Synth Site: Korg: Z1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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NiJu a professional user from Australia writes:
I was lucky enough to pick up one of these babies at an absolutely bargain price. So low that I'm afraid to even say it out aloud, for fear the (poor guy) clueless salesman will hunt me down and accuse me of being a shiester. This synth is an awesome piece of gear, you can use it to create just about any kind of sound imaginable and the x-y pad is to die for. To give an idea of the range possible on this synth : I create music for film and television, usually of an orchestral/instrumental variety, I also play in an expermental noise/dreampop band, and my personal project is an ambient electronic/new age sound. The Z1 is totally at home in all three of these environments and usually raises many eyebrows. No, I am not employed by Korg, I just can't stop raving about this thing. All I can say is if you are lucky enough to find one cheap, BUY IT, I waited a day and put down a deposit before securing the finance. Apparently in the meantime up to 10 people offered to pay more than I was - lucky for me the salesman was also honest. Qualms? The only qualm I might have is the manual requires a degree in particle physics, but really is ok if you just follow your ears. Also the patch load latency can be a pain, but I mean really, it's a teaspoon of salt in a lake.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-21-2000 at 11:07
Raul a hobbyist user from Maryland USA writes:
I had only had the Z1 for 2 weeks but I have played with it since it first appeared in the stores. I, too, considered the initial price too high and I did not purchase one until the "blow-out" prices arrived to clear the inventory. (Never buy anything new right away. You will probably get a better deal later).

What impressed me in the stores was the amount of "squelchy" resononce you could get by turning the front panel knobs (it will take your head off if you are not careful - especially wearing earphones!) What impressed me when I bought one was how much fun the polyphonic sequencer can be especially if you midi the Z1 up to other instruments. What annoys me now is the lack of left or right cursor buttons to navigate the viewscreen so I have to play with the knobs for a long time to get where I want to go even for basic operations. The most important annoyance is the one second lag time before loading new voices or performances. If you intend to use this thing live and need to change programs, you will be very upset. Get something else.

The sounds are wonderful and the Z1 is well supported by Midiquest Editor Librarian and others (there is even a freebee on the net for PC users). Pro-rec has three banks for the instrument, Korg has two extra banks on a card and Patchman Music has one bank for wind instrument players. This is not a whole lot of programming support out there apparently so you will need to do some tweaking of your own.

I was able to get the 16 bank 4 Meg ATA PCMCIA flash rom card from Synchrotech in Los Angeles for $70 plus $8 for 3 day shipping. Their phone number is (213) 368-3760. Their fax number is (213) 368-3765. I mention this because the sales people in my area are completely ignorant about where and how to get this storage card and it wasn't easy to find on the net either. The two bank Korg sound card is still available from Korg according to their latest "Proview" magazine. However Korg gives no phone number in the magazine or on the net. (Wonderful user support, buy our stuff but don't bother us afterward).

When you sequence with the Z1 you should be aware that it is sending out continuous midi time clock signals from its arpegiator unless the set the arpegiator control parameter to "ext" (external control mode).

I have had my Z1 crash once whereas it made no sound and nothing in the manual would have helped me get it working again. The "Zimmer" web site for the Z1 told me about the emergency boot procedure. You hold down both switch one and switch two next to the X-Y pad while you power up the machine. This will initialize EVERYTHING. The procedure to restore your factory sounds is in the manual.

I wish the Z1 has the memory power to store your X-Y settings but it doesn't. I also wish someone would come out with another Vector Synthesizer because this X-Y pad will not record X-Y movements.

But in spite of its limitations and because of its wonderful sounds and arpegiator, I am glad I bought one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-22-2000 at 17:19
nick a part-time user from Kanadaaah! writes:
If you like programming and experimenting,you can't live without the Z1. It's also a damn good master controler. Things that suck: #of fx per voice, #of outputs (1 stero pair), slow to navigate, small and low contrast lcd, weak presets, weak string/plucked instrument models. You also need a phd in physics to create a good sounding bass or guitar.

Sell your old tb, and get one of these for Christ sake.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-14-2000 at 13:55
Lenti Lenko a professional user from Australia writes:
Although I loved the Z1 upon playing it in the shops, I had no intention of buying it until I got a good deal on one in a sale. It is one of the best bits of gear that I have bought!!!!!It is the most expressive synthesizer in my studio (Real time knobs X/Y touchpad, switches) and it can produce many different types of sounds (except acoustic pianos and drums) at the same time. It is a very powerful synthe but also very complex to program- not that the operating system is badly laid out, just that it is a VERY DEEP SYNTHE!!!! Undoubtably, it's weakest link lies in it''s effects, whilst they sound OK, they are not flexible to use in a multi-timbral context- one bas is fed to both the insert and master effects instead of giving you a choice in multi mode!! Also, there shoul be at least 4 outputs at the back. This is why I do not use mine multi-timbrally. I have also enountered a strange problem when running it with an external sequencer. When I reset back to the start of the sequence, (I think) some type of controller data changes the parameters around at random! Upon contacting Korg Australia, I was told that this could be a bug that WILL NOT BE FIXED???? However besides this gripe, the ZI really excells at sounds from analogue pads, leads and basses right up to great sounding trumpets, saxes, EP's, Organs, Strings, Guitars and Electric basses. I have the 18 voice expansion for it also. It compliments my Triton very nicely also. I looked at both a Roland JP8000 and Yamaha EX5 for good analogue emulations and physical modelled acoustic sounds and I felt that the Z1 bet them both in terms of sheer sonic flexibility. Lets hope that Korg continue to work in the area of physical modelling as they came out with a FUTURE CLASSIC with the Zi

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-29-1999 at 08:36
nubey a professional user from usa writes:
z1=8 to 10 prophecy's? Got to like that -- obviously the same thing as Sequential did so many years ago with the Prophet 5/Pro-one -- well in reverse atleast.

Now if only Korg would bring the price out of the stratosphere I'd probably buy one... or two.....

These look to be some of the most open ended synth's made, although I think I may go the modular route sometime soon.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-08-1999 at 14:30
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