Hacktribe, modified firmware with new synth engines, sampling… for the Korg Electribe 2

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Hacktribe is a modified firmware for Korg Electribe 2 firmware that adds new FM synth engines, sampling capabilities, and more. 

Grooveboxes are very popular instruments. They often combine Synthesizer voices, sampling, a drum machine, effects and more in a portable instrument. And many of the big manufacturers have at leas one in their portfolio: Novation with the Circuit series, Roland with the MC-707/MC-101/Verselab MV-1, Polyend with the Tracker or Korg with the Electribe series.

Things have gotten very quiet about the Electribe in the last few years. They have not been major updates for it for example. If the developers don’t do anything, the community often has to do it themselves. And now there is the Hacktribe, a modified firmware from bangcorrupt that equips the Electribe 2 with many new features.



Before we look at the Hacktribe firmware it should be said that it is a hack. That means you modify them at your own risk. So be careful.

Hacktribe is a modified version of the firmware 202. It is compatible with both the Electribe 2 synth and sampler version. It adds new VPM/FM oscillator types, all filters from the synth version, sampling, more insert effects, and grooves/scales. It also brings support for import/export insert efffects and grooves as well as custom init patterns.

The firmware works on both versions, but the result is different. The synth version looses its synths and PCM instruments and get sampling, 2synths and effects. Users of the sampler version can benefit from new synth filters and two new synth engines (VPM/FM). Thus the new firmware on the synth version has the biggest impact.

There was a hack from synth to sampler version a few years ago. Korg has closed this with a firmware update. Now the possibility seems to be there again and plus additional features. Nice to see that the Electribe series gets some community love.

Hacktribe is now available as a free download from Github.

More information here: GitHub 

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  1. ABSOLUTELY absurd that Korg would even think about stopping this when they’ve literally abandoned these devices and its users.

  2. It was ridiculous that Korg kept the versions separate in the first place. If the synth version had sampling, no one would have bought the inferior sampler version with its 1 awful filter model and few waveforms. There was no difference in hardware. So, cheers to bangcorrupt.

  3. Yeah, agreed. At the very least, KORG could have released a third “hybrid” model of the sampler and “production” one. I knew something was wrong when most of the sampler ones available in the states were all PINK in colour.

    Culturally, pink has a lot of fairly serious connotations, and not everybody can be associated with that colour without ridicule or bullying. Some bands have a visual stage presence to maintain, and pink just might not fit in.

    You might say it’s unimportant, but I think it matches the hint that KORG wasn’t fully paying attention to their own user base.

    ‘Tis a shame, for sure. If this innovative “hacktribe” was just adopted into KORG, that’d be ideal. KORG ought to be praising the modifiers and offering them nice jobs at KORG, instead of wiping out the backwards compatiblity for some.

  4. This is really great! But so few people have done a deep dive into it, I’d like to see a lot more demonstrations and maybe a more clear description of what’s going on with the programming and software, how it can change things, and if maybe the samples from the sample electribe are available as well? Since it would be cool to have those… I like the idea of having the best of both worlds, but is it really that? And do I want to risk a brick to perfectly good electribe- at the extra risk of me maybe not liking the new attributes and additions without a solid demonstration?

    I’m looking for the custom sample Loading, and I’ve never used a sample version electribe so I don’t know how the menu diving is for that, maybe it’s not worth the hassle? Maybe I’d be happier with a 2nd electribe or just get an elektron model sample or mpc type device?

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