Just landed the new Korg Minilogue so I thought I'd give it a good going over - Here are my Initial thoughts:
The Korg Minilogue was probably the most hotly talked about piece of music technology at the recent Namm 2016 show and rightly so. Korg dropped the bombshell and provided now only a fully working, non prototype 4 voice fully analog 37 key dual oscillator synth, but said it will be delivered to retailers within the next few of weeks! They weren't kidding we now have our first shipment. If nothing else bravo to Korg for making this happen. While we all sit around waiting for delivery of Moog Mother 32 synth Korg has hit the market running.
Not only have they managed to land it on time but they've also managed to keep the synth at a rather superbly priced $899. I know, I know... I hear you all gasping saying "but Korg said $500". Yes they did but that is $500 US dollars, without TAX, international market conversion and shipping. So by the time you factor in all this $899 is pretty much bang on the money for our Market.
Well....First up let talk about that name. I don't know about you but I just can't hear anything other than Kylie Minogue when I see the name in print! That aside as soon as I pulled the synth out of the box I though this is a really well constructed piece of gear. The chassis feel solid (all metal they say) I like the little wood touch at the back - classy! The knobs, dials and switches all feel solid! This bring me to my first gripe - the keyboard. I know they wanted to keep it small and keep the costs down but this is a poly synth and you want to play chords. The problem is the normal chord shapes your hands make end up playing the keys next to the ones you actually want to play. If it were a mono synth no problem I'll play one finger at a time. I guess we'll all have to get used to this as it seems mini keys are here to stay not just on this synth but other too.
Fantastic! From rich paddy tones to cross mod ripping sounds this synth delivers. I'm really quite blown away. It has depth and control previously unattainable from a synth of this price. I love the 2 pole filter. Reminds me of my Oberheim Matrix - I am always partial to 12 db per octave filters so I was pleasantly surprised to see it here. The LFO is great yet simple - I would have preferred the INITial default sound to be set to free running rather than have to go into the menu to change it though. I small gripe!
This synth has everything you want from an analog poly synth. 2 fat VCO's with a Sub oscillator - (hidden though). A creamy 4 and 2 pole filter that can be modulated by the LFO, Envelope or velocity. Dual ADSR envelopes - my favourite kind! There is a bit of a click at the attack stage of the envelope which may bug some people. It's only noticable with the filter all the way down and with a fast attack setting. I've seen this before on other analoge poly synths and to be honest doesn't really put me off. And last but not least an LFO. The LFO is fast and can run freely or triggered and can be used to modulate filter, Pitch and shape. I would have liked 2 though. I don't know about the delay - It's so basic they could have left it off in my opinion.
The Sequencer is nice and simple - nothing too fancy here other than you can use motion sequences to modulate certain parameters over time reminiscent of the MS2000 and Radius...NICE! I love the Duo and Chord modes. An arpeggiator is also onboard. Korg have really given you plenty of bang for the buck on the Minilogue.
All in all a worthy Synth for the $$$. 4 voices are really handy. The filter is smooth and the VCO's are tough. Is the Minilogue a synth I would own? Yes absolutely. Even though it has mini keys and the envelope click it is still a synth I would love to own. And given it's under $1K it's a no brainer. You'd be mad to overlook it if you are in the market for an analog polysynth.
Well done Korg - You produced a great little synth, kept the price low and got it to market within a few weeks of announcement. Other manufacturers should take note. This is how to release a product!
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