Korgs portable synthesizers continue to evolve, both the  MicroKorg XL and Korg R3 are excellent synth/vocoders. Which synth is the best?

Korgs portable synthesizers continue to evolve, both the MicroKorg XL and Korg R3 are excellent synth/vocoders. Which synth is the best?


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Korg are veterans of the synthesizer industry, and their recent releases prove that they are ever-evolving and still at the top of their game. The original MicroKORG bucked the trend of the synthesizer market when it was released nearly 10 years ago. Synths were becoming more and more complicated with unnecessary effects and superfluous features […]




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Korg are veterans of the synthesizer industry, and their recent releases prove that they are ever-evolving and still at the top of their game. The original MicroKORG bucked the trend of the synthesizer market when it was released nearly 10 years ago. Synths were becoming more and more complicated with unnecessary effects and superfluous features – then the MicroKORG came on to the scene and reminded everyone why they played the synth in the first place, it put the FUN back in to the synthesizer and stripped away a lot of the nonsense. 2 of Korgs recent releases, the Korg MicroKORG XL and the Korg R3 Analog Synthesizer have been created with the same principles… and then some.

In 2009 it was announced that the 100,000th Korg MicroKORG keyboard had came off the assembly line – now, in 2011, that number has only increased, making MicroKORGs one of the most popular and best selling synthesizer of all time. The MicroKORG XL was released 7 years after the legendary MicroKORG model. Does the XL model do the original justice? Should owners of the MicroKORG make the switch to the XL? Lets check out what the XL has to offer.

Though the Korg MicroKORG XL may be called the XL, it is anything but. It contains a Natural Touch keyboard, weighs 2 kilograms and is just under 56 centimetres long. The XL refers to the updated and upgraded features and abilities of the MicroKORG XL. Packed with Kaoss effects, a fantastic vocoder and uprated sounds – the MicroKORG XL is a MicroKORG on steroids. This thing is powerful, yet still as flexible and easy to play as the original. Due to its size it is ideal for bedrooms, small practice rooms and can fit into even the most cramped setups on stage.

I can safely say that you will definitely be impressed by the sounds that the MicroKORG XL can produce. Although this synth is small in size, it creates a BIG sound. Selecting sounds is a breeze, simply choose the music genre and category – its as easy as that. With the XL you have seventeen powerful KAOSS derived effects at your disposal, as well as 128 sounds that are built-in and ready to use. The MicroKORG XL is underpinned by Korgs reknowned MMT Multi Modelling Technology. It is this technology that allows the XL to perform and synthesize at such stellar standards.

Korgs R3 Synthesizer has taken a lot of inspiration from the MicroKORG XL. The R3 is a compact synthesizer and vocoder, though Korg have fleshed the R3 out more with features and full-sized keys. Weighing less than 3 kilograms, the R3 is just about as portable as the XL but offers more in the way of features for the more advanced player.

The Korg R3 is more powerful and contains more features than the XL. This is largely in part to its engine, the R3 is powered by the same MMT technology found in the Korg Radias range of synthesizers. Luckily the R3 does not come with a Korg Radias price tag! Due to the powerful engine the R3 is able to split, layer and play 2 timbres simultaneously. Choosing a patch category is simple, simply turn the large LED-encircled rotary encoder. There are 16 patch categories available, including Lead bass, pad/strings and all the others you would expect. The R3 is a very capable synth for its size, the built in synthesizer is a particular highlight and one of the main selling points of the Korg R3. From robotic voices to choirscapes, there are multiple voice samples for you to work with here that make for some interesting sounds.

The Korg MicroKORG XL and R3 synthesizers are 2 very fun Korg synthesizers to play. Korg have created synths that offer up instant fun without overcomplicating the process of synthesizing like many other manufacturers nowadays are doing. Do not get drowned in a load of unnecessary features, get drowned in sound! The MicroKORG XL and Korg R3 Analog Synthesizer are both available at around the same price point (the R3 may set you back just a little bit more) and they are both worth every penny. Which one is right for you? Well that depends on your preferences. I hope this article has helped inform your decision somewhat!

 

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