Korg's new cross-platform, multiple-format Digital Edition contains two synths - one of them being a version of their classic M1 hardware workstation - and one multi-effects plug-in.
The Digital Edition's 'other' synth is an updated edition of the Wavestation. This includes all six of the optional ROM cards that Korg released for the original hardware model, equating to 250 new samples, 250 new patches and performances, and 150 new wavesequences.
There are many great sounds onboard, including some exquisite ethnic percussion as well as new drums and electronic waves. These are showcased in the new performances, many of which (as you would expect, this being a Wavestation) nearly qualify as complete compositions.
Driving the M1
We're huge fans of the Wavestation, but the M1 is undoubtedly the star of this show. Korg has pulled out all the stops to make it appeal to modern musicians - all of the original onboard samples and patches are here, along with every single factory ROM card.
This brings the total number of banks to 19, and the patch count to well over 2500 - very nice indeed!
These patches include everything from that familiar six-string guitar to sweet strings and brazen brass blasts. You get organs galore, and the timeless piano that you'll know from countless house tunes.
What's more, because Korg has given the M1 a resonant filter, the analogue patches sound a helluva lot more analogue than they did on the original model, and the new compression makes the drums more bombastic than they were in the 80s.
And those pads! The M1 was always a killer resource for thick, evocative pads. Our old friend Lore is here, along with the M1 Universe and every other classic, overused timbre of the day. But thanks to the enhancements to the synthesis engine, they feel revitalised - these are some beautiful patches.
The architecture of the M1 itself hasn't changed a whole lot. You still have Patches and Combis, and it remains eight-part multitimbral. However, you can now play up to 256 voices, CPU willing.
It's not perfect though. A few of the sample loops are too short and obvious, and there are artefacts in some of the samples (particularly on the ethnic patches). Still, this only adds to the authenticity of the emulation.
Faults with the Digital Edition are few and minor. However, while we applaud Korg's keen eye for authenticity, we can't help wishing that we could load our own samples into the synths, especially the Wavestation.
It also seems strange that the M1 has been given a new resonant filter but the Wavestation hasn't.
All told, the Digital Edition is excellent. The M1 sounds great, and the Wavestation remains a classic. The price is unarguably reasonable, even if you only want one of the two included synthesizers.
Whether you want to relive the past or simply need a shedload of good presets, the Digital Edition is a must.