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 14, 2011 @ 11:47 am
EMX-1 is good for sketching out basslines, melodies and writing simple drumloops. The arp control is the best selling point of this machine, you pick a scale and note then use the ribbon and slider to come up with new stuff. One of my favorite things to do is to crank down the bpm to 1/2 and lay down a few bassline attempts with perfect timing then bring it back to normal speed.

Writing chord progressions could be a little easier. Tweaking the osc edit parameter to write is annoying. At least they could have limited it to the arp scale.
February 27, 2011 @ 11:26 pm
No matter how much I read about the two Electribes, I can't figure out why they made one more of a fixed synthesizer (i.e. FM box) and the other a sampler (i.e. S&H box). Couldn't they put it all in one box? I really don't understand why they had to make two separate devices. The difference is so negligible, it's like making the five colors of M50, when they all do the same thing. Yet, these two boxes are different in color, but otherwise one has sampled voices and the other has fixed voices. What's the real benefit? I'm not arguing against their greatness, but only their redundancy.
February 17, 2011 @ 6:21 pm
Octave One (RNG) uses the EMX in their live gig
February 10, 2011 @ 6:07 am
The good:

Best 'all round' groovebox (IMO), most classic synth parameters are all there - resonance, PWM, sync, ring mod, can cover a wide variety of styles admirably, easy (and fun) to use, looks great.

The bad:

Shockingly crap reverb, waveforms alias badly in the higher registers, drum samples are very generic and need a lot of tweaking to sound interesting, tubes are a gimmick and frankly more trouble than they're worth.

As a one stop production shop, this is a great unit. If you already have a few other hardware synths, you may find this one comes up short.
January 25, 2011 @ 9:11 pm
I'm thinking about getting one of these to control external synths with, and to use the nifty step sequencer for my drums so I don't have to deal with the sequencer in my RX7. This would really reduce my amount of setup, and I would probably never need to upgrade it, but I have one question. Can I import my own drum samples into this? And if not, can I trigger an external drum machine with it, while still using the part mute function?
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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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