip which scared me away from FM synthesis long time ago.


again about the sound...
that hardware vs. software Korg Wavestation -- when it is in the mix, I do not hear the differences, and it seems similar thing like question about the
" analog summing mixer vs. mixing in a DAW " (well...? some claim to be "wider stereo" whereas the difference is microscopic) or "digital recording vs. over-tape recording" (the most listeners did not hear any difference from digital recording even if it was a chrome cassette tape with Dolby C). ;-)

so, all works.

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