Korg announces new Volca, Odyssey module, microKORG S and more

Who said the summer was a quite time for gear releases? Not Korg. The company has just announced five products.

Korg has announced five new products. There’s a tuner and in-ear metronome but we’ll concentrate here on the three big ones which are…

• the new Volca kick (which we’ve been messing around with in the MT office and is very cool)

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• the not entirely unexpected ARP Odyssey Module version of the ARP synth we gave a great review to last year. Indeed the only problem (for some, not us actually) was the mini keyboard which is now ditched…

• new microKORG S synth – more presets, more speakers, more mobile synthesis

Full press releases below

Pic ARPs

ARP ODYSSEY Module Rev1 and Rev3
DUOPHONIC SYNTHESIZER


Legendary sound that connects the past with the present. Reborn again as an analog synthesizer module.

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FEATURES
–  An ARP ODYSSEY in module form that emanates synthesis power from your tabletop
–  True analog sound generated by a complete replication of the original ARP Odyssey’s circuitry
–  Duophonic design with two VCOs
–  A rich variety of modulation
–  Oscillator sync provides sharp, great-sounding overtones
–  Noise generator provides two types of noise: white and pink
–  LFO and sample & hold are provided, with switchable routing
–  Equipped with all three historic iterations of ARP’s low-pass filter circuit
–  The DRIVE switch generates extreme and aggressive sounds
–  Envelope generator with two types: ADSR and AR
–  The original PPC based on a rubber pad has been reproduced
–  MIDI IN connector and a USB MIDI port are provided
–  Lineup includes the historical Rev1 and Rev3 designs

Since its appearance in 1972, the ARP Odyssey has been loved by countless musicians as a classic analog synthesizer. Forty years later, in 2015, with the advisory assistance of David Friend, co-founder of the ARP Instruments company, KORG resurrected the ARP ODYSSEY with a complete reproduction of the ARP Odyssey’s original circuitry. The ARP sound, which continues to be envied as an iconic analog synthesizer, was once again back in the hands of today’s musicians. Now, KORG has further broadened the reach of the ARP ODYSSEY in today’s world by releasing a new model.

The ARP ODYSSEY Module is a keyboard-less ARP ODYSSEY with the very same analog synthesis circuitry that completely reproduces the original. To fit perfectly in today’s DAW-centric music production environments, we provide it in a more compact module form. The lineup includes two models, the white Rev1 and the black and orange Rev3, reproducing traditional styling in a cutting-edge tabletop body. The real ARP sound that transcends history is once again available to the world.

An ARP ODYSSEY module that emanates synthesis power from your tabletop

The ARP ODYSSEY Module is a tabletop analog synth module based on KORG’s revived ARP ODYSSEY. In its compact, keyboard-less body, it contains the exact same circuitry as the original, making it even easier for you to obtain that rich analog sound that only a genuine ARP ODYSSEY can produce.

By adding the ARP ODYSSEY Module to their setup, DAW users can enhance their production environment with powerful analog sound that cannot be obtained from any plugin. You can also perform in conjunction with a sequencer such as the KORG SQ-1. If you’re a player with a keyboard that you prefer, you can connect the ARP ODYSSEY Module via MIDI to your favorite keyboard and play it to your heart’s content. In addition, the ARP ODYSSEY Module newly supports MIDI pitch bend.

True analog sound generated by a complete replication of the original ARP Odyssey’s circuitry

The ARP Odyssey is known best for its sharp and biting tone, and the rich possibilities of modulation that allow an incredible variety of sounds. The ARP ODYSSEY Module is equipped with the very same circuitry as the ARP ODYSSEY, which itself is a perfect replica of the original unit, developed under the supervision of the ARP Instruments company’s co-founder David Friend. Its module-type design invites the user into an even deeper world of sound design.

Lineup includes the historical Rev1 and Rev3 designs
The ARP ODYSSEY Module lineup includes the best-known Rev3 design with its characteristic black panel and orange silk-screening, as well as the white-paneled Rev1 design that marks this instrument’s historic beginning. The unique shape of the slider grips, their smooth operating feel, and the layout of the switches all perfectly reproduce the layout of the original despite the compact module design.

The body, on the other hand, has been redesigned for its new life in module form, featuring a sturdy steel chassis befitting the weighty sounds produced by this instrument throughout its forty-year history.

Price and availability: TBA

pic volca
KORG volca kick
ANALOGUE KICK GENERATOR

An analog kick generator that delivers powerful sounds from kick drum to kick bass

FEATURES

A powerful kick synthesizer that even covers kick bass

  • –  Analog kick sounds generated by MS-20 filter oscillation

  • –  Aggressively control the sound using DRIVE and TONE

  • –  Powerful kick bass that rules the beat

    The volca sequencer dramatically transforms your patterns

  • –  16-step sequencer allows automation of all parameters

  • –  ACTIVE STEP generates new beats and bass lines by removing or inserting steps

  • –  Use ACCENT, SLIDE, and BEND REVERSE to power-up your sequences

  • –  TOUCH FX controls realtime sequence effects with for instant cuts, breaks and fills

    High playability

  • –  Playback can be synchronized with another unit

  • –  Compact size, battery powered, built-in speaker

Preliminary Information Specifications and features subject to change

The volca series has consistently brought renewed attention to classic groove machines and historical synthesis. It now has a new focus. This time, it’s the most important sound in dance music: the kick.

The volca kick is an analog kick generator that’s made for sound design. An analog circuit based on the powerful resonant sound of the original MS-20 filter, it lets you create a wide range of kick sounds only possible through analog circuitry, ranging from solid kick drums to crisp kick basses. The 16-step sequencer, a distinctive feature of the volca, now has a new Touch FX feature that lets you control an effect instantly, giving you even more live performance potential. Experience the stunning power of an analog kick that cannot be obtained from a plug-in or a sample.

A powerful kick synthesizer that even covers kick bass

Analog kick sounds generated by MS-20 filter oscillation

The volca kick generates powerfully present kick sounds using a completely analog circuit. To create those sounds, it uses not a typical sine wave, but the sound of an oscillating filter from the original MS-20. The powerful Rev.1 filter of the MS-20 self-oscillates when resonance is increased to the maximum, and this is used to produce powerful kick sounds with complex overtones.

Simple and effective parameters are provided, allowing you to freely design a wide range of kick sounds to your taste. Start the sound design process by using MS-20 RESONATOR (PITCH/BEND/TIME) to control the sense of pitch that generates the “body resonance” of the kick sound. Then use PULSE COLOUR/LEVEL to adjust the clip components to control the sense of attack, and AMP ATTACK/DECAY to intuitively control the decay of the sound. From tight kicks to fat, slow-decaying kicks, and pitched kick bass, it’s possible to create kick sounds that are appropriate for every type of dance music.

Aggressively control the sound using DRIVE and TONE

In addition to the analog kick generator circuit based on the MS-20 filter, there’s an analog drive that includes multiple stages of distortion. The distortion level and type can be varied by a single knob, increasing the variety and power of the kick sounds. You can use the tone control to transform the character of the sound by adjusting the high-frequency range.

Powerful kick bass that rules the beat

The volca kick is not just a kick drum machine. You can use the 16-key touch-panel keyboard to perform dynamic kick bass, and take advantage of the volca kick’s powerful analog circuitry to generate the sub bass sound that’s indispensable to dance music styles such as grime or trap.

Since the volca kick covers a wide pitch range from low- to mid-frequencies, your sequences can include a variety of sounds including low tom, high tom, and sound effects.

The volca sequencer dramatically transforms your patterns

16-step sequencer allows automation of all parameters

The volca kick features a 16-step sequencer that gives you plenty of improvisatory freedom. You can use it to quickly lay out a kick drum pattern, and it also supports realtime recording, which is an ideal way to perform kick bass phrases. And the pattern chain function lets you connect multiple sequence patterns for successive playback, making it possible to construct large-scale developments of 32, 64, or even 256 steps by joining up to 16 sequences.

The volca kick’s motion sequence function records your knob movements, letting you add time-varying change to the sound. This is great way to polish your loops, and also lets you generate highly original live performances. Up to 16 sequence patterns and sounds can be stored in internal memory.

Preliminary Information Specifications and features subject to change

ACTIVE STEP generates new beats and bass lines by removing or inserting steps

Active step is a function that lets you skip a step during sequence playback. It can create effects similar to a short loop or unexpectedly irregular rhythms, allowing dynamic performances using the sequencer itself as a performance tool.

Use ACCENT, SLIDE, and BEND REVERSE to power-up your sequences

The volca kick lets you edit each step of the sequence in even more detail. The slightly unusual accent function lets you program accents per step (not per trigger) for groovy and sometimes glitchy sequences depending on how the ACCENT knob, which controls the depth of the added dynamics, has been set. The slide function creates the effect of a connection between steps, producing a smooth and distinctive kick bass. The bend reverse function can be specified for each step to play the bend backward, reversing the conventional kick pitch so that the pitch goes from low to high, and resulting in a unique sound. The volca kick lets you create unexpected and innovative sounds or sequences that transcend conventional kicks.

TOUCH FX controls realtime sequence effects with for instant cuts, breaks and fills

The new Touch FX function further strengthens the performance potential of the volca kick. You can instantly trigger a sequence effect simply by touching a step key, transforming your realtime performance in kaleidoscopic ways.

Sequence effects include the roll function that plays a sound repeatedly, the octave function that raises the pitch by one or two octaves, and the sustain function that immediately maximizes the amp decay. These are great ways to create punchy and powerful breaks.

High playability

Playback can be synchronized with another unit

The volca kick provides a sync connector that can be easily connected to many of KORG’s other synths and groove machines. Connect to other volca units, minilogue, electribe or SQ-1, and experience a session with synchronized sequencer playback. The MIDI IN jack lets you use the volca kick as a sound module for DAW and MIDI controller.

Enjoy anywhere

With its compact size, battery operation, and built-in speaker, it’s easy to take the volca kick anywhere and perform any time.

Price: SSP (TBC) Availability: TBC

pic micro
KORG microKORG S SYNTHESIZER/VOCODER

Shape your sound, bring it anywhere. The microKORG S continues to build on the success of the original.

FEATURES

– Built-in 2+1 speaker system ensures a rich and full sound at any volume – Increased memory, new programs, and additional user programs – Favorite Select function – Elegant new design retains the spirit of the original

– All of the functionality of the original microKORG, plus so much more

With a serious sound, ubiquitous design, and superior build quality, the microKORG analog modeling synthesizer became an instant world standard when it was released in 2002. Since then, the microKORG has found its way into the hands of musicians far and wide, and now, receives an update to ensure it will remain one of the world’s most beloved synthesizers for years to come.

The new microKORG S features a built-in 2+1 speaker system with power that far exceeds its size. Its body sports an elegant white motif, and features new presets that represent the sounds of a new generation. Beneath the microKORG S’s sophisticated exterior hides a sound engine both brutal in strength and universal in application.

Preliminary Information Specifications and features subject to change

Built-in 2+1 speaker system ensures a rich and full sound at any volume

Inside that compact body of the microKORG, we’ve included a carefully constructed speaker system consisting of stereo speakers with clear imaging, plus a woofer that emanates a startling amount of low frequency. The chassis uses a new box structure, and the combination of ample box volume and a bass reflex port takes full advantage of the speakers, thereby delivering a rich sense of volume that exceeds the size of the speakers, a clear sense of positioning, and a rich low-frequency range. In addition to the battery-powered operation of the existing model, the inclusion of the built-in speakers allows an easy yet full-fledged performance experience even in an environment where there is no power supply or PA.

Since the speaker box is contained within the chassis of the instrument, the vibrations from the speaker can be felt through your fingertips. This tactile feedback allows you to experience the same subtle and dynamic response as when playing an acoustic instrument or electric piano.

Increased memory, new programs, and additional user programs

The memory capacity has been increased from the original microKORG. Mainly centered on simple and present sounds that shine on stage, we’ve added 64 powerful preset programs that meet the needs of the changing music scene, including clearly defined and punchy leads, electric pianos that sound great in an ensemble, and powerful and solid basses. In addition, we’ve also newly provided 64 additional slots for user programs, so you can save your own original sounds without overwriting the presets. This encourages a sound design process that’s ideal for this instrument: select a sound that you like, and edit it.

Favorite Select function

There’s a new Favorite Select function that lets you assign up to eight of your favorite programs. Since this lets you instantly recall the sound you need, it makes live performance even more convenient.

Elegant new design retains the spirit of the original

The microKORG’s distinctive form has been beloved worldwide for more than ten years. The microKORG S adds speakers, yet carries on the looks and compactness of the original. In addition, the front panel features an elegant white reboot, updated with maple wood for the side panels.

All of the functionality of the original microKORG, plus so much more

This new instrument carries on all of the original microKORG’s functionality, including the ease of selecting a program of a desired musical genre and then editing the selected sound, a vocoder with an included miniature microphone, and battery operation that allows you to perform anywhere. As a beginner’s first synthesizer that’s easy to use, as a supplementary live synth for the stage, or as a sound module for production, the microKORG S will continue to play a role in every music scene around for many years to come.

Price: SSP (TBC) Availability: TBC

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