Korg Reimagines Keytar, with microKORG XL+ Sounds, Ribbon Controls, Slick Wooden Body [Details]

Korg’s RK-100 turns 30 this year, marking a milestone for one of the first keytars. (KORG is using the term “keytar,” not the less-pleasant-sounding “strap-on,” and who am I to argue?) It’s easy to forget that part of the reason that keytars made an appearance briefly in the mid-1980s was that the role of the synthesist had changed. This was not simply a ploy for keyboardists to prance about onstage. The rise of electro and synth pop meant that the keyboardists themselves had found a more central role in the music and sound, a lead, front-of-stage part in the band …

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Micro microKORG: Cute Korg Promo Makes Synth Into Tiny USB Stick

Aw, kawaii! Wait… sorry, poor choice of words. Aw, how… uh… Korg! Yes, in case they hadn’t given us enough reason for adoration lately, the folks at Korg are now giving away cute little USB stick versions of the microKORG if you purchase a microKORG or microKORG XL+. And if that’s not quite your budget, they also are doing those lovely vintage tees, now in a buy-five, skip-laundry-this-week value pack. Of course, we’ve seen something like this before, and it appears this is from the same designer: 808, SP1200, MPC, NS-10 Reborn in Miniature as Beautifully-Detailed, Tiny USB Drives [Gallery] …

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Korg microKORG News: New Colors, XL+

Apart from a new workstation keyboard (well-covered by Synthtopia), the hardware news from Korg today is all about making the microKORG line more appealing to customers. That includes an XL+ model with additional sounds, and new color options across the board celebrating the microKORG’s tenth anniversary. (Japanese and UK sites from Korg apparently pre-empted a North American announcement of these devices planned for afternoon US time.) If it seems like Korg is milking the microKORG line, they’ve got good reason: it’s perhaps the greatest keyboard success story of the last decade, somehow perfectly tapping into desire for an affordable synth …

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Favorite Synths Emulated in the Browser, Monotron to Minimoog; A Chat with the Developer

The beauty of modeling an instrument is that it involves ideas – taking a design from one context and translating it to another. With software, we’re able to put sound-making things everywhere, from obscure game consoles to a tab in your web browser that can distract you with music instead of Facebook updates. In the process of moving those ideas from place to place, we discover things. Just ask Shannon Smith. He’s been on a great tear emulating favorite synthesizers in free toys for the browser. Through the power of the Internet, the New Zealand-born, California-based developer heard from Japan-based …

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Jet Daisuke Hearts Korg: nanoKEY on Shinkansen, microKORG XL Adoration

Many in the CDM community miss the days when big-name gear inspired real love. Peer into the studios of even the most dedicated DIY software and hardware maker, and you’ll still see products from big manufacturers. And, much as some may unfairly deride newcomers, the lifeblood of electronic music is the person who opens a box and falls in love with a synth for the first time. Much of the Korg product line can’t inspire the kind of raw passion that its older products, and boxes from the likes of Roland and Yamaha, once commanded. But then, at its supposedly …

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Vocoder Mega-Round-up: From its History to FL Studio Tutorial, Depeche Mode

Doepfer Vocoder module, as photographed by our friend stretta (Matthew Davidson). Sure, the vocoder may now be something of an electronic music cliché now, but it got its beginnings as a mechanism of encoding speech. It was one of the first electronic instruments. It helped inspire the conceptual model for all digital communication. And, those lofty goals aside, it can still sound terrific when used creatively. (Hint: you don’t have to use your voice as a source.) These are heady times for the vocoder. Hosts are getting better at accomplishing the routings necessary to produce vocoding effects. Software and hardware …

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Survey: What Labels Would You Put on a “Genre” Knob?

The original microKORG genre-selecting knob, sure to baffle and delight with its nonsensical labels. Careful: you may actually transform yourself with the genres. Okay, first, a disclaimer: the fact that the upcoming microKORG XL has a “genre” knob for selecting presets isn’t big news. The original microKORG had genre-selectable presets, too. The beauty of the original, though, was how incoherently these settings were labeled. (Retro, or Hiphop/Vintage, anyone?) Sometimes, the labels that don’t fit are better than the real ones. “What type of music do you play?” “I play VOCODER!” (From here on out, any time the mention of VOCODER …

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Korg microKORG XL: Little Keys, with Purtier Looks, Vocoder, and Sounds

The microKORG is one of the great music instrument product hits of recent years. It’s a product that has managed to reach out of the claustrophobic, aging niche of traditional keyboard buyers to a wider audience of rockers and music enthusiasts. It’s not the only keyboard to be “cool” – hello, Moog – but it’s the rare keyboard that’s both cool and cheap, not to mention small. The cheap plastic-y mic and army beige color only added to the appeal, and encouraged people to write on it with metallic pens and apply stickers and make it theirs. And the sound …

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