Korg Turns 50 – What’s Korg’s Best Synthesizer Yet?

korg-50-anniversaryIn 2013, Korg celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Founded by Tsutomu Katoh, Korg released their first product in 1963, the Disc Rotary Electric Auto Rhythm machine Doncamatic DA-20. In 1973, Korg introduced their first synth, the MiniKorg.

Since then, Korg has had an impressive run. They’ve released a steady stream of electronic music gear, including classics like the MS-20, the PolySix, the WaveStation and the VC-10 Vocoder. And they have had their share of modern hits, with the Electribe line, Kaoss pads, the microKorg, the Radias and others.

What do you think Korg’s best synth or piece of electronic music gear has been from their first 50 years?

64 thoughts on “Korg Turns 50 – What’s Korg’s Best Synthesizer Yet?

  1. My first and second synths were a Korg Micro-Preset and a Korg 770, both bought new. Not their best gear by a long shot, but I’ll always have a bit of nostalgia for them.

  2. The MS2000 is probably one of my all time favorite synths. It’s a tonne of fun and can do a heck of a lot with only four voices.

  3. Best Korg synth? No contest! The DS-10, hands down! Never had more fun with anything that made music in my life! Plus I love the music people make with it!

  4. Whilst the Kronos is arguably their most powerful synth, it’s over-bloated, complex and has an illegible screen. My favourite pieces of Korg gear are my WaveDrum and my EMS-X SD1 – both of them very hands-on pieces of kit. I also deeply regret the sale of my Radias which was sonically excellent even if it had a plasticky user interface (as does the Kronos :o(

    To some extent I think that sums up Korg: excellent sounds & innovation, not the highest build quality.

  5. My first Korg was the Mono/Poly in 1984-what a beast!Has to be my fave still.
    Always had a soft spot for the Poly 800,but oddly enough never owned one!

  6. The question is “what’s their best?”, not “favourite”. So Poly 800 and DS10 can’t be considered best.

    Would the PS-3300 be considered their best synth?

    1. Best is a very subjective thing. Best at what? And for what reasons? The ds10 is certainly one of the best handheld synths to date. The whole thing is silly and academic anyway. But it’s fun to throw your two cents in and to see what others as to say.

    1. I got burned with the EA1. Does the EMX have a pretty good synth engine?

      And is it also limited to 4-bars per sequence?

  7. I didn’t grow up with analog synths at all, so my first “synth” was actually a ROM-based workstation…a Korg X3. Horrible piano sound! At the same time I also remember still playing an M1 and a Yamaha DX7.

    I’ve always been intrigued by Mono/Poly, but have actually never played one.

  8. Korg MS-20 is my absolute favourite. Had mine since i was 11 and I’m still using it on almost any project i do.

  9. In terms of expressivity, I would choose the Wavedrum. It’s a total nightmare to tweak but such a joy to play.

    1. I think the Kronos is super-powerful, but I have noted that the screen on the M3 is much more readable for my 53 year old eyes-so the M3 would have my vote for best combination of interface readability, functionality, sound and price. I’ve only owned 1 Korg so I really can’t speak for the whole line.

  10. My first synth was the MS2000. It was great for learning the basics. Unfortunately, it also taught me that I “needed” at least 30 more synths!

  11. PS-3200. Did not own one, but I had access to it when working in a music store in Montréal.
    A formidable poly with 16 user programmable memories. I did own several neat Korgs: Mini-korg2,
    MS-20, Mono/Poly (great!) and a DSS-1. Kudos to Korg!

  12. Please Korg read this list and note how many times people mention the Mono/Poly and release it in software form .. A re release in hardware is too much to hope for.

  13. Oh man. Out of the ones I have actually played I’d have to say the Wavestation A/D made the hairs on my arm stand in a way that they haven’t very often after that. The DW-8000 was nice too.

    I’ve never played a DSS-1 or PS-3200 or 3300 but they sure look tasty.

  14. kaoss pad was pretty cool when it first landed ,
    not the best thing they made obviously, but should be noted.

    i would like a mono/poly to test to finish this discussion!!

  15. THere is Mono/Poly softwer version, its a part of some later Legacy edition, not part of the original one, tho.I have it installed and its not very good.

  16. I own a mono/poly and its the Korg synth I like the most (and the one I’d most like to see remade) but based on what I’ve heard in demos, the 800DV to my ears is the most beautiful sounding Korg synth.

    Does this make it the best? Well what sounds good is subjective, but any choice of ‘best’ has to be based on sound as this is a synths purpose.

  17. Over the years I had many, many KORG instruments from the ESX-1 to the Kaosspads, from the X-50 to the R3, Microkorg, MicroX and M3 and I think the M3 was/is an amazing workstation and the one I enjoyed the most

  18. M3 XP 73 with Radias and 256MB. Tons of sounds and analog (virtual) warmth + best sequencer, keyboard, pads, touchscreen and pure white with red lights! Wow.

  19. MS2000 (microkorg sounds but with adult user interface and keys ;-),
    Z1
    Wavestation series (A/D if we must pick one)
    MonoPoly seems really cool and unorthodox, though I’ve never played one.

  20. iElectribe – why because it’s the only synth that fits my workflow on the iPad. Everything else pales into insignificance next to it apart from other apps from Korg. Keep up the good work guys I will always be up for buying your gear.

    That said I also love my Electribes and my KP3 to 🙂

  21. Hands down, my Korg Kronos is my all-time favorite. The sounds are excellent, Keybed feel is nice and it does everything I need it to.
    Happy 50th Birthday Korg!

  22. I have some more toys from them, the first Electribe, TR61 small workstation, kaoss pad… But definitely MS-2000 has taught me so many things!

  23. Give me the 800DV anytime I had my first one when I was 19 I now have 3 and none of them look anything like original

  24. By far, the Korg MS-2000 is their pinnacle. I really LOVE that synth. Why, in God’s Name, did Korg have to come out with that Radias and only keep that crappy Microkorg, I’ll never know. And the latter one — why did it come out? Less is not always more. But still their best synths are MS-20, the PS series, Polysix, Mono/Poly, and MS-2000.

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