The Korg WAVEDRUM, originally introduced to the music world back in 1994, is set to make a return in 2010, DRUM! has learned. This legendary instrument, an idea since expanded upon by Roland and others, was instantly famous for its innovative design, performance possibilities and unique sounds.

The WAVEDRUM was designed to be used as a stand-alone percussion instrument (think MIDI conga with an orchestra full of sounds) or integrated into an existing drum kit or percussion rig. Unlike digital trigger-based systems, the Wavedrum uses a real drum head as the playing surface, that allows the performer to employ sticks, brushes, mallets and/or traditional hand-drum techniques (mute, slap, bend, etc.).

There are actually two playing surfaces on the WAVEDRUM: the head and the rim. Under the head is an audio transducer, similar to a microphone. This transducer drives Wavedrum’s DSP (digital signal processing) and PCM (pulse code modulation) sound engines, which, according to Korg, provide a far more expressive and natural playing experience than trigger-based systems that rely on PCM playback alone. The rim is outfitted with different-sized raised patterns on the left and right sides. In addition to using the rim as a traditional playing surface, rubbing a stick or mallet over these raised patterns can create interesting percussion effects, similar to a guiro, for example.

By combining 36 advanced DSP synthesis algorithms with 200 PCM samples (100 for the head; 100 for the rim), the WAVEDRUM provides a wide palette of sounds, ranging from traditional drum and percussion instruments to complex synthetic tones and sound effects. It also re-creates a vast array of percussion instruments from around the planet, from familiar cajons, congas, and tablas to the rare and exotic. These include the udo, a clay pod percussion instrument; the jegog, a bamboo gamelan marimba from the island of Bali; a talking drum from Africa; gongs, and many others. WAVEDRUM can even reproduce stringed instruments such as the sitar, koto, and berimbau. This allows a single WAVEDRUM to replace what would have been a room full of instruments, sure to be a welcome addition to crowded stages, theatre/show pits, project studios and classrooms.

100 preset programs and 100 user programs are stored in memory, with 12 favorites available for instant access. Reverb and Delay effects add depth and character to the sound.

Sources tell us the WAVEDRUM will debut at the 2010 NAMM show in January and be immediately available in stores.