Synthesis With The Korg Minilogue Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

korg-minologue-oscilloscope

2016 NAMM Show: When the Korg Minilogue was announced, many Synthtopia readers had questions about the details of the new analog polysynth’s synthesis capabilities.

Here are the details…..

In this video, Korg Chief engineer Tatsuya Takahashi introduces the Korg Minilogue and discusses its synthesis capabilities.

Here’s a detailed look at the Minilogue voice architecture:

korg-minilogue-synthesis-architecture-detail

The voice structure consists of 2 VCOs, 1 VCF with two slope options, 2 EGs, 1 VCA, and 1 LFO. The Minilogue’s wave shape capability lets you fine tune the oscillators’ harmonics. The Minilogue is also equipped with a variety of powerful types of modulation, including cross modulation, oscillator sync, and ring modulator.

The Minilogue’s four voices can be allocated in eight different ways:

  • POLY – operates as a four-voice polyphonic synthesizer
  • DUO – operates as a unison two-voice polyphonic synthesizer
  • UNISON – operates as an all-unison mono synthesizer
  • MONO – operates as a mono synth with sub-oscillator
  • CHORD – produces chords
  • DELAY – voices 2–4 sound consecutively at a delay following voice 1
  • ARP – an arpeggiator operates with up to four voices
  • SIDE CHAIN – when a note sounds, the volume of the preceding voice is lowered

Here’s a diagram that shows how the individual voices fit into the Minilogue’s synthesis architecture:

korg-minilogue-synthesis-architecture

The four voices go through a single high-pass filter and an optional delay circuit prior to output.

Synthesis Control Options:

  • VCO1 – Octave, Wave (Saw, Triangle, Square), Pitch, Shape
  • VCO2 – Octave, Wave (Saw, Triangle, Square), Pitch, Shape
  • VCO2 MODULATION – Cross Mod Depth, Pitch EG Int, Sync, Ring
  • MIXER – VCO1, VCO2, Noise
  • FILTER – Cutoff, Resonance, EG Int, Filter Type (2-Pole, 4-Pole), Keytrack, Velocity
  • AMP EG – Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • EG – Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • LFO – Wave (Saw, Triangle, Square), EG Mod (Int, Rate, Off), Rate, Int, Target (Pitch, Shape, Cutoff)
  • DELAY – Hi Pass Cutoff, Time, Feedback, Output Routing (Post Filter, Pre Filter, Bypass)

The Korg Minilogue is more than an inexpensive analog polysynth. It’s a powerful analog synth, that offers some very unique capabilities, not found on vintage synths or on other modern analog synths.

Check out the details and then share your thoughts on the Minilogue’s capabilities in the comments!

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

65 thoughts on “Synthesis With The Korg Minilogue Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

        1. Pff, marketing fluff for a new revision of an old product. don’t get me wrong, I’ve owned many Yamaha products and liked them, but there’s a big difference between talking up how great your product is going to be and just putting it out there for people to hear as Korg has done. I look forward to hearing the Montage and wish Yamaha well with it, but this is the 3rd year in a row that Korg has dominated NAMM before the doors even opened.

          Thumb up 12
        1. Ok, now THIS looks interesting… not only are the specs hella impressive, its got a built in sequencer, USB connectivity and its class compliant? Well played, Yammi. Well played…

          ————————————————————-

          Motion Control Synthesis Engine unifies and controls two iconic Sound Engines: AWM2 (high-quality waveform and subtractive synthesis) and FM-X (modern, pure Frequency Modulation synthesis.) These two engines can be freely zoned or layered across eight parts in a single MONTAGE Performance.

          Interact with MONTAGE Performances using Motion Control: a highly programmable control matrix for creating deep, dynamic and incredibly expressive sound. With Motion Control, you can create new sounds not possible on previous hardware synthesizers.

          1. Sophisticated Dynamic Control

          Music is expression. MONTAGE adds a new level of expression with the Motion Control Synthesis Engine. This engine allows a variety of methods to interact with and channel your creativity into finding your own unique sound.

          – Super Knob

          Create dynamic sound changes from radical to sublime with the Super Knob. The Super Knob can control multiple parameters simultaneously resulting in anything you can imagine.

          For example: change your listening position from right in front of an instrument to in the back seat of a concert hall. Or radically change the character of a Performance from atmospheric and mellow to rhythmic and edgy.

          The Super Knob can even be assigned to a second FC7 foot controller making it easy to manipulate the sound when playing with both hands.

          – Motion SEQ

          Motion Sequences are tempo-synchronized, completely customizable control sequences that can be assigned to virtually any synthesizer parameter and provide incredible creative new ways of programming sound.

          Motion Sequences also have dedicated controls on the front panel making it easy to manipulate and change in real-time, providing incredible interactivity and expression.
          – Envelope Follower

          Enlarge

          The Envelope Follower converts audio into a control source for control of virtually any synthesizer parameter. For example, a drum loop could drive effects parameters for a cool rhythms or a vocal recording could control multiple parameters for a “talking” synthesizer. The audio can even be a “live” source through the A/D input.

          2. Massive Sound Creation

          MONTAGE features two Iconic Sound Engines modernized for amazing sound playback and complex sound design.

          – AWM2

          Powered by proprietary Yamaha technology for data compression and sound playback, AWM2 allows tremendous data compression without sound quality loss for unparalleled, realistic sound reproduction.

          ?128-Note, Stereo polyphony
          Experience rich stereo sound without halving the available number of notes.

          ?Waveform Capacity
          MONTAGE features nearly 10 times the waveform capacity of the MOTIF XF, allowing more samples per instrument for incredibly realistic and nuanced sound.

          ?Integrated Flash Memory
          MONTAGE includes 1.75 GB of user flash memory with high speed reading/writing for your own custom samples or synth libraries from yamahasynth.com.

          – FM-X

          An amazingly sophisticated pure synthesizer engine capable of producing classic ‘80s or cutting-edge EDM sound with incredible dynamic range, power and fidelity. MONTAGE features an 8-operator FM architecture and 128-note polyphony, allowing for a massive array of sound design options.
          – Content

          Every instrument needs great content to inspire your creativity. MONTAGE features a huge range of incredible sounds like a brand-new Yamaha CFX Premium Grand Piano, detailed new strings and woodwinds and select content from the DX and TX family, all modernized to take advantage of the Motion Control Synthesis Engine.

          ?Compatibility
          MONTAGE is directly compatible with Motif XF Voices. Yamaha is developing an FM converter to make it compatible with DX7 series Voices as well.

          ?Bösendorfer Piano
          As part of the MONTAGE introduction, Yamaha is pleased to offer an incredible Bösendorfer Imperial Premium Grand Piano.

          – Effects

          From high definition reverbs to incredibly detailed Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) effects, MONTAGE is loaded with DSP innovation, power and, most importantly, sound quality. Use effects like Beat Repeat, Vinyl Break or Bit Crusher to get a modern EDM sound. You can even add a compressor with sidechain for a modern “ducking” effect. Or go retro with vintage effects like Analog Delay, VCM Phaser or a variety of Amp Simulators. Piano players will appreciate piano-focused effects like Damper Resonance for a super-realistic piano experience and the HD reverbs that let you put yourself in any performance space.
          – Pure Analog Circuit

          MONTAGE features professional balanced outputs with “Pure Analog Circuit” (PAC). PAC improves the quality of signal after being converted to analog from digital for clear harmonic reproduction and even frequency response. The result is an output capable of reproducing MONTAGE’s internal content expressively with power and clarity.
          3. Streamlined Workflow

          How do you want to integrate your instrument with your system? How do you want to organize the onboard content? How do you want to interact with the instrument while you play? MONTAGE answers these questions and more with a flexible, streamlined workflow.

          – USB Audio/MIDI Connection

          Connect MONTAGE to your computer with a single USB cable and capture every nuance of your creativity into your DAW. MONTAGE’s powerful USB driver can send 16 and receive 3 channels of STEREO 24 bit/44.1 kHz digital audio to/from your computer or iOS device (MONTAGE is class compliant, no driver needed!), no other hardware required!

          The USB connection also features full MIDI support of 16 channels.

          * MONTAGE supports the sampling rate up to 192 kHz.
          – SSS (Seamless Sound Switching)

          Seamless Sound Switching (SSS) lets you change performances seamlessly without any cut-off in envelope or effects. This is perfect for live performances where you end one song and start another without stopping.

          * This function is only available for Performances that have a maximum of 8 parts.
          – A/D Input

          The A/D input processes external audio sources with your instrument’s DSP. Use mics, guitars or any line source as an input and process with the internal effects.

          You can even use these sources with the Envelope Follower or Sidechain for a truly unique sound.
          – Physical Control

          Eight Rotary Encoders and Faders with Stepladder LED

          MONTAGE features a comprehensive set of physical controls for intuitive music making and sound creation.

          ?Touch Screen
          Select and change parameters directly with the new color touch screen.

          ?Eight Rotary Encoders and Faders with Stepladder LED
          Stepladder LEDs next to the faders indicate position making it easy to see where your current mix position is.

          ?Keyboard Action
          MONTAGE is available in three different configurations:

          MONTAGE6 and 7 feature the premium FSX semi-weighted synthesizer action with aftertouch in 61 and 76 keys respectively.

          MONTAGE8 features an 88 key, fully-weighted Balanced Hammer action with aftertouch. This provides equal resistance for each key across the keyboard and is perfect for playing a variety of instruments from acoustic piano to electric piano, synth sounds, organ and more!

          – LIVE SET

          Live Set lets you organize your Performances however you want without copying, changing order or renaming. When a Performance is selected, you can easily register it to a Live Set. This is perfect for playing gigs or even creating your own organization scheme for Performances.
          – Direct Control Assignment

          Direct Control Assignment assigns controls at the touch of a button. Simply select a parameter, hit the Direct Control Assignment button and move the controller to control that parameter. It’s easy!
          – Cubase AI bundle

          MONTAGE is bundled with Cubase AI, Steinberg’s professional music production application that offers integrated recording and editing.

          Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
          1. So it’s the lovechild of a Motif and an FS1r, big surprise. Ooh, it has color screens and light-up encoders. And a ‘super knob’.. Staggering.

            Look, I don’t mean to be cynical – this seems like a fine workstation keyboard from a company with a well-earned reputation for quality. If they got the user interface right, it might be the keyboard that really unlocks the potential of FM instead of hiding it behind a cryptic 2-line LCD. But it feels safe rather than daring. Phrases like ‘128 notes of polyphony’ are a turn-off for me these days, it’s like talking about the number of seats in an SUV.

            Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
          2. What’s the point of comparing this full size Yamaha monster that will certainly carry a four digit price tag with the $500 Korg analog poly? The Yamaha is all digital. I’m sure it will sound great, and, I’d be happy to have one, but maybe discuss it in it’s own thread. There is no comparison here at all except they are both new models.

            Thumb up 13
    1. lol, 5x more dislikes then likes. (or thumbs w/e)

      the images that are avail look like a workstation/arranger with obligitory lights + colors to make it work in the “current market”. looks like another attempt at a do all one stop shop. (that enevitably cant to anything well). i love how they fluff the “super knob” into somthing thats not simply macros and automation…

      i mean cmon, even the motif xf is 3.5k, imagine what they want for 10x the waveforms and “possibilitys”

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  1. I have a couple of rare vintage polysynths in my studio, but the minilogue screams “buy me”. it is a very well featured synth with a beautiful design for a great price, hard to resist ????

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 4
  2. Korg seems like they are very interested in inventing new modes. Delay mode? side chain mode?
    How about this. Drop one of those. Create a mode where each voice card can hold a different patch. Call it Monopoly mode.

    Thumb up 7
    1. Ha!

      Unfortunately, your idea would require a different architecture, because the effects are not per-voice.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
      1. I hope that’s all that’s stopping them! Lots of multitimbral synths are set up the same way. e.g.,I have a Kurzweil that can play 16 different parts but you have to choose which one of those parts has the ‘master’ effects. That is, the effects are not per voice/part and when it’s being played multi-timbrally, you can only set a send amount for each part to the master parts effects. It’s totally fine. Shit, they can bypass the delay entirely for all I care if it would allow this to be multitimbral!

        PS. Calling it ‘MonoPoly Mode’ is genius.

        Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
  3. Man, mine just arrived, but I am at work and I can’t play it yet. I’m just sitting at my desk, staring at it and losing my ever-loving mind.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
  4. i really hope korg makes a mini key version like the microkontrol and calls it a micrologue
    this is not click bait i really do enjoy the microcontrol and the mini keys.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
    1. If there’s no panning control, then there’s no stereo information to send out. Mono or poly, you’ve got to split the signal somehow. If the LFO could control pan position of a voice (or if there were separate panning parameters for each voice), that would make sense. Or, if the delay were in stereo. But on this particular synth, that’s not the case.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
      1. i was hoping at least the headphone jack would be a stereo output, but according to the manual it is the same output. being able to create stereo effects with built in LFO’s or even all the new parameters would have made this a lot funner to create with, was it an oversight or did making it stereo really cost that much more?). This seems a lot more affordable then the Tetra, but that at least has the stereo output (plus you can do output for each voice) . Listening through the demos with headphones, it just is missing that stereo depth. I guess you can always put this through a chorus pedal and effects.

        Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
    2. I was thinking similarly. Last year, I was getting so close to buying a used DSI Tetra because it is a cheaper poly synth and it uses true stereo synthesis (4 voices and 4 outputs). I’m still on the fence about getting that or the Monologue. The kicker is that Korg’s new little beast has SO MANY AWESOME FEATURES!!! With the Tetra, I would have to program those parameters from behind a computer… :/

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
    3. It’s funny, I have been checking it out, quite a bit, for a while now, was gonna buy.
      Even the ‘click’ ”issue’ wasn’t going to stop me. I guess I never noticed the mono output
      thing because its’ not really in my mind of polysynths…it wasn’t a feature I realized I needed to confirm. I think even some monosynths will make stereo sounds.
      Idk, I’m just kinda over it now because of this, for all the reasons mentioned elsewhere.
      This makes it not the thing I was hoping for.

      I have Blofeld on the way too, will work with that.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  5. @ 13 secs: “the synth engine has been a complete ground up redesign, and it’s built from scratch”
    … contrdictiotary isn’t it?

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
  6. uhh. beavis, where’s the sinewave?
    at ’23 seconds “.. even a single raw sinewave, sound beautiful..
    BAM sawtooth!
    just sayin..
    love me some sine waves! , that would have been cool as a fixed waveform, esp for wave folding..of course you can fold a triangle into a sine.. but .. just wanted to geek out real quick before saying
    SERIOUSLY AMAZING SYNTH!
    must resist..

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
    1. There is an additional circuit that makes the sine waves. Its not very well demonstrated here but watch the Sweetwater demo.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
    2. As this synth has an oscilloscope in it, you can watch the following in action: Take a triangle wave, run it though a lowpass filter. As you reduce the cutoff, the waveform goes from triangle to sine.

      Now, I will note, that in a 2 OSC setup, I personally find that a sine wave has some utility, particularly if you’re using the second OSC as more of a sub. This allows the filter to work more with the first OSC.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  7. I got billions of ideas hearing that Demo. Beside the MS20 Mini a KILLER is born!
    I’m reminded of a super sophisticated SID-Chip so this synth will serve best as a sound chip on a new Nintendo console. 🙂

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  8. Played one tonight for a while. Not only does it sound as great as the demoes but the sequencer is absurdly fun! It’s so easy/inspiring to get something going and with 4 note polyphony you can still play on top of it. I did find myself wishing there was a quick balance control for sequenced velocity vs keyboard velocity. You can set the step resolution down to 1/1 for long sequences. I noticed in the manual that you can also set its external sync (in or out) clock to 1/2x or 2x so (haven’t tried it) that could open up options for longer sequences while syncing to other gear at ‘normal’ tempos.

    The single LFO is a bit of a bummer but you can use the motion sequencer as an asynchronous modulation source in basically in any shape you can twist. One enhancement that would help in that space is if you could trigger the sequencer on key-down. That way you could record motion sequences without notes and have them act like additional LFOs with key follow on and/or like looping envelopes. I imagine that’s just a software update away (from possible).

    The bender… sucks. When it’s set as +/-12, it’s *very* hard to do anything subtle with it, especially starting from the center position. Feels great, just doesn’t play great.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
    1. on the bender, in case anyone actually reads down this far, I should add that I really only tried it as a traditional pitch bend. Might be great at other targets.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  9. Unfortunately, the sequencer is NOT transposable via keyboard or MIDI (the same limitation as on the SQ-1 and Volca Keys). I really don’t get, why they forget such elementary functions…

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
    1. Darn… I had hoped I could play the transposable sequencers in the MicroBrute and Mother-32 from the Minilogue, with them all transposing together. Hopefully that may be a system update away from implementation…

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
    2. Agreed.
      Maybe that’s because of the price tag and the race to get it available before Namm ?
      But surely this could be fixed in a software update / upgrade (I hope)

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  10. Why do we have to skip through several and more pages of hypothetic Yamaha Montage talk to get to the minilogue again? Is’nt someone moderating this?

    Auch, should I have said that? A moderator will probably ban me, the man of the sarcastic remarks, forever ….

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 4
  11. bloody excellent video. Give this guy a medal hes made a brilliant product that we all want! yay Korg!

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0
  12. Were there any synths other than the Korg Minilogue, Arturia MatrixBrute, and Yamaha Montage at Namm 2016? Roland? Novation? Behringer?

    I do like all 3 above though.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *