Korg R3 No Longer Available

37-Key, 8-Voice MMT Synth/Vocoder
Item ID: R3

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Korg R3 image 1
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Korg R3
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Powerful, Compact Synthesizer with Vocoding!

The R3 is a full-fledged synthesizer that provides an easy and affordable way to enjoy sophisticated synthesis and advanced sound creation. In a compact and light-weight body, it packs 37 full-size, velocity sensing keys, along with two-timbre/eight-voice performance power. The sound generator section uses the same acclaimed MMT (Multiple Modeling Technology) used by the KORG RADIAS, delivering thick, gutsy, and crisp analog sounds. With quality that will satisfy both professionals and beginners, the R3 is a great choice for adding synth sounds on stage or in music production.

Korg R3 at a Glance:
  • MMT synthesis
  • Two filters with selectable routing
  • Amp section with a Drive/Waveshaping circuit
  • Multiple EGs and LFOs
  • Virtual Patches for sophisticated sound-creation
  • Dramatic tonal changes from the Modulation Sequencer
  • Formant Motion produces personalized Vocoder sounds
  • Effects to enhance the sound
  • Flexible arpeggiator
  • 128 powerful programs
  • Process and transform external audio sources
  • Editor/librarian software included
MMT synthesis

The versatile range of built-in oscillator algorithms covers everything from familiar analog synthesizer waveforms, to unique digital waveforms and even live audio input. For each voice, the R3 provides two oscillators. Oscillator 1 (OSC1) gives you a choice of seven waveforms including sawtooth, pulse, formant, noise, and DWGS, as well as allowing you to select an external audio source connected to the AUDIO INPUT 1 and 2 jacks. To enhance the basic analog synthesizer waveforms such as the sawtooth, pulse and triangle waves, you can apply cross modulation, pulse-width modulation, unison voice-thickening, or even VPM (Variable Phase Modulation).

Oscillator 2 (OSC2) gives you a choice of four waveforms such as sawtooth and sine, and can also be used as a modulation oscillator to apply sync modulation, ring modulation or a combination of the two for distinctively analog synthesizer sounds. The noise generator (NOISE) produces white noise, and provides a useful way to create breath noise for wind instrument sounds, or to produce evocative sound effects. The sawtooth wave and pulse wave use the same basic low-aliasing design as the AL-1 Analog Synthesizer found in Korg's flagship OASYS synthesizer.

Two filters with selectable routing

The R3 features a dual filter structure that can be configured in series, parallel or an individual structure allowing each oscillator to have its own dedicated filter. Filter 1 is a multi-mode resonant design that lets you continuously vary between various lowpass, highpass and band reject characteristics. Filter 2 has a switchable, multi-mode resonant design that also includes comb filtering, which can be made to feed back in order to boost multiple series of overtones, giving you amazing potential for generating unique tonal changes.

Amp section with a Drive/Waveshaping circuit

The Drive circuit lets you create the subtle yet distinctive distortion typical of an analog synthesizer, or generate new overtones by deeply overdriving the sound. The Waveshaping circuit gives you twelve types of transformation including hard clipping, and can be used as a decimator to produce typically digital roughness by converting the sampling frequency. It can even be used as a sub-oscillator, opening up new sound-making possibilities. The Drive/Waveshaping circuit can be placed either before the amp section or immediately before Filter 1 to give you different nuances of sound. With additional parameters - such as the Punch Level setting that emphasizes the attack, giving greater impact to percussive sounds - you have the tools to enjoy radical creativity that's not restricted by concepts of the past.

Multiple EGs and LFOs

Each voice provides three ADSR envelope generators (EG) for classic analog synthesis control over pitch, filter and amp characteristics. The classic and intuitive four-stage ADSR design has been enhanced with five different attack and release curves, allowing the EG contours to be crafted with new levels of precision and articulation.

Two LFOs with six waveform choices can be used to apply cyclic modulation to synth parameters. High-speed digital processing ensures that vibrato, wah, and tremolo will produce extremely smooth tonal changes, and each waveform can be extensively modified via the Shape control, greatly expanding the versatility of the LFO section for creating highly complex types of modulation.

Virtual Patches for sophisticated sound-creation

The R3 provides six Virtual Patches that simulate the patch cord functions of the PS series and MS series - classic Korg synthesizers of the past. There are twelve modulation source including EG, LFO, velocity, and keyboard tracking (the position at which you play the keyboard) that can be used to apply modulation to fifteen different destination parameters such as pitch, oscillator 1 control, or filter 1 type.

Dramatic tonal changes from the Modulation Sequencer

The Modulation Sequencer can apply a time-varying change to a specific parameter, similar to CV control on an analog synthesizer. You specify the value of each of sixteen steps, and then choose how to play back these steps (forward, backward, looping etc.) to vary the sound in unique ways. There's also a Motion Rec function that lets you capture and replay real-time knob movements.

Formant Motion produces personalized Vocoder sounds

The R3's powerful vocoder function lets you use your voice to add a distinctive tonal character to the sound of the oscillator, creating "speaking" tones. The vocoder consists of sixteen filter bands, and can replicate the classic vocoder sounds of the past, as well as letting you dramatically transform the timbral character by adjusting the level and pan of each frequency band to create absolutely original vocoder sounds. The R3 comes with an XLR-connector gooseneck microphone, so you can start enjoying this superb vocoder functionality right away.

In addition, there's a Formant Motion function that lets you capture the movements that occur in the vocoder's filter bank when you route your voice through it. By playing back these movements you can produce vocoder sounds without inputting your voice. The R3 lets you record a maximum of 7.5 seconds of Formant Motion data into each of sixteen internal memories, and use this data in multiple vocoder programs. With the factory settings, the bank marked FORMANT MOTION on the dial contains preloaded programs that use formant motion data.

Effects to enhance the sound

For each timbre you can apply a two-band EQ and two Insert effects. There's also a Master effect that lets you apply reverb or delay etc. to unify the entire program. For each effect, you can choose one of thirty different effect algorithms. The delay time and other parameters that use an LFO can be synchronized with the arpeggiator or to an external MIDI clock. You can take advantage of this in a variety of situations - including live performances.

Flexible arpeggiator

Six different arpeggio patterns are built-in (UP, DOWN, ALT1/2, Random, and Trigger). For each of the possible eight steps you can specify whether a note will sound and the duration of that note, letting you produce unique phrases with rhythm variety.

128 powerful programs

The R3 contains 128 great-sounding programs organized into 16 banks of 8 programs each. These banks are organized by sound category, and can be quickly accessed using just two actions; the bank select dial and the program selector buttons.

From rich sounds that are nearly unimaginable to be coming from such a compact instrument; highly complex sounds using cross modulation, formant motion, and the arpeggiator; thick and warm sounds you expect from analog modeling; to sharply aggressive sounds, there's an amazing spectrum of sounds instantly available to enliven your music.

Process and transform external audio sources

The R3 has two external audio input jacks. By selecting an external audio source as an oscillator, you can filter the external audio source, or apply effects to it using the full range of processing potential available for the internal waveforms. This is a great way to create unique and original sounds, for processing audio loops from a computer and even playing another instrument through the R3.

Editing sounds is quick and intuitive using the R3's elegant interface - simply select a page and turn the four edit knobs. In addition to the main display that shows the program name and the name of the parameter page you're editing, a sub-display above each of the edit knobs indicates the specific parameter and its value, ensuring that your editing will be smooth and easy. A "halo" or ring of LEDs surrounds each edit knob, clearly indicating the current parameter value. You can also use these knobs to modify the sound while you perform. Filter cutoff, resonance, attack, and decay are assigned to the four knobs by default, so you can easily vary the sound to your taste.

LED indicators are also located around the bank select dial, so it's easy to see the selected category even if you're performing on a dimly lit stage. Switches that are frequently used in live performance, such as octave shift and arpeggiator on/off are located for easy access.

Editor/librarian software included

You can connect the R3 to your computer via its USB connector, and use the included stand-alone editor/librarian software to conveniently edit the sounds, using the enhanced graphics that the computer provides. You can edit, create, save, and store programs to the R3 or to your computer. Sounds you edit or create using the editor/librarian software can be used in realtime on the R3 itself.

Korg R3 Features:
  • 37 notes (full size keys, velocity sensitive)
  • 2 Timbres maximum (when using Layer, Split, or Multi)
  • 8 voice polyphony (maximum)
  • 128 programs (16 banks x 8 programs)
  • 16 formant motion data sets (7.5 second x 16)
  • Rear Panel 1/4" input(unbalanced)
  • Front Panel XLR input (balanced)
  • Additional 1/4" input (unbalanced)
  • Output: L/MONO, R 1/4" phone jacks (unbalanced)
  • 1/4" headphone jack
  • Foot Switch Output
  • USB: Type B
  • Gooseneck microphone
  • AC adapter (DC 12 V)
  • CD-ROM
  • 2 oscillators + noise generator
  • Oscillator 1: Wave: 8 types (Sawtooth, Pulse, Triangle, Sine, Formant, Noise, DWGS, Audio In), Modulation: Waveform, Cross, Unison, VPM
  • Oscillator 2: 4 types (Sawtooth, Square, Triangle, Sine), Modulation: Ring, Sync, Ring+Sync
  • Waveshape: 12 types: Drive, Decimator, HardClip, OctSaw, MultiTri, MultiSin, SubOSCSaw, SubOSCSqu, SubOSCTri, SubOSCSin, Pickup, LevelBoost
  • Multimode Resonant Filters: Filter 1: -24dB/oct LPF ~ -12dB/oct LPF ~ -12dB/oct BPF ~ -12dB/oct HPF ~ Thru, Filter 2: LPF, HPF, BPF, Comb
  • Envelope Generator x 3, LFO x 2
  • 16 channel vocoder, adjustable level and pan for each channel, Formant Shift function, Formant Motion function, Formant Hold function
  • Arpeggiator: Six types: Up, Down, Alt1/2, Random, Trigger, Individual step on/off function
  • 128 programs (16 banks x 8 programs)
  • 16 formant motion data sets (7.5 second x 16)
Korg R3 - RADIAS's affordable little brother!

Additional Media

Korg R3 Review

Tech Specs

Manufacturer Part Number R3

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews

Sweetwater Advice

Jon Gillespie

The Korg R3 is an AMAZING sounding keyboard! It is great for the experienced keyboardist who wants to add a completely new palette of textures to his keyboard rig. It's also perfect for the electronic musician creating complex compositions in a multitrack environment. The range of textures from vintage analog sounds to motion synths and bell-like tones, coupled with an extremely powerful arpeggiator, make this a MUST-HAVE. It's also a great add on for a gigging musician playing those classic rock tunes from the seventies and eighties that use a vocoder. The R3's vocoder is incredibly easy to use and has an incredibly accurate vintage feel. The ease of use of this keyboard is incredible as well. Right out of the box, I just plugged it in and pressed a key and I was sounding great! The editing knobs on the front made it so easy to alter the sounds on the fly while I was playing, adding wave sweeps and tweaking the sounds. As soon as my wife lets me, I'm buying one for myself! Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer
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See also: Korg, Korg Synths / Modules