Weighing in at just over 17 pounds, the fiery 73-key KORG M50 compact music workstation is full of incredible sounds; fat and juicy combis, splits, and layers; a plethora of ace effects; dynamic Drum ... Read More
Weighing in at just over 17 pounds, the fiery 73-key KORG M50 compact music workstation is full of incredible sounds; fat and juicy combis, splits, and layers; a plethora of ace effects; dynamic Drum Tracks; enhanced poly-arpeggiators; classic sequencing tools, a solid keybed; up-to-date SD storage; companion editing software, and Korg's TouchView interactive display. It all adds up to an invigorating and sexy KORG keyboard packed with the features you need for producing exciting compositions.
Over 20 years of category-defining workstation expertise beats in the heart of the M50-73 keyboard. Just as KORG's M3 borrowed elements from the legendary OASYS, the M50 captures all the sonic firepower of the M3, distilled into a performance instrument in a class of its own. In a word, the KORG M50 just may be the keyboard you've been waiting for. This 73-note version sports an enhanced semi-weighted Natural Touch keyboard, a fast and responsive synthesizer keybed that facilitates expressive and dynamic performing.
A Natural Performer
Made to be played, the KORG M50-73 Workstation is inviting and comfortable. Its TouchView screen is intuitive and interactive, allowing the uniquely angled front panel to remain refined and uncluttered. The buttons are rock solid, backlit, and rounded for visibility and ease-of-use under any playing conditions. In addition to KORG's four-way joystick and multifunction knobs, the M50 offers four Chord Triggers that provide a flexible and fun way to play chords and trigger arp patterns. A 10-key numeric keypad allows on-demand instant access to sounds, combis, and other parameter/values.
Perfectly Shaped Sounds
The M50-73 workstation is packed with over 600 individual sound programs, each one created by KORG's renowned international voicing team. With a robust 256MB of sample data—all recorded in exacting studio conditions—you get acoustic instruments delivered with authenticity and realism, providing rich, natural articulation and synth sounds which can be bombastic and aggressive, lush and enveloping, or pure and delicate. The remarkable piano offers three layers of stereo switching and an additional resonance layer for faithful and natural reproduction of the piano's entire dynamic range.
In addition to the grand pianos, myriad other piano and keyboard mainstays are included—from a mono piano for pumping it out live onstage, to the ever in-demand vintage KORG SG-1 Sampling Grand. The electric pianos are responsive, dynamic, and expressive with all the tine and hammer-slap you can muster. The enhanced clavs feature all the classic settings with wide dynamic response, and there are even string and flute sounds taken from the tape-driven keyboards of days gone by. KORG's REMS pickup/amp/cabinet modeling technology provides that finishing touch. All the classics are there at your fingertips with spot-on programs that are a blast to play.
Need to quickly tweak a sound to your liking? No problem, Tone Adjust allows simple access to the most important parameters and characteristics of a sound without having to dive deeply into programming. Available in Program, Combi, and Sequencer modes, you can get done what you need to with a minimum of fuss and effort.
Mix & Match
In addition to the individual programs, a combination (or "combi") allows up to 16 sound programs to be stacked, split, layered, and zoned across the keyboard; or set to individual MIDI channels. Nearly 400 of these combis come preloaded offering up tasty blends and splits for live performance. All of the preloaded sounds are completely editable, and there is plenty of room onboard (640 Programs, 512 Combinations) for all the sounds that you edit, modify, or create on your own.
The generous effect section of the M50-73 brings your sounds to life. Five insert effects and two master effects can be assigned and routed at will, with a total effect to add that final polish. From spacious and luxurious reverbs to space-warping modulation types, the effects can not only embellish a sound after the fact, they can be part of the sound programming itself—adding unique and defining sonic elements.
D-mod (Dynamic Modulation) even allows real-time control of various parameter effects as part of your performance, and effect parameters can be sync'd to the two common LFOs, or a MIDI Clock source, to further integrate the effects into the overall sound. Over 170 top-quality effects are available, including KORG's proprietary REMS modeling effects. Each program—whether alone, in a combi, or assigned to a sequencer track—is equipped with its own three-band EQ for that final tone shaping.
Let There Be Drums!
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing—and the M50-73's got it. KORG squeezed in over 1,600 drum and percussion samples that can be laid out into full "drumkit" programs. Ready and waiting are 32 drumkits, with room for 48 more of your own. In addition to drumkits, the Drum Track feature hosts some 670 drum grooves that you can jam along to, or use to kick-start and inspire your own song ideas. In fact, each program has a matching drum track pre-assigned to get you started.
The arpeggiator has been a staple on KORG keyboards since the 1980s, and the M50-73 more than delivers on that heritage. In addition to the ubiquitous up, down, and random patterns you'd expect, its dual polyphonic arpeggiators can serve up cascading chords, groovin' bass lines, chord-driven picking patterns, and punchy accents to spice up your performance and set your musical ideas on fire. In the Sequencer and Combi modes, both arpeggiators can run simultaneously, each addressing different timbres, creating powerful possibilities such as one running drum grooves and one running bass patterns—or even using velocity to switch between patterns on the same sound.
Rapid Results Sequencing
KORG wrote the book on workstations, and the M50-73 delivers every chapter. The on-board sequencer is the core of your music production studio. Over 200,000 notes can be recorded on 16 MIDI tracks and up to 128 songs. Enhanced 480 ppq resolution captures your performance with pinpoint accuracy—whether you play in realtime or step notes in one at a time. A plethora of advanced, yet easy-to-use editing features are available to help you sculpt your song into its final form.
Song Templates designed for a variety of musical genres allow you to get started quickly, with sounds and effects all selected and routed for you. Or try KORG's unique RPPR (Realtime Pattern Play/Recording) function, calling up any of the 671 drum patterns to get started, and assigning shorter patterns and phrases to individual keys; you can even loop each track to build the perfect groove before the inspiration runs out. Sequence individual sections of the song separately, and then use the Cue List function to assemble and tryout different arrangements—you'll be remix ready. And since you never know when inspiration will strike, the one-touch record (Auto Song Setup) feature transfers all your current settings into a new song and starts the sequencer, capturing your ideas as the foundation of a new song.
One of KORG's most advanced hardware engine ever, the Enhanced Definition Synthesis is the musical heart of both the M50-73 and the M3. Each individual voice can lay claim to up to 2 stereo oscillators, 4 filters, 2 amp sections, 5 Low Frequency Oscillators (LFO), and 5 time-variant Envelope Generators (EG).
On the technical side, each stereo oscillator can achieve 4-way velocity switching, crossfading, or layering. This allows a single voice to use up to 8 stereo multisamples to ensure a dynamic and expressive sound. Each voice also has access to up to 4 multi-mode (High-Pass, Band-Pass, Band-Reject, Low-Pass) filters; 2 filters per oscillator running side by side, stacked, or in series—as well as a superb 24dB mode. Even the amp section can add to the shape and texture of the sound with a drive circuit to add a harder, rougher edge, and a low boost to fatten up that big bottom.
The Envelope Generators provide changes in the sound over time, and the advanced Key Tracking changes the sound based on the note played—for example; notes played higher on the keyboard will sustain less, be brighter, and have both faster and shallower vibratos than notes played lower on the keyboard—adding a staggering level of nuanced control to balance your sound over the entire keyboard range. At each step of the EG, you can specify the shape and type of curve used to move between points, allowing unparalleled expression and accuracy. The five Low Frequency Oscillators access 18 different waveforms. Starting Phase and Amplitude Shift parameters offer even more detailed control for zeroing in on that perfect modulation.
And if all that is not enough, KORG's Alternate Modulation Source (AMS) provides a matrix of over 50 modulation sources that can be mixed, summed, and added to a variety of parameters, providing exactly the result you want. In short, the KORG M50-73 provides a wealth of control over the minute components that make a keyboard sound great. And while KORG's programming is legendary, the EDS synth engine makes the M50-73 a sound designer's dream.
Your KORG M50-73 music workstation includes both standalone and plug-in sound editing software for more detailed graphic editing on your computer, and connects directly via USB. The plug-in version allows you to edit your workstation's sounds from inside any DAW (VST, Audio Units, and RTAS formats), allowing your edits and changes to be part of the song file, and without having to switch applications to tweak a sound. The M50-73 also uses convenient SD cards for economical and reliable data storage.
The KORG M50 workstation is chock full of sounds and features. Yet KORG's high-visibility 320 x 240 pixel resolution TouchView interface allows direct touch-screen access to hundreds of parameters. Finding the sounds you need is simple thanks to our organizing them by category, as we do effects, drum patterns, arps and even waveforms. Few keyboards in its class offer anything this elegant and intuitive.
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Comments about Korg M50 73-Key Compact Workstation:
This review is an update on my previous review. Korg has finally decided to step up and cover my repairs under their warranty. I have upgraded my review to three stars as I feel this is a proper rating for the keyboard. The one star rating on my previous review was due to Korg previously leaving me on my own.
Comments about Korg M50 73-Key Compact Workstation:
I purchased this keyboard as a possible replacement for my older Roland workstation. Now I wished I had just bought another Roland. This M50 had several circuits on the main motherboard just go bad. It just stopped working. It was only a few months past the warranty yet Korg basically told me "oh well not our problem" It is costing me 25% of the cost of this keyboard to get it repaired and when I get it back I am selling it immediately. My Roland is almost 20 years old and still working perfectly. Shame on you Korg for making cheap, flimsy products with no longevity and not helping out your customers when they have major issues with your products and they just fail. Shame on me for not listening to my intuition and getting another Roland or a Kurzweil. If you are considering purchasing this product please be aware of my situation. This product failed right before I had two gigs planned. You should also know I have a very expensive hard shell flight case to transport this keyboard. It was not dropped or damaged in anyway. It simply just stopped working.
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