Korg wavestate mk2, wave sequencing synth with more polyphony but no aftertouch

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

Korg wavestate mk2 is the successor of the wavestate wave sequencing Synthesizer with more polyphony and built-in sound content.

Korg introduced the wavestate at NAMM 2020. A big surprise as it was the first big fully digital Synthesizer in a long time. Korg was better known for its innovative and budget analog synths in previous years. What they did here was clever. Instead of reviving the legendary Wavestation from 1990 as a replica, they developed a supercharged successor, the wavestate.

This has the original DNA but has been massively expanded at every point and brought into the modern age. After three years on the market, it surprisingly gets a successor, the wavestate mk2.

Korg wavestate mk2

Korg wavestate mk2

Let’s keep it short. The wavestate mk2 is 99% the same Synthesizer as its predecessor. There is no reason to upgrade!  It is still based on the innovative Wave Sequencing engine 2.0 created by the R&D team in California.

Two points are new. First, the Korg wavestate mk2 has more polyphony. Where the Mk1 had 64 voices of polyphony, the wavestate Mk2 now has 96 stereo voices. Then, you can also explore additional factory sound programs, performances, and wave sequences.

That’s it. The rest of the features are identical: it uses the Wave Sequencing Engine 2.0 which is a massive further development of the original Korg Wavestation engine from 1990—but also made significantly more hands-on and adaptable. For example, you can load your own samples in it and create super complex sequences, not possible with the original devices.

You also get again 4GB for custom samples, different digital filters, 14 effects, and more. Ah wait, you also get a shiny MK2 label on the hardware. And Korg stays true to itself. The Mk2 version still has a full-size velocity keyboard but without aftertouch. A missed opportunity to improve the mk1 version. A pity


Why put an mk2 on the market when it offers so few new features? I think there is a logical reason.

The wavestate mk1 was often sold out. No matter where you looked, you could hardly buy one new anywhere. That was right during last year’s chip shortage period. It’s no secret that the wavestate is internally based on the Raspberry Pi compute module. These ran out last year and are still hard to get today.

To avoid discontinuing the product, they probably decided to use another Raspberry Pi-based module like the Orange Pi. Not sure, but it can be and would make sense.

Korg wavestate Mk2


  • all-digital Synthesizer with Wave Sequencing 2.0 sound engine
  • velocity-sensitive keyboard with release with release velocity and 37 full-size keys
  • polyphony with 96 stereo voices
  • clever lane architecture for endless sound modulation
  • gigabytes of samples plus 4 GB of storage space for your own user samples
  • factory library: 261 Performances, 799 sound programs, and 1,042 wave sequences
  • storage space for tens of thousands of user performances
  • wide range of different filter models, including MS-20 and Polysix
  • 14 effects that can be used simultaneously
  • performances from up to 4 layer sounds (each with their own effects and their own arpeggiator)
  • setlist mode and smooth sound transition
  • smart randomization features for instant sound design inspiration
  • connections: headphones, output L/MONO and R (balanced), damper pedal, MIDI IN / OUT, USB type B
  • free download editor/librarian and sample builder software
  • extensive KORG software bundle included

First Impression

It’s great to see the wavestate is coming back to dealers worldwide. More polyphony and sound content are always welcome. However, the Mk2 version has a stale aftertaste. Korg charges 899€ for the wavestate mk2, but continues to deliver the new version without aftertouch in 2023. Plus, a desktop version is not in sight.

Other companies like Modal Electronics manage to build a Fatar keyboard into a 599€ Synthesizer that has velocity and aftertouch. Korg saves in the wrong place here again. Very disappointing.

Korg wavestate mk2 will be available in September 2023 for 899€ (incl. VAT).

More information here: Korg 

Available at my partner pre-order

Hardware Synthesizer News


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.