Surprise, surprise, Korg has today officially released the modwave, a new wavetable Synthesizer packed full of shaping and motion power, here are the first reviews and sound demos.
Now that comes as a complete surprise. I almost fell off the sofa. Korg today lifted its NDA for reviews of the new modwave Synthesizer. We saw it for the first time during the virtual NAMM Show 2021. Back then it was a prototype and still in full development. It took almost half a year until the good digital synth piece was finished.
Now it’s ready and will be delivered to the first lucky pre-orderers next month.
The modwave is the third in the group of new Korg advanced digital synthesizers. Wavestate, which introduced wave-sequencing 2.0, was the first, followed by opsix, an innovative FM synth, and now modwave, a wavetable Synthesizer. And all three have a lot in common: the same all-plastic housing, again a Raspberry Pi compute module for the DSP and the same 37-key keyboard.
The built-in engine is new and the interface is tailored to this. Very intelligent and efficient development of what Korg is doing here. Build three synthesizers from the same design. But this also has its weaknesses as I showed in the opsix review but now back to the real highlight.
After wave-sequencing, altered FM now comes the beautiful wavetable synthesis world. A synthesis that is very trendy, to be honest. However, Korg has come up with clever ideas to make wavetables more interesting and versatile. They took inspiration from their own vintage Synthesizer DW-8000, according to the official website. Much reminds me of Xfer Serum, Arturia Pigments, or other wavetable synths but packed into the crazy Korg digital world.
The modwave engine (32-voices) offers two layers. On each layer, you have two full-featured wavetable oscillators with over 200 factory wavetables, 30+ modifiers perfect for adding/removing harmonic content, and 13 morph types to process them in real-time. Korg promises over 230 million wavetable variations, that’s crazy.
But if you have a wavetable addiction, you can also load your own custom wavetables (Serum/WaveEdit formats) in. Do you prefer a bit of Wavestate? No problem, they also give you the option to layer the wavetables with samples from the multi-gigabyte PCM library. Then, you get on each layer a sub-oscillator/noise generator, 12 stereo filter types including juicy sounding analog emulations including the MS-20 or the Polysix.
Plus, you get four triggerable envelopes, five LFOs, dual mod processors, and effects. And you get two super-powerful modulation engines on top.
Motion Sequencing 2.0
What Korg does differently than others: they combine wavetable synthesis with some crazy ideas. It starts with Motion Sequencing 2.0. These are basically seven independent sequencer lanes for the timing, pitch, shape, and four sets of step sequences. Each lane has its own loop start, loop end, giving you very deep phrase and modulation recording options.
There are also various randomization functions per lane and per step to give the whole thing a more lively and organic character. Here, too, a lot of features/ideas from the Wavestate wave sequencing 2.0 engine.
Kaoss Physics, on the other hand, is exclusive to Modwave and super exciting. This new technology models a ball rolling on a surface and/or bouncing off walls. It is operated with a specially designed XY pad on the left side of the interface. The position of the virtual ball produces four unique modulation signals: the X and Y locations, the distance from the center, and the angle relative to the X-axis. This allows you to produce very unique modulation signals that you have never seen before.
Big plus point for the supplied editor, which displays the parameters in real-time. This helps enormously to get an overview of the huge engine It all sounds wonderful on the sheet. But how does that sound? Very good and inspiring in my opinion.
Unfortunately, I did not belong to the selected circle of YouTubers who received a device from Korg to check out. It could be that my opsix review was too critical, who knows. Bad bad Tom.
I have linked the videos of the YouTubers, which Korg has carefully selected, here. The first videos are pure first looks and in depthreviews where there is more about features.
Korg Modwave First Looks, Reviews & Sound Demos
Those who prefer to listen to the Korg modwave sound demos instead of in depth reviews can watch these videos. Remember, these are mini sonic overview. The engine is huge and there are almost infinite sound possibilities.
Without testing the synth, I am sure that the new Korg modwave is the most unique and best-sounding wavetable Synthesizer on the market. This is because they have re-drilled the function of well-known wavetable plugins and packed this into a hardware synth that is full of innovative motion bits. For me, Korg is doing a lot right in digital right now, almost everything.
Korg modwave Synthesizer is available soon for 799€ worldwide. Shipping starts in August.
More information here: Korg
Available for pre-order at our partner