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Korg SV-1 88 Stage Vintage Piano - Black Reviews

4.5 stars based on 10 customer reviews
Questions about the Korg SV-1 88 Stage Vintage Piano - Black?

Questions about the Korg SV-1 88 Stage Vintage Piano - Black?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Nathan Wall

    I love my Korg SV-1! This keyboard has it all: style, tone, and attitude! It is by far my favorite live performance keyboard. The big knobs and buttons are perfect for fast switches on the fly. There's no menu diving to get you lost or confused, but still plenty of variation and modulation to keep you busy. I love the voicing and amp modeling. But my favorite part of the whole keyboard is that big orange glowing tube! Overdriving it feels really good and gives a feeling of connection to the keyboard I've never felt before.

  • from Indiana December 22, 2016Music Background:
    Bar bands / home studio

    Amazing simplicity endless sounds

    I purchased the 88. The first thing you will notice is the play-ability. The key bed is simply a sensation all to itself. The touch setting for key sensitivity makes it so easy to personalize your playing style to what you expect to hear when you hit the keys. Truly a joy to play. At first i thought the sounds while good were kind of simple. As i worked with the SV-1 i found that tweaking sounds could not be easier. You wont find the hundreds of presets, what you will find is the most solid set of sounds you will ever need to play a live show. The combination of sounds is amazing. If you really need a huge tone list for shows add a laptop and use the software to give you that huge library. I could write a book on everything I love about this keyboard. If it has a fault, and to say a fault is being well built and and kind of heavy, could be argued. This one is 88 keys after all. All i can say is it is truly amazing. One little note to add. The rotary sim using the foot peddle is astounding. You can set high and low speed and foot switch between. It has a break period and isn't instant so it sounds so natural you will think you have Lesley sitting next you.

  • from November 21, 2015

    Great interface, great sound

    I purchased this as a second keyboard to my Yamaha S90ES. The keyboard is simple to use on stage, has XLR outputs, a great interface, great samples and a sound pack 1 and 2 allowing you to mix and match updates to build your stage library.

    For some reason the folks at Korg set the touch control on the keyboard to require a lot of force to produce the 8 layer dynamics. For all acoustic pianos, electro mechanical and organ voices I strongly suggest using the provided software to recalibrate touch to a 3 or 4 and store the settings. This makes the instrument easier to play and much more dynamic. It also opens the voices up a bit as you are generally using louder samples which produce more overtones and ambient resonance from adjacent keys pick up in the sampling.

    Great for live venues, very well built but a bit heavy.

  • from La Jolla CA June 14, 2015Music Background:
    Keyboard enthusiast

    3 years on

    I obtained my SV-1 88 in 2012 (see my prior review). I have been using it since 2012 non-stop in a variety of situations (live and studio), with a variety of live and recording formats. It has been very dependable and a pleasure to play. I would have made the same choice again today.

  • from Berkeley, CA USA March 3, 2013


    I am a young musician who truly appreciates the classic sound and feel of all the classic vintage keyboards. I thought that there would never be a digital option for a Rhodes or a Wurli. I was wrong. The SV-1 is perfection in keyboard form. Its weighted keys feel absoluetly amazing, and the Rhodes sounds (there are 6 different models) sound incredible. It's so great to show fellow keyboard enthusiasts the little tube on the left-hand side, then drive it to a deep, rich, fuzz. The pianos, okay...I mean I wasn't looking for a stage piano, but they could have been better. But if you're looking for the best Rhodes, Wurli, or Vox Contenental Sounds for a great price, BUY THE SV-1! I take it on every gig, and continue to be blown away at the look, feel, and sound of this demon. Thanks Korg!

  • from La Jolla CA November 2, 2012Music Background:
    Keyboard entusiast

    Korg SV-1 88 key black

    I have been very pleased with the performance of my SV-1 88. I have been playing it for about a year. They keyboard feels authentic. The piano sounds are impressive in this portable set-up. I honestly can not see myself playing any other type of keyboard.; Once you have tried it, it will be har d to switch to anything else. It truely is a classic.

  • from VA: VIRGINIA October 31, 2016

    Most realistic action to date

    Excellent keyboard. I love the analog qualities and am just starting to explore the sound and tone possibilities. This is without yet downloading the soundpack2! Hands-down it responds like a grand piano just only slightly lighter so that I can use my classical technique fully for the first time. I love the sound of the acoustics but the electric pianos and organs are especially juicy and very real. Awesome. Would have given it 5 stars but there is NO split button. The splits that come with Soundpack 2 are set in stone, with minor eq and volume possibilities. But they are also very good... just unusual for a keyboard not to split bass with all other sounds. Split point is not adjustable. Can't change the bass type either. Barring that, it's just an incredible sounding board with unique possibilities to determine your own tone... and a touch that CAN'T BE BEAT. Perfect for classical, jazz, blues, funk, fusion, reggae and jam band music.

  • from February 4, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, composer, keyboardist, singer

    Great keyboard!

    This is a really solid keyboard. The sound is great and the fact that it has two XLR outs directly on the keyboard is more handy than you can imagine. The piano sounds are not really clear to me but are still usable. The electric pianos are what you buy it for. A few of them have some really deep tones that you can really dig into.

    Pros: good e-pianos and good ability to connect with a mixer for live applications. The keys are also very nicely weighted. Very sleek- it looks very professional.

    Cons: HEAVY. I was not used to a heavy keyboard. I'm getting a gig bag for it but it does feel solid. It's piano sounds are not really clear but much better than a lot of software has to offer.

    Great keyboard! I recommend it!

  • from Chattanooga, TN May 13, 2012Music Background:
    Jazz, Blues, Rock, Classical


    After doing months of extensive research in preparing to purchase a new digital piano, it finally came down to two main contenders for me. It was either the Nord Stage 88 keyboard(or maybe even the electro), or this SV-1. I traveled out of town to play this SV-1 side by side with nearly all other professional digital pianos, including the Nord series models. This is not just a digital piano. Fellow musicians who have also played guitar understand that each and every guitar has a unique personality and vibe. The SV-1 is a perfect example of such an instrument. You can FEEL the pianos as you play them. It doesn't seem so "digital" like every other digital piano I've played. It truly feels like a real mechanical instrument.

    This keyboard does in fact use digital samples much like other digital pianos, but the electronics of this instrument is what sets it apart. The SV-1 contains all of the mechanical parts that an amplifier uses, including a valve and a built-in tube. The controls are hand-ready, and there is no complex navigation to find the sound you need.

    The sound of the acoustic pianos are certainly fantastic, but the electric pianos are definitely the highlight. This keyboard has the closest versions of the Rhodes and Wurlitzer classic pianos, and a fantastic group of clavs, with both modern and vintage style strings. These combined with the built-in vintage style effects creates some truly authentic sounds. The keybed is slightly lighter than what you would expect on a real grand piano, but its a good hybrid as it provides excellent feel for classical acoustic piano, and also gives a bit of "bounce" in case you need to break out a funky clav. I run this thing through my Roland KC-550 and it sounds amazing!

    After playing this side by side with the Nord stage 88, it was no doubt this was the clear winner. The acoustic pianos sound better, and especially the electric pianos. The interface is also easier and quicker to navigate. The Nord has two things over the SV-1: #1. It has better organs(the SV organ sounds really aren't that great if you are looking for authentic B3 sounds) and #2. It's lighter. The SV-1 is heavy. And then there's the price. In my opinion the Nord series are a bit overrated and overpriced and this keyboard is a fraction of any keyboard in the Nord series.

    I gave this 4.5 stars instead of 5 because of a couple of things. In addition to it being heavy, some of the effects parameters are not fully editable on the interface and must be edited via usb through software on your computer. And, switching from sound to sound can be abrupt, especially when switching from acoustic to electric pianos, and the master volume has to be adjusted quite a bit before switching. Otherwise, this board is amazing. Don't spend nearly 5k on a Nord keyboard. No keyboard should cost that much. Play an SV-1 and let it steal your heart.

  • from United States October 26, 2012Music Background:
    Professional Pianist

    Good Digital Modeling, Lousy FX

    This is an interesting keyboard. The rhodes and wurlitzer sounds are excellently modeled, and the grand piano sounds are fairly usable. I've found a couple organ sounds on here that sound good, and the strings are decent. In some ways this keyboard has really restored my faith in digital modeling, although the real thing will of course always sound better. This does have the advantage of being way more portable than rhodes and wurlitzers!

    The disappointing thing about this keyboard, with all the hype built up around the simple interface and the amp modeler, is that all the cool-looking knobs are wasted on lousy sounding effects. The amp modeler is completely useless, however the rhodes and wurlitzer sounds have a really convincing grit without the amps on. The tube is just going to a dummy speaker, it's really a sales ploy. You can read about this highly "simulated" tube sound on page 7 of the manual. I had high hopes for this since this technology is so up-and-coming right now. It's embarrassing how KORG put it on display and it sounds so sub par. I've found the Boost effect sounds slightly better than the whole amp section. Also, don't be fooled - the computer editor does not change the usability of any of the effects to any audible degree that's worth your time in fiddling with it. (However, the computer editor is good for getting rid of all the preset FX that are on every sound when you select it). Here's my workaround though: run this keyboard in stereo out to a good PA speaker on one side and through a re-amp box run to a tube amp on the other side, and you'll have the best of both worlds: a full-frequency sound and a creamy dirty compressed sound.

    Other effects that are usable. The Equalizer is actually very useful and much needed. The Tremolo is weird-sounding but usable at modest levels. Same goes with the Reverb. I'm not really interested in the Chorus, Flange, Phaser, Wah and Vibrato effects, so no comment on those.

    Overall I'd say it's worth the value, for the wurlitzer, and rhodes sounds. These sound artifacts are amazingly constructed. The grand piano sounds are also finely done.

    I take off stars for this though: for it's minimalist design, for all the effort Korg poured into the effects, and for all the marketing around the tube, it's a shame all that doesn't sound better.

  • from Hamilton, NJ October 1, 2012Music Background:

    Sounded great while it worked.

    I purchased this keyboard in March of 2012 and immediately fell in love with the vintage sounds, particularly the classic electric piano patches. Unfortunately, after about 5 months of sitting on the keyboard stand in my studio, I switched it on one morning to be greeted by a deafening hiss. After playing with the controls and finally doing a factory reset (following instructions in the manual), I've had to declare it useless for anything other than a MIDI controller. Now looking for a local Korg authorized service center. Never had any problems with the lesser expensive Korgs.

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