Korg microKorg

Korg microKorg Image

An MS2000 in sheep's clothing. The microKorg is a very cool and retro-looking version of the MS2000 analog modeling synthesizer. This compact keyboard is designed for portability and can run on batteries! But inside the microKorg is the exact same synthesis engine and sounds found in the killer MS2000 and MS2000R synths!

The keyboard's 37 keys are small and almost toy-ish. But they have a firm response and feel natural enough to play. The case is a sturdy plastic and there are wood end-cheeks. There is a plethora of written info on the face of the instrument and reminds one of the old Poly-800 and DW-8000 synths. The five knobs above all this writing initially control the filter cutoff, resonance, envelope attack and release times, and the internal tempo. But they can be assigned to control every other parameter available in real-time. Their assignable functions are what is written below them (hard to read in the dark). The top-mounted vocoder input microphone (included) hasn't been seen on a Korg since the decades-old VC-10!

Korg microKorg Image

The microKorg has 128 Programs organized into 8 categories: Trance, Techno/House, Electronica, DnB Breaks, HipHop/Vintage, Retro, SndFX/Hits, and Vocoder. The sounds are great and inspiring. There is only 4-voice polyphony and only one Program can be played at a time. But as a hands-on, real-time dance machine, this really is all you need...one hand on the keys and the other on the knobs!

The microKorg has two oscillators with 71 waveforms (7 simple analog waves + 64 DWGS waveforms from the DW-8000), a multi-mode resonant 12 or 24 dB/oct filter, 8-band vocoder, two ADSR envelopes, 6-pattern arpeggiator, oscillator sync, ring modulation, two MIDI-syncable LFOs, programmable multi-effects, and more! All knobs and buttons send/receive MIDI controller data. External audio can be vocoded and/or processed through the filter, effects and EQ via the included microphone or standard 1/4" stereo inputs. A built-in USB Interface would have been nice for true lap-top portability, but is currently absent. But in its affordable price range, the microKorg is an awesome synth for beginners, DJs, and even the pros looking for a compact performance synth with retro style, flexible programing and excellent sounds!

It's been used by Air, Atomizer, Bare Naked Ladies, Beck, Prodigy, Yesterdays, The Killers, KMFDM, Royksopp, Owl City, LCD Soundsystem, Jean-Michel Jarre, Nick Rhodes (of Duran Duran) and The Pet Shop Boys.

Korg microKorg Image

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Korg microKorg? 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.

169 Visitor comments
May 27, 2010 @ 11:30 pm
This little synth is small, inexpensive, and if you know how to tweak it, can sound absolutely abusive. It's perfect for noisey, acid, industrial mayhem.
noah richardson
May 23, 2010 @ 1:06 am
limited, maybe but programmable and a lot of fun to use in experimental ways. i use an electribe-a to gate the vocoder sometimes. it responds great to ESX-1's sequencer and i usually use it for tweaking or bass or fx. the virtual patches are helpful for making the sound swirl around you, and the formant controls/envelope follower on the vocoder is tweakable, too.
May 20, 2010 @ 10:14 am
Eh, it's nice, but I find it limited. 4 note polyphony and 2 timbres, programming it is like running a 5k in mud, the small, cheap-feeling keys are annoying, the effects aren't the greatest, a lot of the sounds are a bit cheesy and digital-sounding to me. The portability of it can't be beat though.

I think that if you can afford the extra money, the R3 is a better bet. If not, I think that the Alesis Micron is the way to go. Much, much, much more features for the money.
May 16, 2010 @ 8:56 am
It is a good little synth for the money, but to be honest, programming it is such a faff that you're better off with an MS2000. The R3 - which is only a bit more expensive - sounds far classier, has USB, and has a vastly more comprehensive effects complement (the Microkorg and MS2000 only have tacky chorus and delay, the R3 has a reasonable reverb and things like a granulator to give it a more contemporary sound). But the real reason why every band in the world seemingly has a MicroKorg is because they weigh nothing and you can take one anywhere.
May 8, 2010 @ 7:20 pm
This was the very first synth that I ever used, I bought it new and loved it. It drew me in with the interesting presets, and inspired me to learn how to program it. Although I don't use it very much anymore, since I have moved onto soft synths, it still was a fantastic starting point into electronic music. I would never sell mine just for that reason alone.
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Rated 4.24 (1718 Votes)

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  • 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 - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - Dual Oscillator Analog Modeling Synthesis System: 7 waveforms: sine, tri, saw, pulse, noise, cross-wave, vox, plus 64 DWGS waves, external audio
  • LFO - 2 LFOs with sample and hold
  • Filter - Multi Mode Filter (-24dB/oct LPF, -12dB/oct LPF/BPF/HPF)
  • Effects - 3 types modulation (chorus/flanger, phaser, ensemble), 3 types delay (stereo, cross, L/R), 2-band EQ, 8-channel vocoder, 6 pattern arpeggiator (UP, DOWN, ALT1/2, Random, Trigger)
  • Keyboard - 37 Keys (mini-keyboard, velocity sensitive)
  • Memory - 128 programs
  • Date Produced - 2002
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