Review: Korg Wavedrum Global

More of everything   18-Jul-13

   QuickTime (MP4)  | iOS MP4
9:52 mins    

In 2009 we had a look at the then soon-to-be-released Korg Wavedrum X - in 2011 the Wavedrum Oriental model was released, with a few extra voices and programs.

Fast forward to 2013 and Korg has released the Wavedrum Global, with... you guessed it... a few extra voices, etc.

It has a new dark blue livery, and the 'Global' moniker hints that this is perhaps the One Wavedrum To Rule Them All - but to the casual onlooker, has anything much really changed?

Given that it is basically the same instrument we reviewed fairly comprehensively when the first version was released, the video review of this new Global edition focuses more on the changes between models than an in-depth breakdown - but there is a brief synopsis for those that are new to the Wavedrum Series.

Here's a brief look at the numbers & specs:-

Global Edition

Oriental Edition

Original Wavedrum X

DSP algorithms

26 single size, 34 double size (total 60)

26 single size, 19 double size (total 45)

26 single size, 10 double size (total 36)

PCM instruments

200 head, 200 rim (400 total)

150 head, 150 rim (300 total)

100 head, 100 rim (200 total)


200 preset, 200 user (400 total)

150 user, 150 preset (300 total)

100 preset, 100 user (200 total)

Loop phrases




EuP/ErP compliance




Street price




So, steady increases in the numbers - nothing revolutionary.

And the other changes aren't groundbreaking either, but there are some enhancements that aren't obvious at first, but do improve the sound & playability.

This is from a document I was sent by Korg UK, explaining the new features:-

  • A new input sensitivity parameter has been added, supporting a wide range of users from beginners to pros
  • Increased pickup precision provides improved dynamic range for low and high pitches, as well as enhanced response for soft sounds, making the instrument more sensitive
  • Fundamental sounds such as acoustic instruments have been enhanced

Hitting it
Yep, the new new sounds are great - for those looking for authentic instrument sounds, such as high snares, for example, you'll find more to explore; and some of the more 'out there' programs are really good fun.

And the overall impression I had was that the quality of the sounds themselves seems to be better than the earlier model Wavedrums... but it's purely an opinion, I didn't have them all on hand to compare.

It certainly put a smile on my face all over again - I loved playing around with it ;-]

Missed opportunities
Here's what I wrote about the Wavedrum Oriental version when it was released a couple of years ago...

'Am I mean to suggest that for this price, Korg should have included a carry case for it? They do make one, and if you want to take it out the house/studio, it'd be very handy

And apart from the colour scheme and new voices, nothing else has been updated.

Which means that there's still no external data connectivity... bah!

It  would have been *so* good to have a USB socket added, allowing external editing of the many and deep parameters, as well as export/import of data & sounds and firmware updates, etc.

Ah well - perhaps we can look forward to a Wavedrum mk2 with extra features.'

Two years on - and the same still applies.

In all honesty, I'd hoped for a little more than a respray and a nip-n-tuck of the voicings.

I think there's a limit to how many times you can release the same instrument, and that's been reached with the Global Edition.

It may seem I'm being a bit harsh... but it comes from a position of loving the instrument, and I guess I just want the best for it (as well as from it).

I think there is an enormous potential in the Wavedrum; it's such a responsive, dynamic, great-sounding instrument - and the Global Edition is certainly the best incarnation yet... but..

Andy McCreeth


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8 Comments... Comments are closed while we transition to Disqus

Vasco Brazz    Said...

Korg stuff is massively overpriced. Tried a king korg last week and no way would I consider this either a must have or worth double what I think would tempt me. Shame,really.

18-Jul-13 11:14 AM

Smudge    Said...

I dont really see what a King Korg has to do with this? But this does seem like they should have at least put an SD card slot in it, MIDI I can understand, the amount of data this produces probably wouldnt work, but you really do need to be able to back up your stuff these days

22-Jul-13 08:35 AM

Tracy    Said...

Coasting is a great way to put it. I've been watching this instrument since 2009, and it seems like it hasn't changed at all.

I understand the "if it ain't broke…" principal, but this is a digital instrument, and a good one at that. Four years old and still no software editor. Inexcusable.

Just like last time, I'll wait for the next version.

23-Jul-13 07:06 PM

David    Said...

I am short of information here, and does not help either:-( So do the Global have all the pcm:s of the Oriental that have all the pcm:s of the Original or are they three different beasts?

13-Aug-13 01:49 PM

Andy@sonic    Said...

@David... Yes, the new Global has all the sounds of the prior versions plus extra programs, algorithms and PCM instruments. The sound quality has also been improved.

14-Aug-13 11:13 AM

martygras    Said...

I love my Wavedrum Oriental, but c'mon, they should have fixed many things. How about a "Left(mono)" output like EVERY OTHER DEVICE IN THEIR CATALOG?

How about the ability to save patches externally? No patch backup? Stupid.

The tempo of the supplied loops cannot be changed. Nearly useless.

AND, there acrually is a micro sd card in these, you just have to open it up and hack it.

27-Aug-13 12:08 PM

Toz    Said...

I have the standard wave drum and have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because it is so frickin cool and hate the fact it has so much untapped potential. Like all of us I would like to be able to access the algorithms and samples (thankyou spellcheck) to add sounds and change the response of the instrument a lot more than the basic presets allow you to do. C'mon Korg, open it up a bit!

14-Jan-14 10:25 PM

ClockWork    Said...

I think there is a fairly understandable reason for not adding a USB-port. What if one could store all the the algorithms and samples from the global version on a SD- or USB-card (i'm not talking about the self made ones but the ones "on-board" of the WD global)and offer them on sale to WD-X and oriental users?Korg would loose alot of money since lesser people woud go for the more expensive later versions...

06-Feb-14 04:24 AM

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