Korg X3

Korg X3 Image

The nineties update to the legendary M1. Launched in 1993, it expanded on what made the M1 such a great machine and featured a range of solid, entirely usable sounds. The Strings and Basses are exceptionally good, although truly analog sounding sweeps and pads are not what this machine was about. The X3 (and subsequent X-series models that came after it) was designed as a middle-weight workstation, with the warmer and more powerful 01/W series taking the reins as Korg's premiere ROMpler workstation of the early nineties.

The X3 is based around 6 MB of 16-bit multi-samples, with basses, guitars, strings, drums, pads and much more. You can even add more PCM sounds to the synth, but additional PCM cards are expensive and/or hard to find.

Korg X3R Image

Korg X3R

Detailed editing and a flexible sequencer make this machine more than capable of running a MIDI rig if you are averse to PC based sequencing. If you can live without large touch sensitive screens or resonant filters, then you will find the X3 packs more punch than you may imagine. A rewarding synth to own, even 10 years down the line. What it lacks in instant hands-on tweak-ability and cutting edge sounds, it makes up for in the ultimately usable range of sounds. It has been used by Vangelis.

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47 Visitor comments
Harmony Vibes
July 3, 2010 @ 8:47 pm
I've owned my X3 for 15 years, and truly appreciate all the hard work it has done, including production of an entire CD in it's sequencer! I have developed some new program banks to extend it's use, and have employed it as a midi keyboard. It just had the 'prog' button replaced this year, but otherwise has run perfectly. The strings are very phat and silky for ambient compositions, and the 80s keys still cut through a mix; likewise, the basses can be made to burp and smoke underneath a track. I shall be using my X3 to drive some rack synths in it's next life.
July 2, 2010 @ 5:31 pm
I made a ton of music on this synth. A personal favorite of mine. The analog sounds on this board are second to none. Pianos are alright, guitars are very realistic, basses as fat as can be. Sequencer is good, too. Only have 2 effects to use, but learned to work with what it had. Will never part with mine. Have a M50, is tons more powerful, but it still lacks that "oomph" that the X3 has, sonically.
May 31, 2010 @ 6:35 pm
I used to own this synth. Got it when it just came out, and my first reaction back then was: WOW!! But now when hearing the sounds, I have to admit it sounds totally outdated!
Some of the real "synthesizer" sounds are still pretty cool, but most of the sounds are total whack nowadays.
Also it's a synth that doesn't excell in anything, except maybe the sequencer.
All in all I'm glad to be rid of it!
February 7, 2010 @ 5:13 am
I bought the X5 (it's like the X3 but without the sequencer) back in the 90s to compliment my E-mu Proteus at a time that no software instruments were in existence! Classic rompler with sounds that continue the M1 tradition...best used with an external analog filter...I keep it mainly for live purposes!
Juan Andres
February 1, 2010 @ 8:59 pm
I didn't know it has a Yamaha keyboard!

I bought it when it cames out in 1993 and it is still my main synth due to its seq flexibility. I work with another Korg's family members such us Poly 800, DW8000 and MS2000B (yes I'm fan of Korg), and a Yamaha AN1x, great synth too :)

I work only with real synths, no virtual plugins, even when I play live...
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.7 (281 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 - 32 voices (16-part multitimbral)
  • Oscillators - 32 Osc: 6MB PCM waveforms
  • Effects - 47 Digital multi-effects: reverb, delay, overdrive, EQ, chorus, rotary speaker, and more.
  • LFO - None
  • Filter - Digital Lowpass Filter, velocity sensitive (non-resonant)
  • VCA - Digital Amplifier with 4-stage ADSR envelope generators
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with Velocity, Aftertouch, Multi, Layer, Split modes
  • Sequencer - 16-Track, 10,000 Notes, 9 Songs.
  • Memory - 200 user programs, 200 user combis
  • Control - MIDI In / Out / Through (16-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1993
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Thomas Kolb and

    Thanks to Phil Young for providing info.

    Reviewed December 2007.

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