Korg’s New Synth: The MicroKorg XL

Korg has officially announced a new addition to the microKorg family – the microKORG XL.

The original microKorg was a big hit for Korg, because it’s cheap, it sounds pretty good, it looks cool, it’s easy to use and it’s got a funky vocoder. Now an advanced microKorg is available that’s not just an updated microKorg, but a more powerful synth in the tradition of the microKorg. 

Here’s the scoop:

microKorg XL Main features:
 

  • “New vintage design” is both fresh and nostalgic.
  • Korg’s MMT Multi Modeling Technology, optimized for the microKORG XL.
  • Sixteeen band vocoder for voice controlled effects. A gooseneck microphone is included, so you can begin vocoding right away.
  • 128 powerful sounds are built-in and ready for immediate use.
  • Intuitive sound selection; simply specify the music genre and instrument category.
  • Seventeen KAOSS derived effects.
  • Newly developed natural touch mini keyboard is compact, yet easy to play.
  • Editing software can be downloaded from the Korg website, as well as converted MS2000 and microKORG programs.
  • Battery powered for on-the-go enjoyment.

Let me know what you think of the new microKorg XL; I’m looking forward to checking it out!

Read more for the in-depth gorey details.

Here’s the text of Korg’s announcement:

The new top of the range microKORG — XL power in a micro body

This latest model boasts Korg’s powerful RADIAS/R3 derived MMT Multi Modeling Technology, as well as a powered-up vocoder. The updated ROM includes PCM data for recreating in-demand vintage keyboards such as piano, electric piano, and clav.

Externally, the microKORG XL boasts a new vintage design with a textured black body and industrial silver panel. The interface has also been enhanced, making it easier than ever to use. Sound selection is controlled by two large dials; three smaller knobs allow the main parameters to be easily selected. The newly-developed mini-keyboard is firm and responsive for even greater playability. 

Korg’s MMT Multi Modeling Technology

Korg’s MMT engine provides a compendium of Korg’s various modeling technologies, offering a robust range of sounds – including great analog re-creations. Korg’s famed MMT is the same high-fidelity synthesis that powers our RADIAS, R3, and ElecTribe MX, optimized to provide the microKORG XL with phenomenal performance.

The microKORG XL uses two MMT oscillators to generate powerful sounds. Oscillator 1 (OSC1) provides not only the standard waveforms you expect from an analog synthesizer, but a total of seven types of oscillator algorithms, including formant waveforms such as human voice, noise, and PCM/DWGS waveforms such as vintage keyboards and strings. Cross-modulation, unison, and VPM (Variable Phase Modulation) let you create sounds that would be impossible for a conventional PCM synthesizer. Oscillator 2 (OSC2) can be used for modulation (sync or ring) in conjunction with the first oscillator, making it easy to create complex and powerful sounds.

Dynamic synthesis power

Two multi-mode filters, a drive/waveshaping circuit for distinctively distorted sounds, and EG and LFO for creating time-varying tonal change, provide plenty of parameters for serious synthesis. Virtual Patching simulates the patching capability of Korg’s classic MS series, and the arpeggiator can run six types of patterns, all adding up to a high degree of creative freedom. There’s also an external audio input jack, so you can process external audio material from a sampler or other source device. In the full-edit mode you have unlimited access to all of the microKORG XL’s synthesis parameters.

Versatile Vocoding

Using a microphone, the microKORG XL’s amazing vocoder allows you to add vocal characteristics to any sound, creating everything from “talk-box” filtering, pseudo choirs, talking instruments and vintage Sci-Fi robots. You can also use a nother instrument – such a drum machine – to add rhythmic dexterity to your synth tracks. Our unique Formant Hold allows you to freeze the vocal input for continuous vocoder effects. In addition to simulating the classic vocoder sounds of the past, the microKORG XL also allows you to shift the filter frequencies (Formant Shift function) and adjust the level and pan of each of the sixteen bands, greatly altering the tonal character. This allows you to easily create fascinating textures and sounds that go far beyond traditional vocoding. A gooseneck microphone is included, so you can immediately start using these superb vocoder functions.

128 professional sounds, organized for immediate use

Finding the right sounds is easy. To choose a sound simply rotate the two large dials. The first selects the musical genre, while the second defines the instrument category. From the familiar “ROCK / KEYBOARD,” the standard “R&B / LEAD,” and the distinctive “HIPHOP / BASS,” a wide range of presets are instantly available. For the diehard synthesists and sound designers, you can use the three performance edit knobs for fast, effective editing in performance. You’re also free to select and assign your favorite parameters

Advanced dual effect engines

The two master effect processors were perfected on our KAOSS series. These up-to-the-minute effects go far beyond traditional delay and chorus, delivering a total of 17 powerful algorithms, including ring modulation and a grain shifter. In addition, delay effects can be synchronized to MIDI clock for expanded possibilities in a live performance and other “beat-sensitive” situations.

Compact expression and playability

Our new Natural Touch Mini Keyboard is firm and easy to play, inspiring confidence and greatly enhanced expressivity. The proportion of the black keys to white keys has been adjusted to make chording easier, and the improved touch allows rapid-fire phrases. The “waterfall” keys project a feeling of quality, and also make it easier to play glissandos, smears and slides.

Free! Downloadable sound editing software

You can use a USB cable to connect the microKORG XL to your computer, and use the free sound editing software to organize your sounds and edit all of the parameters from your computer. In addition to the editing software, you can also download and use converted programs from microKORG and the MS2000/MS2000B free of charge.

12 thoughts on “Korg’s New Synth: The MicroKorg XL

  1. Well, it’s finally got 8 voices to it so it’s more usable for strings and such, but I think it’s a step back from the cool retro of the microKorg.

    Looks like they abandoned the whole formant freeze vocoder function, which I thought was rather nifty.

  2. Mibrilane – more power is always good.

    I agree with you on the styling, though. The microKorg XL looks a bit like a vintage Fender Rhodes, which is cool, but not as unique as the craziness of the original.

    More important, though, is that there are so many more controllers on the original MicroKorg. Cutting back on the switches and buttons means fewer performance options.

  3. Does the phrase “Multi Timbral= maximum 2” mean: the processor inside is capable of producing no more than 2 “tones” at a time? So if you press 3 keys, you hear 2?
    That would be a serious disadvantage I think.. It looks very nice though.

  4. Henk – Multi Timbral means that you can press a key and it can play two different patches at the same time. Multi Timbral synths can also usually split the keyboard, so that you can play a synth bass on the left side and different patch on the right side.

  5. the microphone is ugly. that looks like the microphone from the korg r3. the rest of the design is okay, but i don’t like the flat edge at the bottom.

  6. can anyone tell me how to use the Formant Hold function. I find the manual only just mentions it but not how to use it… I am able to use Formant Shift but not hold
    Please Help
    Gazboy

  7. re formant hold leave that with me .. just got mine today .. not very intuitive without reading the manual …hate reading manuals as it is my job to translate them from Japanese to English usually …I may go from the original , rather than English … so bear with …
    Give me to this weekend as i am pretty busy , but I shall know it inside out by then …planning to rape the synth engine as it needs it .. not bothered about the look , although diallling dials during a performance is not the best method methinks.. to those that think it doesn't look right and are more concerned about it's retro style , well I am sure it will feel better up their arse … just wiggle about a bit…

    regards

    Fitvideo

  8. re formant hold leave that with me .. just got mine today .. not very intuitive without reading the manual …hate reading manuals as it is my job to translate them from Japanese to English usually …I may go from the original , rather than English … so bear with …
    Give me to this weekend as i am pretty busy , but I shall know it inside out by then …planning to rape the synth engine as it needs it .. not bothered about the look , although diallling dials during a performance is not the best method methinks.. to those that think it doesn't look right and are more concerned about it's retro style , well I am sure it will feel better up their arse … just wiggle about a bit…

    regards

    Fitvideo

  9. err I tried to reply it got deleted ….odd that … I am on the case about the formant side just got mine today …
    pretty busy but I shal try to reply asap …

    regards

    Fitvideo

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