Synth Site: Korg: X5D: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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Richard Bembenic a professional user writes:
My band mate has one of these, and its string, and choir sounds compliment my XTk beautifully. I never took this board seriously until we started using it to write songs with. Then I (started) to look into it synth engine. It's nothing wonderful, but it certainly has your meat and potatoes of synthesizer essentials. It's not just a rompler. And he got it for $100 too. Smiles.

I'm giving it a 3, but only because there are so many things out there for it to compete with. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't even rate it.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-03-2004 at 00:46
Dan a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I pretty much agree with everything that's already been said: Great, strings & pads, good organs and most of the other sounds are passable to good as well. X5Ds are currently going for $299 - $399 on EBay and, at those prices, I think it is arguably one of the stronget values out there. It's what I would call a great working musician's/gigging man's synth. It's not a Kurzweil 2600, a Motif, or a Triton but it costs only a small fraction of what the flagship synths do and it's got a range of sounds that provides everything you need (and more) to play mainsteam pop in a cover band. The sounds definitely aren't going to embarrass you at a gig. It would also be good for new-age music and I've read that a lot of Black Metal bands use the X5d too. It's got the classic D-50 and DX-7 emulations covered nicely as well. The General MIDI bank is decent which is more than I can say for many of the GM banks that I've heard. It's the lightest, most compact 61 key synth that I know of which alone scores big points with me - I sold a well-regarded Yamaha EX7 largely because it was too damn big and heavy; I don't miss it a bit.

Is the extra 2MB of memory and 32 voices of polyphony worth the extra $100 you'll pay for an X5d over an X5? In my opinion yes. IMO the M1 piano that's included in the extra 2 MB of ROM is a classic (rather than cheesey as some think it's hip to proclaim). I just think the M1 piano works well for rock and pop and it was my favorite piano sound on my Triton LE as well. The extra 2 MB of ROM also have a killer B3 sample, some useful wave-sweep samples and some beefed up synth bass sounds. Of course there's also some useless SFX samples and stupid sampled loops taking up valuable ROM space but in all fairness that's true of any entry level synth that's not only marketed to musicians but also marketed to the truly clueless who just want a toy.

The programming is fairly straightforward for anyone who's worked with multi-layer ROMpler architecture before. I've noted the muli-samples that were used to make many of my favorite factory patches and truthfully, it blows my mind the magic that the programmers were able to get coax out of the multi-samples. In a world where 32MB is standard on ROMplers it truly is amazing how well the X5D's 8 MB of sounds still rate. I think that's partially a credit to the AI2 synth engine as well as the programmers.

If you're into analog, as most synth people are, then of course you'll want a VA to compliment the X5D. I'm not going to claim that it has all the bite and analog goodness of a VA or real analog synth - It doesn't and I wouldn't expect you to take me seriously if i claimed that it did but it does have the standard analog waveforms, analog brass, filter sweeps,PWM, osc. sync., etc. that would marginally get you by for pop songs that demand analog sounds. (I mean, most people at the wedding reception you're gigging aren't going to notice how much bite the filter has or whether the resonance is just so!)

Highly recommended as a first synth, back up synth, travelling companion synth, or auxilliary synth to get that warm Korg sound in your rig.

My rating of 5 is based on the X5D's sound quality/price ratio.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-12-2004 at 22:35
nalgene a part-time user writes:
i bought this last week second-hand and many people say this is an entry-level keyboard, but the sounds on it are so nice that i can see them being used for very professional music production. i get this very warm feeling from the sounds, much more body than the yamaha and roland synths i've tried out. the user interface is dead easy and intuitive; synths are not my main instrument and, and although there are very few buttons on this thing, i easily navigated the menus at the music store and that's why i bought it. lots of abbrviations, but you can use the menu for the X5DR from the korg website, which i've been using, and the manual is very friendly. the presets are already impressive, and the editing capabilities are very flexible. you can program really interesting sounds out of it (listen to the presets!). and it's very portable for gigging musicians. highly recommended if you can find one cheap.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Apr-29-2003 at 22:40
Jugger a part-time user from Finland writes:
I've had X5D maybe five years now, and I still use it very actively at gigs and for composing with Cubasis AV. Compared to its price, I think sounds are great in general, especially organs and pads. 64 voice polyphony is a must for me when I compose, since it's my only synth at the moment. There are two effects processors in this machine, and you can choose from a wide variety of effects(like reverb, delay, distortion, phaser, exciter, rotary etc.). It's a great thing that you can connect X5D to your computer via Host-connector(it uses serial port) and edit sounds with computer and then move them to synth(or vice versa). Editing options are quite versatile in my opinion. You can for example alter ADSR values for Amp and filters, create Combis that can include up to eight patches and, well, alter almost anything imaginable. You can also download thousands of new patches from the net for free. There is also a SysEx-sound editor(freeware, if I remember right) for this machine, so you can also use regular MIDI-connection for editing and transferring patches. Anything to complain then? Some buttons doesn't work very well anymore after five years of active use, you have to hit them quite hard sometimes. But I really can't find any serious flaws from this machine. It may not have thousand knobs and resonant filters and another analogue modelling stuff as most of the new synths has, but what it does, it does well. If you need a reasonably-priced basic synth with good sound and editing capabilities, especially if you have a computer with MIDI connection, then you should try this out.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-17-2003 at 04:24
musojon a professional user from uk writes:
old - yes! i blew an old x5 original up about 4 years ago, never bothered replacing it. found some for new near where i lived! lush! bought one (x5d obviously not x5 anymore!) it's about the same as the one I had, but extra sounds. The sounds are fantastic, not many of them but you can hack them yourself! its the replay quality of the thing, and the fact that its so light really! not blowing this one up, and definitely not selling it on!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jul-24-2002 at 19:25
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