Korg M500 Micro-Preset

Korg M500 Micro-Preset Image

The Korg Micro Preset synthesizer is a curious late 1970s beast with a slightly bizarre matrix of pre-set sounds, including laughable woodwind and similar noises and a low-quality keyboard all housed in a wooden box! It's a 32-note monophonic preset synthesizer with 6 push-button presets including voice, synth1, synth2, brass, string, and wood. Its single-oscillator design has only rudimentary decay/release envelope controls and no access to the guts of the sound generation stuff. Perhaps it was aimed at the beginners market.

Once you're over the outward appearance, a bit of probing will reveal a noise box that sounds remarkably similar to the MS-10 at times. There is a lot of fun to be had with the 'traveller' control, a sort of filter and resonance control rolled into one, offering interesting squelchy acid-style bass run effects. In fact, like the MS-10, bass is about all you'll get out of this oddity in terms of useful noises. But overall this is a bit of a novelty synth, and is not especially playable nor distinctive - apart from its looks! There are absolutely no MIDI, CV nor similar inputs so you can forget about any of that. Add N To (X), The Human League, OMD, Jean Michel Jarre, OMD, Pop Will Eat Itself and Brian Eno are thought to have used the Micro Preset.

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40 Visitor comments
September 13, 2012 @ 10:19 am
Limited or not; the M500 is used by Ladytron.
If you have this kind of old gear, it has a value on it's own, and since more or more music is prouced on computors, they will find their rightfull place in many good musicians line-up. One star? I wouldn't mind owing one!
September 1, 2012 @ 6:37 am
Update to below: Bought the MS from Nev & had it pro repaired. If synthe 1 & 2 are silent be prepared for a big bill! Having said that it was very thoroughly refurbed & fully recapped. Has a very distinctive rather mournful sound - responds well to skillful playing & can sound very expressive. I use a Whammy pedal to harmonise it with itself, although I guess that digitises some of the signal it still has a wonderful tone.
July 23, 2012 @ 11:24 pm
In the hands of the right player, this little thing can make some great sounds. Check out this video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/XRuevn_-Irk
March 2, 2011 @ 5:03 pm
Odd behaviour could be due to dry solder joints causing tracking - had this with a stylophone 350s a tech colleague repaired for me. Key/button contacts issues coulkd be due to anything from dirt/corrosion to wear & erosion. Price needs to reflects the gamble that it would be economically repairable. No way of knowing without opening it up. Would be interested at right price as always wanted to create that OMD riff from 'Electricity!' If you want to discuss further - mail me on timlloydsmith@hotmail.co.uk :-)
March 1, 2011 @ 8:04 pm
I got one of these in the early 90s for £20! The bloke looked well pleased with himself, but I had years of fun with it. Sounds great through guitar pedals. I dug it out last year and thought I'd sell it, but something strange has happened to it. First the buttons wouldn't work, so no sound. Then they started working again, but all the functions have moved across two. As in synth 1 is now on brass etc. Very bizarre. If there's anyone reading this who can suggest what is wrong and how to fix it, I'd be well happy. You could even have it super cheap, but not as cheap as I got it ;)
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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 - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 6 Sounds: voice, synth1, synth2, brass, string, and wood
  • LFO - Vibrato with depth and speed
  • Filter - 'Traveller' control - filter and resonance slider
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 32 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1977 - 1980
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Korg product brochure.

    Information provided by Chris Stone and Tatu J. Lund.

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