Korg Minilogue Synthesizer First Look

The 2016 NAMM Show doesn’t kick off until next week, but some of the biggest news is already out – the new Korg Minilogue Polyphonic Analogue Synthesizer.

This video, via synthesist Olivier Briand, focuses on the sound of the Minilogue. 

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.

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.

37 thoughts on “Korg Minilogue Synthesizer First Look

  1. This little guy has def caught my eye!

    4 voices with step, and arpeggiator, and delay for that price point, AND it sounds really, really good?? The only thing that comes to mind that is even remotely comparable is Elektron’s Analog Key’s, and its 2.5x’s the price!

    I wonder if we are going to start seeing the price of analog gear being driven down now that the big boy’s are getting into analog synths more and more, which may prove problematic for the Mom and Pop Synth shops like Synthrotek, Pittsburgh Modular, etc, if bigger companies start dipping their hands into Eurorack. An interesting time for synthesizers, indeed! Perhaps the mighty guitar is finally going to take a bit of a back seat in favor of the oscillator.

    1. To be fair though, Elektron Analog Keys is full size and at least 2.5 times as complex in terms of sequencing and synthesis. I am going to get a Minilogue, but if I had the money, I would much rather get an Analog Keys.

      Much more comparable is the Mopho x4, which is full size, much more complex in terms of synthesis and is probably of much better quality, also built in the US. You get what you pay for.

      Still, going to get one, the Minilogue seems awesome and high enough quality for the price, it has all that is needed for proper analog synthesis and performing.

    2. It’s a great synth, but definitely won’t be replacing an Analog Keys. The AK is in a completely different ballgame.

      However, the two play and sound very nice together, and for $500, there is absolutely no reason not to buy the ML. Probably the best entry level synth ever made, and can easily hold its own in a room full of more expensive gear.

  2. I can see why people like this, but it is just the same old, same old at a better price.

    I am finding the market really stale at the moment 99% of the market is retro-style analogue synths, actual retro-analogue synths or digital synths pretending to be retro-analogue synths – that’s a good choice is you haven’t got a heart beat, but what about the living?

    I’d go modular if I had the space and less of an addictive personality, I see progress in that market – people seem to do digital with pride in that market, for the living and not the dead. I am getting to the stage where I want to hurt people that say ‘100% analogue pathway’ – give me a 100% digital pathway, not founded in bullshit.

    1. the analog path is not a gimmick, it just applies to some contexts more than others. i play with a live band with loud drums guitar bass singer and keys. To get the oomph and resonating feeling you want from a big chord, full undigitized waves are really helpful. Noise gets lost in the ear especially live with other more clear signals in the mix. The ear prioritizes the most clear wave signals, that’s just a fact. Ask a guitar player for comparison whether they have trouble getting in the mix with a digital fx pedal as opposed to analog effects and a nice tube amp. It’s an old story that is still true, no cause for hate. Some styles also rely on that oomph more than others e.g. hard rock. You want that synth nice and loud and fat, and after generations and generations of gear, there are those of us that know what we want and ask for it, so that’s why those lines are there.

      a digital EG and LFO is not so much a problem and i imagine they are digital here like in the volca. More importantly, the vco gets to play its own way and keep itself pure, and with a nice well-selected VCA and VCF it’s also just tone-tested facts that they sound warmer.

      As more demos come up over time other users will find more palatable combinations of the waves and octaves and modes too, most of these early ones are a bit amateur so far obviously. Proof and pudding will come when the users get at it, but hey still it may just not be for some people. The market is big and there are LOTS of snths old and new to get what you might want. The Reface DX7 is still a viable tone option for some and os are computer rigs. To those of us looking for VCO within this setup, the old synths are more and more unreliable and expensive so it’s a good boost to have a new product like this for us.

      1. The whole point of me wanting a digital path is for clarity, which is the real advantage. And it goes against everything you are saying here. It is like when people state vinyl is better than digital, it is just a misinformed. What they mean is that it is more forgiving went it goes wrong, which I guess is a plus point for people that are doing things wrong.

        The two real advantages that analogue has over digital are, firstly noise and dirt – which can be forgiving, if you are into that, I ain’t. But the main one being is that is breakups in a natural and forgiving manner – digital just glitches and falls apart. So really people want analogue for the 1% of time that a set falls apart, I want digital for the 99% of time it doesn’t fall apart, I want it to enhance my competence and not enhance my incompetence.

        I think the main thing that enforces this analogue has power myth is setups. You get a vintage Moog and you run it in a £600 valve amp and are impressed by the power. Then you switch a computer on, or a cheap synth, a listen to it on a poor set of powered speakers, as that sound doesn’t warrant a £600 valve amp. And then we rave about how good the vintage analogue synth sounds – it is all self-reinforced nonsense.

        I don’t think I am the only person not to be fooled by this, and a think the younger generation coming up, that grow up on a digital sound, want quality new digital kit. I think the market will be changing, and over the next ten digital will be the new analogue. The market will return to where it should be, and start getting progressive again. rather than serving this retro-grade bullshit.

        1. You have no idea what you are talking about. Are you new to this world? You sound like someone who has never used more than a laptop and some plastic USB controller. Believe me, you are out to lunch. I’m not saying digital is bad, but you are obviously very inexperienced, or have had no exposure to better equipment. If the latter is true you are forgiven, but you come off like a pompous jerk.

          1. I already got an analogue poly, Yamaha CS-50 made in 1976. I have no need to update this, you know why? Because Analogue synths haven’t gone anywhere new in 40 years – just like the combustion engine. To say I am out of touch with analogue is very shocking, out of touch with what advancement? And don’t count MIDI – ha, ha.

            If you had of told me in 1985 that analogue is good and digital is bad then that would be warranted. In the same way if you had of told me in ’85 that electric cars are rubbish and combustion engine cars of better, that would have been a solid point. But you have then undergone 30 years of analogue going nowhere and 30 years of digital doing everything and more, continuing to progress, and evolve – every year it gets better and bolder and will continue to do so towards the singularity – while analogue is going nowhere.

            Just keeping you updated, unlike the tech you consume. I understand why people get hurt with logic, I guess nobody wants to be self-aware of walking 30 years down a dead-end road, such an act of futility.

            You are so deeply wrong on this, and while you are dismissive of the truth then that will not change.

  3. I’m not falling for this…
    sounds great, but not better than a VA.
    Just because it’s analog we believe it’s better.
    Clever marketing.
    Make it at least 6-voice, so those who actually play can lay down big chords with bass notes.
    3-octaves still gives the instrument a monophonic feel.

      1. For you to claim that you can, is laughable. Blind tests carried out at University of Bristol four years, most professionals had incredible difficulty. Just because something is analog, does not make it superior. Typical human thinking of course about yesteryear.

        1. Hold on. Do you have a link to this study? Which synths did they test? I have done a recording comparing the exact same patches using a mini moog model d vs the Arturia version, and although the Arturia plugin is quite nice, the differences are pretty obvious. I have digital and analog hardware synths in my studio and they are both great. But, they are not the same. Anyone with an ear would be able to hear the difference in a “blind test.” Of course, it depends on which synths you are comparing as well.

          1. I agree with Code6, mostly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good reason to buy an analog rather than a digital.

            1) It’s _really_ easy to crank out a bad digital synth. Therefore, I don’t blame people for getting tired of digitals. Bad ones are everywhere, like McDonalds Apple Pies. Still, great ones exist, and people rightfully love them. It’s hard and a lot of investment to make an analog. The people who make them are often brilliant and labor over them until they hit all the sweet spots.

            2) It’s _really_ hard to duplicate a great analog with digital. Getting a sound that people know well reproduced just right (808, 303, Moog bass) is a ton of work, and, again, lots of people do it badly. It’s easy to find crappy mimics.

            So it makes sense that people want analogs. BUT, I don’t really believe an analog is “warmer” by the time it’s get put on a CD. It’s just digital numbers then. A waveform is a waveform. However, maybe where it excels is when the musician is playing it. And loving the instrument you are playing is surely worth a lot, even if what you heat isn’t what your audience hears.

            I LIKE the idea that there is a poly analog for $500. I WANT to play it. I can imagine the circuits doing their thing. What’s not to love?

        2. compare the low mids of these VCO saw waves to the biggest fattest VAs you can find and you can hear there is little comparison. the AIRA and U-he are among the nicest responses in that low mid area for digital that I’ve heard but this is easily audibly better. You’ve got o get in that frequency range with a very sure foot in some styles.

        3. For many, many years I was this guy, too. “Digital synths sound just as good, and can often do more… you can’t hear the difference on a recording, etc.” Then about a year ago I got my first Moog, and it completely crushed my whole paradigm. It’s true that maybe most listeners won’t hear the difference in a recording, but when you are playing it in person, it is noticeably different. It’s hard to explain, but there is a visceral feeling that happens as the voltages react with each other as you slowly adjust the knobs. It’s not necessarily about ‘warmth’ per se, it’s more about slight imperfection, and the pure underlying crackle of electricity flowing through it that makes it somehow more raw/organic. You can hear/feel the electrons colliding as you play it. Digital synths can come very, very close to replicating this, but there is always some slight sheen of sample-y-ness to them.

          1. I found this very thing when i bought my first analog, the micro brute. Its like yo can hear the raw circuits and it gives you a great feeling.

    1. Not ‘better’ than a VA, just different. Can be used for different applications. Some prefer a VCO over a digital osc, it’s just warmer.

    2. > Make it at least 6-voice, so those who actually play can lay down big chords with bass notes.
      > 3-octaves still gives the instrument a monophonic feel.

      Oh, come on.

      Maybe this one just isn’t for “real” players like you. I mean, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Steve Winwood, Emerson, Worrell, Hancock, Zawinul and fam would NEVER consider a so-called instrument with anything less than 6 voices and 5 octaves, right?

      1. Ha ha. True. It would be nice to maybe have some kind of expansion cards for extra voices. Or failing that some way of chaining more two or more units together for more voices. I can live with 4 voices though. It’s not like that has held people back in the past as you averred earlier. Worst comes to worst, just keep laying down audio parts and layer them up. More option for effects, detuning effects, panning, all kinds of shit.This could get pretty fat pretty quickly.

        1. +1 I hope Korg does something like this. They could go ‘expander’ style where a second unit (hopefully keyboardless and $400 😉 is connected via MIDI or USB and this unit behaves as a 8 voice synth master. 2017? Would be dependent on whether or not this can send more than 4 notes via MIDI.

          I used own a Roland Juno-106 and the ‘home’ version of it (HS-60?) at the same time. It had neat trick in that you could do a sort of instant sysex patch dump from one to the other. It didn’t allow for 12 discreet notes or anything fancy like that but it would allow you to do 12 voice unison! Or allow you to cook up a sound on one and quickly get it moved to the other for comping or sequencing or whatever. Would be sweet to see even that with these, given the price.

  4. I’m not a fan of the fake wood on the back. They should have made the back look like the rest of the synth.

    It’s a deal breaker for me. I don’t want to look ridiculous on stage behind something with ridiculous looking fake wood on it.

  5. Did you ever go to a buffet line at a wedding reception or company dinner and they have that bland, nearly tasteless mostaccioli as an option in one of the trays?

    I hate to say it, but the Minilogue seems to be like the synth version of that blandaccioli.

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