Korg microKORG 2, legendary mini synth reborn for the new generation, full specs revealed

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NAMM 2024: Korg microKORG 2, legendary Japanese mini virtual analog synth is reborn for a new generation of musicians and sound designers.

Last week, Korg introduced the microKORG 2, the successor to what is probably the world’s best-selling Synthesizer, the microKORG. The beautiful marketing phrases in the press text left many questions unanswered—especially the spec details.

Loopop has released a video highlighting the new features. And it’s more new than we initially thought.

Korg microKORG 2

Full Specs 

The microKORG 2 has a new engine. It’s still bi-timbral but now has 8 voices instead of the original’s four. 

It now hosts three oscillators instead of two with saw, square, triangle, and sine waves, single cycle waveforms (DWGS), and one-shot samples. It has waveshaping options for the waveforms and advanced modulation options, including ring, sync, and FM (VPM) with any waveform. 

A new configurable noise generator with built-in multimode filtering and a decimator effect for crunchy effects supports the three oscillators. The OG microKORG had a fixed noise. 

Also new is a new multimode filter with continuous filter-type morphing capabilities. On the modulation side, the LFOs now have one-shot modes and a shape-smoothing option. Korg also upgraded the modulation matrix with six slots instead of four and added sources and destinations.

The same applies to the effects; the microKORG 2 effects and vocal processing section are more powerful. It now has all-new algorithms that can be loaded in three FX slots instead of two. Plus, you get a built-in EQ.

An interesting addition is also the new built-in looper that captures both audio and MIDI. As Loopop shows in its demo, you can also record vocoder parts in the looper. 

Thank you, Loopop, for shedding light on the previously mysterious microKORG 2 engine. I’m looking forward to further tests. And it’s now available for pre-order. 

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Article From 18th, 2024

The first Synthesizer is something special for many people. You always remember this one. For many it was the Korg microKorg, a small, portable mini VA Synthesizer that can still be found on large stages today. So cult that Korg gave it more than once a new look and even virtualized it as a plugin.

At NAMM 2024, the microKORG is entering its second generation with the microKORG 2. After the KingKorg NEO, the second synth to be renewed. Synth concept recycling seems to be a big topic at Korg this year. 

 

Korg microKORG 2

The new microKORG 2 is the official successor to the beloved microKORG 1. It continues the concept of the original and brings it to the modern times of 2024. So a new generation of musicians. 

Visually, the new microKORG 2 is true to the original. It retains the iconic one-knon genre selection on the left side with additional new categories, and five dedicated edit knobs to quickly tweak your parameters on the fly. 

The middle section of the synthi is, however, new. It bears a new 2.8-inch color display with which you can edit sounds, get full overview about the parameters, etc.

Above all, the somewhat cryptical matrix menu diving of the original has been taken to the digital age and implemented into the menu system of the display. I added a photo that shows nicely the design difference between the microKORG 1 and 2. 

Korg microKORG 2 vs microKORG 1

Classic VA Synth With New Effects

At its core, it hosts an 8 voice solo or bi-timbral 4-voice (MicroKORG XL) virtual analog synth engine that models analog circuitry. It features three oscillators, a noise generator, a multimode filter, two envelopes, two LFOs, and a virtual patch engine. So, one additional oscillator. 

New is the effects section that hosts three series of effects, including nine types of modulation, and six types of delay and reverb. I’m assuming the effects will be from the other new digital synth (wavestate…). These three series of effects can be independently switched on/off, and you can adjust the wet/dry ratio of the effects separately.

Then, the signal goes into an 2-band parametric EQ with adjustable low and high bands on the output. Users can create sounds from start to finish with the new microKORG alone, without needing an external mixer or effects processing, promises Korg. 

New Vocoder

One of the features that is particularly popular with the OG microKORG is the vocoder. It is also available in the modern take but also modernized. In addition to the vocoder effects, it features hard-tune pitch correction effects, along with a harmonizer that lets you pitch-shift and layer the original vocal sound.

Korg microKORG 2 synthesizer

Plus you refine your vocoder sounds with reverb, delay, and other effects. It also ships with a dedicated gooseneck mic that sports a metallic neck.

Loop Recorder

Another new addition is the loop recorder, which lets you create backing tracks by looping and overdubbing given parts of music, making it the ideal tool for on-the-go live performances. On the interface, you have three dedicated buttons (record, play/stop and undo/redo) to access and control it. 

The recording and playback settings can easily be modified thanks to its easily accessible dedicated menus, so any player can get started making music right away. Besides this, it also comes with a easy-to-use arpeggiator.

Backside

Connectivity

On the backside, you get a MIDI interface (in/out,), both condenser & dynamic mic inputs, an AUX in, a damper/switch input, stereo output (L/R on 6.3mm), headphone jack, USB-C port, and a power supply input.

It runs on a 9V DC (AC adapter) or on six AA batteries for up to 4 hours of mobile synth fun.

First Look

At first glance, it’s also a good further development of the classic microKORG. I’m surprised that the synth engine hasn’t been taken significantly beyond the original. It could be that they don’t want to change anything about the original sound.

The new effects and the expander vocoder are great upgrades. Also, the UI looks more modern and tidied up. The keyboard remains velocity only, but the keybed looks more solid than the original one. The microKORG 2 reminds me a lot of the microKORG XL feature set, only now branded as microKORG 2. 

I’m curious whether it will become as legendary as the original. I doubt it, to be honest. Also, the price is high here. 

Korg microKORG 2 will be available soon for $699/599€ in three colors: gray, black, and white. 

More information here Korg 

Available for pre-order at my partner

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13 Comments

  1. 22 years later and they’re introducing a new 8-voice digital synth. Would it have killed the zombies in the marketing department to increase the polyphony to 16 voices?!

    • I know right… don’t most digital pianos enjoy super high polyphony of 128+?? I know synths are designed to make much simpler sounds, but to get rich lush synth tones, you do need higher voice counts, like u see in the DeepMind12 (granted, the smaller DM6 has only 6 voices, so this new Microkorg mkii has 2 more than that, but still…).

  2. 699? What stuff are they consuming? It looks nice but not for this price. I would rather get a minifreak which is like 100 bucks cheaper. And has analog filters and aftertouch.

  3. I think Korg need to pause and have a group huddle about their strategy. I’ve been baffled for a couple years now by what they’re releasing, what they’re abandoning and what they’re pricing things at. They were once a bit of a powerhouse but now I’m not sure. Between their new old synths and Roland’s Gaia 2, things seem stale for the Big 3, although at least Yamaha is trying something new, albeit a bit familiar this week(see TE).

  4. I think Korg is smartly trying to capture its lost profits from the used OG market. No one wants the XL so maybe this is their ticket. Appeals to me more than a Monologue or Minilogue, although I’m older and actually just bought a used MicroKorg – so there’s that.

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