Synth Site: Korg: ESX1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Sauce a professional user from Colorado, USA writes:
I guess it's high time I wrote a review for this machine.. I believe this to be the finest hardware sampler/sequencer combo ever made. The MPC (3000, 60mkII, then the 2000XL..) used to be the godfather of my studio sequencer, and then I had a bad fire that burnt everything to the ground. In a panic I bought the MPC1000 so I could get back to work and, while at the store, bought the ESX as well on a whim.. It had just come out and the store sold me their demo unit for $450. Needless to say, I returned the MPC1000 less than a week later and I have never looked back.

The sequencer on this beast is amazing and intuitive. You can sit and tweek a sequence while it is running and hit record mode. Then, you can write the sequence to the next available spot without having to hit the stop button. Pure genius. Resampling is fantastic and quick. All knob twisting can be recorded and saved, and more knob twists can be layered and recorded again, all without having to stop the sequencer. The LFO (modulation section) can control the pitch, pan, filter cutoff, amp with a sine, sawtooth, S/H (random) or square wave and, once again, you can control the depth and time (with or without BPM sync!) real-time and the motions of these knobs can be recorded.

About the sample-chop feature.. The slice spots within the "slice" option can be manually put in by holding the shift key. Any of the sliced pieces can be used singly within a sequence. Modulating the pitch of a sliced sample with a S/H wave while syncing the LFO to 1/16 timing gives a strange, glitchy, "aleatoric" feel to a chopped up sample.

Time-stretched samples can be pitched up or down real-time, and of course you can apply LFO real-time as well. Very convenient feature..

The effects are not the greatest sounding, but can easily be used in a pinch while playing live. Also, the twisting of the knobs within the effects section can be recorded and saved without stopping the sequencer. Also, the three effects engines can be daisy-chained in real-time, allowing you to build the energy of sequences up in real-time before dropping the next beat.

The synth section is comprehensive enough to create a couple of synth tracks, but it's not your best bread-and-butter synthesizer, however.. I have been in a position in the past where I had to play a party immediately and ONLY used the ESX, and to a favorable response. One trick I use to create synth parts with the esx: Choose any sample and set EG "sample end" point to 0, the shortest possible. Then use the "sample start" point knob to scrub through the sample until you finde a sound you like.. It will be a very short slice of the sample, like a blip. Next, resample. Then set the loop point to 0 and play on the keyboard. I have been able to get some massive, buzzy basslines this way, as well as some fine FM-style sounds and some glitchy percussive tones as well.

Did I mention you can change the start and end points on any sample real-time? Also, you can record the motion of the start and end point knobs, and record it within a sequence, real-time without stopping playback. Oh god..

The arpeggiator is controlled via a touch-strip (fun!) and you can scroll through octaves real-time via a slider.

There are four assignable outputs and a stereo audio-in, the signal of which can be run dry or through the filter or sent to the effects section.

I guess I really could go on forever about this machine. I find it to be a very intuitive and easy to use sampler with very deep features. God bless Korg. Thanks for reading my ramble..

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-May-12-2008 at 17:08
Zach a professional user from Syracuse, NY writes:
Good unit, love what korg has done with this thing, can use for electro beats to give the perc crew a little break, and the synth can hang with it. too bad you have to use a controller to actually play the keyboard for the synth, but for how cheap it is, and what you get out of it, it is a great buy all around. Great complement to better stuff, but should not be your #1 unit. overall, Very Solid.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-02-2008 at 10:00
mike pepp a professional user from n.c. nyc writes:
People im godlike now solution 2 esx 1 samplers linked together 18 1 shot pads 4 synths 4 stretch 4 slice 6 effects dont wait for korg to make an esx2 its not comming make your own .mega sampling time its mpc murder son our time has come you can do anything with this

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Aug-26-2007 at 13:11
dj rob ghost a professional user from usa writes:
I have the korg esx-1 i use it for every thing to trance, drum and bass, house, hip-hop, dirty south.etc. i love it I can come up with so many version's of the same song but with different sounds but its missing things i think more of a keyboard time sounds would be nice more memory

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jun-17-2007 at 18:32
john hen a hobbyist user from philly writes:
This sampler was my first one and its great. After a while I started running out of memory space, and my suggestion is to get a memory card and delete all the samples and patterns from the sampler you dont want and put them on a card. That way you have what you want only on the sampler itself. I use it mostly for hip hop and try to apply some mpc type skills on it. Its nowhere close but works very well. Korg should def come out with an esx-2 and upgrade some of the features on this such as more effects, more synth parts, and MORE MEMORY!

Bottom line, this is great if your starting up, you want to upgrade from another drum machine/sampler, or just build on what you already have..great buy for the price.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-30-2007 at 00:53
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