Product Presentation: King Korg

Performance synthesizer with CV      22/03/13

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18:37 mins    

The new King Korg Virtual Analog Synthesizer has been somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous announcement the Korg MS-20 Mini, which frankly stole the show at NAMM this year. However the King Korg also has some pretty desirable features.

We had a visit from product specialist Luke Edwards, who showed us what the new King Korg can do.

One of the big surprises for me was the CV/GATE output which we were able to hook up to the original MS-20.

 

  • 3 Oscillators
  • Multi-mode modeling filters
  • Three master effect sections (each with six effect types)
  • Vacuum tube driver circuit adds rich overtones and powerful distortion
  • Support for librarian software that lets you manage programs

King Korg is available now priced at £949
Thanks to all our readers who sent in questions for Luke.

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17 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Andres    Said...

Hey Mike, nice review, as always. Missed my chance to do this questioon earlier, but here i go anyways: How did you like the keybed? how does the weight feels? did you have a chance to try some velocity sensitivity on it? thanks!

22-Mar-13 10:55 AM


Peter K.    Said...

Good stuff Nick! Thanks for this one!

22-Mar-13 11:09 AM


korgowner    Said...

As an owner and programmer of many Korg synths and workstations, I think that a softball interview like this is a complete disservice to everyone who watches it. I now have no respect for SonicState to be anything other than a promoter of only the positive aspects without asking a single question about the many of the obvious and huge negative aspects of the product, like the lack of aftertouch, sequencer, full editing knobs, and vocoding formant motion, which are just a few of the features it lacks vs. it's predecessor, the Radias. None of the other negative aspects brought up in the comments either, from the sillyness of the KingKorg name, the backwards layout of the controls with the filter on the right, etc. SonicState does softball interview. Don't expect a fair, balanced, or honest review here.

22-Mar-13 02:52 PM


Axial    Said...

To Korgowner: Granted it was not a BBC investigative piece, yet at this price point I think your expectations are beyond reason. A sequencer? Seriously? Why not have a mixer and speakers too? I would much rather have the product simply be a powerful synth. I will agree however that the interface could have been more modernised.

22-Mar-13 05:13 PM


Ted    Said...

Korgowner,

Nick actually got the rep to step aside to examine some raw oscillator and filter sounds - exactly the stuff you want to hear but usually won't in a booth-style company demo.

The rep clearly wanted to impress with the presets, and Nick dug a little deeper.

Initially I thought King Korg was designed to be the ultimate virtual analog, but I now see it more as a more general synth with the pianos, etc.

I don't think it was Nick's job to grill the poor Korg rep who is paid to showcase the sound and UI, which are attractive. He didn't design King Korg (has had one for 2 weeks?).

I think we'll eventually see Nick review the thing and he will probably address the lack of a few features.

Until Korg or one of the other manufacturers brings out a 1:1 control-to-function supermonster polysynth with every feature known to man with a name everyone agrees is awesome, SOMEONE will be moaning about the lack of this or that.

I just don't think this thing was ever supposed to be the Radias II. I do think it sounds very nice and looks to have solid build quality, and I think I'll get one this summer.

22-Mar-13 07:24 PM


loneraver    Said...

What is that groove at 14:26 from? It sounds a lot like a track I used to hear all the time at a club I used to go.

22-Mar-13 07:40 PM


Get a life    Said...

I think Korgowner might be the guy who cried, like a complete idiot, on every other synth forums about the product review of the Jupiter 80 done by Sonicstate.

22-Mar-13 09:04 PM


Blue Monster 65    Said...

Ha! I was just thinking that - how people complained Nick was so hard on the Roland guy.

Can't please everyone, can you?

I'll also look forward to Nick's own review (if he does one) to see how he digs under the hood.

22-Mar-13 09:44 PM


Lagrange Audio    Said...

Nice synth, good review, stupid name

23-Mar-13 02:34 AM


   Said...

Hey, Axial, those features like the sequencer where IN the Radias, Korg's previous synth, which was cheaper and better in many respects than KingKorg. Radias also had 2 multimode filters per timbre, not just one, and a free envelope besides the ones for filter and pitch. The lack of aftertouch on a synth in this price range is very unusual, since the Radias has it, along with the Blofeld and Ultranova (much cheaper) synths. I've never commented on a Roland synth anywhere. I own about a dozen Korg synths of various kinds. The lack of an editor at introduction is a major problem. Korg took a long time to ship the software editor for the Kronos.

23-Mar-13 05:19 AM


Axial    Said...

To Korgowner: I realise there are some missing features, I for one would have liked a much larger LCD screen for better editing and easier access to hidden submenu items. But honestly I have never understood any synth product having a sequencer. They are generally so limited, I would rather do without and just have an exceptionally great sounding synth.

Cheers

23-Mar-13 11:50 AM


Synth_Fan    Said...

Partially agree with Korgowner. Merits (or not) of the synth, this wasn't a very informative review / interview.

Nick could have asked the hard questions in a polite way, or phrased them in a non-aggressive way to give the rep a fair chance to qualify them. The lack of aftertouch in particular on a 'performance synth' is a big deal - Korg are lowering the bar here in earnest - yet Nick didn't even bring it up. Poor.

That said, in fairness to Sonicstate, they are almost unique in allowing us to comment under every news item - quite a risky thing to do for a web site depending on both sides - supplier and user - for their survival - so lets not be too hard on Sonicstate. I for one have given some products here a hard time and I can only imagine some of the feedback Sonicstate get from suppliers in seeing their new baby immediately derided by totally anonymous 'suggestions contributors'. How long can this luxury (to us) survive in a commercial domain? So the fact that we could fuel any questions at all is a service we should not take for granted.

But while Nick is generally utterly top-notch - I feel you have been a little soft on a few interviews recently - in this instance you should have spotted that the lack of aftertouch on a performance synth is a big omission, an annoyance to most of us looking at this as a prospective acquisition and hence you should have spotted that and brought it up.

23-Mar-13 01:37 PM


Dustin    Said...

I'm also surprised by all that that this product lacks vs RADIAS or even the R3. But as an owner (and future seller) of an R3, I've come to learn that an instrument's spec sheet and capabilities to do everything short of slice bread are not nearly as important as an instrument's sound and feel. Previous videos made me think Korg had come up with another sad, ensemble-chorused schmaltz machine but this video actually mmakes me want to hit the music store and check the KingKorg out in person.

You really think this was a "softball" interview? It's a "Product Presentation" really, so Nick wasn't going to interrogate the Korg representative over their various war crimes, the point was to demonstrate somebody actually PLAYING the thing so people could get a feel for the synth's sound and features. Job well done there.

23-Mar-13 01:49 PM


Benedict Johnson    Said...

So much emotion on these comments!!

This looks like a great gigging keyboard-player's performance synth, which probably sounds good through a PA, and is probably easy to wrangle in a turbulent gig situation.

I feel embarrassed for having criticized the King Korg for it's silly name and morkish appearance (I guess thats what you do when you only have a name and a photo to go on). Those knobs look 100% nicer than the sharp-cornered stumps on the Radias. The whole SV1-style effects knobs and oscillator/filter OLEDs give Nord a run for their money! If I know Korg, its only a matter of time before other colours become available.. I've owned a Microkorg (original), MicroKorg XL, R3 and Radias at various times and gigged with them all. Gigging keyboard players don't care about second filters and free envelopes - sound designability is only one of a number of priorities. If it sounds as smooth as everyone seem to agree it does, then as the guys says, this is the finest VA synth Korg have produced.

Looking forward to the full review :)

23-Mar-13 02:50 PM


Blake    Said...

Nice presentation and it sounds very good but I hope they come out with a rack version with more controls and with those controls arranged in a more ergonomic manner. I for one am not so concerned about the name but the control layout and the lack of aftertouch puts me off without getting at one in a store. A rack version with fold down rack ears and lots of knobs would be killer MIDI'd up to a Mopho X4.

23-Mar-13 03:39 PM


Benedict Johnson    Said...

Also,

I hope that just because the MS-20 isn't technically new doesn't mean we wont get all kinds of product demonstrations and reviews for that too?

24-Mar-13 02:43 PM


Peter K.    Said...

Hey Folks,

One of my best friends brought his King Korg over for a few hours last night, so I finally got a chance to really hear and play it in my studio.

There are some really great things about it, but there are some omissions that I found surprising compared to my Radias (which I regret selling), and the Radias card in my M3, not to mention the AL-1 engine in my Kronos (which isn't a fair comparison).

However, the KK has some cool tricks of its own; the extra filter types are cool, and the tube stage is a nice addition, as is the response and feel of the knobs, and the three osc engine. The dedicated XLR input is nice...

The KK feels to me like a sideways move from the Radias that I think will appeal to gigging musicians. It's like a modern day Polysix. Some of the PCM sounds are great for the gig, especially with some tube overdrive, but I wish they could have put the 16MB piano expansion they did for the Triton back in the day. For that reason, I still wouldn't feel comfortable bringing just the KK out to a gig.

It would complement a Krome nicely though, which does have a great piano sound. The KK is a great and smooth sounding VA first with a few extras thrown in. It's definitely good gear.

Andres, the keybed is decent. It feels like the unweighted versions of the Krome. For velocity control, you might want to go into the Global mode and switch the velocity curve to 3 or 2 from 4. (Lower numbers require harder velocity). I do this with all of my Korg gear and I find it makes a big difference, especially from non-weighted keys.

I for one would like to add my voice to the choir of people wishing this instrument had aftertouch. Or one more pedal C/V input so I can have that added control alongside a dedicated expression pedal.

There are a lot of feelings on this board, which is a good thing. I look forward to a full on review by Nick soon, and I hope that he addresses the shortcomings of this instrument as well as its strengths.

26-Mar-13 01:40 PM


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