Synth Site: Korg: Z1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Pal Klistran a professional user from Norway writes:
This synth is the most powerful one I've ever worked with. The presets really suck, but when you learn to program your one patches you'll be surprised! Real punchy, warm sounds; screaming leads, cool organs, DX7 piano's,etc. With this machine it is possible to really emulate all Oberheim synths!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Nov-07-1999 at 14:29
Adam Goodyer a part-timer user from England writes:
I've had the Z1 for over a year now and if you don't know anything about synth programming the learning curve can be fairly steep.

Its programming capabilities are second to none and there's virtually no sound you can't create with a bit of work.

The reason I'm not giving it full marks is because of the multi banks. There's nothing more annoying than programming a great sound, trying to convert it to the multi bank and find that the sound has changed.

I have found a way around this though. If you own a good sequencer package, route the Z1 through a mixer and record a sequence as an audio file using the program banks. You can then have killer sounds with individual effects without having to use the multi banks.

Not only do you keep your original sound but you get a lovely analogue warmth...mmmm.

On the whole though an absolutely kick ass synth

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-17-1999 at 11:38
Peter Kadar a professional user from Toronto, Canada writes:
I have been thinking about a new synth for many months, and after much deliberation, and saving of cash, I came to the realization that the Z1 is the board for me. I work in all styles of music, from country to R&B, to house to music theatre shit. The Z1 was the only one that affered the kind of versatility I needed for the gig while still feeding my desire for exploring the boundries of synthesis. I actually REALLY like the sound and playability of the acoustic stuff, and the analog stuff sounds like all the nice analog gear I either wanted or had to sell. It far surpasses the other VA synths, IMO both in terms of tone and flexibility, and most of the presets are great depending on what your bag is.

For a synthesizer, the action is quite good, and the board is not flimsy like an AN1X. When I play this board, I feel like I am at a real instrument, like a Rhodes or a Clavinet. This is not a feeling I get from a JV 2080, or most other PCM based machines. The acoustic sounds seem to have more weight to them that I don't usually feel on PCM stuff. (The EX-5) comes close. The Z1 covers all the territory that the other VAs do, as well as meeting the needs of people whose life is more than analog tone. I almost got the EX-5r, but there were some key issues that sold me on the Z1. The EX sounds great but is limited by what the processor can do, not to mention the SCSI problem. I'd rather have 6 way multitimbrality of physical modelling, than only one, on a synth that can't use it's 126 note polyphony, because the synth engine can't trigger the sounds fast enough! One of my budies runs a MIDI lab at a college here, and got rid of his EX, for a Z and he has been happy ever since.

If you have an integrated set up, the Z1 will fill many sonic needs, as it has in mine. I'd rather get it and a sampler and whatever else I need than a box that is trying to do everything but can only do it in limited anounts and in certain settings.

There are a few things I don't like about the Z, but these are what others have already said. The lack of more outputs, dynamic voice allocation, and maybe a more comprehensive manual. I would like to know exactly how some of the oscillators work, rather than saying things like "turning the waveshaping knob changes the shape of the wave to get sounds not capable on traditional analog synthesizers." Not a direct quote, but you get the idea. Generally it spells out the basics well, but I would like to know more.

Overall, if you know what your needs are and you're thinking about one, I would highly recommend it. I haven't seen a machine that has this balance of great sound, flexibility, ease of use (despite all the different synthesis methods, editing is a snap), and playability. I think it's a very well thought out machine, and you can do a lot with it. The new price ($1595 Cdn) puts it not far above the other VAs but what you get out of it more than makes up the difference. I might have gotten one of the last ones in Canada, so if you can find one somewhere, go for it.

The Z1 is the finest synthesizer I have ever owned.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-13-1999 at 18:44
TekChef a professional user from USA writes:
Killer synth! All the VAs have their own thing..and this is my fave! The Arp is killer.. the sounds are bad ass..the presets suck BAD. once you get into the programming..it is unreal IT does sound warm(although not analogue warm...no VA does sound that analogue!) and if you love to take the time to program, and love to tweak patches..this is it. Great combo with a K5000 The only bitches...only 2 outs, and the non dynamic voice allocation. I still love it though!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jul-07-1999 at 05:13
Alex van Vendeloo a part-timer user from Holland writes:
Yesterday I bought my Z1. I already had the JV-1080, EWS64XL and good old M1, but this one is really a SYNTHESIZER. It can generate very much pressure, thanks to the extreme good filtering. I see the Z1 as a synh which has nice physical modelling sounds (organ, bass, trumpet (great),etc.), but for realistic sounds I prefer the sampler with lots of MB's. On the other hand the Z1 has al the knobs and the special X/Y pad, which is a very expressive tool during physical modelling. I compared the Z1 with a JP-8000, An1X and Nord Lead, but that was wrong: the Z1 is capable of producing a better analog feel and goes beyond these synths. If you're looking for a flexible synth with balls and if you like synth programming this is the machine!

P.S.: If you own a Z1 and you have cool patches, please send me some! As soon as I made some, I'll send them to you!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Apr-10-1999 at 11:02
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