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
May 19, 2014 @ 6:36 pm
Whoever reviewed this should stick to their Native Instruments plugins and make dubstep. Absolutely no respect for the fine analogue sound quality of this classic instrument that shaped synth pop/new wave. There's nothing wrong with its outboard appearance either!
April 13, 2014 @ 11:37 am
The small but awesome company Tronsonic sampled it for Kontakt using vintage equipement, really awesome. There is a nice Theremin preset
March 23, 2014 @ 3:59 pm
Trak Trak Trak... There is no pot. for that function. What I do is is connect a tuner to the output and just carefully (very carlly ) adjust the portamento pot. , For some reason this works. I must say this synth is awesome but it seems that some of the pots. dont really do what they are supposed to.
February 2, 2014 @ 9:19 am
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci used it throughout their career; Euros is credited with playing it (acknowledged by instrument name) on 'Bwyd Time' and 'Barafundle'. Richard plays it on the outro to 'Patio Song'. Mainly used by them for bass-lines and screechy trebly lines.

I think Euros Childs continues to use it live.
December 21, 2013 @ 1:20 am
In the BBC documentary "Synth Britannia" you can can see OMD using & talking about the M500. (starting at 0:22:58) He said it was purchased from his mother's, Kay's mail-order catalog, @ a cost of £7.76 per week for 36 weeks. (£279) $1 = £2 in 1980. Adjusted for inflation, the M500 would have cost more than $1,500 USD, in the late 1970's.

VSE Rating

Don’t bother

User Rating

Rated 3.8 (335 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 - 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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