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VST 26th January 2016 04:04 PM

Korg Minilogue
Synopsis: In a strange twist of fate the Korg Minilogue could be the analogue DX7 of today. People everywhere are throwing their virtual synths in their recycling bins.

I almost gave this lil pup 5 stars across the board but felt compelled to ding it one on sound quality due to some clicking somewhere in the VCA that currently cannot be eliminated fully by the usual means of turning up the attack and/or release. Being a somewhat experienced synthesist, I find it to be a minor annoyance but would not fault others for feeling it's a bigger issue.

Other points of contention for me would be a somewhat noisy built-in delay and the fact that the single LFO is affecting the pitch down stream from the actual pitch knobs. For instance you dial up a great ring mod sound on VCO 2 and get wonderful effects by sweeping the pitch of VCO 1. The sweeping of that pitch would be ideal for an LFO but it doesn't work that way. And although you can assign the pitch of VCO 2 to the 2nd envelope, assigning the pitch of VCO 1 would seem to offer more sonic variation but again it's not offered. The final shortcoming would have to be only 16 steps for the sequencer. Thankfully that's about where all complaints stop.

This is a 37 slim key, dual VCO(with wave shaping on both), auto-tuning, 4 voice polyphonic wonder toy. It's lightweight, curved aluminum top and wood rear is sleek to the max and reminiscent of the Apple design aesthetic.

Innovative voice modes are brought up to date and right to the fingers offering Poly(with chord inversions[although I would have prefered detune]), Duophonic(with detune), Unison(with detune), Monophonic(with variable sub oscillator volume), Chord mode(with a number of different chords to choose from) Delay mode(where it fires all 4 voices in a delay of chosen time), Arp mode(various directions and types) and Sidechain mode(Hold a note or chord and the new notes or chords will duck the held ones)

Another innovative feature is the single bender bar where you can assign pitch bend to your cent liking but the kicker is that almost all other parameters can be assigned instead of the global pitch bend. Would I have liked more than one assignment? Yes. Would I like to be able to set min and max values on assignments? Yes.

The filter is surgical and rich, offering 4 pole and 2 pole operation. I'm typically a 4 pole guy but I'm really liking the 2 pole mode. It certainly lets more top end through. Self oscillation is pure sinewave, tracking across all octaves. There's a high pass filter as well that injects a bit of pleasant noise but stops a ways from removing the signal entirely.

There's an onboard OLED display/oscilloscope that provides fun and useful feedback from wave shape to parameter value to automation lane data.

USB and DIN MIDI, with all knobs sending and receiving CC messages(albeit on non-standard numbers), Sysex dumping and loading and an auto off function round out this joyous little synth.

Perhaps one of the greatest things about the ML(other than affordability) is the assumption that Korg in their infinite wisdom will be adding features to it as time goes by. I have faith that this thing will get better with age just like the Monotribe did.

Thank you Korg!

RobotsVsChildren 26th January 2016 08:58 PM

The Korg Minilogue: Winner of NAMM 2016: Best in Show


For those that are not immediately familiar with any type of subtractive synthesis, they may feel a little intimidated by the UI of this synth. That being said, it is very approachable with a nearly knob-per-function easy of use. So even if you aren't fully aware of what an oscillator, pulse width or envelopes do, a simple twist of any knob will result in fun and a potential learning experience. The on board oscilloscope adds to this appeal and will graphically represent wave forms and the effect editing parameters will have on those wave forms.


The "slim" keys (not full size keys, not mini-keys) are not, in my experience, the most fun to play. I personally found the in-between style sizing to be somewhat awkward. Over years of synth playing, I've become adequately adapted to mini-keys and have always been most comfortable on full size keys but this medium range is something new to me and feels a little strange. Additionally, the keys have a sponginess in their action that I did not love. I've played worse but they are not going to blow anyone away.


Well, sound is subjective, right? But I rather like the sound. However, it took me a little while to come to that conclusion. Aside from 3 or so out of the 100 presets, I hated them all. All very buzzy and obviously targeting the "EDM" sound (which ain't my bag). Additionally, very many of the presets were making heavy use of the on board delay (which I do not care for.. it's very noisy). Regardless, I decided to turn it on one day, skip straight past all the presets and to focus on making a brooding, dark, string pad sound to which this little unit did so effortlessly. I then found bright bells, brassy leads, SUPER low bass tones and percussive elements easy to dial in and all would contain some kind of little surprise as well.

This is a very "work horse" style of synth. It is not going to give you the sound of a Moog or an OB-6 or a Jupiter. It will give you the sound of a Minilogue which is more of a jack of all trades and master of none but it is very versatile and I appreciate that.

- Amazing Price
- Solid Build
- Lots of features
- Very versatile
- Sequencer with Motion Record

- Noisy delay
- A tad "vanilla"

Verdict: Great synth for the money! Sounds good. Fun and easy to play. These will be everywhere and on everything soon.

Deleted User 27th January 2016 09:30 PM

Korg Minilogue: Poly to the People
The Korg Minilogue would have been attractive even if it was a single voice. It's 4-voice polyphony makes it a breakthrough.

Build Quality - Build is excellent for the price, with an aluminum top panel, chassis-mounted metal shaft pots, a sustainable wood rear panel, and a tiny but high-contrast OLED screen with delivers a striking and useful oscilloscope display.

Oscillators - At the heart of the sound are a pair of juicy VCOs with the expected shapes. Phase lock is difficult to achieve - those genuine VCOs are slippery devils and will beat no matter how much fine tuning you apply. This makes everything sound lush and dynamic - not virtual analog or DCO at all.

Raw Tones - The oscillators' waveforms have their own variable shaping control, adding overtones, narrowing duty cycles, and dialing in harmonic variation. They can be freely mixed and modulated with a high degree of flexibility. Raw sounds can be traditional, nasal, digital-sounding, harsh, organ-like, or harmonically complex. Sync, Ring Mod and X-Mod are are all on tap simultaneously. 4 independent footage ranges per oscillator and a full octave up and down of fine tuning create a huge timbral rainbow, and that's without the filter.

Filter - The filter (x4!) is a highly resonant lowpass, with 2 and 4-pole slopes. A mammoth amount of resonance can be conjured, with noon on the resonance knob already nearing self-oscillation. As of this review, the cutoff knob and a few other controls exhibit some subtle but audible stepping, despite being 10-bit encoders. Some internal slew or interpolation would have helped. Resonance sines can be played, though they warble a bit - a sign of true VCO.

The Minilogue "Sound" - The full-range tone of the filter is zappy and electric, shaving down the oscillators in a very musical and pleasant way. It's not muddy or driven sounding. It can cover a lot of ground, from vintage sounding 2-pole to acid shrieks and everything in between. The unusual oscillator options plus a great filter make the Minilogue's sound impressive. It's no plain vanilla poly.

Envelopes - The envelopes are snappy and are great for percussion and standard analog sound design. Attack, decay and release speeds don't range down well enough for super-slow evolving tones, but are languid enough for most pads.

Modulation - LFO modulation is a bit underwhelming, but motion sequencing and a host of sequencer functions, not to mention a wealth of real-time knobs and switches give the player lots of opportunities to make periodic changes. The LFO speed goes from very slow to FM audio rate - plenty fast!

Delay - The delay section is unique, giving an approximation of a BBD line. Repeats degrade into lo-fi rust, and can even swell into runaway oscillation. The highpass routing options give this characterful delay section more variety (you can use the non-resonant highpass as a master low kill) - although the current OS, the highpass cutoff knob has a large inactive section of travel, and zipper noise when it kicks in. Delay time also steps, especially on the faster speeds, but is not tempo-divided. This is not a clean delay - the circuit adds noise even when feedback is at zero.

Voice - Voice Mode allocates and assign the voices in a variety of configurations, from poly to duo, unison, mono, and others. This gives you a lot of choice for various playing styles. Mono mode, in particular, is wonderful as the voice knob dials up the other complete voices as sub oscillators, not mere divide-down waves. The various detunes and spreads raise the size beyond it's slim profile.

Performance - Key size is small with shallow travel, and the pitch slider is not as nice as the knobs. (In fact, it's downright wobbly and physically noisy.) The knobs are rock solid and are easy to play, with he perfect amount of resistance. With so much under the hood and and millions of master MIDI controllers to chose from, who can complain? It's entirely playable as-is, but makes a great module. It would have been nice to have portamento as a front panel control instead of a menu item. Sequencer is adequate but offers motion recording, though arp does not latch.

Ultimately - The Minilogue is a huge value for what it offers, and sounds fantastic. This level of synthesis and polyphony was unthinkable in this price range just a few years ago. Beginners, pros, analog-heads, rockers, electronic musicians, keyboardists looking for authentic analog poly tones, live studio, home DAW projects, it's really for everyone.

The Minilogue is brilliant.

Music Bird 24th October 2017 12:06 AM

I tried this one in Guitar Center. It has great tones on it. You can do anything from brass to funk bass to resonant squelchy leads (which I use a lot of). It even has an accordion patch. I liked that the filter could get very nasty. There is a click in the attack of some sounds, which can sometimes be corrected. The bass on this thing can be great. The triangle wave can be changed into a nasally sounding harmonically rich. I find that this one would be useful for chords (though I will get a JP-08 instead so I can use it with a Novation Launchkey 61 II, along with an iPad Air 2 so I can use Sound Canvas iOS, M1, Wavestation, iARP Odyssey Korg, and the Arturia apps) The Minilogue is still nice though, it can do as the one before me said, as well as Greg Hawkes tones, which he made on a Minikorg. It can do the Being Boiled bass perfectly. The organ is good too. It can be made for quacky resonant leads too, if you create 60's Moogy pop.

cr73645 20th October 2018 05:45 PM

It's hard to be fair with the Minilogue if you don't take into consideration how much it costs. To be fair, the 3-star note for sound quality is in consideration of how it sounds against other stuff.

The Minilogue has a nice build quality if you consider the price. Good knobs, buttons and switches. OLED screen with the oscilloscope is very nice too, very clean and easy to read.

It is lightweight and very easy to carry around, which is nice. The front panel is a nice metal plate, has some kind of wood end on the back, everything tightly put together.

The keybed is good in comparison with other "mini" keys (and I'm a classically trained piano player) - although I say this because my fingers are slim and long, and I can understand how the smaller keys can bother several people. In direct comparison, it is way better than the Mininova.

The joystick is a joke, and I'd rather have a single modulation wheel. It is noisy and fragile, the only part I was disappointed in terms of build.

All the connections on the back are well made, seems sturdy enough for using it for a long time.

A four voice polyphonic synth for $500 seems like a very good deal. Like it or not, the four voices are actually a feature for the price - BUT, you also get several voice modes that are worth to have and make the Minilogue a bit more versatile than one would expect (although you can feel that it is meant to be a poly).

Everyone knows the specs, and don't seem like an intelligent move to explain them here. All I can say is that the Minilogue has every feature you should need on a basic polyphonic synth.

This is a very subjective thing to discuss, and maybe hearing the thing by yourself is the best way to go.

Just to give you guys a comparison example, I'd say this is not on par with some more expensive polyphonic synthesizers - you can't get a Moog/DSI/Others kind of sounds from the Minilogue.

The Mopho X4, which is also 4-note polyphonic, has a lot more of punch than the Korg, a lot more - is like having more "power" on the sound, if that makes any sense. The thing with the Minilogue is the unique character of certain components of its sound, such as the filter - the filter on the Korg sounds way nicer than the Mopho X4 for example.

When in monophonic mode, the small Korg can't get to anything near the Moog territory either. It can be used as a decent monosynth, but if this is what you need, maybe consider the Bass Station 2.

One thing that should be noticed is that the resonance on this has some weird behavior when you get past certain values, and you loose A LOT of bass from the sound.

In the end, to me, the Minilogue has the same "weight" as some VAs, like the Mininova, but with a more well defined sound, mainly on the mid to high frequencies. On the bass side, it is kind anemic, I'd definitely not get it for those sounds.

Some sound examples: Minilogue - Google Drive

The good
- Interface is excellent
- Can apply wave shaping to saw and triangle
- Crossmod
- The overall feel of the hardware
- Small size/portability

The bad
- Init sounds have LFO synced to gate
- The clicks from envelopes (which can be useful)
- Low power on bass frequencies
- Sub menus are bad to use
- Limited arpeggio patterns

The ugly
- ****ty pitchbend lever
- Noisy garbage digital lo-fi delay

- Monosynth: Moog Minitaur, Novation Bass Station, Roland SE-02. All have a more powerful sound on the bass, and are versatile as well. You also have other options for less.
- Polysynth: Novation Mininova, Korg Microkorg, Behringer DM6. All have internal effects and are way more versatile - the Mininova has more voices too.