Edit your sounds with proper controllers rather than a keyboard and mouse
Many of us in the Computeractive offices are musicians and used to recording with computers. The thing is, editing computer based instruments such as synthesizers on a computer lacks any kind of tactile response, making it less than intuitive when searching for the right sound.
So we're rather excited by the MicroKorg. This is a digital synthesiser and vocoder capable of creating some very fun and workable sounds. It costs around £300, so it's not cheap, but you get proper editing controllers and a very wide range of sounds for your musical projects.
As you can see it's based around a mini-sized keyboard with and has lots of reassuringly big controllers. It's a world away from messing around with a mouse. It can be powered from the mains or with six AA batteries.
There are plenty of connections on the back. There's midi in out and through for connecting to other devices and a variety of audio ins and outs. The Midi in socket means that you can play the microKorg with a full size keyboard if you find that more comfortable, the extra range will probably be something you'll want when playing live.
The one thing we missed is a USB connection. It's a fair assumption though that if you're going to consider buying the Micro Korg that you already have a decent audio interface. Even so there are other uses for a USB connection such as backing up patch settings but you can do this via the MIDI ports. A USB Midi adapter will only set you back by about £30. There's also the socket here for the supplied microphone, but more of that in a minute.
The microKorg can store a total of 128 patches, and they're all filled from the off giving a good idea of what it can do. There are also so demo patches as well
As you can hear from the demo there are plenty of different sounds that can be used in different settings. There are also some more traditional sounds such as British organ, synth clav and some attractive strings.
The vocoder expands the available sounds by using your voice. You can use the microphone supplied with the microKorg, connect your own or use a line level source. The vocoder has its own section on the bank selector so there's plenty of editing possibilities and plenty of different sounds.
Another very useful tool is the arpeggiator. This converts a single chord into a run of notes. This is a great tool if like me the keyboard isn't your first instrument but you still want to create complicated pieces. The arpeggiator has its own button and you can control many different options such as the number of notes and swing
There are two ways of editing patches. Performance editing uses the top controllers in the modes described above them. This is good for filter effects, which I happen to like.
It is also possible to edit the patches themselves using the two central dials to access a much wider variety of adjustments. They are listed here in the table that links them to the controllers, but you'll want the manual close to hand, at least to begin with. Speaking of which, the manual is well written and helpful. It has great high res diagrams too so the PDF version is ideal for the iPad.
The Micro Korg is a very capable synthesiser and vocoder that offers a lot of different sounds for many different styles of music. More importantly, it's a lot of fun to use, even while you're still learning how it works.
Read more reviews
An excellent synthesiser and vocoder with a wide range of sounds
Many different sounds, proper dials for editing, arpeggiator
No USB interface
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