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Picked up a Korg M3 Music Workstation…

Korg M3 w/ RADIAS board / synth option and 320MB ram. $2600 I may as well start a section on all the stuff in the mini studio, It’s mini, but it’s packed full of misc electronic goodies I’ve been collecting out of my large studio since the late 80’s so there are some interesting synths laying around. Some decent guitars and mics in there as well.. Look for me to eventually grab pics of all this gear at some point… I just picked this up so it was easy to grab pics 🙂 Despite my heavy use of soft synths and plugins like Reason and packages like Logic, FL Studio, on and on… sometimes you need a good old fashioned keyboard workstation to get you going. I still own pretty much every Korg workstation / beatbox / synth ever made from the poly61 / M1 / O1, on through the Trinity / Triton, Karma, and recently no less than two Korg OASIS synths in my big studio… anyway, the Karma synth for me was really a stand out with the KARMA engine at such a low price… but it lacked being a full on workstation with sampling, etc.. Then of course came the OASIS which is awesome (great KARMA implementation in a workstation) but costs a lot for most folks. Well the M3 synth is like a KARMA synth fused with a Triton with a side of OASIS (actually the same OASIS KARMA engine)… plus some added features (and missing some features like the CD, etc). I’ll save the in depth review for the keyboard magazines and basically comment on the overall useage of the M3. I’m also a huge Roland and Yamaha fan.. so yes I also have original Juno’s, Juipters (6,8) all the way through the Fantom and the DX7 on through the Motif XS. The latest Motif XS is what many will compare to the M3. I almost didn’t buy the M3 since I had a Motif6 as well as a Motif XS 6, but what both those synths lacked is the KARMA engine. The M3 is great for banging out Music for picture / video… you can just jam on it and get these beautiful pads and motion synths to go along with all kinds of video projects. It’s almost like it was made as a sound for picture instrument.. haha.. Where the Motif is more of an instrument to create a music album or tracks. You can do either on an M3 or Motif, both are awesome keyboards, only each works differently and their sounds (thankfully) are somewhat different, which means you can buy both keyboards and not have too much overlap. The M3 is a plastic / metal wonder.. it seems to weigh more than it should though.. I got the 61 key version since I already have several 88 key controllers and the M3 is gonna be a new “road buddy” and hauling more than 61 keys is a PITA. I have a Korg MicroKontrol and the new Novation ReMoteSL series (which I’ll talk about later) that I also use on the road, but it’s nice having both your computer and a synth workstation with you for extra sounds. The M3 also comes with software that allows you to use it as a plug-in (VST, AU, Protools, etc) so when your computer runs out of steam for your soft synths you can bring in the M3 for more HP. Some standout things that I like about the Korg M3 is that you can build Combi’s with 16 layers of sounds, 8 sliders that double as controllers, of course the KARMA engine, there are now 8 pressure sensitive chord pads which double as drum pads, the new color touchscreen display doubles as a KOSS x/y input pad and the keyboard controller / keys that comes with it feels great. For the M3 Korg has basically separated the controller from the synth. The module can be detached and or tilted up / down or even removed from the keyboard completely and used on a desktop (too big for a rack mount). There is litterally a mini midi-like cable that connects the keyboard to the module, all other connections (power, midi, usb, firewire, etc) are done right to the module itself. Bottom line, the M3 brings together some nice features and I’m sure as hell not going to be hauling an OASIS around for kicks. Stats: SYNTHESIS TYPE: Sample playback; analog modeling with optional EXB-RADIAS installed. POLYPHONY: 120 voices in single mode; 60 voices in double mode. Add 24 voices with EXB-RADIAS installed. MULTITIMBRAL PARTS: 16. WAVEFORM ROM: 256MB. SAMPLE RAM: 64MB, expandable to 320MB. SAMPLING RESOLUTION: 16-bit/48kHz. DISPLAY: 5.7″ color touchscreen LCD (320 x 240 pixels), with X-Y control. CONTROLLERS: Vector joystick, X-Y LCD mode X-Y bend/mod lever, ribbon controller, 2 switches, sustain pedal input, expression pedal input, foot switch input; 8 assignable pads; 9 sliders, 8 knobs, 16 switches. AUDIO I/O: Main L/R outputs, 6 individual outputs; all 1/4″ unbalanced; 1/4″ stereo headphone output, optical SPDIF output. 2 1/4″ unbalanced with input level controls, optical SPDIF input. MIDI CONNECTORS: In, out, thru. USB: 2 USB2 ports. DIMENSIONS/WEIGHT: M3-61: 40″ W x 14.5″ D x 4–3/4″ H; 31 lbs. OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES: EXB-RADIAS analog modeling synth board, $350; EXB-m256 sample memory expansion, $99 (available only online at www.korgusa.com); EXB-FW FireWire expansion board, $TBA. Here is a shot of the mini studio (above) almost 10 years ago… so much has changed in there since.. yet some has stayed the same.. stay tuned for misc updates of all the newer gear going in there.. Already got the new skylight not too long ago.. hehe.
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