NAMM 2018: Korg aims for the high-end with the Prologue, a polyphonic analogue synth

NAMM 2018: It turns out that, with the releases of the Minilogue and Monologue synths over the past couple of years, Korg has been building up to something, and that something is the Prologue.

The undisputed flagship of the ‘logue’ range, this is a polyphonic analogue synth with a full-size keyboard. Built in Japan and designed to have a boutique look, it features an aluminium front panel, metal knobs and oak side panels. This is very much a deluxe instrument, and one that looks set to be a strong contender in the high-end synth market.

The Prologue’s analogue circuitry comes directly from its siblings, but it also boasts a new digital multi-engine and DSP-based effects. You can choose from two models: the Prologue-16 has 61 keys and 16 voices, while the Prologue-8 gives you 49 keys and eight voices.

Despite its size and power, the Prologue is designed to be as intuitive as its stablemates. The multi-engine works alongside the two analogue oscillators and adds digital waveforms and FM into the mix, giving you even flexibility when it comes to sound creation. There are four types of noise generator, a VPM oscillator and a user oscillator.

Moving on, you’ll find two digital effects units - one for modulation effects and another for delay/reverb. There are also user effect slots that enable you to load your own programs. Additionally, you can call on an analogue-powered low-end booster/compressor that operates as a master effect.

For those who really want to personalise their Prologue experience, there’s an open API that enables you to customise and extend the capabilities of the multi-engine and digital effects. Using the dedicated librarian software, you’ll be able to create your own oscillators and effect programs and load them into the Prologue. You’ll also be able to share your programs and code with other users.

The Prologue is a two-timbre synth, so you can play two different programs simultaneously. Not only can you layer or split the sounds, but you can also transition between the main and sub timbres. What’s more, there are four voice modes: Poly, Mono, Unison and Chord.

Korg is promising a high level of expressivity when playing the Prologue; it features the same ‘natural touch’ keyboard as you’ll find on the company’s workstations. You can also trigger the synth’s sounds using a versatile arpeggiator, and there are various options for sorting the 500 included programs.

The Prologue 16 and Prologue 8 are scheduled to ship in March/April 2018 priced at £1739 and £1299 respectively. Find out more on the Korg website.

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Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.