May 19, 2013

The Korg Preset Synthesizers (1975-1980)

Korg 900PS Preset Synthesizer (1975)

The Korg 900PS is quite a basic but very interesting monosynth. The 900PS definitely 'borrowed' some ideas from the Arp Pro-Soloist. Instant selection of 29 different tone colors. From the sweet sound of a violin to the chugging of a steam locomotive. Sensitive soft-touch switches and plentiful controls provide a wide variety of effects including vibrato, repeat, even the harmonics you need for a Hammond organ tone. The 900PS has 29 presets: Timpani, Electric Bass, Synthe Bass, Piano, Harpsichord, Shamisen, Banjo, Mandolin, Xylophone, Tuba, Bassoon, Horn, Cello, Trombone, Saxophone, Voice, Clarinet, Accordion, Trumpet, Funky Trumpet, Synthe Trumpet, Oboe, Violin, Recorder, White Noise, Scale Noise, Harmonics I, Harmonics II, Harmonics III.You can edit: Portamento, Repeat, Vibrato: Speed/Depth, Attack Control, Sustain Control, Harmonics Control, Traveler Control (filter cutoff), Pitch Bend, Forte, Volume.

Korg M500 Micro-Preset (1977-1980)

This 32-note monophonic preset synthesizer had 6 push-button presets ("voice", "synthe 1", "synthe 2", "brass", "string", and "wood" as in woodwind) and a five octave switch. If you pressed two buttons at the same time, those two presets would mix. There were controls for attack and "sustain" (decay/release), VCF, modulation depth, modulation speed, and portamento speed (as well as a lever to switch the portamento on or "momentary"). The SP version of the synth had a small built in speaker. The Korg Micro Preset synthesizer is a curious late 1970s beast with a slightly bizarre matrix of pre-set sounds, including laughable woodwind and similar noises and a low-quality keyboard all housed in a wooden box. Perhaps it was aimed at the beginners market. There is a lot of fun to be had with the 'traveller' control, a sort of filter and resonance control rolled into one, offering interesting squelchy acid-style bass run effects. In fact, like the MS-10, bass is about all you'll get out of this oddity in terms of useful noises. 

But overall this is a bit of a novelty synthesizers, and is not especially playable nor distinctive - apart from its looks! There are no MIDI, CV nor similar inputs.