Korg Radias

Korg Radias Image

The Korg Radias is a Virtual Analog synthesizer that was released by Korg in 2006. It takes advantage of the MMT (Multiple Modeling Technology) that their flagship OASYS synthesizer module employs. The synthesizer itself is similar in design to the MS2000, but offers many more capabilities. It is capable of emulating older digital synthesizers and classic analog synthesizers like the MS-series without any noise or aliasing. The Radias also allows for various external sounds to be fed through its filters and envelopes. It also has the Korg DWGS (Digital Waveform Generator System) that the Korg DW-8000 employs.

The Radias also takes advantage of the KKS (Korg Komponent System) which allows it to be used with the 49-key keyboard or used as a standalone rack module, and the Radias-R unit can be connected to the M3 Music Workstation/Sampler along with its various keyboard models.

Korg Radias Image

The Radias has two oscillators per timbre and a noise generator. Oscillator #1 has nine basic waveforms, with four types of modulation and PCM (64 synth sounds, 128 drum sounds) and Oscillator #2 has four basic waveforms with two types of modulation. The Radias has the ability to stack up to five types of waveforms in Oscillator #1, while using only one voice of polyphony. In Unison mode, you can stack five additional waveforms, while using more polyphony. With this function, you can create some awesome super waveforms-the overall result can contain up to 25 detuned waveforms. The Radias also has two Low-frequency Oscillators (LFO) that add more modulation to the two audio oscillators. These LFO's provide six waveforms and their speeds can be set manually or by tempo.

The Radias itself has four timbres per program. With a timbre, you can assign one drum program, another can have a lead, a bass, and a vocoder as well; all in one program! Each timbre can contain one synthesizer/drum kit, equalizer, and two multi-effects.

The Radias has two filters that can be used side-by-side, individually, or in a series. They offer Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, and Combination modes. Each filter offers 24 or 12 dB modes for the low pass filter. The effects on this unit are remarkable as well. The Radias comes loaded with 33 different effects: Delays, Chorus, Flangers, Compressors, talking modulator, and even the good old Polysix Ensemble effect. You can assign one master effect to the program, while each timbre gets its own two effects, creating a whole world of possibilities. The Radias also offers a 16-band vocoder with a nice Formant Motion recording function that allows you to record up to 7.5 seconds of external audio which can then be triggered via the keyboard.

The Radias has a built in arpeggiator as well, providing six different patterns to choose from. Patterns can be up to 32 steps long and the gate/velocity can be set for each step to get that sound you want! It also has two 32-step sequencers (they can be combined for a 64-step on a single timbre). They can easily be assigned to a drum kit, for example, to use the Radias as a programmable drum machine. The step sequencer supports 8-voice polyphony per step.

Korg Radias Image

Overall, this synthesizer is a nice addition to anybody's set-up. It's a good virtual analog that is also quite good for the beginner to learn subtractive synthesis on. Korg also has excellent customer service, and the owner's manual for the Radias is very comprehensive and clearly explains its many functions. The Radias also has a software-based sound editor that is compatible with the newest versions of Windows and OSX. It has been used by Jordan Ruddess and Tangerine Dream.

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127 Visitor comments
November 15, 2010 @ 3:12 pm
Why I didn't pick up one of these when they first came out is beyond me. This thing is amazing!
October 20, 2010 @ 8:34 pm
The pads stand up beautifully in a mix effortless. But sometimes you tweak a lot and end up with a useless cheesy sound (sequences and arps as well). I think you must be a pro user to do things like this:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ CDXRs3O7A&feature=related

There are few good Radias demos at Youtube, unfortunately.
October 18, 2010 @ 11:46 pm
I recently read the Radias manual and I made a mistake; apparently you can wavesequence using the mod sequencer and having it modulate Osc1 Control2 (when Osc 1 is in SynthPCM (i.e. DWGS) mode) in order to generate a Wavesequence.

Irrespective of this, my earlier comments still stand; the synth has a very glassy and smooth tone which is not for everyone, and adding some hybrid components would be a marvellous addition to this synth.
October 18, 2010 @ 7:39 am
In addition to my previous message, I must say one thing. The Modulation Sequencer doesn't allow you to switch waveforms on the first oscillator; i.e. the Radias doesn't allow wavesequencing.

This is a very, very silly ommission (especially when it can be fixed with a software upgrade) which lessens the value of this synth and the versatility of the DWGS waveforms on oscillator 1.
October 18, 2010 @ 7:34 am
I played around with one in the store. Somewhat disappointed; the sound indeed lacks low-end. The synth on its own sounds quite smooth/polite (similar to Novation) and glassy, but it has good built in distortion to help dirty things up.

On the bright side, its a very flexible device and has some great mod sequencers.

Korg produced the Monotron; the MS20's analog filter (or close to it) in a very basic ribbon synth for a small amount of money. The Radias shows that Korg should really try going into hybrid technology. A single Monotron analog filter that can be used on one timbre, plus maybe a tube distortion unit similar to the electribes that one of the stereo signals can be routed through, would really be a great addition to this synth.

As it stands though... its ultra-smooth, glassy sound is not for everyone.
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Rated 4.22 (582 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 - 24 Voice
  • Multitimbral - 4 Parts
  • Oscillators - 2 Oscillators
  • Waveforms - Square, Sine, Triangle, Saw, PCM (Drum and Synths), Formant, Noise, Audio in
  • LFO - 2 LFO's, 6 Virtual Patches, 3 Modulation Sequencers (Waveform, Cross, Unison, VPM)
  • Filter - 2 Filters, -24db/-12db lowpass, high pass, band pass, comb
  • Envelope - 3 Envelope Generators
  • Effects - Delay, Flanger, Vocoder, Talk Modulation, Reverb, Compressor, Phaser
  • Sequencer - 2 32-Step Sequencers (combined for 64)
  • Arpeggiator - Up / Down / Random / Alt1 / Alt2 / Trigger
  • Keyboard - 49 Keys/Velocity Sensitive
  • Memory - 256 Programs, 128 Timbre Templates, 128 Insert Effect templates, 128 Master Effect Templates
  • Control - Midi In/Out/Thru, Keyboard In, USB
  • Date Produced - 2006

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