NAMM 2024 is right around the corner, but Korg isn't waiting for the festivities to officially begin. It's announced about a dozen new products over the last few days. Among them are updates to two of the company's virtual analog synths, the roughly 10-year-old KingKorg and the 22-year-old MicroKorg.
The KingKorg Neo is built on the same 37-key form factor as the rest of Korg's recent digital synths, like the Opsix, Modwave and Wavestate. But the core here is the company's XMT (eXpanded Modelling Technology) virtual analog sound engine. It's not the most convincing analog emulation in the world, but it does have some character.
It's a multi-timbral synth, with each patch having the ability to layer or split to different sounds, with three oscillators at its disposal. There are 138 different options to choose from on the oscillator front, ranging from basic wave shapes, to PCM samples. And there are 18 different filter emulations to choose from as well, including the classic MS-20. There's also two LFOs, two envelopes, and a whole host of effects from your typical delays and reverbs, to amp simulators and sound mangling decimator.
Perhaps most exciting though, is the 16-band vocoder and included gooseneck mic. But, the KingKorg Neo isn't the only new synth from the storied manufacturer with a vocoder. It's also updating its iconic MicroKorg with the MicroKorg 2.
The original MicroKorg was launched in 2002 and went on to become one of the best selling synths of all time. In fact, in May of 2023 Korg was still pumping out iterations of the original, celebrating its multiple decades of success with a Crystal special edition.
The new version has a very similar form factor, including its small size, gooseneck mic, the ability to be powered by batteries and a large dial for navigating patches that are still sorted by genre. But under the hood is a new sound engine, and there's a 2.8-inch color display on the front which should simplify sound design. There's also a built-in loop recorder which should make it a much more powerful instrument for solo performers.
The KingKorg Neo is expected to start shipping in February for $1,000. We'll have to wait a bit longer for the MicroKorg 2 however, which should be hitting the market in June, though there's no word on pricing. Hopefully it'll fall somewhere in the $500 range like the original. Part of what made the MicroKorg so successful was that it was perfectly accessible to even the lowliest of synth hobbyists.