Korg M1

Korg M1 Image

The M1 was and still is a popular and widely used digital synthesizer and music workstation. The M1 features built-in AI Synthesis for full digital generation and processing using 4MB of PCM sampled and synthesized waveforms which can be shaped using analog-style editing. The M1 is capable of creating acoustic instruments with clarity, nice digital sounds and good buzzy techno sounds. The M1 is sort of like a workstation-version of the Roland D-50.

In addition to its acclaimed sound, it has a somewhat sophisticated 8-track sequencer. It holds 10 songs and 100 patterns and up to 7,700 notes, and offers full quantizing and editing. Full MIDI implementation suites the M1 ideally for studio production and MIDI system use. Up to 8 parts of multitimbrality with the 8 track sequencer makes for a powerful machine. Add to that a host of digital multi-effects and you've got one of the most widely and professionally used Korg synthesizers around.

Korg EX-M1R Image

UPGRADES: The EXK-M1 optional ROM expansion kit doubles the PCM waveform memory to 8MB (275 multisampled sounds) for even greater sonic possibilities. The EX-M1R is the same upgrade but designed for the M1R (rack version). That's right, there's a rack version of the M1 available as the M1R as well.

The M1 has been used by 808 State, Banco De Gaia, Ken Ishii, Depeche Mode, Fluke, The Cure, The Orb, The KLF, Plastikman, Bomb The Bass, Gary Numan, Robert Miles, Mike Oldfield, Kitaro, Rick Wakeman, Rod Argent, Joe Zawinul, Patrick Moraz, Pet Shop Boys, Vangelis, the Cranberries, Sin and Jellyfish.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Korg M1? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

112 Visitor comments
June 18, 2010 @ 10:21 am
Queen also used the Korg M1 in the album "Innuendo". If I remember exactly, the strings intro in "Show Must Go On" has been recorded using the "Low Orchestra" preset.
June 7, 2010 @ 7:18 pm
I owned one in the mid 90's. Nice performance synth, especially back then. Smooth piano sounds for its time. There are a lot better pianos on newer synths. For the money, $400 to $500, sounds good. Nice strings, and atmosphere sounds. Lots of effects and a nice sequencer. Still pretty good for performance but not for in depth programmers.
May 6, 2010 @ 4:24 am
Crap. Seriously. Great in it's day while it was raped for it's stock sounds (that were on everything) but has so little scope as a SYNTHESIZER (rather than a sample playback machine) that it's next to useless in a modern context.

The synth lacks deep architecture, so you can't 'invent' new sounds like you can on say A D-50, or SY77. They may all appear like 'romplers' to the untrained eye but those 2 synths are REAL synths. The M1 was just a successful packaging of 'quality' (for the time) PCM sounds. dated now.

I bought one for next to nothing and then parted it out making 3x the value back - it's all they are good for. Do NOT believe the asking prices on Ebay - they aren't worth over £100 let alone the £300 some are asking!

It lacks decent filters. Will always sound like stock patches slightly tweaked rather than brand new worlds.
May 5, 2010 @ 3:06 pm
Although the sounds are dated, and I wouldn't dare use any acoustic sounds from it, the "Fantasy" sounds - for lack of a better word - can still be very useful today. I use them all the time in my current music. If you have an old M1 around and you're in need for some ethereal type sounds, you can put this baby to use while using a more modern ROMpler for your acoustic or analog type stuff.
Mr Gobz
May 2, 2010 @ 11:20 pm
Ah the M1, bought mine back in 1990, not far under £2000 ! at the time, quality build and the best thing around at the time ( not including analogue synths ) was always disappointed that when I got into making music that the synths had moved into a new era of removing all the knobs and sliders and done away with all thoses cool phat analogue sounds !

However the orchestral type sounds did at least facilitate a couple of albums that I recorded and I still own the M1, having consigned the sounds in it now to the digital dustbin, the quality of the actual keys on the keyboard are very good ( way way better than the Juno-D that I also have )so I still use it to control all those softsynths that I have these days
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Rated 4.23 (1419 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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
  • Oscillators - 4MB PCM waveforms (144 multisampled sounds)
  • Effects - Digital multi-effects: reverb, delay, overdrive, EQ, chorus, rotary speaker, and more.
  • Filter - VDF: Variable Digital Lowpass Filter, velocity sensitive (non-resonant)
  • VCA - VDA: Variable Digital Amplifier; 3 independent 4-stage ADSR envelope generators
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with Velocity, Aftertouch, Multi, Layer, Split modes
  • Memory - 100 patches
  • Control - MIDI (8 parts)
  • Date Produced - 1988-94

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