NAMM 2024: Here we were thinking that Yamaha's Seqtrak might steal the show at NAMM this year, but it turns out we may have been mistaken. Korg has just unveiled a raft of new products to be shown at NAMM 2024, the most exciting of which is the long-awaited successor to the beloved microKorg.
Released in 2002, the microKorg was an affordable but deceptively powerful synth that became hugely popular with everyone from amateur knob-twiddlers to world-famous artists - Tame Impala and The Prodigy can be counted among the synth's fans. One of the 21st century's most iconic instruments, the microKorg was a 'first synth' for a whole generation of music-makers.
22 years on, Korg has announced the microKorg 2, which it tells us captures the essence of what made the original a global success while bringing an array of new features to the table. On first glance, the most noticeable upgrade is the synth's 2.8-inch colour display, which offers advanced control of the synth's parameters alongside animated effects and an oscilloscope view that visualizes your patches.
Like its predecessor, microKorg 2 is built around a virtual analogue synth engine. The synth's polyphonic architecture can handle up to eight voices, and sounds can be layered in Dual mode to create multi-timbral patches. The synth comes with 512 presets categorized into eight banks labelled by genre, and custom sounds can be saved in its 64-slot patch memory.
microKorg 2's sounds can be processed through a range of effects that are grouped into three categories: modulation, delay and reverb. There's also a two-band parametric EQ for further sound-sculpting. Like its little brother, the synth is equipped with a powerful vocoder and vocal processor and comes bundled with a goose-neck condenser microphone.
In addition to classic vocoder effects, microKorg 2's vocal processor offers Auto-Tune-style pitch correction and a harmonizer for creating layered and pitch-shifted vocals. Another new feature for the microKorg 2 is the loop recorder, a handy tool for recording performances to create layered compositions.
Like the original, microKorg 2 is outfitted with a 37-key velocity-sensitive keyboard, but we're told that the new version has been redesigned to enhance playability and provide a natural feel. Measuring 54cm in width and weighing a touch above 2kg, microKorg 2 is a portable instrument that can run on mains power or six AA batteries.
As for I/O, the synth is equipped with stereo line out, headphone out, MIDI in/out, aux in and two microphone inputs. There's also a USB-C port and a jack for a damper pedal.
microKorg 2 will be released in June of this year. We'll be checking out the synth at NAMM next week - keep an eye on the homepage to see it in action.