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The MicroKorg 2 hands-on: A classy replace to an iconic digital synthesizer

The MicroKorg 2 has some massive britches to fill. The original MicroKorg is certainly one of, if not one of the best promoting synthesizer of all time. It's additionally most likely the longest repeatedly manufactured synth, having hit the market in 2002. In fact, expertise has superior rather a lot within the final 22 years and it was time to present what’s arguably the primary traditional synth of the twenty first century an replace.

The brand new model that Korg introduced simply forward of NAMM 2024 stays largely true to the unique design. It's small, however solidly constructed. The mini keys would possibly trouble these with sausage fingers, however my barely smaller than common fingers didn't have a lot situation. I did sometimes miss my mark barely, however that has as a lot to do with my horrible keyboard abilities because it does the compact keybed. The keybed itself is okay. Nothing to jot down dwelling about, that's for certain. However it's additionally not value getting up in arms about. I've performed a lot worse.

The knobs and buttons, even on this prototype felt strong. And the large rotary knob, which is type of what provides a MicroKorg its visible identification, has very satisfying detents as you alter the style of your patch choice. Whereas there are massive indicators within the Korg sales space proclaiming that the MicroKorg 2 remains to be a prototype, the {hardware} already feels fairly refined.

Even the interface looks as if its a minimum of practically full. The display screen itself is brilliant and colourful with respectable viewing angles. It did get just a little washed out at excessive angles below the glare of the Anaheim Conference Middle's lights, nevertheless it's unlikely to trigger a difficulty in common use. 

Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

The UI is already trying fairly good, with some fashionable animations as you alter parameters. And altering parameters is quite a bit simpler than it was on the unique MicroKorg, which had two edit choice knobs and a desk you wanted to search for what the 5 knobs throughout the highest had been controlling. On the MicroKorg 2 issues are a lot faster. For instance, urgent the button under the second knob cycles by way of the settings for oscillator one, two, three and the noise supply. And the display screen tells you what parameters are assigned to these knobs, relying on the web page you've chosen. 

It's hardly knob per operate nevertheless it may very well be a lot worse.

The genre knob on the Korg MicroKorg 2 at NAMM 2024.
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

The one space the place it was apparent that the MicroKorg 2 was nonetheless in prototype stage was within the presets. There have been solely eight preprogrammed into the unit I attempted. And the NAMM present flooring wasn't precisely the best setting to do deep sound design. 

I did kick the tires on it a bit although, and was fairly shortly capable of throw collectively a few respectable sounding patches. And the handful of presets that Korg did have able to go had been brilliant and loaded with character. They had been decidedly digital however didn't really feel medical. Sadly the conference corridor was even much less conducive to testing out the vocoder and harmonizer options. It was simply inconceivable to get a clear sufficient sign with all of the cacophony happening round me.

The logo on a black Korg MicroKorg 2 at NAMM 2024.
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

Generally the eight-voice (or four-voice in bi-timbral mode), three-oscillator synth engine looks as if a giant improve from the unique. It's bought not simply your normal digital analog waves, however a number of single cycle waveforms and even samples that may be mixed to create comparatively advanced sounding patches. 

The one factor that the unique has over its successor although is value. The place you’ll be able to nonetheless go decide up a MicroKorg from most music retailers for $430, the MicroKorg 2 will set you again $699 when it goes on sale later this 12 months.

This text initially appeared on Engadget at

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