At the NAMM Winter show in Anaheim, California, Korg released the Mark II versions of two of its most popular synthesizers, the Electribe A mkII and the Electribe R mkII Rhythm Synthesizer. These groove boxes add many new features, enhanced sound sets, and an updated look. They have kept the low prices and simple interface that have made Electribes popular.
The ELECTRIBE A mkII (EA mkII) is a two-part DSP-based synthesizer producing classic analog sound. Its synth engine offers two oscillators per voice, a resonant filter and oscillator modulation capabilities, including Ring Modulation, Sync and a new Cross Modulation function for aggressive tonal changes. Effects are part of the tone-generation system, including a dedicated Distortion control as well as a choice of Delay, Tempo Delay or Chorus/Flanger. A Motion Sequencer function allows users to record a given knob movement per part for capturing expressive filter sweeps and other sound changes.
The ELECTRIBE RmkII (ER mkII) combines a four-part DSP-based synthesizer with four additional PCM sound sources, providing classic hi-hat and cymbal tones. This combination results in a warmer, more modulatable voice than sampled-only drum boxes. The ER-1mkII’s synth voices include waveform modulation, amp and panning parameters. The all-new Cross Modulation function enhances sound creation possibilities as well. Users can gate two tracks of incoming audio in time with a pattern to create new effects and grooves. Effects include low boost for booming low-end, normal or tempo delay settings and the same Motion Sequencer as the ELECTRIBE A.
Both ELECTRIBE models offer an intuitive 16-step pattern grid for creating parts as well as real-time recording. Included are 256 patterns, with a new preload focused on the latest dance and urban musical styles. Patterns can be strung together and saved as a Song (16 Songs are also provided). Patterns can be from one to four measures long and can also be played live from the step keys.
Both units are MIDI capable and can be used as tone generators when triggered from an external keyboard, drum pad, or sequencer. They output MIDI clock, note and controller information for easy interfacing with other gear. Both have clean, intuitive interfaces with multiple buttons that light up to show which part is selected and what rhythm it is programmed to play, as well as a host of real-time knobs and controls.