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Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:10 am
by NotASpeckOfCereal
For those unaware, Korg now offers the Wavestation as a software synth:

http://www.korg.com/us/products/softwar ... page_5.php

There's lots of advantages of having the software synth, including more polyphony.

However, I own a Wavestation EX synth and have all of the factory patches for the EX, A/D, and SR models. So I don't really need the software synth.

But I wonder: how will they compare sound-wise?

How will the sound of the software synth (which will stay in the digital realm before any performances are recorded to the DAW) compare to the sound of a WS EX (which go through it's own D/A converters before hitting the A/D converters of my audio interface)?

I'm not assuming that the software version will sound better simply because of the lack of analog-digital conversions, because I'm hip to the fact that a hardware synth's character is often a combination of internal sound-generation *and* its DACs.

So I wonder if there's something lost, maybe something gained, or is it just faithful to the original sound?

Also, are there any performance hits on the software version? After all, the hardware version is a computer dedicated to one thing: the embedded Korg WS OS and sound generator, that's it!. While my computer is doing a whole bunch of other stuff (Windows, other software synths, DAW, drivers for computer hardware peripherals , etc.).

Thanks for any feedback!
Speck

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:56 am
by crystalmsc
The software sounds a bit cleaner compared to the hardware. I own the Original non EX/EX/SR version, those sound better than the software to me. I got a better result using the Decimort 2 for DAC simulation and pre-amp gain. The same with M1, PPG 3V and Spark Drum Machine. No performance problem with the software, it's one of the most stable plugin on my system. Wish they will update it with a better interface, the one for iOS is looking cool.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:43 pm
by desmond
The software sounds "better" - cleaner, more pristine, more highs, and has many advantages, including polyphony, and a proper filter.

The hardware sounds "preferable" to me - subjectively "worse" than the software, but it has a thick, defocused sound that to me is part of the WS character. The convertors weren't great in the WS, and definitely contribute to this character.

I like the option of having both, but the software is plenty good enough, and you can always roughen up the sound a bit anyway.

The plugin is very light on the CPU.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:44 pm
by NotASpeckOfCereal
Great responses, thanks!

I suppose at the price (~$50US), it is not a difficult decision.

Has anyone got it within the bundle? At ~$200US, do the other synths in the package make it worth the purchase?

http://www.korg.com/us/products/softwar ... ollection/

Speck

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:25 pm
by vicd
Well the M1 with all the extra cards included and the filter control added is useful, to say the least.
The rest is rather a matter of taste - I'm no big fan of Korg's analog emulations...they do sound good, but to me the respective iPad versions come more handy.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:05 pm
by krzeppa
NotASpeckOfCereal wrote:Great responses, thanks!

I suppose at the price (~$50US), it is not a difficult decision.

Has anyone got it within the bundle? At ~$200US, do the other synths in the package make it worth the purchase?

http://www.korg.com/us/products/softwar ... ollection/

Speck
I bought the collection about 6 months ago or so. I will say that it is definitely worth the price tag. I'm not sure the analog emulations sound quite as good as the originals, but they do sound very good. I actually recorded a song with the MonoPoly and Polysix and someone thought is was actually analog....so it must be a decent emulation. I absolutely love the Wavestation and M1 sounds, but I don't really like their interfaces. I think they could be cleaned up a bit and made a little more user friendly. I tend to run them through external processing as well (usually my Korg SDD-3300 Triple Delay).....then they really come to life! Also, I can have a ton of plugins going and with no problem.....them seem really light on my MacBook (which is now like 6 years old). They use much less than my Arturia V Colllection that is for sure. So I would say these plugins are a steal for the money.....almost a no brainer.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:14 pm
by madtheory
Interesting points of view. I have just the digital edition. The effects are included as a separate plugin. Yes the reverb and delay are poor- and these are what got overused back in the day. But the phaser is superb, nothing else like it,very ballsy. The exciter is excellent as well.

But yes, at the price, it's a must have. I like the user interface- it's a vast improvement on the original machines.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:55 pm
by desmond
Plus you get the all the PCM cards and banks with the software version (both EX and SR format cards) - I have the actual cards for the WS, and the Synth/Timeslice card is superb and rarely left my WS...

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:33 am
by NotASpeckOfCereal
desmond wrote:Plus you get the all the PCM cards and banks with the software version (both EX and SR format cards) - I have the actual cards for the WS, and the Synth/Timeslice card is superb and rarely left my WS...
Thanks Desmond.

Looking at my archive of WS banks, I don't think I ever had the Synth/Timeslice bank.

Given that these cards often cost $40-50 each back in the day, getting an entire synth emulation with ALL of the cards for $50 is just a no brainer.

Speck

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:08 am
by desmond
NotASpeckOfCereal wrote:Looking at my archive of WS banks, I don't think I ever had the Synth/Timeslice bank.
You would have needed the PCM card in order to fully use the bank, as it relied on the samples that came with card - the bank alone without the PCM data wouldn't be that useful. The Synth/TS PCM cardset is my favourite single WS bank around - well worth the three hours of queueing in the Turnkey sale to pick it up for £15 back in the day... ;)

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:23 pm
by ItsMeOnly
There's one benefit that nobody has mentioned yet - the hardware Wavestation is underpowered (the CPU is too slow) - which is pain in the butt when more complex performances are used - LFO's slow down, wavesequences loose sync or simply fall silent in some parts - a h**l to perform live. Not happening in Legacy

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:58 am
by NotASpeckOfCereal
ItsMeOnly wrote:There's one benefit that nobody has mentioned yet - the hardware Wavestation is underpowered (the CPU is too slow) - which is pain in the butt when more complex performances are used - LFO's slow down, wavesequences loose sync or simply fall silent in some parts - a h**l to perform live. Not happening in Legacy
Thanks. I've noticed the sever lack of polyphony with some of the factory performances, but I've never bogged down the actual CPU before as I have with other synths (sending lots of control information on top of performance notes), so that's good to know.

Edit: why would it not happen with the Legacy synth? I see laptops on stage quite a bit these days.

Speck

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:04 am
by NotASpeckOfCereal
desmond wrote:The Synth/TS PCM cardset is my favourite single WS bank around - well worth the three hours of queueing in the Turnkey sale to pick it up for £15 back in the day... ;)
I'll bet. I went ahead and got the WS Legacy synth with those performances/waveforms, which are awesome enough I that checked eBay for the physical card set (since I have the hardware EX). There are none available now, but there was last summer for $300US.

Speck

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:33 am
by Ashe37
NotASpeckOfCereal wrote: Edit: why would it not happen with the Legacy synth? I see laptops on stage quite a bit these days.

Speck
Because CPUs have grown a thousand times smarter (more powerful) since then.

Re: Wavestation Hardware vs. Wavestation Software Synths

Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:51 am
by NotASpeckOfCereal
Ashe37 wrote:
NotASpeckOfCereal wrote: Edit: why would it not happen with the Legacy synth? I see laptops on stage quite a bit these days.
Because CPUs have grown a thousand times smarter (more powerful) since then.
Okay, we might have some crossed meanings here. We know what 'legacy' means in general, but Korg is calling the software synths the "Legacy Collection". So when user "ItsOnlyMe" capitalized 'Legacy' in his post, I assumed he was talking about the software synth (on a newer machine with a CPU that's a thousand times more powerful).

Perhaps it was just my misunderstanding of what he meant.

Speck