Korg Kingkorg

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The KingKORG is billed as a performance-oriented VA synth, and it meets that target on most counts. The knobs and buttons that adorn its surface access most of the crucial parameters of sound design, including a large knob for filter cutoff and dedicated displays for oscillator and filter selection.

The heart of the KingKORG is Korg's XMT, supplanting the MMT that drives the MicroKorg. XMT provides 3 oscillators and 1 filter per Timbre, and 2 Timbres per Program, which can be split or layered. The oscillator selection contains a comprehensive set of classic analog waveforms as well dual, unison, sync and ring modulated variations, although these eat into the 24-note polyphony. Also included are noise (white, pink, blue, and resonant), FM-like VPM, an expanded set of DWGS oscillators, and a well-selected set of PCM samples including Mellotron, Wurlitzer, strings and choirs. The final selection allows the Mic in port to feed in to the filter, allowing for external oscillators. Alternately, the mic can be used to drive a 16-band vocoder.

Korg has provided 18 different filter selections, modeling Moog, Oberheim, Prophet, MS-20 and TB-303 filters. These are provided in low, high, and band-pass arrangements. Also included are KingKORG's native filters in both 12 and 24 dB/oct variants. Cutoff sweeps are smooth and stepless, via both the cutoff knob and modulation sources. Modulation is delivered via a Virtual Patch system to connect the 2 LFOs and 2 ADSR envelope generators (among other sources) to a myriad of destinations, including other virtual patches. The midi-syncable LFOs provide triangle, sine, saw, square, sample + hold, and random waveforms and run up to 100Hz. They have dedicated depth knobs to modulation routings to filter cutoff and Timbre pitch. Likewise, the EGs have dedicated routings to filter cutoff and amp level. A configurable 8-step arpeggiator provides some hands-off note generation to permit knob twiddling.

Three effects modules provide additional sonic tools, and can be applied to either or both of a Program's Timbres. The PRE section includes ring modulation, guitar and EP amp modeling, decimation, distortion and tone. Next, the MOD section provides a chorus, U-Vibe, tremolo, rotary, phaser and flanger. Finally, the REV/DELAY section has room, hall, and plate reverbs, as well as a straight and stereo-panning delay, and a tape echo simulation that sounds fantastic. There is a global stereo tube preamp with boost, as well as a configurable 2-band parametric EQ. A strange addition is a CV/Gate output that can be configured for Hz/V or V/octave, allowing the KingKORG to interface to modular gear. Sadly lacking are aftertouch and a step sequencer that would help the KingKORG meet its performance-oriented billing.