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Korg KingKORG 61-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Reviews

4.5 stars based on 10 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    I'll admit, I didn't want to like the KingKORG. I'm not sure why - maybe because I've been on an analog synth kick for a while. But it has more than convinced me... this board is GREAT! Its layout is awesome, the sound selection is great, and its ease of use is an A+.
    The sounds are very valid - bunches of current, vintage, Mellotron, and PCM sounds, along with plenty of extra sounds to add to ANY keyboard rig. (And the effects sound really great, too!) Plus, the knobs have been laid out with common sense - a real benefit.
    The KingKORG is a fun board that anyone can get good sound out of - and everyone who plays it is going to want one.

  • from October 22, 2016

    Terrible marketing for a groundbreaking synth

    I've owned several synths. I learnt to program on a D5, progressed to a VFX (awesome sound, terrible filters), a D70, SY77 (too complicated), K5000 (headachingly complicated), Blofeld (great sound, aweful UI), Sledge (great UI aweful sound), Virus Ti (meh) and a Radias: Probably the closest to a perfect synth. If only one could PM the DWG waves. Then came the King. Terrible name (but I can see where they were going with that). Beautiful UI. But why market this as a VA synth???? Under the hood is MMT2, exactly what I wanted from the Radias. One can phase modulate the DWGS waves (VERY not VA!). Plus those filters! Moog, Oberheim, Roland and Sequential Circuits are all faithfully recreated (though with cryptic names so as to avoid any patent issues). 3 0scillators of VA, DWGS, FM, Phase Modulation, PCM mayhem! Its SO easy to recreate just about ANY synth sound! JP8 strings, DX pianos, PPG pads. Then there are the sooooo smooth effects, the warm to decimating tubes (yes! Real tubes!!!!!), arpegiator. I should stop. Three words: WOW. WOW. WOW.

  • from Dallas/ft worth March 1, 2016Music Background:
    Professional 25 years

    18 months later.....

    I posted a review 18 months ago. I have since bought a virus (sold it) Waldorf pulse 2 and blofeld(both sold), Roland system-1 (still have it) kirg minilogue(deeply in love). I've gone through several other instruments but the one I will not part with is my King. I've been using synths since my first Juno in 85. I bought the King at a big close out discount of 450$ because they initially didn't sell at all. Now they are commanding good prices on eBay. Why? Because people are finding out how good this synth is. You can fall in it and come up with a usable sound! This korg is simply awesome. After 18 months and a dozen purchases I still have my king. Seriously it's worth every penny

  • from Indiana September 17, 2015

    Pure Awesomeness!

    I will say that I'm largely in the softsynth domain for the last five years. I used to have a Kurzweil K-2500XS, so I've experienced some of the best hardware out there. I moved to a DAW and (a LOT of) softsynths and samples (Kontakt libraries, not free-standing rubbish) over the last five years.

    Recently, I decided to get a synth for recreational use, as opposed to using a MIDI controller and always having to link up a bunch of things with MIDI before even getting to playing. I wanted the keyboard version of my bass, so I could just pick up and play along with something on a whim, but still alter the sound in realtime, and even do recreational synthesis.

    My criterion were simple: NON-menu-diving, real-time control of the sound/synthesis, and 61 keys. (I find less than that limiting.) I also wanted to stick around $1k.

    The choices were slim. I saw a review of the StudioLogic Sledge 2.0. I tried that for $1k. I won't belabour the point; if you want to know what a nightmare it was, I left a review on that product's page.

    After developing a huge distrust of StudioLogic's Sledge and their QA, I looked for an alternative. I found the KingKorg. Yes, it's $300 more. But what you get is more than 3x that in a jump in quality!

    I need to stop comparing it to the synth I just came off of, at some point. Because this unit shines not just in comparison, but in its own right. Some of the highlights:

    * Semi-weighted keys which don't suck. I'm a fan of synth-action. My old K-2500XS was fully-weighted, and I've played some Kurzweil semi-weighted before. I don't like the way they do weighting, really. This Korg has semi-weighted keys with a bit of resistance and solidity to them, but they're still synth/organ-action enough to not hinder me.

    * Accessible, up-front synthesis. I haven't started hardcore on programming from scratch, but it's like a slightly condensed version of the Sledge. They just put bank selectors on the relevant sections, rather than duplicating whole banks of knobs. It's just as easy to tweak in realtime, though.

    * Once you actually figure out how it works (the docs suck on this aspect), nice split zone functionality. What's lacking in intuitiveness is made up for by the fact you can actually control the octave spread of each split zone, which the Sledge could not do.

    * AWESOME stock patches! This is one area where not many synths actually come off that well. But every patch I've tried has been relatively normalised against the entire library, and they're -extremely- polished patches. Full organ with fast/slow leslie toggle? Check! Only thing missing is drawbars, but it's even got expression on the joystick. The Moog-esque leads on this thing are just gorgeous! The strings are lush! The phase string patch I just found is useful against many old synthwash tunes. It's just plain polished and and extremely well-programmed set of patches.

    * A -lot- of effects, and they're usable against either timbre bank. They're also MUCH higher quality than many effects you'll hear on other units, including the Sledge, and even some softsynths. They sound gorgeous!

    * The vacuum tube. I could practically just leave it there, because when you hear it, it speaks for itself. From warming/enhancing, to bringing full-on drive, having that makes such a huge difference!

    * Gorgeous and clear OLED displays!

    * Accessible, easy-to-use, and well-laid-out controls!

    * Solid construction, yet only 15.8 pounds or so.

    * It actually looks much better in person than in any video or photo I've seen, including my own. There's something about the finish which makes it look much better in person, and which doesn't convey in photos/video. It actually looks fantastic (and that was my one doubt when getting it...although can anything be worse than the school-bus orange of a Sledge? No, so I jumped...). It really -looks- like a pro unit.

    Seriously, I play this thing through a 200w Peavey Bass Max 112 combo amp tuned to mid-range, and it's just plain lush sounding. It is a thing of beauty, and I really do not think I could be happier with the unit. It's -exactly- what I wanted for recreational use. I'd be thrilled to death with it even had I not gone through the hell I did with the Sledge first.

    It's a pro-grade unit which will serve recreational and professional needs. Portability (not really an issue given my usage patterns) is a plus for gigging, I'm sure. It's just plain awesome, and really high-quality. I definitely feel I got my money's worth, and then some! (Usually 61-key is $2.5k+, and I can even name probably a dozen or two units which cost that and still have 49 keys or less.)

    Don't let the VA nature of it be a detractor. It's absolutely capable of crystal clear sounds which will blow you away. It has all the versatility of a condensed set of realtime programming knobs, with none of the true analog drawbacks.

    I'd say -jump- at the chance to own this!

  • from NY USA June 6, 2014Music Background:
    Pro...

    Long Live the King

    Back in the ‘70’s the first synthesizer I ever owned was a little quirky monophonic thing called, appropriately, the Mini Korg. The second was a big quirky polyphonic thing called the Yamaha CS-60. I loved both of these contraptions and the outrageous analog sounds they could make. While there certainly are some very excellent modern analog modeling synthesizers out there that sound great and have all the standard analog synthesis controls, nothing seemed to have the quirkyness that made early synthesizers so much fun until I saw something called the KingKorg (one word evidently).

    The King has an excellent analog synthesizer model with an incredible sound that can become way huge really quickly. Each timbre (of which there can be two – either layered or split) has 3 oscillators, but each oscillator has the standard analog waveforms (and lots of other stuff), but they have double oscillators called ‘Dual Saw’, Dual Square’ , etc. so each of the three oscillators can play 2 detuned sounds making the 3 oscillators sound like 6. If that’s not enough for you there are the ‘Unison’ saw, square, etc. waves that each put out 5 detuned sounds, so the 3 oscillators can sound like 15! Layer 2 timbres and you have 30! Add the unison feature and you have 60 – yikes! A program with 3 regular waveforms can sound as thick and rich as most folks would ever need. There’s a very nice filter section with the excellent KingKorg filters as well as models of filters from the Mini Moog, Prophet 5, and others. One great feature I love is the ability to put the analog oscillators out of tune, so if you repeated hit, let’s say, a ‘C’ note, each ‘C’ will be a slightly (or hugely) different pitch – this sounds exactly like my old CS-60 with the advantage that the oscillators can be put back in tune with the twist of a knob instead of spending days with an oscilloscope and voltmeter. The keyboard is light and fast with 3 triggering options – perfect for fast synth leads. Besides all the analog stuff, the King was quite a selection of sampled sounds – I haven’t played with them much, but they seem good enough to use if you needed a piano sound for a song, and I’m sure they would also make interesting fodder for the extensive filtering options!

    If you’re looking for a quirky, fun, lightweight analog synth with a great sound and lots of fun tools and effects, this would be a great choice. The only people who might be disappointed with this are those who are looking for something to play piano and Hammond organ on all night – there are better axes for that job. But, if you love big filter sweeps, thick analog brass sounds, riding the joystick to add just the right amount of vibrato and pitch bend to your searing sawtooth synth leads, and long portamento slides with lots of tape echo, this Korg is indeed King.

  • from DFW Texas October 14, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician-studio and stage

    i was WRONG

    i saw the news and the NAMM and i was yawning. i own a Kronos so i couldnt see wanting this. I WAS WRONG. i spent a few hours on this beast and thats the best way to describe it. i have seen the VIRTUAL ANALOGS and they are nice! but this one really pushes the envelope. the interface is designed in such a way that in no time you could edit the King with your eyes shut, and when you do turn a knob its amazing how much sound you can get out of it. powerful yet still warm. you can ASSAULT the ears without actually hurting them.
    it is capable of beautiful warm analog bliss or you can push it into some very aggressive esoteric territory. DUB STEPPERS TAKE NOTE! it is the most fun Ive had programming a synth in Decades. ignore the silly name. ITS AN AWESOME SYNTH

  • from Raleigh NC August 1, 2015Music Background:
    Hobbyist/novice/keyboardist

    Why buy a JUNO-106?

    I purchased the KingKORG once and soon returned it. Then after realizing how much I really enjoyed the synth, I repurchased! Wow what a wonderful investment! Very affordable for the quality and depth of sound! Perfect synth for the beginner, learning subtractive synthesis. The real surprise comes with a little menu diving which reveals the true depth of this Virtual Analog beauty. Don't be put off by menu diving, it's quite simple! I used the comparison of the Juno-106 because I think it's a perfect modern day alternative? Plus it's reliable and new. No "dead voice chips" to be concerned with.

    I do wish KORG had of designed a prettier, nicer looking synth. I've often thought they should have taken the design of the first micro-Korg casing and blown that up to a full size synth! That would have been beautiful! but aside from it's looks? This thing is wonderful and quite easy to use. The presets are pretty terrific and serve as a great starting place to design your own sounds. Even without making your own sounds the presets offer wonderful variety of radio friendly synth sounds!

  • from Mc Calla, AL July 28, 2014Music Background:
    Serious hobbyist

    Intuitive, versatile, and sounds great.

    I was looking for a synth to cover a lot of ground with an emphasis on vintage sounds. I'm a Korg fan, but wondered if this new Korg VA would have a great deal of overlap with my MS2000R. The clips and videos convinced me otherwise and I will state that the two are very different and complementary synths.

    The KK provides a knobby interface that is very intuitive. The only oddity is that a lot of the controls that would normally be on the left are on the player's right. This deviates from convention, but I have not found it to be a deal breaker. The only other negative that I would note is the scarcity of memory for both factory and user patches. However, the librarian is quite good and makes up for a lot.

    I like big, fat sounds and the KK delivers. The variety of filters is a great feature. I particularly like the fact that the KK can send both 5-pin MIDI as well as USB MIDI at the same time. On my other workstation, I can choose one or the other and am constantly flipping back and forth to control VSTs and hardware synths.

    The learning curve on the KK is pretty short. I'm an intermediate player and was on top of things very quickly and it has become my favorite synth as well as my MIDI controller. I do like the touch and feel of the keybed. That is a relief since I was unable to try one out locally.

    As always, Sweetwater delivered in record time and you have to love the extended warranty and support they provide. Thanks David!

  • from manassas, VA December 15, 2013Music Background:
    local Musician, Student

    A Reasonable King

    A very nice synth for the money! The Filters sound amazing and are modeled very well! It has more the enough effects to satisfy almost anyone and is very user friendly. The multiple screens and many knobs makes it very easy to stay with where your sound is. You feel like you have a lot of control with what you are doing. For the price it the the best synth you can get your hands on. It is a monster and it sounds like it too!

  • from Dallas, Texas December 7, 2016Music Background:
    Musician

    Somewhat limited

    I didn't see too many waveforms to build your sounds with, just the basics. The filters were many, but too similar to appreciate and your average Joe wouldn't know the difference. The effects are okay, but overall I wasn't too impressed with the KingKorg. I think I'll get Roland's System-8 instead as it has Jupiter-8 and Juno-106 plugout synths included, and those seem to be the vintage 80s sounds I'm really looking for.

  • from December 4, 2016Music Background:
    Professional

    Contrary to these other opinions

    One of the most disappointing synths I have ever owned. The sounds are pretty good, but the functionality sucks. Knobs and features in the wrong places, the keyboard itself doesn't operate properly if you play in keys other than c or Am.... the fulcrum is so close to the end of the keys that you have to press exceptionally hard to get the key to move. There's no way to store additional patches unless you want to dump the sounds via midi like we used to do in the 80s.

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