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Korg microKORG Synthesizer with Vocoder Reviews

5.0 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Korg microKORG Synthesizer with Vocoder?

Questions about the Korg microKORG Synthesizer with Vocoder?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    This keyboard is going to be legend. The microKORG is one of those keyboards that a begineer can define his music career with. It's also a synth that any keyboard player would love to add to his rig for the vocoding capabilites. I love the arpeggiators, the bass sounds, and the way that Korg separates its sounds in a genre-specific manner. The microKORG is destined to be a synth legend you will never want to sell.

  • James Masterson

    Being a solo songwriter, I rely on ease of use and portability. The Korg microKORG has been a great for me! Between its quick hookup, ability to easily make all kinds of different sounds I never could have imagined, and vocoder that lets me get a little crazy, this has been a great addition to my setup!

  • Robert Koch

    The Korg microKorg is a remarkably powerful synth in a small and affordable package. The versatility accompanied with this synth is astounding. I love the arpeggiator and how many different variations with every preset there are. You can even write your own arpeggiated sequence with it. Add in the cutoff, attack, resonance, and release knobs and you have endless options in this little synth. Definitely a great buy for adding to your synth rig or starting fresh!

  • TJ Walstrom

    What can I say other than WOW!!! The microKORG has all you need in a synth in a small affordable package. From the complex sounding arpeggiator to the versatile vocoder, the microKORG is a great unit for any electronic music writer to add to their collection. When you sit down with the microKORG, it pretty much forces you to create with its very distinct sound and ease of use. In fact, it is so user-friendly you can create your own unique patches with the simple push of a button.

  • Ryan Murray

    The microKORG has got to be one of the coolest synths out there. No in-depth menus to navigate, just really stellar sounds and easy customization of every waveform. The vocoder adds a cool element to any track, and the genre-specific categories make it even easier to find the sounds you want. It's so easy to fall in love with the microKORG, it's a must-have for anyone remotely interested in synths.

  • from Southfield, Mich March 17, 2016Music Background:
    Producer, Engineer, Musician

    BANGING!!

    This lil synth is monstrous!!! My 1st one grew feet some years ago & walked. But then I got a 2nd one... BEASTLY synths!!! Keybass patches are BEEFY!!

  • from mclean March 1, 2016Music Background:
    composer

    LEGENDARY

    I don't think people understand how legendary this synth really is. It has caused a revolution of other synths following in its footsteps. So many awesome new synths are modeled after the microkorg cause synth manufactures know that the micro korg is beast. If you are into synths this is a classic and i highly highly recommend this synth to anyone. I think its perfect for newbies and as an ad on. Classic synth sounds! I have both analog and digital synths and a pretty impressive collection and the micro org is one of them!

  • from January 17, 2016Music Background:
    a lot of years on a lot of stuff

    A LITTLE GIANT

    SO MUCH BANG FOR THE BUCK. This is a great analog modeler. The sounds and the flexibility are outstanding. The learning curve is not that steep. It is very intuitive to use. The only thing that would make this AN ENORMOUS GIANT OF A SYNTH...would be......wait for it.....here it comes..........scroll down....



    FULL SIZE KEYS........yeah.

  • from Montucky November 18, 2015Music Background:
    IndieJamadelic

    gnar gnar binks for sure

    This thing is a band member in it self.

  • from memphis, TN August 27, 2015Music Background:
    Orchestra, Jazz Studio, Film Composer

    A modern cult classic

    With the ending of LCD Soundsystem's will to carry on as a band, the simple music revolution that they played that final night, seemed to cut through the years of their lives and decisions that got them so far. At M.S.Garden those five nights, one can see in the wonderful documentary "Shut Up And Play the Hits," that the stage is littered with all sorts of synths, most notably the Moog Voyagers and in one set, about four or five microKORGS. Not the XL version, just the quaint little humble one that I know me and a lot of my friends, who began their music careers far away form the city and scenes I was raised on, yet call this little (almost) toy synth.

    But as toy-like as it seems to the initiated, it is a powerful and seriously diverse synthesizer. I kept one around my studio for years and when bored or uninspired, I would fiddle with it. I would control it with midi from my workstation or monosynth and blend the sounds into something beautiful. Sadly, I lost mine a while ago. It was a casualty of carelessness for someone who took some audio equipment from a friend and I guess tossed my little microBRO into the sack on the way out. Not to derail a review by any means, I just wanted to point out how no matter how far I distance myself from who I was and how "simple" and "entry-level" people think this synth is, I always would prefer to have one in my lap in the studio, bus, or snug in my backpack. I spent hours fine tuning these patches and would even upload them online to help others and hopefully start a shared community of ideas.
    One day I'll finally suck it up and buy another one. It's really that good, intuitive, and unique enough that I so actually seriously miss it. I have, in the years since, been able to find some nice synths for sale, but I'm always hoping to see one of these bad boys in a corner somewhere, just sitting and waiting on me. There is also a newer model called the "XL" that I haven't the pleasure of trying yet

    All in all, it's a modern classic. Efficient, tiny, and likely going to be very sought after in the coming years. Buy one now and maybe our daughter's daughter's will take pictures near it to seem retro and cool. It was an easy and magnetic intro to synthesis for me and I believe in the educational value provided in learning to program it (even as a digital monitor) the approach is a logical introduction to the sounds being created beneath their hands.

    Some Negatives: parts break easily, the vocoder mic can only bend a few hundred times before...short hollow keys feel fragile and are prone to chipping, the writing on the sticker that makes up the interface uses a font that is about 6 times smaller than I think any human can read in the dark, The primitive 80's digital alarm clock can only mimic so many "letters" and I use that world loosely, to represent what parameters you are actively changing which in considering the previous issue, you better hope you have some great presets to fall back on; which finally brings me to the main complaint, and that would be how almost insultingly bad the even typically bad demo patches are when you first try it out. If the machine was not so completely filled with the voices, I imagine more people would be inclined to experiment. Online community are amazing at publishing alternative voices for these machines, so definitely take advantage of the help you have.

    I recommend this guy very highly, I loved him back when, and even if I don't get a chance, a time, or another, then I know that the time I spent with the instrument was a profound and enjoyable part of my life.

    So, yes, in shot I recommend this synth to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

  • from El Paso, TX July 25, 2015

    Very versatile, great addition to your live rig!

    I love this thing. I went to a Guitar Center and tried it at the recommendation of an employee, and it was the most fun I've ever had with a keyboard. I'm not a piano, keyboard or synth guy, but after an hour of playing I was addicted; my friends had to almost literally pull me away from it so I'd stop (we were on vacation). I kept thinking about it over the next few days, and I finally caved and bought one from our good friends here at Sweetwater.

    This little synth/keyboard is a powerhouse in a tiny package. It has 128 presets, which some say is "limiting" but seriously, I doubt anyone actually uses every single slot for a completely unique sound. And if they do, Korg has some beautiful workstations available that they can check out! I tried pretty much every single sound (except vocoders, more on that in a bit) and I was really impressed with a lot of the presets. My two favorites were A15, a synth lead that sounds very similar to the lead tone on Subdivisions by Rush, and B61, an awesome layered arpeggiator with a creepy sound to it. The microKorg comes with a booklet that details all the presets it comes with. I haven't memorized names, just preset numbers. The amount of detail you can put on any one sound is really deep, not to mention the fact you can layer sounds together. It's an awesome machine that I can't wait to use live, I'm still writing with my band and finding ways to implement it. The awesome thing about this keyboard is that it runs on ac power AND batteries, so just in case your power goes out, or if you're traveling, you can still play it. Just plug in a good pair of headphones (requires 1/4" adapter)!

    On to some cons, unfortunately. The keys can feel pretty stiff, if you're a professional player, you're gonna hate the size and feel of the keys. I don't mind them because I'm not a pro and I'm not playing crazy stuff (yet). The supplied gooseneck mic has a good sound to it, but in my experience, the actual flexible gooseneck part is utter garbage. It is too weak to stay in position for very long, and under stage heat, I can imagine it would flop down even more. I recommend buying an MKAdapter (Google it) and a gooseneck adapter, and using a high quality condenser or dynamic mic (condenser mics require a 3.5 mm adapter). I personally ordered a Blue enCORE 100 to use with it and it sounds awesome, but I feel like I'm not using it to its full potential because I have to hold my mic in my off hand which should be using the mod wheel/pitch bender. Until my adapters come in, I'm not going to be using the vocoder much. But if the supplied gooseneck mic works for you, use it!

    That's my opinion of the microKorg, I feel like it's a solid product: Well built, affordably priced, and doesn't skimp out on sound quality. If you are looking for some inspiration, or a little something to spice up your live sound, I would highly recommend buying this product; I already love mine to death!

  • from February 4, 2015

    REALLY WANT THIS

    Played with this for 15 minutes at the music store and was instantly hooked! I'm not a keyboard player (play guitar) but have been wanting to add a synth to my repertoire. As soon as I save up I'm getting it!

  • from Red Lion, PA October 18, 2013Music Background:
    Hobby Musician, DJ

    Great Synth with Excellent Interface

    I did not get this from Sweetwater, but rather a second-hand model from a brick and mortar store. I have an R3, but it gets a little confusing with menu navigation, and the sound is kinda lackluster for the price point. After messing around with the demo model in the store, I can say that I prefer the microKorg over its successor. The menu layout is much more clear cut, and the pots used for adjustment feel more solid than on the R3. Overall, I am pleased with the microKorg, the only complaint is a lack of usb, but seeing as how this was made before usb in music became popular, I can let that slide and just refer to the midi setup guide and run midi through one of my controllers. Definitely a solid investment.

  • from charlote, nc, usa February 10, 2013

    Great keyboard, better midi controller

    First off, the synth sounds are amazing and really easy to program with the layout. I didn't like the wave limitations, so I started using this as a midi controller. It's PERFECT for easy use of plugins, because you can scroll through preset banks with ease using the program type knob and buttons on the left side of the control panel. This makes my digital synthesis a lot easier to get into, because I don't have to click on the mouse to get from preset 3 to 77, instead I'm there in a flash with this controller. Not to mention, the keys are great. I have really big fingers (can't use a blackberry) and this thing is great. The action is perfect, I can tap my pointer and middle finger on a key and it registers the different notes no matter what the speed. A great synth and midi controller. Vocoder is pretty awesome. For being almost all plastic it's pretty tough, I knocked it off my desk a few times loading gear onto different desks a few time, still goes 100%.

  • from Canton, Ohio November 23, 2008Music Background:
    Recording, Guitarist, Pianist, Live sound

    Awesome!

    Even beginners can make amazing sounds with this synth. This is my first real synthesizer so I don't have much to compare it to, but this synth will stay with me for quite awhile. It's easy, lightweight, and affordable. You would be insane not to buy this synthesizer.

  • from Boston, MA September 18, 2008Music Background:
    Studio Recording Engineer, Producer

    wowzers.

    Right out of the box this thing has the sounds YOU are looking for, no matter what genre you dabble in. Into hip hop? This is Dre in 37 miniature keys. I promise, as you click through the presets, your expectations will be quickly exceeded. And you haven't even started editing yet.

    Simply put, for short cash you are instantly dropped right into the midst of the analogue synth game. This is hardly a 'beginners' piece- sure the keys are small... but stop crying. It's 400 dollars.

    Buy it.

  • from Cambridge,Oh USA March 28, 2007Music Background:
    Keyboarder in a band

    Holy crap pretty sweet

    The microKORG is one of the best steals out there right now. It has amazing standards I just started playing keyboard about a year ago. but this took my little skills and turned me into a professional. I can add serious texture to my band. anyone looking to improve the sound of their music(wether that be in a band or as a solo musician)should give this baby a try you have nothing to lose. GO GET IT BYAAAH!!!!

  • from October 30, 2006Music Background:
    Recording engineer, producer, pro musician, hobbyist

    Big thingies come in small packages

    I bought this after a few weeks of its release. It was one of a kind. The whole look was attractive. I was hooked on the looks alone. Very compact and it's a Korg. The sound is superiror as expected from Korg. For a small package, it packs plenty. The portable, sleek design is beautiful. The sound is truly powerful that for such a tiny thing, this can compete with the big boys. Beware of immitators, just stick with the microKorg!

  • from Frisco, Tx USA June 21, 2012Music Background:
    Student, Musician

    Spectacular

    I have owned my microkorg for three or four years now and so far I have gotten nothing but joy from it. Once you learn how to fully use all the controls you can do pretty much anything with this synth. The only negative I have to say is I wish that there were more LFOs and a better control of the delay. After owning this for so long its only recently showing signs of its age.

  • from space coast of florida October 9, 2008Music Background:
    musician, producer, programmer, composer

    a lovely piece of kit!

    when i first pulled my microkorg out of the box 4 years ago- i fell in love. from the wood sides to the old school radio shack knobs it screamed vintage fun and 4 years later im still having fun with it!
    i'm currently using it as my reason controller (im a mouser so i only need it for key inputs and some knob tweaks). but its also great for the synth engine and sounds... i love dialing in a sound and then revamping it completely then cranking it through my monitors. not to sound like every other review but for a tiny keyboard this thing packs punch. i would have no qualms about using this as a lead keyboard at a live show... there are a few vintage key sounds including a wurlitzer/rhodes sound that surprised me with their realism. i own a 68 wurli 200a and if im not too keen on traveling with it so if i need to replace its sound- a few knob tweaks and the microkorg does the trick! having owned several korg electribes, i found the user interface very comfortable and easy to navigate. pitch and mod both have their own wheels and right above is the octave control, volume and tempo just like a normal keyboard. this may not seem like such a big deal but with the microkorgs minikeys i can actually play with both hands AND dial knob tweaks while controlling modulation (i do have a full octave reach with my hand so results may vary!)...
    i can get into all the experimenting ive done with the vocoder but i'd take up too much space.
    to sum this all up- this was one of the best purchases i have made for my project studio. you wont be dissapointed. trust me!

  • from McKinney, TX USA April 11, 2008Music Background:
    Film Composer, Post Production Audio

    Virtual Analogue Virtuoso!

    This little piece is a blast. It's got useable sounds right out of the box, from Acid House to early 80s Synthpop, to 90s techno. There are presets like "Slippy Pad" and "Domin8r" that harken back to Underworld and Joey Beltram. The synth itself physically is small, but you can slip it under your arm and take it places with you, so it goes great with a laptop. The wood panels are great conversation starters, as well. Also, the sounds fit very well in a mix, and the arpeggiator will inspire you with its techno-repetition. I've actually A/Bed this device with several synths from the old days, like the Roland JX8P and KorgMonoPoly, and it holds up quite well against those, and has digital effects to spruce up the sound. It also stays in tune, by golly! This is great as your first synth or your last synth. Absolutely no regrets.

  • from canaderrrr June 6, 2007Music Background:
    hobbyist

    easier than I expected

    I bought this thing out of a desire for a synthesizer to be used in conjunction with a sequencer/sampler and my acoustic drums. I have no patience for anything (I'm a DRUMMER... I HIT things...) and I haven't managed to be frustrated by this. All these reviews said "blah blah the interface is horrible... you cant edit things! it's hard to use!"

    If I can use it, you can. Read the manual. It's not that hard to figure it out.

    Yeah, the keys are little plasticy garbage, but I'm not a keyboardist. I bought it for the synthesizer, not the keyboard.

    The sound is unbelievable, and I'm satisfied with my purchase.

  • October 1, 2005

    Little? Naaaah...

    When I got my MicroKorg I spent hours on end playing with it, learning new techniques at each turn of a dial. The synthesis architecture is very easy to learn, and you can edit any parameter you desire in real time with a twist of a knob.

    This is definitely a lesson on the cliche of "Good things come in small packages." The array of sounds you can create is absolutely incredible. I have timbres that are as synthesized as they come, really phat Moog-style basses and leads, odd, shimmery pads, etc. but thanks to the DWGS waveforms, I have good emulations of bells, organs, guitars, even a cello! It's amazing how thick you can make the sounds, too. There's a unison detune mode for that purpose, but even if you're only operating in monophonic mode, you can detune and add chorus and it's like, "Wow." [I know, I know, "wow" is totally ambiguous, but you'll have to try this synth out to believe it...]

    If sound effects are more your style, I hope I won't offend any purists by saying that this baby is just as good as an old EMS rig if not better. With 4 virtual patches, two LFOs, and two EGs per timbre, you can create some really psychedelic sonic textures. Need ocean waves? noise+LFOs=Ocean. Whale song? Just tweak some waveforms to respond to an EG, then filter it to add murkiness and add delay for distance. Birds? Alien ray guns? You get the idea. No good electronic musician should pass this little jewel over for anything, not even one of those gigantic powerhouse synths [I shall not name names...] The MicroKorg is definitely a worthy addition to any sonic arsenal.

  • from SW Florida March 1, 2004

    Micro Korg

    A great addition to my keyboard collection. Lots of room to sculpt your sound.

    I love the Vocorder and can't wait to try out the sound editor on my mac.

    I've had it for two days and can see it will take a while to explore all the creative juice this thing has to offer.

  • from Montreal QC CA March 1, 2004

    Dynamite in a little package

    I've just had this a couple of days, and I've started modifying some of the sounds - most of the presets sounds fabulous, but some could use some modification.


    Everything from a fat Moog sound to some nice ring modulated sounds are featured here, and the vocoder is worth the price of the synth almost on its own.


    The keyboard is a bit small, but as I'm a guitarist, I'm using PK5 pedals to control this so it really doesn't bother me too much.


    All in all, worth every penny and more!

Reviews

  • Ryan Murray
    2-09-2009

    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.

  • Matt Milner
    4-21-2006

    I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by Korg's MicroKORG unit. Being a drummer I haven't had much opportunity to sit down with a synthesizer so I really didn't know what to expect

    Opening the box, I felt a little better: this pint sized powerhouse features a clean layout, easy to read and understand controls, a 37 mini-key velocity sensitive keyboard, the familiar pitch bend and mod wheels and even a flexible gooseneck condenser microphone for use with the 8 band vocoder.

    I plugged the unit in and patched it into the line inputs on my MOTU audio interface and began going through the 128 preset sounds. Monitoring was provided by my Event Studio Precision 8s. The presets are divided up by genre into 8 groups: Trance, Techno/House, Electronica, Drum n' Bass, Hip Hop/Vintage, Retro, Sound Effects/Hits, and Vocoder. Each group has 16 programs. Without any tweaking at all this unit is amazing. Just running through the presets I found some huge basses, cutting lead sounds, pads, vintage synthesized strings and even some amazing rhythmic patterns featuring the programmable arpeggiator. Using the large selector knob and oversized, lit program keys it was a breeze to switch quickly between programs. Many of the sounds have that classic analog grit and biting tone that could prove useful in a myriad of situations.

    After spending a good long time playing the presets, I wanted to get my hands dirty doing some actual sound creation. Opening the manual I quickly figured out how to both edit preset patches and start brand new patches from scratch. The MicroKorg offers 2 sound generating oscillators each with 64 waveforms to choose from, so the sound creation capabilities are vast. Of course each waveform can be edited and tweaked with complete independence greatly expanding the range of tones available, and if that wasn't enough: each waveform can have it's own programmed arpeggiator sequence. I should also mention Korg's "Virtual Patch Matrix" which allows you to control different modulation parameters such as filter cutoff, pulse width, panning etc. from the mod wheel or an LFO.

    So what does this all add up to? Incredible sounds and limitless possibilities Being able to edit so many parameters independently means that you can have a program where moving the mod wheel changes the cutoff frequency on one waveform and modulates the pitch on the other at the same time. With the programmable arpeggiator you can choose up to six patterns with control over tempo, gate, time, swing and up to a 4 octave range. Even cooler is the fact that each waveform can have an arpeggiator pattern that's totally different.

    If this was all the MicroKorg offered it would be an amazing unit, but Korg has thrown in a bunch more cool features: a classic 8-band vocoder ready to use out of the box with the included condenser microphone, two external audio input jacks to process other instruments through the MicroKorg's filters and a built-in effects processor offering flanging, chorus, phasing, delay, and EQ.

    This is a unit that could prove indispensable for gigging keyboard players, composers, sound designers, and studio owners. All of the preprogrammed sounds are top shelf, and you can make pretty much any sound you can imagine, whether it's a recreation of an analog classic or a brand new creation. With MIDI I/O and the ability to run on battery power, the MicroKorg could also be the perfect companion to the mobile studio. Chalk up another hit from Korg!

Questions about the Korg microKORG Synthesizer with Vocoder?

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