NAMM 2021: Korg’s Modwave packs wavetables, Kaoss Physics and Motion Sequencing 2.0

The 2021 Believe In Music week kicks off with a bang thanks to Korg’s new releases

NAMM 2021: Japanese music technology brand Korg is pulling out all the stops at this year’s Believe In Music Week. Along with the release of the ARP 2600 M comes the Modwave, a modern redesign of the 1985 Korg DW-8000. The new synth boasts wavetable synthesis with Kaoss Physics – similar to that found in the revered Kaoss Pad – and Motion Sequencing 2.0.

Those who have been following Korg’s output over the last year may notice that the aesthetic design of the synth follows that of the Wavestate and Opsix, too.

Wavy sounds


Korg’s Modwave combines deep digital wavetable oscillators with rich filters and flexible modulation, with over 200 wavetables each containing up to 64 waveforms. More than 30 modifiers can be deployed to alter their tonality, with 13 Morph Types for realtime processing. New hybrids can be made from any two wavetables using an A/B blend – this results in “over 230 million wavetable variations straight out of the box”, Korg says. That’s before you consider loading in your own custom wavetables in Serum or WaveEdit formats.

Running these sounds through filters sounds fun, too, with over a dozen stereo filter types to choose from, including those from the MS-20, Polysix and a new multi-filter. Four trigger envelopes, five LFOs, dual mod processors and two key-track generators are onboard for quick modulation, as well as the Motion Sequencing and Kaoss Physics – more on that shortly. Modwave can play up to four simultaneous wavetables per voice in a single Program in 32-voice polyphony, which Korg says is “incredible for a wavetable synth”.

Kaoss and order

Building on its Kaoss Pad concept, Korg has introduced Kaoss Physics in Modwave. This combines an X/Y pad with a game physics engine that models a ball rolling on a surface and bouncing off walls. This can be manipulated by a user’s touch or automatically launched using a trigger source. The position of the ball affects four modulation signals, controlling any desired modulation destination.

Motion Sequencing 2.0 is derived from the Korg Wavesate’s Wave Sequencing 2.0, with individual Lanes that can sequence modulations in timing, pitch, shape and four sets of step sequencing values. Lanes can randomise the step order on every playback, too, and each Lane’s loop points can be modulated for every note. The Motion Sequencing 2.0 engine sounds seriously powerful but, in short, it sounds like you can achieve some wild results with endless tinkering.


Modwave boasts an impressive effects engine too, with three dedicated effects per Layer, plus a send to the Performance’s master reverb and parametric EQ. Compressors, chorus, flanger, phasers, EQ and the usual effects units are included, among more unique processors such as the Wave Shaper, Talking Modulator, Reverse Delay, Overb, modelled VOX guitar amps, wah and much more. An abundance of music-making software also comes with the synth to get you creating full tracks straight away.

It seems like Korg has really beefed up the original 80s DW-800 and truly brought to life a powerhouse synth in the Modwave. There’s no information as of yet on price or release date, but we expect it to launch with a price tag similar to its siblings, the Wavestate and Opsix, at around £600.

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