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Big Trouble In Little China

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Can Korg’s MicroSTATION hold its own against the big boys in the synth department? We put it through its paces…

Korg are well known for their amazing synths that over the years have been a constant feature in the best recording studios and on the biggest stages around the world. One of Korg’s most famous game-changers back in the day was the M1 Work

station synth. It had everything needed to compose a complete track, all in one box. The M1 had a complete range of sounds like drums, synths, basses and a built-in sequencer to program them all together.

The Korg MicroSTATION could well be the result of a secret breeding program deep in the basement of Korg’s labs between an M1 and one of their modern and uber-cool ‘Micro’ synths. The result of this electronic gang-bang is a fully featured Workstation synthesiser in a compact and lightweight package.

Korg have crammed everything needed to produce a killer track into something that is small and light enough to tuck under one arm. However, compact is a relative term when it comes to the MicroSTATION: with its 61-key keyboard, the length stops it being as wonderful as the original MicroKORG for throwing in a bag and jumping on a plane but compared with a normal full-fat workstation synth the MicroSTATION looks very slim indeed.

Any synthesiser lives or dies on the quality of sounds under the bonnet, and when it comes to a Workstation synth there needs to be a good range of sounds to choose from. The MicroSTATION does not disappoint with 480 preset sounds organised in nine categories such as leads, basses, drums and strings. Korg are renowned for producing fantastic sounding instruments and the MicroSTATION is no exception. A good balance between choice and quality of sounds — as well as being suitable for a range of music styles — mean this should be well received by space-starved studio dwellers across genres.

All in all, Korg have done an amazing job in packing so much great sounding technology into such a small package. However, the size does cause some issues. Editing sounds and sequencer settings are done via knobs (great) and a small LCD screen (not so great) and the small keys are not a good idea for anyone with slightly oversized fingers, especially in a live situation. With the advent of cheap laptops and software workstations, the MicroSTATION has its work cut out to compete in a crowded marketplace, but synth aficionados who lose sleep over laptop crashes may have found a new companion.

Verdict

Price   £399.00
Contact   korg.com
Build Quality
  7.0
Ease of Use   6.0
Features   7.0
Value for Money   7.0
Sound Quality   8.0
Hype   A fully featured workstation synthesiser with a full range of sounds and a built-in sequencer, all in a compact and lightweight package.
Gripe   The small keys and small LCD screen are going to get annoying quickly, unless lack of space or portability is a big factor.
Conclusion   Korg have revisited the glory days of their M1 Workstation, delivering a synth that can produce an entire track. The portability and features are fantastic but the small-sized keys and LCD screen will be annoying for some.
Overall Score   7.0/10
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