Music HyperBanner  Advertisement
Member of the Music HyperBanner !

Wavestation Answers to the Exercises

  1. Do you know how to get to the following screens?
  2. Do you understand each of these terms?
  3. Do you understand each of these terms, including how they relate to each other?

Wavestation Programming/Tips 'N Tricks - Copyright © Ben Hall 1996
Additions and HTML version -- Copyright © Stan Stewart 1997

Thanks to Dan Phillips and John Lehmkuhl from Korg, and all on the (twice defunct but now back up) Wavestation Mailing List.

  1. Do you know how to get to the following screens?

    Where the effects are edited
    From the main performance select screen, press the EDIT softkey which takes to to the Edit Performance page, and then the EFFECTS softkey, which takes you to the Effects page. Here you can select which effects you want to use for a performance (up to two), and edit the parameters for each effect (FX1 EDIT and FX2 EDIT softkeys)

    Where you can select which waveforms your sound uses
    Waveforms are selected in a patch. You can have one to four oscillators playing at once in a patch, and select a waveform for each oscillator

    From the main performance select screen, press the EDIT softkey which takes to to the Edit Performance page. A performance can have up to eight patches - position the cursor on the one you want to edit with the cursor keys, and press the PATCH softkey, then the WAVES sotkey. From this page you can select how many oscillators a patch uses, and the waveform for each of them.

    How to choose and edit a wave sequence
    Follow the above instructions, and instead of choosing a wave, select a wave sequence. These are numbered from 0 to 31 (32 upwards are PCM waves), and are available in the ROM, RAM and CARD banks.

    If a wave sequence is chosen instead of a wave, the WAVESEQ softkey will become visible. This takes you to the wave sequence edit screen (remember to position the cursor on whichever wave sequence you want to edit first)

    How to copy things from one sound to another
    There are various copy screens around the WS. You can copy whole banks to other banks, or just bits of sounds, like the effects settings or the wave sequences.

    Copy screens are available under the COPY softkey where available. You usuallly have to select the source and the destination (where you are copying FROM and where you are copying TO).

    How to get to the various envelopes
    There are a number of envelopes in the WS, some are fixed in function and others are assignable to other purposes.

    The amplitude envelope is fixed to the volume of an oscillator, and will determine for example whether the sound fades in, or cuts off abruptly after releasing a key.

    EDIT --> PATCH --> MACROS --> AMP takes you to the amp envelope from the main screen.

    There is an assignable envelope, called Env1, which you can get to via the ENV 1 softkey where available. It is very similar to the amp envelope (though not identical), and can be assigned to the filter or pitch (or many other places).

    EDIT --> PATCH --> MACROS --> FILTER --> ENV 1

    EDIT --> PATCH --> MACROS --> PITCH --> ENV 1

  2. Do you understand each of these terms?

    An envelope controls how a particular parameter behaves over time. For instance, if we have an amplitude envelope, one that is controlling the amplitude (volume) of a sound, the envelope settings will determine whether the sound fades in slowly or starts quickly. It will also determine how long the sound takes to fade out, and whether it will sustain when a key is held.

    An envelope routed to the filter will do a similar job, but obviously it affects not the volume of a sound this time but the filter. You could set up the envelope so that the filter opens slowly when you press a key. Envelopes can be routed to other tasks - for example panning, vibrato or pitch. A good synth will have various kinds of envelopes, routable to different parameters.

    A graphic representation of a typical envelope looks something like this:

                   Decay Time
                   /  \______   Sustain level
                  /          \
                 /            \
      Attack Time             Release Time
    The initial slope determines the Attack of a sound - a nearly vertical line will indicate an instant attack (like, say, a piano), whereas a much shallower gradient would result in a slow fade in, more like soft strings.

    The peak of the envelope is the loudest point to which the sound rises to before falling down the second slope (Decay). Again, the gradient of the slope indicates the time - a steeper slope means a faster change in volume (or whatever the envelope is assigned too).

    The flat slope is the Sustain Level, the volume level that will be held all the time a key is held. A sustain level of zero will result in a sound with no sustain, like a drum sound.

    Then the final slope is the Release, which determines how fast the sound fades out after a key is released.

    The basic building block of sound. Any sound is a waveform - something like human speech is produced by a very complex, changing waveform. Waveforms used in synths tend to be fairly simple single-cycle waveforms, such as a sin wave or square wave, or actual samples of natural sounds.

    In traditional subtractive synthesis, a waveform is selected, then other parameters shape this waveform - envelopes, filters and so on will all change the waveform and hence affect the final sound you hear.

            --------  A Square waveform
            |      |
            |      |
                   |      |
                   |      |
    This is an actual electronic or software circuit that generates (plays) the selected waveform. If you wanted to play three notes at once, there would need to be three oscillators, one to produce the waveform for each note.

    Most synths actually use more than one oscillator per note, to give a richer, more complex sound. However, the number of oscillators in a synth is fixed - if you had 32 of them, you could play 32 single oscillator notes at once, or 16 dual-oscillator notes at once, and so on.

    Low Frequency Oscillator. This is an oscillator that works at lower (sub-audio) frequencies. Whereas oscillators play waveforms in audio frequencies (for example, 440 times a second for concert 'A'), LFO's usually work at around 1 to 20 times a second. LFO's are traditionally used for vibrato like effects, but can usually be routed to other functions, such as volume (for tremelo) or filtering (a wah-wah like effect). LFOs can have differing waveforms as well, for different effects, including random settings.

    Envelope generator. The circuit that produces the envelope characteristics (see "Envelopes" above). Again, a synth will usually have a fixed amount of these.

    How high or low the sound you hear is. More accurately, it is the frequency that a waveform is played at - the higher the frequency, the higher the resulting pitch.

    This is a circuit that modifies the waveforms played by an oscillator. It filters them by altering the frequency characteristics of a sound. There are a number of types of filters, which each behave differently. Some of the mor common ones are:

    Frequencies above a cut-off point are attenuated. Has a similar effect as turning down the treble control on your hifi. The cut-off points are set by the Filter Cut-Off parameter.
    Frequencies below a cut-off point are attenuated. Has a similar effect as turning down the bass control on your hifi.
    Frequencies above and below a cut-off point are attenuated.
    Filter parameters can be set globally for a particular sound, or more usually the can have an envelope that modifies the filter cut-off point over time, to simulate more natural sounds.

    A common addition to the filter section on many synths (alas not the WS) is "Resonance". This control increases the level of frequencies around the filter cut-off point, giving a thinner, raspy tone. If the cut-off frequency is swept with a high resonance value you get the traditional filter-sweep type sound.

    The effect of changing a parameter (or one value changing another). Strictly speaking, turning a knob on an analogue synth is modulating that parameter, although this is not quite what we mean in synthesis terms. It is more usually the effect of an envelope, or controller (like the mod wheel) modulating an aspect of the sound - it's volume, pitch or filter cut-off point, for example - usually over time.

  3. Do you understand each of these terms, including how they relate to each other?

    This is what you play when you select a bank and number, and play the Wavestation.

    A performance defines which patches will be played, including some other parameters such as keyboard ranges, velocity ranges, transposition and effects buss routings.

    A performance is also where you choose and edit the effects settings.

    The combination of all these parameters results in the whole, complete sound.

    A patch is a collection of parameters defining the actual individual sounds - the waveforms, envelopes, filters and nuts and bolts of the sound.

    You can use up to eight patches in a performance, for very complex sounds. For example, you might have a bass patch and a string patch. These are seperate entities, but are cimbined in a performance, with keyboard split information so that the bass patch plays on the left half of the keyboard, and the string patch on the right half.

    Wave sequence
    This is the third major entity in the WS, and is effectively a list of waveforms, plus a few other parameters. At patch level, instead of choosing a waveform you may choose a wave sequence, which acts like a constantly changing complex waveform, as the steps in the wave sequence are stepped though, each wave is played in turn.

    So if I make a wave sequence of three steps, using like this:

                    Sawtooth wave
                    Square wave
                    Sine wave
    The resulting sound will first play a sawtooth wave, then a square wave, then the sin wave, one after another. You can tell the WS to loop around various waveforms to form constantly changing sounds (the WS speciality).

    Vector Mix
    When you waggle the Wavestation's joystick, you are changing the vector mix. Effectively a vector mix is the combined volume settings of two or four oscillators in a patch.

    If you have say a four oscillator patch, with each oscillator producing a different waveform, mmoving the joystick towards the 'A' position will increase the volume of that oscillator, and reduce the volume of the others accordingly. A central joystick position results in all four oscillators getting an equal volume.

    This is a vector mix.

    It gets more complicated (and rather neat!) because this vector mix has it's own dedicated envelope that changes over time. You can tell the WS to start with the joystick in position 'A', then moving over toward 'C', then finally diving down to 'D', resulting in more moving, evolving complex sounds. This envelope can also loop, and be modulated by other things.

    A performance has eight parts. Each part sets a patch to play, together with other parameters such as keyboard ranges.

    Going back to our bass/string split in the PATCH answer above, the bass patch and split points are one part, and the string patch and split points are another. That performance only used two parts, but you can have any amount up to a maximum of eight.

    PCM Wave
    See Waveform and Oscillator above.

    Remember that an oscillator plays either a waveform, or a wave sequence (which is just a list of waveforms played one after another)? Well these waveforms are all samples (PCM Waves), stored in the permanent ROM memory of the Wavestation. There are 396 or 515 waves (depending on which model WS you have) to choose from.

    There also may be additional PCM waves on PCM Cards inserted into the Wavestation's PCM slot.

    Wavestations have an awkward but powerful memory organisation, which goes something like this:

    • ROM Performance bank (50 performances) : Uneditable
    • ROM Patch bank (35 patches) : Uneditable
    • ROM Wave sequence bank (32 sequences) : Uneditable
    Then there are two or three sets of these banks in RAM memory, that are user editable:

    • RAM1 Perf + Patch + Waveseq
    • RAM2 Perf + Patch + Waveseq
    • RAM3 Perf + Patch + Waveseq (Only in WS A/D and WS SR)
    Performances can use patches from any bank, and patches can use wavesequences from any bank, freely.

    In addition, there may be additional banks on cards inserted into your WS:

    • CARD Perf + Patch + Waveseq
    WS Hierarchy
      Multi --> Performance --> Patches --> Wavesequences
    Multis use performances, which may or may not use patches, which may or may not use wave sequences.

    In order then to play a performance, you must have the correct patches and wave sequences in the correct places at once. This 'dependancy management' is best tracked by a computer with dedicated librarian software.

    The cursor is a little reversed video field that is moved around on all the alterable parameters on the screen by using the cursor buttons (up, down, left, right).

    To alter a value, you position the cursor on the value you want to change, and change it with the INC/DEC keys, alpha dial or keypad.

Wavestation Programming/Tips 'N Tricks - Copyright © Ben Hall 1996
Additions and HTML version - Copyright © Stan Stewart 1997

Thanks to Dan Phillips and John Lehmkuhl from Korg, and all on the (twice defunct but now back up) Wavestation Mailing List.

Back to the top of this page
Back to the Wavestation Information Page

To Stan's Home

Created by Stan Stewart.