I guess the old cliché is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I had spent approximately three months away from writing on this blog, with many false starts, only to realize that I just wasn’t ready to begin. This all changes in January of 2017, when I will re-launch my blog, YouTube channel and all things Brian. I needed time away to rediscover my passion. In the meantime, I encourage you to revisit old posts and content on my channel(https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGuyFromJackD).
Now that I’ve done a bit of housekeeping, on to our topic of the day…
Black Friday came around, and I found myself buying a whole slew of new apps. I hadn’t purchased anything new in a while, and I’m glad I waited, because I found myself amazed at the current rounds of offerings. I am not addicted to synths! I can quit any time I want!
As I will be reviewing all my purchases, some older, but many new, today, I am focusing on my current favorite, iWavestation, from Korg.
That’s right, the folks at Korg have done it again by recreating another hardware standard in app format. Following the success of their iM1 app, the developers at Korg thought they should take a swing at vector synthesis via their Wavestation synth.
As a relatively new guy when it comes to synthesis, I only recently managed to figure out analog and FM synthesis, My first Keyboard was a Yamaha MO8, a PCM based synth that I barely understood. As I began to figure out the attributes of synthesis as a whole, I learned what each type was and what it could do. Vector Synthesis is very foreign to me, but I’m slowly beginning to figure out how to use it.
According to this excerpt from Wikipedia:
Vector synthesis provides movement in a sound by providing dynamic cross-fading between (usually) four sound sources. The four sound sources are conceptually arranged as the extreme points of X and Y axes, and typically labelled A, B, C and D. A given mix of the four sound sources can be represented by a single point in this ‘vector plane’. Movement of the point provides sonic interest and is the power of this technique. Mixing is frequently done using a joystick, although the point can be controlled using envelope generators or LFOs.
So what does this mean? It means that I can choose up to four different waveforms and mix them in a manner of ways to create interesting textures that will take the original sounds beyond their starting points. While hardware synths like the Prophet VS(subsequently, the iProphet VS app) did this with oscillators, the Wavestation(as well as the iWavestation) uses PCM based samples.
Once I figured out how to actually design my own patches(reading the manual is a must!), I was treated to some rather interesting sounds with which I could probably make some amazing ambient soundscapes with little accompaniment. The features that this app contains could keep one busy for quite some time.
While I have never really had an opportunity to play the hardware version in great detail, I’m fairly certain that it couldn’t do some of the functions the app version can do, such as sequencing waveforms in a manor that allows you to run this in apps like AUM, along side a beat making app and a couple other synths during a live set. I’m betting all one would need for doing this is a really nice MIDI controller.
Recently, in the iPad Musicians Facebook group page, a member asked which synth he should buy, the iM1 or the iWavestation(or maybe it was the Oddyseyi). My answer was both, although I believe one can never have too many synth apps, but steered said member to the iWavestation, because of the flexibility of the sounds. the iM1 can do a lot of neat things, but it’s pretty static with its sounds. The iWavestation can do everything the iM1 can do, and more.
One other feature that is added to this app, as well as a couple of the newer synth apps from Korg is the ability to use them in Gadget, their sequencing app.
I hope to make a video soon of what you can do with the iWavestation. I am still learning many of it’s functions, but I’m beginning to understand how it works more and more. But for those who want to know more about what the iWavestation is, here is a list of features as per Korg’s app description:
Creating sounds with time-varying timbre, on your mobile device.
KORG iWAVESTATION – A wave sequence synthesizer for iOS.
The WAVESTATION synthesizer went on sale in 1990. This instrument featured an advanced vector synthesis system which created new sounds by combining and connecting multiple waveforms; it provided a mix/morphing function that let you use a joystick to change the balance of four oscillators, and a distinctive wave sequence function that allowed you to place waveforms in a desired sequence to create sequence patterns. To this day, it continues to be considered a legendary and still-unique instrument.
Now in 2016, the WAVESTATION has been reborn as “KORG iWAVESTATION,” an app for iPad/iPhone. In addition to completely reproducing the programs, it also features a renewed design that lets everyone experience the stupendous sound-shaping potential of the WAVESTATION. It features touch-based operation that’s distinctive of iOS, in conjunction with a new graphic interface that allows you to visualize and edit the time-varying timbral changes that are distinctive of the WAVESTATION.
[ Features ]
– A faithful reproduction of the original WAVESTATION sound: In addition to providing the sounds from all PCM memories of the WAVESTATION, the new iWAVESTATION also reproduces in software every detail of the parameters, based on an analysis of the original hardware circuit diagram.
– A new wave sequence view that can be graphically controlled: The iWAVESTATION, we advance another step with a graphical user interface that takes advantage of the touch operations that are a characteristic of iOS. Even more than ever, we’ve updated the screen design with an emphasis on creating sequences.
– 1,500 sounds, more than 700 waveforms, 55 effects, and a powerful random sequence engine: This new instrument includes a stupendous number of presets and waveforms, covering all models of the series. iWAVESTATION also provides a new random sequence function which will give you different perspectives to inspire new sounds.
– Produce music together with KORG Gadget integration: iWAVESTATION can be used in conjunction with the “KORG Gadget” music production DAW app that has won numerous awards around the world. If both apps are installed, it can be used as the “Milpitas” gadget inside the KORG Gadget app.
More info at korg.com
Well, There you have it. Korg’s iWavestation brings yet another classic to the iOS format and keeps artists such as myself spending money. At this rate, I’ll have to buy an iPad just for Korg stuff alone, but hey, it’ll be worth it.
As always, you can purchase iWavestation through the link below:
And if you’re interested in other Korg apps, they are currently on sale, so you may as well get them all, especially Gadget, which can all be purchased here:
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in for more content soon. As always, happy apping!