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

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Its All In The Edit

microKorg edit matrix
Detailed sound editing is, unfortunately, a laborious procedure. As mentioned above, the 5 performance knobs double up to perform various tasks when editing sounds. To enter Edit mode, move one of the two "edit select" knobs in the centre of the synth to select a set of parameters to edit. For example, edit select 1 is labelled with positions for voice, pitch, osc 1, osc 2, etc. Underneath the performance knobs is printed a parameter grid - this indicates which synth parameters the various performance knobs affect depending on the position of the edit select knobs. To further complicate matters, the grid reads separate settings for synth and vocoder parts, with synth parameters in white and vocoder parameters in green. The current parameter value is displayed on a 2 digit LCD screen, but for some non-numeric parameters the readings are somewhat cryptic - often requiring a look at the manual to verify the meaning. It is hard to assess the state of a program at any time. When editing a preset, you must scroll through the various pages to review the current settings.

The microKORG also offers extensive capabilities for MIDI control. MIDI input can be routed so that it triggers the arpeggiator, or so that the arpeggiator remains driven by the built-in keyboard. Add MIDI filtering, controller routing, sync to external devices and an extensive range of NRPN controllers and the microKORG emerges as a well-planned device quite at home in a MIDI setup.

In Use
One a program is prepared, the microKORG is definitely fun to use. The performance knobs make just enough variation available while playing, and the arpeggiator is definitely fun to play with - although it is a shame that some parameters (turning steps on/off and arpeggiator latch particularly) are not available in performance mode. Overall, the sound of the microKORG is impressive and powerful. Synth sounds are convincingly analogue in nature, the vocoder very usable, and the degree of editing available is surprising.

One nice touch, however, is that the performance knobs do not actually update the value until the current value is reached - making it easy to check current values and avoiding extreme glitches if the knob's position widely differs from the program's value.

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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