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Korg releases Wavestate and Opsix soft synths: hardware keyboards are now available as native plugins

Korg Wavestate and Opsix Native
(Image credit: Korg)

We’re used to seeing vintage synths being remade in software, but plugin reboots of contemporary keyboards are less common. This being the case, we’re surprised but delighted that Korg has just released ‘native’ versions of the Wavestate and Opsix - two digital synths that were released in physical form in 2020.

These are both available in VST/AU/AAX and standalone formats for PC and Mac. What’s more, they’re fully compatible with their hardware counterparts, meaning that sounds can be exchanged seamlessly between the two platforms.

So, those who own both the hardware and software versions can create sounds on their desktop and then play them live without the need for a computer, or use the hardware’s physical knobs and sliders to program sounds and then transfer them into software for use in their DAW productions.

Inspired by Korg’s classic Wavestation, Wavestate Native is powered by Korg’s Wave Sequencing 2.0 engine. It uses multiple sound layers, each of which can contain a wave sequence of multiple PCM samples or a standard multisample patch, and can be stacked or split across the keyboard.

In our review, we called the Wavestate a faithful tribute to a ’90s classic, but one that also offers cutting-edge sound design tools for the 21st century.

The software version includes extensive realtime control and animated visualisation. The envelopes, LFOs and other modulation sources are all laid out in front of you, and modulation routings can be created by dragging and dropping.

Opsix native, meanwhile, takes the six-operator (geddit?) FM synth engine from the hardware and puts it on your desktop. This software version features a redesigned user interface that promises to make it easy to understand the workflow. You get oscilloscopes for each operator, and the theory is that you’ll get an understanding of how each sound is created.

The hardware Opsix has a unique sonic character, and manages to be both fun and accessible in a way that not all FM synths are. We’re hoping for more of the same from the software.

Opsix Native (opens in new tab) and Wavestate Native (opens in new tab) are available now for the introductory prices of $149 each (regular prices, which will apply after 5 April, are $199 each). Owners of either of the hardware synths, meanwhile, can crossgrade for $50.

Find out more on the Korg (opens in new tab) website. 

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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