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Microphone Month 5

Korg microKORG Review

The microKORG is user-friendly, light and portable, and it sounds really cool.

One of the main things that attracted me to the microKORG was that it wasn’t as intimidating as the giant keyboard workstations with more functions than I have time or patience to learn. For I am by no means a keyboardist… I just want to get the coolest sounds with as little effort as possible. Is that really too much to ask? Well according to Korg, no.

Opening the box, I literally felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I had the microKORG plugged in and powered up before even noticing that an operator’s manual was in the box too. No matter, I would just see how far I could get on turning knobs and pushing buttons aimlessly. The microKORG made me sound like a pro… well maybe not a pro, but it fooled me into thinking I actually knew what I was doing. Much of the functionality of the microKORG really is self-explanatory. There is a giant knob that controls the genre of sound you are accessing, eight patches of different sounds per bank, and two banks per genre. So right off the bat without any real work you have access to sixteen different sounds per genre, of which there are seven. Additional to the genres, there is an option for the built-in vocoder. A condenser microphone is included, but you can also plug your own dynamic or condenser microphone in. The other obvious knobs are across the top, and are for your cut-off frequency, resonance, attack, decay, and tempo control. Use these in any way you want to sculpt your sound however you prefer. An arpeggiator kicks in when you – get this – press the arpeggiator button. There are also controls for changing octave, three up and three down, and the essential pitch and mod wheels. After playing around for a while, I wanted to really dig into what the microKORG had to offer. But how much power can a 37-key mini-synth pack? As it turns out, a lot more than I thought.

After reading into the manual for a mere thirty minutes, I came to realize just how much customization is available for each sound. Whether you plug another instrument into the microKORG, or use the preset sounds, every waveform is customizable. The best part is, whether you want to surf through the six different arpeggiator settings, change the settings of the two oscillators, add noise, sweep filters, add delay, mod FX, flanger, whatever… it’s all done by the twist of a couple of knobs. No difficult menus and screens to navigate, just cool sounds that make it easy to start making music. Edit the patches to your content, so next time they are just the way you like them. It became evident that the microKORG would make it every easy to build synth tracks in my DAW of choice, and something like this can really get the creative juices flowing.

Beginners and pros alike would both have good reason to want this little synth. It has MIDI in, out, and thru and could easily work in a studio or live rig for todays retro-pop, electronica, or even hip-hop artists. A good amount of today’s pop music is synth-driven, and that makes the microKORG very relevant. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone with the slightest bit of interest in synthesizers. It’s user-friendly, light and portable, and it sounds really cool. The microKORG has absolutely won my heart, and a place in my home studio. Korg must have read my mind, because this is how I picture making music. The coolest sounds with as little effort as possible… the microKORG is exactly what I was looking for.

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