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
Jon Daniels
October 30, 2008 @ 4:24 pm
I just got one of these, and it was worth every penny. The instant-gratification factor is high, and if you know what you are doing, you can make some really complex sounds come out.
I agree with the others, it would help to have more editability in the drum portion (most of the drum sounds are not-so-nice without tweaking).
I haven't replaced the tubes yet, but it's on my to-do list, as the stock tubes clip in a way that is not useful for me.

Overall, I love this machine!
Flavio Hebaru
September 19, 2008 @ 3:14 pm
I got both EMX-1 and ESX-1. I think they work pretty good together to a beginner as myself. It's very easy and intuitive.
It's nice to read from all you people that I have two powerful little machines to get started.
September 9, 2008 @ 4:16 pm
Don't let the simplicity of this little box deter you, whilst almost every knob only has one function with a little creativity and some cunning use of LFO's, effects and tubes you can get some epic sounds ranging from simple powerful sine basses to screaming leads. It's the combination of it's synthesis and effects engines that go hand in hand so well to make the great at times very analog sounds. It's design allows fast programming, makes it easy to learn and just plain fun to use. I'm not giving mine up and at the price you can get them I highly recommend it to anyone.
Gregor Samsa
September 1, 2008 @ 1:08 am
This is a fantastic box. It's an absolute must that you upgrade the tubes though, as the ones it comes with are a bit harsh and cheap-ish sounding. Once I got a good pair of tubes installed (very easy process as well), it sounded much more professional. Capable of some decent synth sounds, I've gotten some decent leads and some very cool basses out of it, and very nice drum sounds. The sequencer is dead easy to use. For what this does well it's a very nice and versatile machine, and I'm comfortable using it as my only drum box right now. I wouldn't be without it.
August 29, 2008 @ 6:11 pm
This groovebox was a pleasant surprise. Much better than the EA-1 and ER-1 before it. The sound quality is better than the Roland offerings, the synth section setup will keep one creative, and the tubes aren't a gimmick in any way. I've come to like this box so much that I Style-Flip customized it and replaced the stock tubes with GTECC83S tubes which IMHO provide a warmer sound, better bass response, and a lot less clipping. It's a pretty good box stock but a little customizing makes it a great tool. An excellent studio addition for all types of music. P.S.--You can even turn the synth section into an ER-1 if you miss it so much.
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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