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In-depth Feature:  Korg microKORG
Rob G writes: .

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Sonic State Rating:
Build Quality 80% .
Ease of Use 40% Editing lets it down.
Sonic Sweetness 85% A powerful synthesiser and surprisingly capable vocoder, marred by complex editing procedure..
Bang For The Buck 85% .
Tweakability 80% Once you get inside theres a lot to it.
Overall:   74%

Conclusion
The microKORG is an extremely flexible synthesiser and vocoder. It really is surprising how much stuff you can edit in almost every area of the synth architecture. However, the complex editing procedure is likely to put off many users from delving too deep into this area, which is a shame as the presets often don't really use the synth as well as they could.

Specifications
Connections:
MIDI in, out and thru.
2 audio inputs, 2 audio outputs, and headphones.
Voices:
4 voice polyphony, 2 voice multitimbral using layered sounds.
Sound Source:
2 Oscillator + Noise Generator,
Multi Mode Filter (-24dB/oct LPF, -12dB/oct LPF/BPF/HPF),
EG x2,
LFO x2,
Virtual Patch x4
128 programs Effects:
modulation (flange/chorus, emsemble, phaser)
stereo delay
EQ.
Dimensions:
20.63"(W) x 9.13"(D) x 2.76"(H)
524mm(W) x 232mm(D) x 70mm(H)
Weight: 4.85 lbs / 2.2 kg

Korg have managed to squeeze an awful lot of synth into a small package, with a very usable vocoder to boot. I’m not sure quite who this synth is aimed at as the small keys will surely put off the preset keyboardist and the difficulty of editing may put off the more serious synthesist. Undeniably, the microKorg is one cute unit and I can forsee many an impulse purchase. It really is a shame that Korg couldn’t squeeze a few more LEDs and a less cryptic display in at the price as it would have made the microKorg much more usable. However, the MIDI capabilities offer some redemption - using a MIDI controller with the unit can make various facilities of the synth more manageable, and computer editors are certain to make editing less of a pain. All in all, you get a lot of power under the hood of a microKorg and for those who are prepared to take the time, it’s a well-featured, highly editable synthesizer.

Price:
RRP £399 UK, $500 USD

Alternatives
A Used MS-2000 will cost somewhere in the region of $450-600
Novation K-Station - at around $6-700 new, doesn’t have the filter types but way more hands on editing see review

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • microKorg@Korg.com
  • short vocoder example
  • On board demo 2 (MP3)
  • microKorg@synthsite
  • On board demo 1 (MP3)
  • microKorg video of front panel

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