[sdiy] Speculation on the idea of being on the Roland design team ca. 1992

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Thu Jan 23 05:27:54 CET 2014

Hi Ingo,

I recall playing with the original Korg Wavedrum in the mid-1990s and
being profoundly impressed.  There's a later version:


from 2010 which also gets a good rap.

My only concern is the idea of hitting anything which contains
electronics with drumsticks.  Especially with lead-free solder, I
imagine this is a sure-fire way to break solder joints to the point of
making the machine unserviceable.  So I guess the idea is to use an
external pad, or pull the device apart to separate the pad from the

Around that time there was an exotic single-voice Yamaha keyboard with
physical modelling of a flute - the VL1.  I recall being able to blow it
into the second harmonic and then to back off the pressure, where it
would stay in the second harmonic, with the same breath pressure at
which it would normally be in the first harmonic, if not already blown
harder.  I think this was authentic-enough physical modelling to be
musically very close to to a real physical device.  That is exactly the
sort of sophistication which I think is possible and desirable - for
making really great, potentially chaotic and messy, instruments which
are in fact totally digital.  It would be a huge development effort to
do this, but now, with higher powered DSPs, or even with using a single
4 core i7 CPU with dedicated software, it should be possible, at least
for a monophonic system or perhaps a system capable of a few sounds at
once, whether they be transient (drum-like) or continual (traditional
keyboard synthesizer sounds).

The VL1 was from 1994.  This article reports on a much less expensive
VL70m from 1996:


which I think some people are also really happy with.

Presumably physical modelling is alive and well in hardware boxes and/or
software for PCs etc. and capable of doing amazing things.  I haven't
researched it, but I guess other list members have.

 - Robin

On 2014-01-23 8:02 AM, Ingo Debus wrote:

> First I had thought, oh God, what a long posting, but as I had read
> it, it was really worth doing so. I do like the analogy of
> watercolour paintings and electronic instruments.

> Am 21.01.2014 um 17:21 schrieb Robin Whittle:
>> Maybe a major drum machine manufacturer could have been convinced to
>> make a machine which doesn't attempt to, or pretend to, slavishly
>> replicate physical drums.  
> [...]
>> use the
>> original acoustic physical drum sounds and dynamic responses as
>> *inspiration* for doing a pleasing imitation, and then going well beyond
>> that into new territory beyond the realm of the responses of existing or
>> practical physical objects.
> This sounds pretty much like the Korg Wavedrum.

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