KORG’s nutekt NTS-1 is a fun, little kit – and open to ‘logue developers

KORG has already shown that opening up oscillators and effects to developers can expand their minilogue and prologue keyboards. But now they’re doing the same for the nutekt NTS-1 – a cute little volca-ish kit for synths and effects. Build it, make wild sounds, and … run future stuff on it, too.

Okay, first – even before you get to any of that, the NTS-1 is stupidly cool. It’s a little DIY kit you can snap together without any soldering. And it’s got a fun analog/digital architecture with oscillators, filter, envelope, arpeggiator, and effects.

Basically, if you imagine having a palm-sized, battery-powered synthesis studio, this is that.

Japan has already had access to the Nutekt brand from KORG, a DIY kit line. (Yeah, the rest of the world gets to be jealous of Japan again.) This is the first – and hopefully not the last – time KORG has opened up that brand name to the international scene.

And the NTS-1 is one we’re all going to want to get our hands on, I’ll bet. It’s full of features:

– 4 fixed oscillators (saw, triangle and square, loosely modeled around their analog counterpart in minilogue/prologue, and VPM, a simplified version of the multi-engine VPM oscillator)
– Multimode analog modeled filter with 2/4 pole modes (LP, BP, HP)
– Analog modeled amp. EG with ADSR (fixed DS), AHR, AR and looping AR
– modulation, delay and reverb effects on par with minilogue xd/prologue (subset of)
– arpeggiator with various modes: up, down, up-down, down-up, converge, diverge, conv-div, div-conv, random, stochastic (volca modular style). Chord selection: octaves, major triad, suspended triad, augmented triad, minor triad, diminished triad (since sensor only allows one note at a time). Pattern length: 1-24
– Also: pitch/Shape LFO, Cutoff sweeps, tremollo
– MIDI IN via 2.5mm adapter, USB-MIDI, SYNC in/out
– Audio input with multiple routing options and trim
– Internal speaker and headphone out

That would be fun enough, and we could stop here. But the NTS-1 is also built on the same developer board for the KORG minilogue and prologue keyboards. That SDK opens up developers’ powers to make their own oscillators, effects, and other ideas for KORG hardware. And it’s a big deal the cute little NTS-1 is now part of that picture, not just the (very nice) larger keyboards. I’d see it this way:

NTS-1 buyers can get access to the same custom effects and synths as if they bought the minilogue or prologue.

minilogue and prologue owners get another toy they can use – all three of them supporting new stuff.

Developers can use this inexpensive kit to start developing, and don’t have to buy a prologue or minilogue. (Hey, we’ve got to earn some cash first so we can go buy the other keyboard! Oh yeah I guess I have also rent and food and things to think about, too.)

And maybe most of all –

Developers have an even bigger market for the stuff they create.

This is still a prototype, so we’ll have to wait, and no definite details on pricing and availability.

Waiting.

Yep, still waiting.

Wow, I really want this thing, actually. Hope this wait isn’t long.

I’m in touch with KORG and the analog team’s extraordinary Etienne about the project, so stay tuned. For an understanding of the dev board itself (back when it was much less fun – just a board and no case or fun features):

KORG are about to unveil their DIY Prologue boards for synth hacking

Videos:

Sounds and stuff –

Interviews and demos –

And if you wondered what the Japanese kits are like – here you go:

Oh, and I’ll also say – the dev platform is working. Sinevibes‘ Artemiy Pavlov was on-hand to show off the amazing stuff he’s doing with oscillators for the KORG ‘logues. They sound the business, covering a rich range of wavetable and modeling goodness – and quickly made me want a ‘logue, which of course is the whole point. But he seems happy with this as a business, which demonstrates that we really are entering new eras of collaboration and creativity in hardware instruments. And that’s great. Artemiy, since I had almost zero time this month, I better come just hang out in Ukraine for extended nerd time minus distractions.

Artemiy is happily making sounds as colorful as that jacket. Check sinevibes.com.

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Die Korg-Familie bekomme neue Oszillato(h)ren: Das andere FM von Sinevibes

Bent-WaveBent-Wave

Sinevibes ist der Hersteller bzw. Bent ist der Name bisher zweier Angebote für Prologue und Minilogue XD von Bent. Sie erweitern den digitalen Oszillator-Bereich.

Schon lange waren Oszillator-Modelle für die Korg-Synthesizer angekündigt und von Mutable bereits auch geliefert. Und dann gibt es noch einen Anbieter namens Bent. Von dort kommen jetzt schon zwei Angebote:

Zeitkonstantenkompensatoren neu kalibrieren!

FM gibt es eigentlich ja jetzt schon, dennoch gibt es von Sinevibes die Bent Oszillator-Modelle. Das Besondere ist nicht nur die FM selbst, sondern die Verbiegung der beiden Oszillatoren innerhalb dieses Modells. Sie verformen die Kennlinie und Charakteristik sowie Phasenlage und Zeitsymmetrie. Als Schwingungsformen sind fünf verschiedene vorgesehen, die allesamt Symmetrie-Modulation zulassen und „Harmonic Balance“ justierbar macht.

Die Qualität und „Auflösung“ dieses Effekts soll sehr hoch sein. Ein langsamerer LFO bis 10 Hz ist ebenso verbaut. Eine AD-Hülkurve ist auch vorgesehen.

Neben diesen gibt es auch nocht das „ältere“ „Turbo“-Modell, das ebenfalls FM-Sounds generiert. Auch hier ist eine kleine AD-Hüllkurve verbaut und die hohe Aufllösung ist hier ebenfalls über dem der normalen Synthesizer.

Die Möglichkeit für eigene Oszillatoren-Modelle begann mit dem Prologue und ausgegebenen DSP-Boards und wurde durch den Minilogue XD erweitert. So kann der dritte Oszillator deutlich mehr. Der Code ist eigentlich gleich für die bisher zwei Synthesizer.

Weitere Information

Korg forderte auf, dass Hersteller sich dessen annähmen und sie haben es auch getan. Aktuell gibt es beide auch als Bundle für 49 Dollar. Mehr dazu findet man auf der Website von Sinevibes.

Video

KORG’s minilogue xd is a new 4-voice synth with the best of the rest

KORG are introducing the Minilogue xd. It’s not just a Minilogue with some extras: it’s a new polysynth with the best bits of all the KORG analog range, including the prologue flagship, in a compact package.

It’s like the hatchback of synths – the compact, mid-range priced synth that might just wind up being everyone’s favorite. It’s poised to be the Golf GTI of electronic instruments.

It’s in the compact monologue form factor, with a US$649.99 price. And it’s coming soon (this winter, so… at least “before spring”).

To be honest, I loved the original of this series, the minilogue. But then with each new iteration, KORG added something new that made me want a combination of all the other synths.

And now, sure enough, what do we get? A combination of all the other synths.

From the minilogue: the elegant 4-voice polyphonic voice structure and voice modes that made the original so terrific.

From the monologue: the 16-step sequencer and microtuning features (thanks Aphex Twin!), plus that cute little form factor.

From the prologue: the MULTIdigital oscillator, plus new effects.

I’m sure some people will gripe because they wanted the extra keys and size of the minilogue, but otherwise this looks like the perfect KORG synth.

Reverb, delay, and modulation, plus two CV IN jacks complete the package.

Hilariously that “XD” of course also signifies “lol,” which may be how you feel if you just sold off a monologue or minilogue and now can buy up a combination of the two. (As with Windows XP, KORG are using the lowercase xd to de-emphasize that a little…)

Sing along:

Obligatory! Demo! Video!

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Prologue und Minilogue XD bekommen Mutable Plaits Oszillator-Modelle für den Digital VCO

Mutable PlaitsMutable Plaits

Korg hat vor einiger Zeit ein Entwicklerkit und offener Schnittstelle präsentiert, jeder darf und kann für den digitalen Oszillator neue Modelle bauen. Das hat Mutable jetzt getan.

Plaits ist die Verbesserung des bekannten Oszillators von Mutable Instruments. Es beherrscht verschiedene Synthesegrundlagen von Physical Modelling bis zu Drum-Sound-Modellen aber auch FM, Sync und Standard-Oszillatoren. In die Korgs finden allerdings nicht alle Modelle Einzug, sondern „nur“, jene für die genug Platz ist. Das sind:

va – Klassische Wellenformen – ein normaler Oszillator
wsh – Waveshaping
fm – Zwei FM-Operatoren
grn – Granular Formant Oszillator
add – Harmonic Oszillator
wta – Wavetable Oszillator (Aufgeteilt auf 4×8 Oszillator-Modelle wegen Speicher-Begrenzungen)

Wir gehen schwer davon aus, dass der Minilogue XD dieselben Möglichkeiten wie der Prologue haben wird. Das frei erhältliche Entwicklerkit kann jeder herunterladen und die Modelle einladen kann jeder kostenlos tun und mit Korg „Upload Software“ in den Synthesizer verschoben werden. Der Download der genannten Modelle ist auf Github  möglich.

Ja, ganz offensichtlich kostet das alles für uns Nutzer gar nichts.

Korg ist offensichtlich etwas gelungen, was nun die ersten Früchte trägt. Zudem darf jeder seine Modelle und Programmierkünste anwenden und, so wie Mutable, ins Netz stellen. Das kann noch spannend werden und wenn Korg die Plattform „Digital-Oszillator“ ausbaut, wird die Menge der Nutzer schnell größer.

 

Turbocharge KORG’s Prologue synth with Sinevibes

Synth hot-rodding? Earlier this year, KORG introduced the notion of their synth as extensible platform, by adding an SDK for their Prologue polysynth. The only question was, what would developers do with it – and now we get one answer.

Sinevibes, the small shop of Ukrainian developer Artemiy Pavlov, has been known for clever, elegant Mac plug-ins (even if there’s a lot more). But Artemiy has decided to embrace hardware as one of the first developers for KORG’s Prologue synth. And the results are unique and lovely, letting you transform the oscillators on KORG’s instrument with new spectrally satisfying waveshaping oscillators.

Basically, it’s a plug-in for your hardware.

Here’s what you get:

Juicy, edgy wavetables are the order of the day. Specs from Sinevibes:

  • Two sine oscillators with variable balance, frequency ratio and beating frequency.
  • Five different waveshaping algorithms with continuously variable curve complexity.
  • Built-in lag filters for noise-free, ultra-smooth parameter adjustment and modulation.
  • Built-in envelope generator with widely adjustable attack and decay times (1 ms to 10 s).

Check it out, or buy it for just US$29, with full manual and example patches:

http://www.sinevibes.com/korgturbo/

It’s interesting – we live in a music tech industry that benefits from small scale and diversity. Now, this model is well known in Apple’s App Store, but sure enough that hasn’t necessarily been a no-brainer for independent music developers. So, instead, we see creative music engineers developing for Eurorack (which frees them of the burden of making complete enclosures and power supplies, and lets them interoperate with an ecology of a bunch of manufacturers). Or we see them continuing to see plug-in development as paying for their time – especially with new opportunities like those afforded by software modular environments. And now KORG are in the game with hardware plug-ins.

What’s changed in part is the expectation of reducing development overhead but targeting more varied platforms. So you might make a plug-in for a software modular (VCV Rack, Cherry Audio Voltage Modular), and port it as a Rack Extension for Reason, and then ship the same algorithm for use on KORG’s hardware – or some other combination.

It’s encouraging, though, that in a world where consolidation rules, music tech remains weird and fragmented. A company like KORG will ship a lot of synths – but it’s great that they might also support a tiny or one-person developer, by letting their users’ customize their instrument to their liking. And it means you get a Prologue that might be different than someone else’s.

Previously:

KORG has a polyphonic Prologue synth – and it’s programmable

KORG are about to unveil their DIY Prologue boards for synth hacking

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KORG are about to unveil their DIY Prologue boards for synth hacking

KORG’s analog flagship synth, introduced earlier this year, hinted at a tantalizing feature – open programmability. It seems we’re about to learn what that’s about.

Amidst some other teasers floating around in advance of Berlin’s Superbooth synth conference this week, the newly-birthed “KORG Analogue” account on Instagram showed us what the SDK looks like. It’s an actual dev board, which KORG seem to be just releasing to interested DIYers.

This should also mean we get to find out more about what KORG are actually offering. The open SDK promises the ability to program your own oscillators and modulation effects, taking advantage of the Prologue’s wavetable capabilities and deep modulation architecture, respectively. Here’s a look:

Now, whether that appeals to you or not, this also will mean a library of community-contributed hacks that any Prologue owners can enjoy.

I can’t think of anything quite like this in synth hardware. There have certainly been software-based solutions for making sounds and community libraries of mods and sounds before. But it’s pretty wild that one of the biggest synth manufacturers is taking what would normally be a developer board for internal use only, and pitching it to the synth community at large. It shows just how much the synth world has embraced its nerdier side. And presumably the notion here is, that nerdy side is palatable, not frightening, to musicians at large.

And why not? If this means the average Prologue owner can go to a website and download some new sounds, bring it on.

Curious if KORG will have anything else this week in Berlin. Looking forward to seeing them – stay tuned.

Korg Anaologue Team [Instagram]

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Video of some of the best new gear from NAMM – and no talking

“Hi, we’re here at NAMM 2018, and –” No. Here’s the actual sound of the new Korg, Pittsburgh Modular, and Radikal gear, minus trade show noise or voiceover.

First, the KORG Prologue, the fascinating new polysynth from KORG with open programmable bits. (We’ve got a separate QA and more details from KORG coming soon!)

The Pittsburgh Modular Microvolt 3900 rides the wave of new desktop semi-modulars – standalone instruments that still provide tons of patching options, just without needing a rack of different modules to set up. And it looks like a fine instrument – though you may opt for the Lifeforms SV-1 if you prefer the flexibility of bolting into a Eurorack later. Price: US$629.

What sets this one apart from semi-modular rivals: performance-friendly and intuitive design, and a really flexible patch bay.

And lastly, there’s the Radikal Technologies Delta CEP A. Like the Pittsburgh piece and Arturia, it pitches itself as an entry point to modular – use it on its own, or as the first steps toward building a modular system. What you get is a paraphonic synth voice. There’s onboard MIDI to CV, so it can interface nicely with your computer or existing MIDI gear. You can choose between onboard digital and analog filters. And effects are built in – plus envelope, and LFO.

If all that sounds a little dull, here’s the juicy bit: you get a “swarm oscillator,” with eight tunable oscillators you can use for “chords, clusters or fat detuned multi-oscillator sounds.”

Mmmmm, swarms!

For good measure, here’s Waldorf’s flagship Quantum, which we first saw last year in Frankfurt.

Thanks to Bonedo for the great videos! More are coming, our friends there tell us!

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KORG just released a bunch of new stuff – here’s what’s what

Call it KORGmas. Okay, probably don’t call it that. But KORG just released a mess of gear for musicians. Here’s all of it in one place – and what to know.

KORG Gadget for Nintendo Switch
Available: Spring 2018
Price: Unknown

What’s it for: Get a production studio on your Nintendo Gadget – which means You’ll be able to download from Nintendo’s eShop. 16 synth and drum machine gadgets. Running on Nintendo’s game console means you can go from handheld to couch and TV screen easily (a trick even your iPad can’t pull off), using the JoyCon.

Coolest feature: 4-player Multiplayer Mode for collaboration.

Volca Mix
Available: This month
Price: US$169.99

What’s it for: Connect up to three volcas, give them a master clock, power, mix the, route out to effects, and add compression/expansion with sidechaining.

Coolest feature: All the cables are in the box – add three volcas and nothing else, and get playing.

Prologue
Available: This month
Price: US$1499-$1999

What’s it for: Builds on the popular Minilogue and Prologue with 8- or 16-voice polyphony and 49- or 61-key keyboards, plus new Mod and Delay/Reverb effects. A deep architecture lets you split or layer, and play in different modes (poly / chord / mono / unison).

Coolest feature: An upcoming SDK will let you code your own oscillators and effects – or just sit back and grab ones other people have built.

Konnect
Available: This month
Price: US$399.99

What’s it for: It’s a portable PA – Bluetooth, four-channel mixer, EQ, and a connected app.

Coolest feature: Finally, it’s Bluetooth for people who like it loud. It’s 300 watts peak.

AW-OTG, AW-OTB tuners
Available: February
Price: US$49.99

What’s it for: KORG’s AW tuners started the electronic tuner revoution. Now, they’ve got OLED screens. Plus there’s a new chord finder (which responds as you play) on the guitar model, and a tempo finder on the ‘bass’ model.

Skip it: You can save money with the new GA/CA-50 tuners for about half this price, but… they’re not as cool.

Coolest feature: Well, tough to choose: smart chord and tempo detection, plus that pretty screen.

KDM-3 metronome
Available: This month
Price: US$59.99

What’s it for: It’s the latest generation of KORG’s flagship digital metronomes. And it brings new patterns and new sounds, including an acoustic metronome.

Coolest feature: The design, obviously, which comes in black or white – it’s finally a metronome gadget that doesn’t look like a metronome gadget.

KR-55 Pro
Available: This month
Price: US$299.99

What’s it for: It’s a drum/groove machine for people who like the sound of real drums – a little like those groove plug-ins, but in hardware. 24 rhythm styles, multiple patterns and chaining, and SD card playback.

Coolest feature: There’s “Acoustage” built in – for virtual immersive surround meant to sound like an acoustic stage.

D1 Digital Piano
Available: TBD
Price: TBD (actually now shows EUR699 here in Europe including tax, so that’s aggressive)

What’s it for: KORG’s finest graded action now is in a more compact body.

Coolest feature: 88 keys in 16 kg and one that looks like you could tote. This could compare favorably against tough competition from Yamaha and Casio.

And you could still get an ARP ODYSSEY

It wouldn’t be KORG without some bundling and special color schemes. Now the ODYSSEY FS is back for 2018 with historical limited-edition paint schemes and the SQ-1 sequncer bundled in free. US$1599.99, this year (no month info).

Odyssey modules are coming?!

Oh yeah, KORG also refers to coming “modules” of the Odyssey FS series. Is this KORG’s Eurorack entry for Odyssey? Let’s see about that….

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KORG has a polyphonic Prologue synth – and it’s programmable

This one isn’t a remake or reboot: KORG’s new generation of analog synths is growing, with 8- and 16-voice polyphonic Prologue keyboards.

And whereas the Minilogue and Monologue are all about affordable, new synthesis, the Prologue is something else: it’s really a new analog flagship, something KORG haven’t had in decades.

Case in point: the keyboards, in 49- and 61-key variants, come with the action shared on the KRONOS. You get 8-voice / 49-key, or 16-voice / 61-key – all with discrete analog circuitry.

There’s another departure here, too: an open source multi engine, which will feature an SDK for developers.

But the basic argument for the Prologue is this: maybe you want a different architecture that lets you mix up sounds and voices in interesting ways. So you get the ability to play two timbres at once, layering and splitting, or playing in Poly, Mono, Unison, and Chord modes. (New, indeed, but that also shares some of the kind of musical thinking that made the KORG Mono/Poly great.)

To that, you can add a deeper multi-effects unit – making this more of an all-in-one sound creation workstation than the entry level units. Two effects slots give you Mod and Delay/Reverb.

But I think it’s the openness that could be most interesting. You can actually program your own oscillators and effects or download community-contributed code.

That’s up our alley, of course, so naturally I’ll be finding more about that soon for y’all.

Available this month:

8-voice, 49-key US$1499
16-voice, 61-key US$1999

www.korg.com/products/synthesizers/prologue/

Aw, I still wanted Polylogue, even though that’s not a word. 😉

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