Imagine carrying a long cardboard box into your home, opening it and pulling from it the control panel from the cockpit of a space shuttle. That was my first experience with the Korg M3-73. With the touch of a few buttons, I thought I might achieve liftoff. And metaphorically, I did!
To be honest, I didn’t really have high expectations for myself with the M3-73 because I’m not much of a keyboard player. I use one to compose and I tinker a little here and there, but I wouldn’t consider myself a player.
As long as we’re keeping with the truth here, I still don’t know how to use the M3-73 anywhere near to its potential. But the fact is, other than the basic 73 keys and the power switch, I didn’t think I’d be able to delve into any of the additional features. I was pleasantly surprised to find many of the functions extremely easy and intuitive, to the point that I felt like I was making music in the first five minutes after powering it up. Rather than being a headache to learn, it was a joy! The M3-73 employs the KARMA engine, or as I’ve come to call it, the “talent button”. It does much, much more than simply playing a drum beat or backing track. Among other things, it will take a note or chord being played and arpeggiate it in a way that is much different than typical arpeggiator functions. By moving one of the sliders, the arpeggiation will change. Although the time signature and tempo can be adjusted, moving the slider changes the arpeggiation without changing tempo or time signature. It plays in a very “human” way and I found that I could create a song without having to think about theory or chord structure. For me, that alone makes the M3-73 worth owning. It allows me, someone with pretty basic keyboard skills, to really sit and begin creating and having fun! In a performance setting, entire songs or complete backing tracks can be laid out without much thought.
In addition to KARMA, the M3-73 has 8 programmable pads. The pads come pre-assigned to chords, so you can literally use them to create full songs with chord progressions. The pads can be reassigned to your own chords easily, for simpler playback of your music. And, like the rest of the keyboard, they are velocity sensitive. Additionally, the Korg M3-73 has every feature you would expect of a professional workstation, including tons of sounds and patches, USB and MIDI integration, an internal sequencer, plenty of analog and digital I/O and, of course, great sound and build quality.
The M3-73 is the perfect keyboard, no matter what you’re doing. It’s easy enough that even the most basic skills can get you up and making music quickly, but offers enough features to please even the most advanced users.