The microKORG is a virtual-analog synthesizer and vocoder. It has 37mini keys, several control knobs, an on-board arpeggiator, a complete MIDI implementation, a PC/Mac patch editor.
It may just be synth with the longest production record. The Korg website still shows it as a current product, and it looks like it had its 10th anniversary a few years ago.
There have been several versions of the microKORG: the XL version, the red and black version, the gold version. I have the original version here, so that’s my reference in the episode.
There seem to be a lot of opinions out there about this one. Some say there are better alternatives out there. That may or may not be the case for you. Here’s some of the good and bad…
What is meant by Virtual Analog? It sounds like marketing mumbo jumbo, but it actually means something.
Virtual Analog is also known as “Analog Modeling” which might be a more accurate description. It is a method of attempting to re-create the sound of analog synthesizers with digital signal processing. Instead of simply sampling analog waveforms, virtual analog (VA) synths are designed to “model” the analog signal path traditionally made up of discrete electronic components. The emulation is primarily done code that is processed by digital microprocessors.
Does it work? Well, that’s a hot topic I’m not going to answer. You’ll have to be the judge. You’ll hear plenty of clips from the instrument on the podcast, so have a listen.
In addition to the analog-modeled waveforms, oscillator 1 offers a set of digital waves. While working with the classic waves (saw, square, etc.) gives you an instant vintage feel, the digital waves are more
Each preset has 4 virtual patch cables. When the microKORG was first released, modular synthesis wasn’t as popular as it is today. The manual positions this feature as being similar to connecting patch cables on their MS-20 semi-modular synth. So, that’s an interesting idea considering the release in the early 2000s.
The idea is, you can virtually patch a cable from several sources to modulate several destinations. This is pretty standard practice—offering modulation sources, but I think their approach was
pretty forward-thinking at the time.