Synth Site: Korg: EM-1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.9 out of 5
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Noel writes:

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-19-2001 at 02:03
Pireus a hobbyist user writes:
This is a very usefull piece of equipment. I just had it for 3 hours and it kicks my ass. It has really good samples and that pretty much makes up for the lack in number. It's an allround thing, you can make anything with it, just listen to the patterns.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Saturday-Oct-27-2001 at 11:22
User a part-time user from USA writes:
The Em is great for beginners. I got this with the feeling that it would be the same thing as the EA and ER in one box. It's not. Don't be fooled. I mean it's a great piece of equipment, don't get me wrong, but it's exstreamly limiting on what you can do with it as far as the actual sounds go. Would be great for a couple of throws in a DJ set, but as a musician with many other instuments, it really has no place in a studio. I'd say save and wait until you can get both an EA and ER and use a midi cable. You won't regret spending the extra cash once you've used that setup for a while =)

I give it a 3 because it's got great sounds and quite alot of usability, but it's too self contained, limiting on customization and just not what I had expected. GREAT FOR BEGINNERS!!!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Oct-18-2001 at 22:43
Josh a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I got this for $365 at Guitar Center, They list it at $399, be sure to bargain with them. :) For the price I paid, I feel I got an excellent piece of equipment. Great sound quality, very usable. You can fake just about synth/dance sound you want. I like detuning the drum samples to make unique sound fx. Like tune the 808 tom down into a kick drum. Also play with the cymbals/hihats. Be sure to try out the drive knob w/ cutoff settings to get a nice edgy sound (EBM, Industrial) on the synth parts. I would say this is a good piece of equipment to start out with since you get a drum machine w/ 2 synth parts, more than enough to put your ideas to music. I would recommend running the output through some sort of reverb if you're gonna record though.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Oct-12-2001 at 20:54
Kelly a hobbyist user from United States writes:
A nice little box... about the closest thing korg has to a groovebox, but it's not. It's more of a groovebox/micro composer mix. Great for creating backing lines to songs, but not as a single end all be all instrument.

Easy of use:

Super easy to use, everything you need is on the front pannel and many keys double when you hold down "shift" on the thing - No flipping through menu screens and such. LCD screen is pretty low RES, but it's big and you can understand what it's attemting to spell (Like PCH = Pitch). Sequencing is extremely easy to do, particularly if you put the pattern pads into keyboard mode (Yes, you can play it like a cheap keyboard... It's meant as a sequencing aid, not for real performances) and press record to a click track, you'll get some grooves in no time. So the interface it there.


2 notes with a single osc and 2 effects Busses isnt much. Even more is that the unit kinda cheats on the effects busses... You can ONLY choose delay (You can tweek it though) for effect bus #1, and bus #2 gives you one of 11 other effects. So basically, you get 1 non chooseable effect, and 1 chooseable for the entire pattern, not per part (Though you can turn it on or off per part). However, korg kinda makes up for the lack of dual oscs limitation by providing several waves that can only be created by a dual osc or more setup... but still. Drum wise, you get 4 parts that can be used at the same time, and 2-2 parts that have to be used indipendantly (Cant be triggered at the same time), so you have 8 drums. Not that bad of a limitation but could use more. There are 50 synth wave forms covering everything from a saw tooth to funky guitar cords/strikes. They can be run through a 2 part filter (one for each synth part) which contains Cutoff, Resonance, EG Int (Basically Env Amount) and Drive. The drive is particularly interesting and can get so nasty that you wont even need the distortion in the effects section many times. In terms of modulation, there arn't any LFOs or sources/destinations - Instead, you use "Motion sequencing" to do this, and it's actually pretty cool. You also get a very simple Amp controller (ASR), pan, accent, and glide (For bending and portemento on synth lines). So on the synth side of things, I was kinda surprised that the lack of many sound shaping capabilities wasnt so bad and that this little sucker can actually create a decent pallet of sounds - Especially for it's price range. On the drum side, you get 144 waveforms, and shared effects from the synth parts, but no filter. You also get Amp EG, pan, pitch (So you can change the pitch of the drum on a per-note basis) and accent. So you wont really be tweeking the drum sounds THAT much without the filter, but they are still pretty good.

How it sounds:

Grade A, Top notch, wonderful. Nearly all of the 190 some patterns are excelent and sound great. The sounds themselves in the patterns are amazing for the price too. 2 notes of poly can actually go along way if they sound good... it actually sounds fat and like there is more going on than there really is. The Motion sequencing and delay helps a lot. Everything in it, from the patterns, to the sounds within the patterns, to the drums are extremely refined and clear. Nice indead sound wise.

Summing it up:

If you can get past it's limitations (Lack of poly, modulation, and effects busses), you will find an extremely good sounding, easy to use unit at a bargain price (400 US).

I would give it a 4.0-4.5 but I'm going to round up since I dont have that option.

- Kelly

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Oct-06-2001 at 22:15
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