Korg 01/W

Korg 01/Wfd Image

Korg 01/WFD

Korg's 01/W workstation synthesizer debuted in 1991 as the follow-up to the popular M1. The 01/W was the second chapter in Korg's workstation legacy, which goes on to this day with the Triton and Oasys series. The 01/W was geared towards beginning home studio enthusiasts that wanted to take a step further into a more professional realm. Compared with the M1, the 01/W featured many enhancements including a more dynamic 16-track sequencer (the M1 only had 8-tracks), 254 real world sampled instruments to the M1's 100, polyphony was doubled from 16 to 32 voices, and greater overall control.

The 01/W synthesis engine is based on Korg's own AI2 sample + synthesis design. AI2 was so successful that most later Korg synths in the 90's were also based on the new synthesis method. The 01/W is by no means difficult to program. There is a Quick Edit feature where you can adjust the parameters to the sounds you want by using eight soft buttons. That included octave, wave-shaping intensity, filter EG, VDA level, attack, release and effects level. Like the M1, the 01/W lets you layer up to eight Programs simultaneously to create a powerful Combination. Even without getting into the editing interface, the ability to layer any of the 200 programs together means you can create many diverse and interesting sounds.

Another big feature of the 01/W is its internal sequencer. Combining ease of use with powerful editing features such as copy, paste, move, overdub and punch-in & out recording, it is possible to create complex and highly professional sounding music all in one box without the need for a computer-based solution. The sequencer also works well in a master keyboard situation so that you can select channels to control external tone generators as well as the 01/W's internal sounds.

As powerful and versatile as this workstation is, however, there are downsides. Although there are 47 different fully assignable effects to choose from, only two are useable at any time, and act globally over all tracks in the sequencer! There is also no resonance control, so there are a very limited number of fun, synthy patches, with the 01/W leaning more toward the traditional acoustic instruments and sampled waveforms style (it's a true digital keyboard; the polar opposite of analog ideology). In addition, a few of the drum sets were mapped differently from the others, and were thus not interchangeable within the sequencer.

The original 01/W actually didn't sell very well, mostly because of its limited sequencer memory capacity. But the 01/WFD expanded the memory and added a Floppy Drive for disk storage and then it sold like hot-cakes and was followed up with rack-mount, 76 and 88 keyboard models. The 01/W-series was later replaced by the Trinity and Triton workstations. Nevertheless, the Korg 01/W-series was one of the most powerful workstations of its time, and it still holds itself together in a mix. Admittedly, the effects section does help, but the basic samples are quite good, especially the organ, pad and string sounds. Guitar and piano sounds are not its strong points, but the former benefits a lot from the great distortion effect. And the later models also featured an upgraded and much better sounding acoustic piano sound. All in all, an ideal board for pop, r&b, (hard) rock...less suitable for dance music. The 01/W-series has been used by Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, Keith Emerson, Phil Collins, Jan Hammer, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Greg Phillanganes, Rod Argent, Dave Stewart, Patrick Moraz, Moby, Eddie Jobson, Chuck Leavell, T Lavitz, Tom Coster, and Peter Gabriel.

THE KORG 01/W SERIES:


Korg 01/W Image

Korg 01/W

01/W - Original 61-key model. Was not a big seller, its sequencer memory was miniscule and had no external storage.

Korg 01/Wfd Image

Korg 01/WFD

01/WFD - Same as original but with added internal floppy disk drive capable of loading and storing sequencer data and program patches and the sequencer memory was expanded from 7,000 notes to 48,000. The 01/WFD was a huge success for Korg.

Korg 01/Wpro Image

Korg 01/Wpro

01/Wpro - Same as 01/WFD but featuring a 76-note keyboard and an added Acoustic Piano Sample.

Korg 01/WproX Image

Korg 01/WproX

01/WproX - An 88-weighted key version of the 01/Wpro. Also with a huge wood surface, it's really nice although a bit big!

Korg 01R/W Image

Korg 01R/W

01R/W - A rack-mount module version of the 01/W.

Korg 03R/W Image

Korg 03R/W

03R/W - A very stripped-down 01R/W, smaller, less sounds, less polyphony, budget oriented.

Korg 05R/W Image

Korg 05R/W

05R/W - A rack-mount module based on the Korg X3, not a true 01/W descendent.

Trivia note: Apparently when the engineers at Korg were presenting their new workstation to replace the Korg M1, they were going to call it the Korg M10, but apparently someone in marketing saw the name upside down, and M10 now read "01W". Apparently they liked that a lot better and made it the official name of the synth.

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90 Visitor comments
shaggles
August 26, 2013 @ 12:04 pm
I picked up an 01/W FD this weekend at Value Village for $69.99. It needed a new battery and it has one dead key but I can't complain. With tax and the battery I think I have $81 into it so far. I like it. I had a Wavestation and an M3R back in the day so the sounds are making me a bit nostalgic. Did I need an 01/W? No. Am I gonna pass up a pretty powerful synth at that price? Hell no.
Jo!
May 25, 2013 @ 8:17 am
"Oscillators - 48 MB ROM" - Are you sure that you mean Megabytes MB, and not Megabits (Mb)? 48Mb would be 6 Megabytes, which sounds much more realistic for a 1991 device.
Anderson Ross
May 3, 2013 @ 2:41 am
Ola ... tenho uma 01R/W pra vender ... é muito raro ... quem da mais ???
frank from NJ
May 1, 2013 @ 6:42 pm
My email is fmarano2@comcast.net. See my comment above about working on my Korg keys. Frank from NJ
frank from NJ
May 1, 2013 @ 6:40 pm
I have a o1w fd. I need to have the keys cleaned and UN-stuck. I need someone in South Jersey near Philly to help me. Ill pay ? dollars to the right person.
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices (16-part multitimbral)
  • Oscillators - 48 MB ROM using AI2 synthesis system (digital). 32 sounds, 32 oscillators (single mode); 16 sounds, 32 oscillators (double mode).
  • Sampler - None.
  • Effects - 2 Multi FX processors with 47 Digital multi-effects: reverb, delay, overdrive, EQ, chorus, rotary speaker, and more.
  • LFO - 2 LFOs
  • Filter - VDF: Digital Lowpass Filter, velocity sensitive (non-resonant)
  • VCA - VDA: Digital Amplifier with 4-stage ADSR envelope generators
  • Keyboard -
    01/W, 01/WFD: 61 keys.
    01/WPro: 76 Keys.
    01/WProX: 88 weighted keys.
    All keyboards feature Velocity, Aftertouch, Multi, Layer, Split modes.
  • Sequencer - 16 tracks, 16 instruments, 48,000 notes (FD & Pro version) or 7,000 notes (01/W), 100 patterns, 10 songs. Realtime and Step-editor.
  • Arpeggiator - None.
  • Memory - 200 user programs, 200 user combis; Floppy: 3.5" 720 2DD (programs, combis, drum-kit, global, sequencer and midi data).
  • Control - MIDI In / Out / Through (16-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1991-1995

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