Four and a half stars for this little wonder.
What a little jewel! Itís a full-scale arranger keyboard that fits in your pocket. Well, not quote, but it is extremely light and compact. Under 3í wide, it boasts 61 mini-keys and a host of Korg sounds that will be a great addition to my arsenal. Iíve worked for years on a Yamaha PSR3000 that I love. But the Korg sounds sometimes take my breath away with their presence and beauty. Iíve heard people reference this as being dated Korg technology, essentially a PA-50 in a smaller package. Well, bring it on. The sounds are ravishing! Thereís a song Iím working on now that hasnít come to life on the 3000. With some of these patches, itís going to turn handsprings.
I find the 61 mini-keys often easier to play than the full sized keys on my other boards. Somehow it just seems faster; my hands feel more agile. And of course, I can span a 10th or more with ease. I have noticed that, at times and on certain sounds, too light a touch may not result in a sound. Just need to get used to that. And, to be sure, the interface isnít quite as smoothly designed as some more recent keyboards.
But overall, itís worth it for the sound of the instrument. Live, emotional, lots of choices, some fairly close and others in the stratosphere. Itís a sense of the theatrical I donít always get on the Yamaha, which just seems more tame somehow. Gorgeous pads, rich guitars, saxes that will make you breathe funny. Pianos and organs that can fill just about any desire. Synth sounds to die for, including Korgís lovely analog strings. For a low price to get so much, itís worth throwing something else over to buy this, especially if youíre into arranger keyboards for songwriting, arrangement ideas, quick recording of song concepts, or just inspiration in a variety of genres. It even has several Boleros. You donít find a lot of Boleros on these things. It also has a built-in sequencer, and of course, lots of styles for chord-based accompaniment. It can read your chords either left-handed, below the split, or over the full width of the keyboard. Nice.
Note that when I plugged in a sustain pedal, it worked in reverse. The usual trick of powering off and on (power-up takes almost 30 seconds) didnít work. But in the Global settings there is a wealth of control options, and the polarity of the damper pedal is one of them. Default is Ė (minus), so just get into it with the Global button, then hit the Page+ button until you see the setting for pedal polarity. Hit the Yes key to change it to + (positive), hit write, confirm, and Bobís your uncle. Well, not me, some other Bob. Once, it did suddenly begin to ignore the pedal, requiring an off/on cycle, which set it right. Hope thatís not a habit.
Iím very happy with this instrument. Iíd love to see some interface changes to bring it into this century, but will happily kludge through the text-based interface to hear what Iím hearing. Thanks, Korg. Great job, and the usual great attention from Dan Van Amerongen.