Why is this man smiling? Because he's just shown of M01D, his brilliant synth made for the Nintendo 3DS.

Why is this man smiling? Because he’s just shown of M01D, his brilliant synth made for the Nintendo 3DS. Detune’s Nobuyoshi Sano.

Nobuyoshi Sano is kind of a mad genius. The writer behind some of the scores for Ridge Racer and Tekken, the talented musician has also turned out some of our favorite mobile music apps, as founder of Japanese dev house Detune. He built the somewhat-ridiculous iYM2151 workstation on iPad, but is best known for the Korg iMS-20. And now, he’s got something new.

Japan has already gotten a taste of M01D, the classic Korg M1 remade and rethought for the Nintendo 3DS. But only a select few have been in the know outside Japan. That changes now. I just got to meet Nobuyoshi and Japanese artist CardiacTrance at Musikmesse at the KORG booth, and have specs from Detune on the M01D. You can expect a full release worldwide by summer on the Nintendo eShop; Japan gets this early in May.

An M1 for a game console in and of itself might sound uninteresting, but that’s before Nobuyoshi goes crazy with the idea.

Music technology should be, in the end, for making music. And you get splendid, fully-caffeinated dance music coming from artist CardiacTrance. Here, paired with her partner-in-crime X-traX to form the duo CT+X, the two produce a driving track entirely on the new M01D. (They also work with the DS-10, the previous DS Korg app, on their productions.) Listen:

An eShop exclusive, M01D is a surprisingly full-featured synth – I’m shamelessly plagiarizing the printed flyer I was given at the booth:

  • 8-part multi-timbral synth with 342 sounds, for a maximum of 24 voices.
  • All of the original sounds from the KORG M1. Seriously, all of them.
  • Selected sounds from the 01/W.
  • New sounds exclusive to the M01 on 3DS.
  • Master effects: Reverb and Delay.
  • 8 track step sequencer with up to 64 steps per scene and up to 99 scenes.
  • Sound browser, Mixer, Keyboard.
  • KAOSS mode uses the popular KAOSSilator layout so you can input notes, chords, and drums easily from the touchscreen, mapping to the right notes rather than, uh, sounding awful.
  • 3DS song data exchange with your friends locally and – finally – over the Internet. Dutch-Japanese collaborations will never have been this easy. But I do still want to visit Japan.
  • Completely useless 3D mode for looking at the M01D. (Well, okay, they had to do something with that. 😉 )
CardiacTrance is also excited about the new 3DS title. Watch for our video with her. (It's, uh, uploading now. Working on the road is sometimes a pain.)

CardiacTrance is also excited about the new 3DS title. Watch for our video with her. (It’s, uh, uploading now. Working on the road is sometimes a pain.)

Promo video:

The upcoming title could be reason to buy a 3DS if you don’t own one already. Sadly, because it’s tailor-made for the computing capabilities of the 3DS, this will be 3DS-only. But it sounds utterly brilliant, and, uh, yes, you can look at the relatively flat front panel of an M1 with the 3DS’ 3D effect turned on. Or just go cross-eyed, really, for the same result.

Price TBD, but it seems somewhere in the US$30 range of the DS-10 is likely.

It’s going to be a fun summer.


  • http://www.facebook.com/rutmul Rutger Muller

    Fuck yeah.

  • Kot

    Fuck thank you. I owned 3D loaded with MS20 and my dreams came true.
    But iPad was relased and there is nothing more I will ever need.

  • cranky old guy

    Yawn. Can we finally say goodbye to the 80’s and develop something new like the M1 was in it’s time?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      If your 80s M1 looked like this, I wish I lived in your 80s.

    • foljs

      No, it just sounded like this.

      Which is what matters.


      Not to mention: the M1 was a digital workstation in 1991. That means it had the CPU and memory of something like a pocket calculator today, which makes it not that impressive to have it to run on a console with 10+ times the capabilities.

      It was also digital. Which makes this even less impressive. You just have to port the old code and add a new UI on top, instead of capturing actual physical behavior like when modeling an analog instrument.

  • foljs

    So, Reason 7 is boring, but an M1 in an old console is “rad”?

    You are such a hipster…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I’m totally a hipster, no argument, but you might suffer the symptoms of trolldom. Ask a doctor if chilling out is right for you.

      I’m rather interested and not at all bored with Reason 7, and yet even when I try to talk to Propellerhead about what they’re doing with MIDI

      — I *again* got feedback from Reason users complaining *in an article I’d devoted to Reason* about unrelated coverage of Ableton.

      I mean… that’s a bit weird. So is bringing up Reason 7 in an article about a Nintendo system. Shouldn’t you be, like, using Reason now, not talking to hipsters? Let’s spend time talking about Reason rather than wasting time in comments, no?

    • http://twitter.com/lazytrap mute

      Jump ahead 20 years. A full on workstation synth that runs on the latest Nintendo handheld console as opposed to a 3,000 $ synth? Doesn’t take a genius or a hipster to know that’s cool. Then again… trolls do avoid reality and compare unrelated topics whenever theoretically possible.

    • foljs

      Jump ahead 20 years. A full on workstation synth that runs on the latest Nintendo handheld console as opposed to a 3,000 $ synth? Doesn’t take a genius or a hipster to know that’s cool.

      It might have been cool in 2000.

      It’s 2013. We have had all kinds of past synths running on $200 phones and tablets for ages by now. Including a faithful Fairlight emulation that runs on an iPad (and even created by the same people as the original).

      So a “$3000 synth of yore running on a handheld”?

      It’s not “cool” anymore. It’s ho-hum. We get like 20-30 of those every year.

    • http://twitter.com/lazytrap mute

      Troll keep on trolling.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      It’s not technologically impressive, perhaps. But to the die-hards, it seems to be about having this particular hardware form factor and the workstation-style software Nobuyoshi built around it. And that explains the enthusiasm of the chip music community and artists like CardiacTrance.

      In fact, I think I was pretty clear – she’s having fun, and she’s making fun music.

      What, exactly, is the problem with that? I mean, isn’t that the point?

      What’s next, are we going to gripe and children about having too much fun on their kazoos?

  • robert vela

    wow korgs going all out

  • Scooter

    The M01 was already released for the DS and DSi sometime back, there was even an article about it here on CM. The problem was (if I remember correctly), it wasn’t released outside of Japan, even though it was entirely in English and looked ready for world wide sell. Soundcloud has a lot of songs made with it. It was available to the rest of the world through piracy; downloading it and putting it on a flash cartridge for the DS or DSi. I have played it through this method and it was fun but not for me.

  • Littlewoodg

    I sent to Japan for the DS version – it’s a blast. I also have ableton, Renoise, palm with bhaji’s, PSP with pspseq, rhythm 8, LGPT and beaterator, all of which I have enjoyed reading about – sometimes for the first time, on your site, Peter. I might be a hipster more likely a nerd but aren’t they the same – just depends on when you are on the given timeline

  • Littlewoodg

    Forgot to mention, also have iPad 4 and iPhone 4S with every fucking thing- and MO1 is still a blast

  • http://twitter.com/lazytrap mute

    Nobuyoshi Sano is one of the coolest guys on the planet.

  • http://twitter.com/CardiacTrance Yotsuchi Systems

    I think Nintendo DS is a great platform for this kind of program. The small tip of a stylus enables you to control quite a lot of functions on one small screen, not have to go through lots of category layers to find a whatever parameter you want to change. That is really important when you perform real-time at gigs. 😀 Plus, Nintendo DS is really durable, and the battery keeps well, because it was designed for children. I actually dropped it many times but It’s still working fine. Small, light, and durable. It’s always nice that I can start working on it anywhere and anytime whenever I have inspirations in my mind. Sitting by a beach, watching time, making music …with a can of beer. Mmmm… :-)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Nicely explained!