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In-depth Feature:  Korg microKORG
Rob G writes: .

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The microKORG's keyboard offers 37 mini-keys which transmit velocity but not aftertouch. While this may not be enough to satisfy experienced keyboard players, it does offer enough playable surface area for most simple applications.

The 128 preset programs are arranged in 8 banks - 7 of these contain synth presets and are named by musical genre (trance, techno/house, electronica, etc.) while the 8th bank contains vocoder presets. Each bank holds 16 programs, arranged in 2 sides. The presets supplied are all useable and eminently tweakable through the performance knobs, which appear to be surface-mounted, felt a wee bit delicate to me.

Program selection
The performance knobs give quick access to 5 parameters. Usually, these are assigned to filter cutoff, resonance, EG attack, EG release and tempo (for the arpeggiator). These 5 knobs also double up for deeper parameter access when in edit mode, of which more later.

Each synth program consists of one or two layers, each of which is a timbre with 2 oscillators plus a noise generator, multi-mode filter, amp (including distortion), 2 envelope generators, 2 LFOs and virtual patching. The timbres are then routed to the effects engine - comprising one modulation effect (flanger, ensemble or phaser), one delay effect (stereo delay, cross delay and L/R delay) and an EQ section.

A program may also be specified as a vocoder program. In this case, an audio input functions as the modulator and the 2 oscillators (or a second audio signal) as the carrier. This is an 8-channel vocoder, comprising 16 filters in pairs (analysis and synthesis) and an envelope follower.

The step arpeggiators settings are again stored with a program. There are 6 arpeggio types on offer - up, down, 2 up/down, random and trigger (in trigger mode, all the notes played are retriggered simultaneously at the arpeggiator's tempo). Again, the microKORG offers a great deal of control over these settings.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • microKorg@synthsite
  • short vocoder example
  • On board demo 1 (MP3)
  • On board demo 2 (MP3)
  • microKorg video of front panel

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