A manufacturer of modular synthesizers in the 1970s, formed by David Bates and Terry Kincaid. They met at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, MI USA, in the late 1960s, where Bates was a professor of music theory and already a renown composer in the modern classical genre. Kincaid was a graduate student, having transferred there from the University of Washington to be part of the burgeoning electronic-music scene that existed in Ann Arbor at the time. Kincaid earned his doctorate in music in 1970, and shortly after, the two formed Wavemakers (originally called KB Music).
Wavemakers' original modular format called for modules 8" (20.3 cm) high, with a horizontal unit of 2 inches (5.1 cm); most modules were 2 or 4 U wide. Over its existence, Wavemakers issued several model lines of modular equipment, with different specifications and appearances. They quickly developed lines of more esoteric modules, in response to the academic market who were their main customers. Earlier modules had white panels with blue graphics; later modules inverted this, with white graphics on a shiny anodized blue background, similar to what EML did with its earlier products. A notable feature is that some modules could be configured to have connections normalled, via behind-the-panel wiring which could be done at the factory or by the customer; normalled connections could be overridden via the panel jacks.
Bates died at the age of 38 of cancer, in 1974. After this, Kincaid decided to move himself, and Wavemakers, back to the Seattle area, settling in Edmonds, WA. For much of the period after this, Kincaid was not only the proprietor but also the sole employee, working long hours to build equipment and fill orders. The company never had more than a handful of employees. Kincaid continued to sell mainly to the academic market that he was familiar with, spending little on marketing.
Like all of the 1970s modular manufacturers, Wavemakers saw its sales decline as 1980 approached. Kincaid tried to address this with the Wavemakers 6 series, which consisted of a mix of modules which implemented an entire synth voice along with effects and processing modules, giving them a sort of polyphonic capability with a scanning keyboard. However, an attempt to market at the NAMM show in 1980 was unsuccessful, with no orders being received. After that, Kincaid gradually wound the business down, ceasing altogether by 1983.
Because Wavemakers synths never had wide visibility outside of academic and serious-music circles, Wavemakers was mostly forgotten after it shut down. However, the modular synth revivial of the 1990s led to Wavemakers products being "discovered" by the larger market, and a considerable increase of prices in the collector market. Unfortunately, Kincaid never had an opportunity to capitalize on this; he died of pneumonia in 1995, just before the new modular boom took off.