Korg Prologue Analog Synthesizer Details & Demos

2018 NAMM Show: Korg today officially introduced the Prologue, a multi-voice, multi-timbre, multi-engine polyphonic analogue synthesizer.

The company positions the Korg Prologue as a professional-level analog ‘flagship’ synth. It offers full-size keys, discrete circuitry, a newly developed open-source multi engine, and DSP-based effects.

The Prologue is available in either 8 voice (49 key) or 16 voice (61 key) models with multi-timbral zoning options, with Korg’s best full-size synth action, also found in the Kronos workstation.

The Prologue uses a structure of 2VCO + MULTI ENGINE, 1VCF, 2EG, 1VCA, and 1LFO. The Prologue features a two-pole low pass filter with enhanced sharpness, drive that adds powerful distortion, and a low cut (high pass) switch.

A newly developed multi engine is provided as VCO3, adding digital waveforms and FM. This multi engine, which is equipped with three different sound engines, can be combined with the analog VCOs to expand prologue’s sonic potential beyond that of a traditional analog synthesizer:

  • Noise – There are four types of noise generators, for percussive sounds or sound effects. Experience how
  • VPM oscillator – The VPM (Variable Phase Modulation) / FM oscillator was newly developed for prologue. It can create metallic and sharp sounds with complex overtones.
  • User oscillator – The user oscillator section lets you load oscillator programs of your own creation. Sixteen slots are provided, and one type of morphing wavetable oscillator is built-in as a preset.

The digital effects feature 32-bit floating-point processing, and add a further polish to the sound of the Prologue. With two effect units provided (a modulation effect and delay/reverb), you can choose from a wide variety such as chorus or ensemble, warm tape delay, or diverse reverbs. The user effect slots let you load effect programs of your own creation.

User-customization

The Prologue offers an SDK (Software Development Kit) that allows developers to program, customize and extend the capabilities of the multi-engine and digital effects. The SDK is expected to be available for download in the spring of 2018.

The Prologue provides 16 user oscillator slots and 16 user effect slots, and users can use the Librarian software (also expected to be available for download in the spring of 2018) to load new oscillators and effect programs created by developers with the SDK (Software Development Kit).

Analog comp/booster

The VU meter is available only on the Prologue-16, and indicates the newly developed master effect L.F. COMP. It’s a low end booster/compressor using an analog circuit.

Here’s the official video intro:

The Korg Prologue is a two-timbre synth that allows two different programs to be played simultaneously. In addition to layer and split, the Prologue provides four voice modes: Poly, Mono, Unison or Chord, allowing the user to freely combine the 16 or 8 voices for performances.

The dual effects section includes Mod and Delay/Reverb, each with areas for user-created algorithms.

One of the most unique aspects of the Prologue is its support for user-creatable oscillators and effects. Users can program their own oscillators and effects or download code created by others to use on their own Prologue.

Here’a an in-depth demo, via Sweetwater’s Daniel Fisher:

Heres’s an audio demo, via Kraft Music:

Pricing and Availability

The Korg Prologue 8 & 16 voice models will be available in January 2018 for $1499.99 and $1999.99, respectively. See the Korg site for more info.

53 thoughts on “Korg Prologue Analog Synthesizer Details & Demos

    1. Frankly, I don’t think either demo is very good. When you are showing off a brand new synth, a synth that many are hearing for the first time, you should play/create stunning sounds that blow people away. Many of the sounds demonstrated are ho hum and frankly less inspiring than what can be coaxed out of a far less expensive soft synth.

      I’m sure that the Prologue is awesome and can be made to sound awesome. But my first impression based on these demos is good but not mind blowing. Of course, that’s just my subjective opinion. Others may disagree.

    2. Have listen to all current demos so far and I think that you can do pretty much the same with a DM12.

      I have one for half a year now and zero regrets here

  1. This is what I have been waiting for. It was love at first sound and it just works so well. I know there will be comments about “its missing this, and that” but to me this is the best sounding modern synth….I will even go as far as any synth. Trust me I have heard and played a lot. I just love this thing. Sadly I will have to sell a few things to buy it but the price point is good. Only sad part is yes, I will have to sell other synths to buy it. If I wasn’t struggling on a 12k per year salary I could keep them but they have to go. This thing is just too much of what I have been dreaming of. I will wait a while to see if colors come out because I would love a matching red one with my Monologue.

      1. The “struggling” part is key. Spending $2000 on a synth when you make $12,000/year is a little nuts. Spending 15K on modular gear when you make 90 is a good investment.

        1. > Spending $2000 on a synth when you make $12,000/year is a little nuts.

          I disagree it’s nuts. I’ve done the exact same thing and it was the right decision. Though if you spent that much and don’t invest insane amounts of time in your instrument acquisition, yeah, it’s a dumb move. But if you invest it and then put in the time, it can be a sensible choice.

      2. I am going to wait for the 16 voice version to be $1,500 used or buy it new if a red version comes out but I will sell other equipment to buy it….won’t just be adding it to what I got. I won’t be this poor for long; I have businesses I will be opening up this year.

  2. I’m curious to see which model people draws the most interest. For me, if I wanted a Prologue, the 5-octave, 16-voice Model with compressor is a no-brainer and well worth the extra 500 bucks.

    Which version would YOU buy?

  3. Sounds good.

    But awfully overpriced.

    Reducing the ”hybrid” opportunities into merely mixing one digital waveform with analog without any interaction sounds almost as exciting as the lack of aftertouch in $2000 synth with ONE LFO!!!??

    No aftertouch is synonymous to $1000 to me.

    Compared to this, the Waldorf Quantum sounds affordable; more expensive for sure, but seems to offer more bang for the buck.

    1. I concur. The lfo department is even worse than the Minilogue where you at least have the option to shape the lfo with the envelope. Some cool effects you can achive with the envelope shaping the rate of the lfo for example. It doesn’t seem to be possible to do that with the prologue. The FM part and digital waveforms look apesling and the synth looks really nice, but after lusting for it in the first video that came out I stepped back and looked at the features to realize that they could have done a much better job in the modulation department. To me it feels that the Minilogue is a much better value for the money. I love that thing.

  4. Also, you have to choose between reverb and delay? Why not both?

    And why call it ”Pro” with all this corner cutting?
    (I know, I know, to grab $2000 for it)

  5. That is pretty cool that you can write your own completely custom oscillator and fx plugins and store them as presets. That is pretty new for a hardware synth.

    It seems they have completely dropped the awesome full keyboard microtonal support that was introduced in the minilogue.

    Duotimbral split/layer is not really multitimbral, it’s a bit misleading to call that multitimbral.

    A $2k pro instrument should have more than 1 sustain and 1 expression pedal input on the back, and the keyboard should have aftertouch.

  6. I’m really liking this but I really hope they add microtuning support like the monologue and MPE support, then it would be a perfect synth for me.

      1. > If it had MPE, I’d buy it in a blink of an eye!

        I know, right? It’s not like they don’t know MPE exists. And MPE is not exactly new, it’s been around via MIDI Guitar Mode since the dawn of MIDI 1.0 and precedes full multitimbrality by years. It also costs nothing to implement in production, it’s totally doable through firmware.

        It adds so much value for those of us not locked to the button pushing combo organ paradigm that there’s no excuse at all for any serious synth company not to implement it.

  7. Always reset to Zero Envelopes would be a no go for a synth in this “class”.

    If it has different envelope modes i’m very interested!
    I’m in the 8voice camp btw.

  8. Interested to have a look at the SDK. Looks and sounds nice, but seems lacking on modulation options. Tough sell over the peak or prophet without a mod matrix IMO.

  9. After listening to the demos, I’d probably rather buy a Virus than this. It sounds the same to me. I have other analog synths, this one just seems bland.

    1. Lots of the sound in the movie by Sweetwater reminded me to the Waldorf Q. The digital effects are a disappointment for me. No internal sequencer also.

  10. I think this synth sounds great. I never get too deep into programming so its limitations are fine for me. And like the Rev2 I like that it can be expanded. But this one seems to go to another level in personalizing the synth. So I think its between this and Rev2 in my mind for my first poly. Until another poly gets announced next week of course.

  11. Surprising, but very positive news and audio:
    It’s a real synth, not a Kronos (which is cool but different)
    It sounds like a Korg synth with all positive aspects
    It is not a Fatar keyboard (the standard versions of which get a little tiring and boring)
    It brings new technology with the open access to programming the digital oscillator and effects sections, great
    There is big competition in this price segment, but this synth is surely up to it.

  12. It sounds absolutely lovely, and there are many things about this that look truly wondrous, but one LFO that you can only route to one destination at once……? Great sound design on the demo, but IRL – hmmm…..

    OK, for the “budget” Minilogue / Volca Bass / Keys (all of which I own and love) I can understand only one LFO – especially the Monologue which is super cheap for what it is (don’t own as I have lots of other monosynths including MS-20 Mini) but at the very, very least IMHO on a flagship synth like this you should be able to send it to multiple destinations as you can with MS-20 mini, Volca Bass & Keys.

    Surely (is it just me on this….?) the R&D on their 21st century synth range has been going on since the Monotrons / Monotribe. OK, you might be able to record modulation lanes in Minilogue but that seems to have been dropped for this along with half of the voice modes. Is 2 or 3 free running / syncable LFOs too much to ask? An extra envelope? They’re hardly new developments in synthesis……one lfo / envelope for pitch, one for the filter, one for the amp…..?

    If there is a switch on the front panel then there is an electrical signal path, and the switch could be replaced with three diodes and three dials to route to all three destinations. Diodes and rotary potentiometers aren’t exactly expensive and as the same caps are seemingly being used across the entire range range of synths they’re surely getting a bulk discount. Although at least these have a white line on so you can see where they’re set. Maybe they’ve used incredibly expensive paint 🙂

    I want one, but don’t think my gearlust will overcome financial prudence on this. For all their reported manufacturing faults (I’ve had no problems) Arturia seem to have done a better job bolting together various bits of R&D with the Minibrute 2 and especially 2S than Korg have here, which is a great shame as I love Korg but can’t help feeling that with Tats’ departure we seem to have seen the end of a golden age in their history.

    Maybe I’d be better off getting a second hand iPad and some of their apps….

  13. There are far to few modulation-possibilities for this price range. They are very basic – less than on the Minilogue as far as I understand it. Beautiful synth design though.

  14. Full sized keys and pitch and mod wheels are welcome and the configurable digital oscillator seems like a neat idea. BUT… Arpeggiator, but no sequencer? No after touch? Fewer voice modes than the Minilogue? Bet the compressor on the big one is pretty useless. I’d rather get a second Minilogue tbh.

  15. Sexy synth for sure, but I agree the above mentioned points on the downsides of this. I was thinking I w.ould rather get another minilogue or monologue to compliment my minilogue…shit or both and still be under budget

  16. I find it odd that a “flagship” only has one LFO, an either-or effects section and not even a modest OLED alphanumeric display. I’m a long-time Korg user, but this thing is lacking in key places where the DeepMind 12 excels for half the price. The clever customization feature has far too few user slots to be very impressive. This isn’t a flagship; its more like the Krome version of a Kronos. The sound is typically full, but it feels more like a beefed-up Minilogue than a top-of-the-liner. I’m sure my fanboy grousing won’t hurt its sales a bit, though! 😀 I like the obvious hands-on form factor; it just needed better nutrition as a toddler.

  17. Ooops, is that an alphanumeric OLED on the far right, accessible by that knob? If so, I am a pumpkin who spoke too soon. If so, that makes it smell a notch better to me. Don’t need it, but also want to properly appreciate it.

  18. far out.
    I just creamed my jeans!!!
    I’m thrown into so much confusion.

    I was planning on getting the Rev2,
    but this seems just as good.

    And with that extra OSC, that can do FM, or wavetable? Fuuuuucccccckkkin hell!!!

  19. Had a Minilogue for about a year. Truly wanted to love it but the small keys, lack of a sustain pedal and the overall tone of the oscillators just didn’t do it for me. Sold it for an older Prophet 08 and couldn’t be happier…4 LFOs, three envelopes, flexible mod matrix as well as event sequencing…it’s a great synth!

    Of course, the. Minilogue is a capable synth in its own right, and far cheaper than any of the Prophets, which makes the comparison somewhat unfair. My point in bringing it up is that the Prologue, which is clearly meant to be a professional Minilogue, is far less capable than a Prophet 12 or 08 rev 2 at the same price point. In my humble opinion, Korg missed a big opportunity here.

    1. The Prophet 08 is an underrated and awesome instrument in both keyboard and desktop module form. It even responds to polyphonic aftertouch. The only thing I would possibly give it up for is a Rev2 with the 16 voice upgrade…. 😉

  20. OK, so have I lost my mind or in 2018 are we going to have at least two current, available, semi-affordable 16-voice analog hardware synths (Prophet Rev2 and Korg Prologue) ?!?!! (Not to mention the 12-voice Behringer and the 8-voice basic Rev2, and many other awesome instruments….)

    I still miss the Andromeda, but this is looking like an analog polysynth renaissance!!

    p.s. Multitimbral is pretty fantastic as well, and something I wish we’d see more of!!

  21. My 800€ King Korg can do the same and so much more. It also sounds fantastic. Analog is for the hype wave riding fan boys who love cassette decks and “analog” vinyl albums, because they sound “authentic”. smh

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