Korg Intros Minilogue, A $500 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

Korg_Minilogue_Closeup1

2016 NAMM Show: Korg today officially announced the minilogue – a new four-voice polyphonic analog synth.

The Korg minilogue is a fully programmable four-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer; complete with a 16-step polyphonic note and motion sequencer, arpeggiator, and delay.

It features an easy-to-understand signal flow, featuring two oscillators, noise, a filter with two options for filter slope, dual ADSR envelopes, a LFO and amplifier. 

A new Voice Mode lets users choose how the four available voices are configured; from Polyphonic to Duophonic, and Unison to one note Chords, plus more.

In addition to offering up information on presets and editable parameters, the OLED display also features a real-time oscilloscope, providing visual feedback as you tweak sounds.

The minilogue also is built to be rugged and attractive, with a curved sand-blasted aluminum face panel, a Pyinkado wood back panel, solid, chassis-mounted potentiometers and rubber-coated knobs.

Korg_Minilogue_SlantView

“We are beyond proud of the work our designers, engineers and voicers have put into this instrument,” says James Sajeva, Brand Manager for Korg Technology products. “minilogue also brings a new level of affordability to the world of programmable polyphonic analog synthesizers. At $499.99 it is priced like a digital synth, but is armed with superb true analog sound, convenience of programmability, a striking design and quality build.”

Here’s the official intro video:

Features:

  • 4-voice analog synthesizer
  • Fully programable analog controls, with 200 program memories and 100 presets
  • Analog signal path includes 2 x VCOs, 1 VCF, 2 EG, 1 VCA, and 1 LFO
  • Shape controls allow you to dial in harmonic content in the oscillators’ waveforms
  • Voice Modes allow you to play the minilogue in 8 ways
  • 16-step sequencer includes realtime motion recording and step programming
  • Monitor waveform shaping via the onboard OLED oscilloscope display
  • Cross modulation, oscillator sync, and ring modulator let you further shape your sound
  • Switchable 2-/4-pole lowpass filter with resonance provides subtractive synthesis
  • Modulate many parameters with a ADSR envelope and an LFO
  • Tape-style delay effect includes a dedicated highpass filter
  • Chassis-mounted pots and rubber-coated knobs
  • USB plus MIDI and sync I/O provide easy connectivity with your other synth gear

The Korg minilogue will make its official debut at next week’s 2016 Winter NAMM Show. The minilogue will be available in stores on January 21st.


94 thoughts on “Korg Intros Minilogue, A $500 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

    • Can’t wait to see how Korg’s distributor in Australia CMI justify bumping the price up to $900 while they cream off all the profits…

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      • Let’s hope not. Keep in mind as of this writing US$500=AU$715. $900 would be an outrage, $725 not so bad.

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        • Australian retail price is set at $999 (source an email from Belfield Music)

          So we’re probably looking at $950-900?

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          • So sick of not being able to get anything reasonably priced in AUS.
            It actually turns me off getting a lot of new gear and yeah at the moment US$500 is about AU$715 so I can’t see how anywhere near AU$900 is justified.

            The Synth looks great though I am definitely interested. Korg continues to kick goals.

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          • The US retail price is US$730 and street is US$499. So it’s not surprising the Australian retail is AUD$999. However that should mean the Australian street price should be no higher than AUD$799.

            But yeah we’ll see.

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      • I just tried to order from Sweetwater and shipping is US$160. So the price including shipping to our lonely corner of the world is actually USD$660 – which at today’s exchange rate is AUD$950!! I was just down at Store DJ trying out the Roland Boutiques and the guy there said they were taking Minilogue orders for $899, so that actually seems pretty good!

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  1. holy shit I was expecting like $1000 minimum! Mind you, the actual circuitry in this thing is unlikely to cost a lot if they go the usual korg route. Should be good

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    • half the trick with components is buying in bulk and selecting the most important pieces to prioritize. Korg vintage filter designs are also some of the simplest most direct circuits for filters out there which helps. If their buyers had picked up a massive stock of VCOs a few years back that could explain such great price on volcas and this. Anything is possible in business when you pull the curtain back. Korg delivers 😀

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    • I would say that these features at this price have not existed in any analog poly synth? Many affordable poly analogs (Poly 800, etc…) had button-driven interfaces.

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      • Not to mention that the Poly-800 was DCO’s (one of which being crappy) and that it was introduced at $895 at that time (so, even more by today’s money).v And was made of plastic.

        Minilogue is only 500, and has real VCOs, and metal and wood. SMT circuitry though, but still analog. Shouldn’t make a diffrerence in the sound. Or not enough, so like 99% of people won’t notice.

        True, the Poly-800 had a normal-sized keyboard. but that’s about the only advantage it has over the Minilogue.

        Great job Korg!
        Slowly but surely developing your technological platform from the Monotron and up sure paid off !!! These are going to sell like hot cakes, and all you have to do after this is come up with a monster synth $1895 (and call it like… a new generation of the Trident?)

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    • “What is new on this?”

      Well, the price, for one thing. Also, the choices for new, fully analog polysynths are slim: there’s DSI, Elektron, Modal, and…that’s about it, unless you’re willing to wait for an Oberheim. This new Korg is a welcome addition.

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      • I’m assuming you are referring to analogs. Surely there have been digitals with as elaborate oscillator modes. Even old ones like the JP-8000.

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      • also having such direct access to sync and ring mod and xmod within nice reach of the bender and all the octave controls nicely placed there too. Not since the Jupiters or maybe Hartmann Neuron has a poly VCO synth had this nice a setup for performance, not to mention the CC control of it all (I’m assuming).

        Price aside even, this is easily one of the best synth packages put forth by the industry in a few decades I think…. really don’t think that’s a long shot, that’s coming from years of poring over every vintage poly and even monos that have ever been built, looking for something pretty much exactly like this. (I’d just make it wider keys and more voices, so hey, i’ll get 2, rig them beside each other and be satisfied)

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    • What do you want thats new? Why not go and assemble a modular if your view of synthesis is so far from some of ours. . I have thirty years plus experience of synths. Whats new is the price!!!!

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    • Meanwhile, having seen some non-talking videos and especially the sweetwater minilogue voice diagram I can confirm this is indeed a very cool synth for that price. It has some very interesting, and not so common features:
      1. like running a single analog input through the filters of all voices,
      2. having an individual LFO per voice (if I read the voice diagram correctly),
      3. having the possibility of LFO modulated by the envelope, and all that working on the waveshape
      These are certainly new and could answer my initial questions.
      This is certainly a very interesting synth.

      As said by so many people so many times before, it all depends on what you need or want to go for. Myself I sold some gear and bought back a JD-Xi last year, and at this moment would not trade it for a minilogue.
      On the other hand, should they make a patchable version out of it without programmability I would be interested to add one in future, as dreaming is allowed …
      Wishing all of you who have an interest in it right now or in the near future lots of fun and creativity with it, and looking forward to hearing wide ranges of minilogue uses and tracks

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    • There is a port on the back that says “sync”, and the specs say “Sync I/O”. Isn’t there something similar on the Volcas? Not sure if that can be used for CV or not.

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    • Looks like the not-quite-full-sized keys of the MS-20 Mini and KARP Odyssey, not regular mini-keys. Those feel fine for mono lines to me, but I’m not sure how they’ll be on a poly. Still, better than mini-keys.

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    • Are you buying it has a master keyboard?
      So then why is it an issue mini keys . Anyone who knows there stuff would midi it up and use there
      masterkeyboard to play it.? Are you new to midi? Mini keys have been around since early analogue, like the yamaha tiny synths with the breath controller and also the cz101 etc ?

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  2. It’s a bargain. Anyone twisting their knickers about minikeys or other elements they want should quit moaning and save their money for a bigger synth.

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    • honestly, so far i prefer the filter sound to the Prophet 6’s… i’ll grab 2 and still be far below the price of the other. you could get 3, 12 voice @2vco for 1500$… ha ha ha… just waiting for my first 500$ to trickle in at this point really.

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  3. I have to say that KOIRG doesnt stop to surprise me. Kaossilator, Monotron serie, Volca serie and now this. Fun and strong products for people that dont have enough resources.
    Yeah, i am going to buy this.

    Btw. I am big fan of Korg keys, ive bought Taktile kontroler just because of them (i am not a pro!).

    call me a fanboy )

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  4. None seems able to answer to that simply question: does it have a COMPLETE analog synthesis architecture PER VOICE? Each one has it’s own filter, filter EG and amp EG?

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  5. aahh please stop with this stupid comments on mini keys. pleeease!
    and yes 3 octaves are enough for a synthesizer.
    no it’s probably not multitimbral.
    and no theres no software editor.

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      • It has MIDI in, another keyboard can drive it if you need a bigger keyboard.

        The mini keys are a worth while compromise – for instance if someone’s holding a jam session down the pub I now have guitar-like portability, but at home, I have three keyboards (up to an 88 key beast) I can plug in within seconds using a MIDI cable.

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  6. Amazing…Go Korg! in your face Roland! just a question, are there presets in this ? i cant see any patch buttons….

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  7. Looks sick! Shame I got no money / proper studio space lol. Just wondering why its only 4 voices …. 6 would have been really cool. Oh well nice one Korg anyways!! 😀

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  8. I’d be interested to know if it’s using that new analogue chip they bought a couple of years back. I can’t find the article but I remember it allows air to pass over the electronics because that’s how analogue technology got its unique sound which digital chips hadn’t been able to emulate easily.

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  9. So if I have a microkorg already the difference is analog vs digital and I loose a vocoder for a knob per function interface… I’ll save my money for the rumored 2600

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  10. Wow, this looks great, especially for the price. If I had room in my studio for another keyboard (that I would never actually use the keys on) this would be pre-ordered.

    I hope it has, or can add through firmware, an overflow mode so you can stack them for 8 voices. THAT would out this over the top.

    We are really living in a great time for gear.

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  11. So the claim is that they arrive at Sweetwater TODAY or TOMORROW and mine should arrive by MONDAY. Way to go Korg! I was expecting this to be a couple of months away at least!

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  12. Doesn’t anyone miss the mod wheel? It doesn’t even have the possibility to delay the LFO. So that classic 70s funkyness of analog synths can’t be realised with this. Anyone know if it accepts mod wheel movement via midi? That’s the only downside I can think of.

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    • Looks like you can use an envelope to adjust the delay intensity. Not sure if you can also decouple form the VCA but if you can, that orta do it.

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    • Everything has a dedicated knob, so what would be the value of the mod wheel. Seems like you’d just have the extra step of mapping the mod wheel to control what the know already controls.

      As small as this is, wouldn’t it be easier to just twist the knob to mod the value?

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      • Ad dedicated mod wheel allows for finer control and more subtle manipulation. If you limit the range of the parameter assigned to it you can really massage the value and have less stepping. Plus when the mod wheel is set back to zero the sound is back to it’s original form, whereas hitting the knob doesn’t.

        Don’t get me wrong, this looks like a great piece of gear, my many reservations agains it aside, it is wonderful to see what appears to be a quality poly for such a low price.

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    • Pretty sure that’s not the case. The HPF is AFTER the voices have been summed, and we’ve already heard that the audio input goes to all four of the filters. There’s only one HPF and that’s for the feedback loop.

      Plus, it just wouldn’t make any sense to have the audio in piped ONLY into the feedback loop.

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  13. this is awesome… i’ll tell you what else is new. this crazy thing has an OSCILLOSCOPE!!

    so, the JP08 is $399 and looks and feels like crap and is just software in a tiny plastic box built for infant fingers. this synth is only $100 more and is OFF THE CHAIN for the price.

    really impressive. roland should just hang it up.

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  14. It’s a bit like the Dave Smith – Mopho.

    I wonder why Korg left a large space of nothing at the lower-middle area on the front panel?

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    • The space in the middle of the panel in due to the thickness, I think. Have a look at it from the front and side – it is a really slim triangle, with the keys mounted high on the base, it gets deeper at it moves back, but really only gets deep enough to mount controls at the back end.

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  15. This just set a world record for me for product announce to purchase time lapse. I already have one on the way. This is a freaking no-brainer.

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  16. I have always been very partial Korg gear.
    The demo sounds great and to be able to offer it at the $499 USD price point is extremely impressive!
    I was planning not to buy a synth in 2016, but this looks like a no brainer!

    I’m also excited to see what kind of effect this will have on the analog synth market.
    Will other synth makers step up to the challenge?
    Will boutique synth makers like Elektron add soft features to their synths (External Midi control) to add value to their products in?
    Korg has set the bar pretty high and I think consumers will benefit because of it.

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  17. Wow, really impressive specs and build quality for the price! Nice that it has a noise source & Cross modulation and Ring modulation between the two VCOs. VCO Shape should allow for many more Interesting timbres. And two EGs plus the digital tape-style delay is icing on the cake. Oh, and that oscilloscope! I wonder if the scope will work on incoming audio? I have a large Eurorack setup but still waiting on O’Tool V2 and Mordax Data to be released but if the Minilogue’s scope can trace incoming audio, that would be outstanding. Miss my Vermona PerFOURmer MKII, but I think this will fill that void plus I can probably finally get rid of my MicroKontrol since this apparently has a velocity-sensitive keyboard and USB MIDI. Would be nice if it had a patch bay for Eurorack like the MS-20M or Erebus, but for this price I shouldn’t complain. Nice work Korg!

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  18. great! as far as i understand from the midi implementation chart CC are plain 7bit…128 values 🙁 …no automation fun? steppish cutuff and pitch?

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    • You are the ONLY one who will hear the stepping. And keeping it standard midi makes it much easier to automate and use controllers with it.

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      • That does sort of hurt slow changes in the cutoff. But you can’t have everything, I guess. To me, cutoff is one place where you really hear stepping, especially with resonance high. Hopefully the dials on the front don’t have the same stepping when you’re twisting manually.

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  19. I didn’t even bother to watch to the end of the video before making the decision to get this. Korg just won NAMM, again.

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  20. After having tried the “not-quite-mini-not-quite-full” sized keys, I think this will be the biggest drawback on this synth. Hated them on the Karp Odyssey.
    With the large space between the keys and the side and bottom of the panel, I’m sure they could have fit full sized keys… Unfortunate.

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  21. So far I’m loving everything I’m seeing and hearing on the video demos. But please, please, please, tell me WHY KORG designed a 2016 USB MIDI-equipped keyboard that ISN’T iOS compatible and even requires drivers to use with computers. This from a company that designs great apps and bluetooth controllers for the iPad!!! It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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  22. I’d rather have mini keys if there’s no desktop version … (I use a master controller keyboard) … That said, while I prefer desktops, it’s also nice to have some keys to try out a line here or there … It can help with programming esp. if you are layering with other synths as it can get confusing sometimes which synth is doing what.

    This synth is really amazing … In addition to the nice modern analog sound, it’s just a quality instrument that was obviously designed lovingly …

    As an owner of two JP-08, while I do agree the ML represents huge value compared to the Boutiques, I still think the Roland offerings have value esp. in relation to ML because 1) they do not sound alike 2) the Boutiques emulate specific synths, which again, the ML does not really sound like …

    I think what I like best is that it looks, sounds and plays like a *modern* analog synth … I’ve had enough (of) vintage analog synths …

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