Korg ElecTribe M (EM-1)

Korg ElecTribe EM-1 Image

The ElecTribe EM-1 Music Production System is another great ElecTribe series instrument with two synth-parts and eight drum-parts. Sort of combining the elements of the original ElecTribe EA-1 and ER-1, the new EM-1 is an all-in-one groove and dance music machine for DJs and musicians alike!

The EM-1 has loads of drum sounds, all of which are excellent for dance music. There are 144 different sounds, and patterns can have up to eight drum parts. Parts can be muted and individually processed, live and in realtime. The synth sounds consist of 50 waveforms and a pattern can hold up to two synth parts. Waveform editing includes volume, panning, envelope, filtering, roll-effect, internal effects processing, pitch, and glide (portamento). The filter is only a 12 dB/oct low-pass with cutoff and resonance controls which is a little thin, but it still gets the point across.

Naturally, the EM-1 features an advanced built-in sequencer with multi-effects for complete Music Production features. The sequencer holds up to 256 patterns and 16 songs. It ships with 192 of them full of cool dance programs to get you going. Sequencing is done in step or real time using the 16 pads which represent 16th notes of a 1-bar pattern. Patterns can be up to 64-steps (4-bars) long. Built-in effects consist of two processors, a Master (global) Delay and one of 11 Insert Effects. The insert effects include Reverb, Flanger/Chorus, Phaser, Ring modulator, Pitch shifter, Compressor, Distortion, Decimator, Resonator, and Modulation Delay. The Motion Sequencer functions can record movements of the EM-1's knobs in realtime and store them with your Patterns to add rhythmic effects, filter sweeps, and evolving synth or effect changes.

The EM-1 is certainly a cool dance music production system! On the Professional level, its two-voices of synth parts is very slim pickings. On the other hand, it can offer Pro-DJ's incredible performance potential! For example, you can store up to 64 patterns to the step keys for realtime pattern recall. Combine that with realtime part muting/soloing, and realtime filtering, tweaking and effecting, tap-tempo or MIDI clock sync for an excellent groove machine! Although there are far fewer hands-on knobs than on the Yamaha AN-200 and DX-200, the EM-1 is less expensive and offers a great nag for its buck! It has been used by The Prodigy.

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26 Visitor comments
March 9, 2010 @ 7:31 pm
I've written more music on the Korg EM-1 than any other piece of "groove" equipment. Of course, it's severely limited as an "all in one" device with only two monophonic synth lines to work with, but with a little delay, you'll get some decent stuff out of this box. By the way, worst reverb ever...
January 18, 2010 @ 2:40 pm
have had this machine for years. served me well. my feeling on these boxes are: they are semi-pro. and semi-pro is totally fine if youre not making money in the industry. these boxes give users an immediate satisfaction of being able to program beats and sequences very easily. the efx essentially [beep] on this box. to be expected. the clock has a lot of drift in my em1...has since day one. panning doesnt work, as well as some other little glitches...with that said...the em1 does a few things well, has a few okay sounds that are usable and tweekable.
October 6, 2009 @ 5:35 am
Oh one more thing I almost forgot! There is NO ARPEGGIATOR!!! So beware. However, the synth patches react very well to an outside arpeggiator. Really the only negative thing I can say about the EM-1.
October 6, 2009 @ 5:30 am
Just picked this one up almost a month ago for well under $200 and couldn't be happier. I bought this for the main purpose of using it as a drum module to go along with my current set-up. Once I started playing with it I was amazed by how quick and fun it is to sequence with...But mainly it's doing just what I need it for. You are able to tweak the drums and synth patches on the fly while running it as a sound module with computer software. Pretty cool to have that analog feel without having to assign a million different effects to a midi controller. Synth patches aren't the greatest, but has some pretty decent gritty as well organic sounds. The layout is really simple, while the buttons and knobs are solid with a nice feel. Well worth the money spent and highly recommend this as an affordable addition or starting sequencer!
June 5, 2009 @ 3:01 pm
I just got mine a week ago, and i'm having lots of fun with it. The drums are really cool (and composing with the sequencer is also easy and intuitive), but the synths sounds are not amazing, but you can tweak then a lot and get some decent sounds of it. The effects sounds ok, but some of then sound a little thin than you might expect.
I just bought one because of the low price i paid, and it would be a nice addition to play along with my microkorg. also, i have a rock band that have more danceable songs and it's nice to have a real gear around instead of laptops with music softwares (it's not because of the sound, it's just i prefer knobs instead of using a mouse).
I really recommend it with you can get one by the lowest price possible! You can make lots of different songs with it, even stuff thats outside of dance music, the main thing is to be creative and arty!
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User Rating

Rated 3.99 (415 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 - 2 voices (synth), 8 voices (drums)
  • Waveforms - 50 synthesizer waveforms, 144 drum waveforms
  • Memory - 256 patterns, 16 songs
  • Filter - 1 VCF resonant low pass with external inputs
  • Effects - Master Effect: Tempo Delay; Insert Effects: 11 Types (Reverb, Flanger/Chorus, Phaser, Ring modulator, Pitch shifter, Compressor, Distortion, Decimator, Resonator, Modulation delay)
  • Keyboard - None (16 touch pads)
  • Arpeg/Seq - Pattern: 64 steps, motion sequence (drum parts = 2 systems, synthesizer parts = 3 systems); Song: 256 patterns per song, 35,700 events; Motion Sequences: 2 per drum part, 3 per synth part, 1 per Insert effect and 1 per Master Delay.
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (2 synth parts, 8 drum parts)
  • Date Produced - 2001

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