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.


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
September 30, 2010 @ 1:46 pm
I'm looking to buy an O1R/W, please contact me at the above e-mail address. Tom
June 12, 2010 @ 7:02 am
The 01/wProX has been, or still is, Alan Wilder´s main keyboard in his studio.
February 15, 2010 @ 8:16 am
Great pad sounds,but you have to get in there and program it ,its full of inspiring sounds.Excellent for chill out tracks,its all over enigmas first album.

I still use mine and love it to this day,got it the day it was released,crazy money back then for these babys...
December 22, 2009 @ 1:59 am
The O1/Wfd was a fun and flexible machine for its day BUT...you had to understand the girl to make her really shine. But when she did shine... oh brother! If you caught on to the somewhat eccentric tweaking mechs in seq mode you could do things way ahead of the 1991 curve. Additionally, there were several patches and specific samples that were derived from the T series, which sweetness has never been duplicated since. It was a regular thing for accomplished players in the NW/Seattle/Portland area to seek me out to ask me how I got the sounds I did. You just had to understand her, and she'd sing for you!
December 21, 2009 @ 10:08 am
@Quit [beep] inRetards

I think the point was, these korgs (M1 upwards) were some of the LEAST programmable synths ever made. You want a programmable synth go look at the SY77 for example, now THAT is a synth. So funny that you are talking down to people about synth programming and using THESE synths as the example. Yes can program them but it's a very limited form of 'synthesis' (and again the filters are dire, at least in the M1).

It's not about using or not using presets, it was about the inabilty of these SYNTHS (Korg M1 etc) to be programmed much beyond their stock sounds, they ALWAYS sound the same because of their limited architecture and that's a fact. Like I said, go try an AFM, LA or Hybrid digital synth then look at the Korgs here and realise how you are not really synth programming when you change a few effects/options in the menus so don't kid yourself ;)

Now go an learn something about real synthesizers before taking pot shots at other's posts.
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Rated 3.95 (1192 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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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