Korg microSTATION Reviews4.6/5.0 based on 20 customer reviews
You may be thinking a keyboard this small and light would have to be more of a toy than a serious musical instrument, but I’m here to tell you otherwise. Inside this micro marvel beats the heart of a professional Korg synthesizer/workstation. It has 360 multisampled instruments and 484 drum samples - all recorded at 48kHz, with room for 512 Programs, 384 Combis, and 48 Drum Kits. It also has an additional 256 GM Programs and 9 GM Drum Kits. All of these samples are played through Korg’s EDS-I (Enhanced Definition Synthesis – integrated) engine and can play a staggering 120 notes of polyphony! And the effects section is incredible. For each Program you can use five simultaneous Insert Effects (stereo in/stereo out) plus two Master Effects (stereo in/stereo out) and then all that goes into a stereo Total Effect. That's eight effects at once! There are 134 effect types available, from the expected Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Leslie, Reverb and Delay types, to the otherworldly Grain Shifter, Ring Modulator, Pitch Shifter, Decimator, Doppler, and Auto Reverse effects. There are even six Guitar and Bass Amp models with parametric EQs.
But it wouldn’t have the word “STATION” on it unless it was also a full-blooded workstation. Combis can have up to 16 programs, each with their own MIDI Channel, and dual polyphonic arpeggiators let you create drum/bass/chord grooves on the fly. A high-performance 16-track MIDI sequencer allows you to record up to 128 songs for a total of 210,000 notes! You can even save your sequences and programs to an SD Card.
At this point, some of you may still be wondering why you would need a Korg microSTATION. Here are some of my reasons: (1) It’s the ultimate emergency backup keyboard. There’s nothing worse than driving an hour and a half to a gig only to discover that your main keyboard has died since the last time you played it. Now you can just reach under your car seat and pull out a fully-functioning spare. (2) It’s a killer keyboard to connect to your computer. I’d far rather have a full five octaves of slightly smaller keys than only two or three octaves of regular-sized keys. Connect a USB cable and the microSTATION’s editor becomes a powerful plug-in that supports VST, Audio Units, and RTAS formats. That’s 120 notes plus effects with no additional strain on your computer’s CPU! (3) Now you can pack a serious-sounding instrument every time you leave the house. Sure, it drives my wife crazy, but I define myself as a musician. It kills me when we go on a trip and there’s a jam session but no keyboards. I can tuck a microSTATION in my suitcase and be ready for any musical opportunity that awaits. (4) It’s so convenient to set the microSTATION on top of your favorite stage piano (or even a real piano) to add both modern and classic sounds to your arsenal.
from Minneapolis, MN
May 17, 2013Music Background:
Producer, Engineer, Musician, Sound Designer
Sweet Synth!It does everything I could ask for. It can be as intricate as you desire, yet it's super simple and easy to use with a ton of great sounds out of the box. It's very easy to modify the sounds and you have the option to assign any 4 effects to the knob assignments. It feels very durable and well built. Definitely the most bang for you buck.... The only downfall are the tiny keys. It's easy to get used to, just feels funny.
from Memphis, TN
January 16, 2013Music Background:
Hobby Musician, Live Sound Engineer
Surprisingly CapableI've had this workstation for about 3 months. Everyday I learn more about what it can do. The sequencer is one of the best features for recording. The keys are pretty small, but you get used to it after playing for a while. This keyboard has lots of sounds so it can be used with many music genres. You can also edit the sounds to get a certain tone if you can't find in the preloaded patches.
Rhett James Pietzman
from Pana IL
January 10, 2013Music Background:
Live Sound ,Recording
This Unit RocksIt took about 30min to get accustomed to the size of the keys then after that I have had no trouble. The sounds are excellent. I have had some smaller keyboards throughout the years and they where hard to play and the patches sucked. They where all just a toy. This keyboard is far from a toy. If you are looking for something smaller then this would make a nice fit. I Love IT......
from Toronto, Ont. Canada
December 21, 2012Music Background:
Semi professional musician
Unique and Wicked!Huge sounding... part sound module, part keyboard. Better than average piano sound -- a significance improvement from previous small Korg keyboards. I will use this sound source midi'd into a super light weight, portable, 88 key weighted board and will have a portable live set-up with a full sound pallet including a decent piano sound. As well, I use the accomps all the time for fun, practice, and song writing along with using it in the hotel room for sight reading practice and leaning songs. Is it perfect? No... but you do get great, big, bang for the buck. At home I use it with my Nord Stage EX and man alive, it sounds giant and adds all the bread and butter sounds missing on the Nord. This is a keeper! :)
from NY, USA
September 22, 2012Music Background:
pro musician, hobbyist recording engineer
What's not to like about the microSTATION?I tried to hold back a chuckle when I unpacked the box. This thing was small. I took it out examined the contents of the box, plugged it in and the chucklehead turned into a full face grin! Do NOT let the size of this instrument fool you, yeah, it's small, but the sound it delivers is HUGE. It's pretty striaightforward and easy to use, right out of the box. You can get used to the smaller keyboard in a relatively short amount of time. So far so good, plenty of sounds, easy to use, I'm pretty happy with my purchase. As usual, the folks at Sweetwater take good, no...Great care of their customers and that makes a big difference, too. Thanks again Sweetwater.
from Westchester, NY
August 21, 2012Music Background:
Fantastic but small keyboardI purchased this mini workstation knowing full well that the keyboard was small but I am happy to report that it took me very little time to get acclimated to the reduced size of the keys. Better yet, the feel of the keyboard is very nice and results in the ability to use they keyboard very expressively. It's not quite as light as a synth keyboard but certainly not as firm as an acoustic piano.
My main gripe is the small display and the labrynth-like menu system. Korg has done their best to create something usable given the size-factor but it's not entirely easy to get to the functions you want, especially when you are working up an idea and want to add more reverb to a track!
Another gripe is the limited sound editing capabilities of the synth engine. You can tweak existing sounds using the multi-use knobs but creating a sound from scratch has to be handled using the included software and a computer.
Given these small gripes, this is really a wonderful keyboard with great sounds. Paired with a computer, it really shines but on its own, it's slightly limited. For the budget conscious player, its a fantastic alternative to the larger, more expensive synths and workstations that are available.
from United States
June 18, 2012Music Background:
Great piece of workI'm just astounded as to something this small can have so much power and hold so many programs. It really blows me away. I've only had mine for a little less than a month and really haven't done much in the way of creating new programs or combis but the potential to make any sound or combi is built right into this small jewel. The installed programs themselves will keep me busy for a very long time so I'm in no hurry to start doing any serious tweaking yet but I will soon. As other reviewers have noted, the keyboard is a bit small but it's no problem for me since my hands aren't very large anyways. I love it!
from new jersey
June 10, 2012Music Background:
MUSICIAN & ARTIST
one more timeThis keyboard is easy to use....you got your combis categories and lists of individual presets in each category and thesame in your programs.....then its a sequencer also.....i lije it very much.....the first one /the keys popped up in a bit of a traffic jam and sweetwater gladly replaced it and helped me thoroughly even when it came to figuring out i had the shipping label to return thetwisted keyed damaged one.....cheerful.....informed.....helpful.....fast.....it really makes the difference
May 23, 2012Music Background:
Pro keyboards since 1968
Great Addition to My RigHas features far exceeding my needs. If you can deal with the small keys, it's awesome. If not, just midi a controller. The included virtual B-3 sounds are very usable. Nice!!!!
May 15, 2012Music Background:
30 year veteran of honky tonks, cafe's and bars.
The little keyboard that could!Great little keyboard. I'm guitarist, bought this to do some fills and background stuff on recordings at home. But this little baby can and will be used live.
from Maine USA
April 14, 2012Music Background:
A view from the cheap seatsI am a novice. I am not a keyboard player. What I am is a vocalist and a songwriter that had to sell his motorcycle to pay the mortgage, but 10% of that sale went to buy the microSTATION at last years price of $500, with the included Sweetwater sound bundle with that very nice B3 sound.
My goal when I started looking was to try and find a device that could help me write music. What I really need it a full blown workstation, but hat was not going to happen with the budget I had to work with. I knew I needed something that would compose, allow me to play with sounds like a synth, had midi ports and an ability to talk to a computer.
The mS does all this and more. I have yet to scratch the surface of it's ability.
Technically, an octave switch would be nice to access lower ranges. And like all USB ports, this one is as weak and many are, so be gentle and do not put side pressures on the connector.
A word of caution for the novice. The learning curve for using a Synthesizer, Sequencer,Workstation is huge.. one almost needs to know what one is doing before buying something like this, yet there is no ramp up and not much training out there... the Korg forums are good, but do not dare ask an entry level question or you will get verbally spanked... The included training videos are a good start and they help a great deal, but they stop short of getting you through your first song, which would be a nice addition... I think Korg missed an opportunity to create an army of well trained users that would eventually want to upgrade.
from indiana usa
January 31, 2012Music Background:
i now own 6 of them...these units have made me a multi keyboardist again. at 6 pounds, they mount like cymbals on my gibraltar keyboard rack. the action has been incredibly predictable. wish they made 88 key version. the sound they create is the big korg sound, lots of boom and sizzle as necessary. i found my hands adjust automatically now from full size to mini and back. i use these as gigging units, not for the sequencer. massive polyphony, seriously. altho i usually just bring two to gigs, all six is sorta fun crazy. no patch changing necessary. piano on one, synth, strings, vox, lead all right there waiting. i used to use one keyb and switch and combi like a crazy person. all six of these together weigh about the same as one full size roland or yamaha. makes playing pink floyd or the beatles later songs much easier. no aftertouch tho. and to use a sustain pedal and volume and the same time, u must use a midi volume pedal, as there is only one pedal jack input.
from Los Angeles
January 18, 2012Music Background:
Music Ed. and weekend warrior
Turning Heads!This little Korg is doing the job for Indie Pop, Yacht Rock gig, and Praise Band. I'd love an octave key and I'm not so interested in the combo pre-sets. I'd love a distortion button, but all in all this is a great deal! Can't be the portability!
from San Jose, Ca
October 28, 2011Music Background:
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!I was going to get a Blofeld, but the VST / AU / RTAS feature of this board was a no brainer plus keys and 700 less than Blofeld..............tweak your own synths and there is no limit!
from Pine Grove, California
August 31, 2011Music Background:
Songwriter, singer, musician.
Big Sounds! Compact size! Low price!This Korg MicroStation is a force to be reckoned with! The huge battery of sounds and ease of use were both pleasant suprises. I have a rather small home studio and therefore "real estate" is always a consideration. The MicroStation's small footprint makes it a welcome addition to my musical aresnal. Alan, my Sweetwater sales rep suggested the perfect product for my needs! (as usual!)
from Layou, St.Vincent W.I
June 22, 2011Music Background:
Musician, Live Sound & Recording Engineer (SunnyBoy Studios)
Off the Charts!!I got this Keyboard to use as my second Keys on my Cruise Ship Gig. The Tones are Extremely awesome.
Its Light and Very Easy To carry around, Especially on the Plane for the first time i can carry it on. I got the original bag that goes with it and it fit on my back like a Back pack.
it Can be worn on your back for hours are you don't feel a strain.
Thank You Korg!
from salinas PUERTO RICO
April 3, 2011Music Background:
LITTLER GIANTI SOLD MY 15 YEAR 01WFD WITH SKB IN $580 FOR PURCHASE MICROSTATION.IM PLAYER MUSIC MERENGUE,SALSA AND BOLERO. PIANO SOUND GREAT THE M1 SOUND PRISTINE. I CONECT TO GK 112 KB AMP AND DUNLOP M108 EQ EAR MY GREAT SOUND IN STAGE
from lafayette IN
January 31, 2011Music Background:
this thing rocks!played a bar gig with it last weekend. walked in with a guitar case, this nestled inside. amplified with two qsc k12 cabs. big piano, big b-3, big horns! played the tiny keys, and it worked. getting a second one, will stack below and to the left by one octave. a cheat way to get full piano reach. each one weighs 6 pounds, so easy to carry. found my jump patch, loreli, journey, sledgehammer sounds. bought it to for fly gigs, the guitar boys always have their instrument, this fits plus pedals and di box in a hard guitar case for backoine gigs, will midi to it and use as module this season. output is quiet, efx are stellar. strings and brass especially nice. only one pedal input, but using a second unit or midi full size means u can plug an exp pedal in as well, all meets up at baby keys. the trick to realizing it plays nice with ur fingers, was putting at right height on a real stand. uses sd card up to 2 gig to save patches and sequences. just use it as a gigger, be happy! a padded soft guitar case works eell also, store your sustain pedal where the neck would go. good luck...-keysguy
from San Jose, CR
January 17, 2011Music Background:
Definitely recommended and is NOT a Toy!I owned this board for 3 months already to make sure I know it before writting my review, so here we go:
I´m impressed on the quality of the sounds of this machine. The first time I used it was in a practice and everyone at first were curious that I left my M3-73 at home and brought this instead. They were amazed that this little keyboard was enough to fill the gap for the practice! At the begining it´s weird to switch from the normal size keys to the mini-keys back and forth, but now I can say that I´m used to it. Mr Fisher already gave a technical review above (sweetwater´s advice) but I want to say as a user that I´m more than satisfied with what you can do with the microstation. I took one sound from it that I really liked (specifically the Fantom EP) and I could reproduce it, param by param on the M3, showing that it shares a similar synth engine. I has also some of the sounds present in the M3. I see this as a synth module with mini-keys, as I also connect it to an stage piano using midi and play live with the microstation using the synth engine of it to generate the sounds and the 88 normal keys of the piano. There are many options for me with this. The only 2 cons for me is that 1) you need to conect it to the laptop and use the editor for advanced edition since the display is very small, but I understand that is also related to the price, and if you want more you have the M-50 or the M-3. 2) I would like to have rythm patterns in program mode as the M3 does. Summary: Don´t judge it by the size or weigth! There is an amazing machine inside. Just check if this model fits your actual need. Hope this helps!
from Great white north
November 16, 2010Music Background:
very talanted hack
Cool synthesizer,The good.
The MicroStation has awesome sounds. The joy stick is cool, the combo works great, nice lite unit if you need to carry it. Loads of functionality. For a mini synth it's packed with features and pretty easy to do BASIC things without a lot of reading.
Micro keys and plastic case make it feel like a toy. The little window for the menu is too small and the menu functions are hard to get around. By the time you figure out how to record and play back you've lost your song idea.
If you want to make synthesizer sounds or have to carry your gear this is a capable unit. However, for the same cost there are stage pianos out there (and other synthesizers) that feel 10x better to play, have as many sounds, more intuitive, and more fun to play for the same price, or even less. Bottom line: Sounds on this thing are great. Playability is a joke.