Korg ElecTribe MX (EMX-1)

Korg ElecTribe MX (EMX-1) Image

The ELECTRIBE MX is a major step up in power and quality from the original ElecTribe series of dance music sequencer/synthesizers from Korg. The EMX-1 comes in a sturdy metal chassis with larger back-lit LCD display, expanded memory, voices & multitimbrality, more real-time controllers and vacuum tubes! Effects, Motion Sequencing, and Pattern length have also been expanded. And a new ribbon controller and slider have been added, providing a remarkable realtime interface for accessing the powerful arpeggiator.

Starting with its synth engine, the EMX-1 uses MMT synthesis (Multi Modeling Technology) which offers sixteen different oscillator algorithms, providing powerful analog synthesis models as well as sophisticated additive, PCM, chord, unison, combination, wave shaping, formant models and more. The built-in PCM library includes 207 drum PCM sounds and 76 synth PCM sounds ready for immediate use, ranging from powerful kicks and snares through amazingly unique organic sounds. External audio signals can be manipulated using the Comb Filter oscillator algorithm, and then further processed by the internal filter and effects. The EMX-1 allows you to create up to nine drum parts, five synth parts, plus accent parts that let you add dynamic accents to the drum and synth parts (for a total of 16 parts). Each part features extensive LFO and EG modulation. Each algorithm of the synthesis engine has two realtime adjustable parameters, plus some other menu-based parameters like waveform type, or chord quality. The brand-new filter lets you chose Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass or Band Pass Plus.

The two Vacuum tubes (Valve Force Circuitry) create an analog tube circuit to add warmth and presence to your sounds. The tube gain knob adjusts the level of the output signal passing through the vacuum tubes, creating dynamic sounds with the distinctive tonal quality that only tubes deliver. Three stereo effect processors are available for simultaneous use. Each part can be independently routed to any of the three effects processors, and you can even use the Chain function to link multiple effects in series. Each processor offers 16 effect types including reverb, delay, flanger and chorus, tempo-based delay, talking modulator, grain shifter, decimator and more. The edits you make to each of the effects processors can be saved with each pattern.

Korg EMX-1 Image

As for the sequencing capabilities, up to 256 patterns can be created and stored to the internal memory. The EMX-1 ships with 196 assorted patterns covering house, hip-hop, R&B, electronica, drum n bass, techno, trance and more. You can combine patterns, add mute data and knob movements to create up to 64 songs, the EMX-1 ships with 3 demo songs. Favorite patterns can be assigned to Pattern Sets for instant access. Data can be quickly saved and loaded via SmartMedia cards. Realtime recording lets you record phrases as you perform, and step recording allows you to input the timing, pitch and duration one note at a time. Motion Sequencing records your realtime knob tweaks and plays them back as part of the pattern. Two types of motion sequence are provided; one for effects and one for parts, and you can also edit the value of individual steps. Up to 24 motion sequences can be used in a single pattern, allowing you to control virtually every sound parameter. And, using Auto BPM detection, the EMX-1 can follow the tempo of an external audio source. You can also use Tap Tempo to input the beat, set the tempo internally, or sync up to an external MIDI clock.

The EMX-1 is a fantastic dance production machine best suited for live performances. The sounds of the synth and drum parts are excellent, and totally contemporary with your favorite electronica artists (because they use it too). Easy and intuitive to use, flexible, fun and inspiring. Click on the YouTube link above to see and hear it in action!

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68 Visitor comments
March 23, 2013 @ 12:10 pm
WOW Very easy to use, very hard to master, this is a machine of subtle touches not huge tweaks and twists. Amazing value for money, do a tube change immediatly to kill the harshness, or use the secondary outputs which bypass the tubes if you find the gain to much. If your doing darkwave or industrial this is your box!As for the drum sounds,not as good as my EM-1 but with a lil tweaking they can become downright bad ass! Completely usable in studio and provides you with a limitless sonic palette to create with, if you cant pump out original tunes on this thing, Pack it in and try wood working.
February 14, 2013 @ 5:55 am
The KORG Electribe EMX-1 is truly a modern classic. It's very easy to figure out (except the "song" functions and naming tracks, which I never learned how to do) and it rewards continued practice. When I think back to patterns I used to make on this 5 years ago versus things I'm capable of doing with it now, it's mind-blowing to me that it's even the same instrument! Sure, the synths are very digital sounding, the samples could be better, and the presets are pure cheese, but the potential to make truly powerful, emotive, SERIOUS music exists within this machine. I treat mine like a son.
Ross Kelly
February 10, 2013 @ 5:33 pm
I picked up one of these machines to replace my EA1 and ER1, and it has done that and so much more! It has a top class build quality, great sounds and as has always been the way with electribes is very easy to use, meaning you're not spending hours leafing through the manual before you start making progress with it. My only criticisms would be that it could do with one or two polyphonic synth parts, a loop function and it would be nice if song mode was a bit better. I've demonstrated some of its abilities in this video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7vslVUfwuY
Noah Richardson
December 17, 2012 @ 11:12 am
Hi, all. I run the Korg EMX Facebook page; please join for more discussion.
November 28, 2012 @ 10:11 pm
"for heavily distorted industrial synth parts"
Yes, this seems a good choice - lots of opportunity to get dirty, even before you kick in the circuitry which sends through vacuum tubes.

I just picked one of these puppies up for fun. I totally agree with" limitations inspire creativity". A handful of good sounds, only a few drum sounds and tuned/synth/sample sounds avail at a time = stripping things down and making everything count. Challenging, and quite quick.

If you use this box for what it's great at - and use other soft/hardware for other things, THIS IS A GREAT little tooooool.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.25 (473 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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 - 16 voices
  • Multitimbral - 16 total; 5 synth parts, 9 drum parts, 1 synthesizer accent part, 1 drum accent part
  • Oscillators - Analog Modeling + PCM: 207 drum PCM waveforms, 76 Synth PCM waveforms (16bit, 44.1kHz)
  • Memory - Internal + External Memory: SmartMedia (4-128 MB, 3V)
  • Patterns - 256 patterns (192 preload), Maximum 128 steps by part, Maximum 24 motion sequence by pattern
  • Songs - 64 songs (3 preload), Maximum 256 patterns
  • Filter - 4 types (synth part): Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass or Band Pass Plus
  • Keyboard - 16 soft pads
  • Effects - 16 types x 3 (Chain)
  • Control - MIDI (In, Out, Thru)
  • Date Produced - 2003
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Korg - USA and

    Reviewed August 2008.

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