The microKorg is a retro-looking version of the MS2000 analog modeling synthesizer, designed with portability in mind. The microKorg uses the exact same synthesis engine and sounds found in the MS2000 and MS2000R synths designed by the company.
The microKorg has 128 Programs organized into 8 categories: Trance, Techno/House, Electronica, DnB Breaks, HipHop/Vintage, Retro, SndFX/Hits, and Vocoder. The sounds are great and inspiring. There is only 4-voice polyphony and only one Program can be played at a time.
The microKorg has two oscillators with 71 waveforms (7 simple analog waves + 64 DWGS waveforms from the DW-8000), a multi-mode resonant 12 or 24 dB/oct filter, 8-band vocoder, two ADSR envelopes, 6-pattern arpeggiator, oscillator sync, ring modulation, two MIDI-syncable LFOs, programmable multi-effects, and more! All knobs and buttons send/receive MIDI controller data. External audio can be vocoded and/or processed through the filter, effects and EQ via the included microphone or standard 1/4" stereo inputs.
The microKORG uses DSP technology to emulate the sounds of an analog synthesizer using firmware. The fundamental unit of sound is, in Korg's terminology, a "timbre". This is generated with a pair of multi-function oscillators. Two timbres can be combined to create a four-oscillator "layer". This can be used to create more complex sounds, although it halves the polyphony from four notes to two. A single timbre can be played in four-voice. Oscillator one (OSC1) can produce one of several fundamental waveforms, including saw, square, triangle, and sine waves. Alternatively, OSC1 can produce a vox wave (for simulating human vocal cords), white noise, and one of 64 different digital waveforms that were created by harmonic additive synthesis. Some of these 64 waveforms were originally featured in the Korg DW-8000 digital synthesizer of the mid 1980s. The second oscillator (OSC2) is limited to saw, square, and triangle waveforms.
Each waveform on OSC1 has a unique modulation feature, including wave morphing, Pulse-width modulation, and FM. OSC2 can be detuned, synchronized, and/or ring-modulated with OSC1 in order to create more complex sounds. OSC1 can also be replaced with the signal from one of the line-level inputs on the back of the unit, allowing external signals to be processed with the effects and filters of the microKORG, or potentially ring-modulated by OSC2.
The microKORG also uses effects such as flange, ensemble, phaser, and digital delay, which can also be applied to external signals. The unit also features two independent LFOs, with six different waveforms, which can be used to create more complex modulations.
When playing a single timbre the keyboard has four-voice polyphony. In layer mode it generally has two-voice polyphony, although one combination of polyphonic/mono layers allows for three-voice polyphony of the second timbre.
The direct successor to the microKORG, the microKORG XL, utilises MMT Analog modelling, and is based on Korg's own R3. The XL features a brand-new LCD display, and two Program Select knobs for easier access.
Notably, the microKORG XL features 17 different KAOSS derived effects, including phaser, flange, decimation, vibrato, tremolo and retrigger. The XL also features several included PCM Waveforms, including Piano, Brass Ensemble, 9 Electric Piano and Clavinet, 7 organ sounds (one of which emulates the Korg M1 Organ), a full String Orchestra, 2 variable formant waves and more than 32 digitally generated waveforms (SYNWAVE 6 is a ramp wave/inverted sawtooth.) The XL adds two additional Waveform Modulation types: Phase Modulation and Unison (in which 5 stacked oscillators within 1 oscillator can be detuned and phased to achieve a richer sound.) The Unison Simulator is similar to the Supersaw waveform on the Roland JP-8000. The included "OSC MOD WAVEFORM" and "OSC2 SYNC" controllers are reminiscent of the Poly-Mod feature in the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. The microKORG XL also includes a waveshaper (uncommon in most synthesizers) which will morph the current waveform into an approximation of the waveform desired, resulting in a harsh sound. The waveshaper also includes a third oscillator (Sub oscillator.)
Additional improvements include:
Polyphony increased up to 8 notes
Vocoder increased to 16 bands, but still supports the 4 note polyphony
USB connector for MIDI over USB operation
"Split" and "Multi" added to Voice modes
The option to use 10 scales, including one defined by the user.
"Analog Tune" simulates the pitch instability and oscillator “drift” that was characteristic of vintage analog synthesizers
Multi Timbral 2 (max, Split/Dual Mode)
Voices 4 voices
Sound Source 2 Oscillator + Noise Generator,
Multi Mode Filter(-24dB/octLPF,-12dB/oct LPF/BPF/HPF)
Voices 4 voices
Sound Source 1 Oscillator +Noise Generator
8 Channels vocoder
Level and pan of each channel can be edited
Formant Shift function
Programs 128 programs
Effects Modulation effects (3 types), Delay (3 types), Equalizer
Arpeggiator 6 types
Controllers Real-Time control knob X 4 (3 level Selection), Arpeggio ON/OFF
37 Keys (mini-keyboard, keyboard has velocity)
Inputs AUDIO IN 1,2, Level switch LINE/MIC, [AUDIO IN 1, 2 (LINE) ], [AUDIO IN 2 (MIC)]
Outputs L/MONO, R, Headphones
MIDI IN, OUT, THRU
Display 3 characters×1 line with 8 segment LED
Power Supply DC 9 V (AC adapter), or six AA alkaline batteries (sold separately)
Power Consumption 6.4 W (MAX)
The Gear Rack