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Korg Prologue 16

Korg Prologue 16

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Clean, functional design. Easy on the eyes. Great sound and VCO voice count for the price.

14th June 2018

Korg Prologue 16 by rotundness

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Korg Prologue 16

This review will focus on the analogue sections of the synth since the Multi-Engine is still mostly an unknown.

If you want to be able to modulate everything under the sun then grab a DSI Rev 2. I did and I love it. If you want beautiful, alive sounding VCOs that don't need much modulation...The Prologue is your synth.

Menu diving is minimal and intuitive. Fast to edit on within a few hours of use. Sounds like real VCOs because they are. And they sound glorious. Drift for days. It was so refreshing when I first heard these oscillators. Everything else I own seems very/overly controlled to be in perfect tune all the time. (Rev 2, Sub 37, even the OB-6 could be a little less controlled imho) The Prologue definitely isn't and I think we will see more synths behaving like this in the near future. Korg shows some guts here and I applaud them. You also get Crossmod, Ring Modulation and Hard Sync between the analogue oscillators. The arp can be pointed at either layer or both layers.

One thing I keep reading is that the price is too high. Well, VCOs cost more to produce then DCOs. The keybed is very high quality if you can live without aftertouch. The knobs simply work as they should every time and they feel proper. Very precise control over things like oscillator pitch. There is no center detent on the pitch knobs but Korg have managed to make it very easy to zero out the pitch controls. They just magically lock into "0" when you get close. Detuning by 1 cent or 2 or 10 is very easy and precise. If you want even faster more precise control, press shift while adjusting the pitch. This locks the changes down to exact semitones. Super fast to set up perfect intervals with no guess work or listening fatigue.

The filter is a 12db Lowpass affair but this one will self oscillate. Apparently that isn't very easy to do when designing a 12db filter. The cutoff does enough to remove all the high end if desired. This filter has a sound unlike any other synth I own. There is no loss of low end or volume when the resonance is increased. This filter is special in my opinion.

The negatives:

Korg has some issues to resolve here.

At the moment the arpeggiator has no beat division control. It is stuck on 16ths when in external clock mode. Also the gate time only shows up as a mod destination for the mod wheel.

The knobs can be a little slippery but I adapted to this quickly.

No aftertouch but you knew that.
1 LFO per layer but you knew that too.

The Multi-Engine is still an unknown quantity.

There is a lot I haven't mentioned...Voice modes. Duo mode adds a second layer to the sound and can be detuned quite a bit. Your voice count will be reduced by half in this mode. You get 2 octaves of sub oscillators in Mono Mode with a mix control. This can get too big real fast. Too big? Is there such a thing? In this case yes. A little goes a very long way. Chord mode has predesignated chords in memory. All the usual choices are there but you can't assign your own custom chords. Unison Mode is as massive as can be.

The digital fx sound great while offering 10 different types of Reverb, 7 different types of Delay, 8 types of Chorus, 8 types of Flange, 8 types of Phaser, 3 types of Ensemble. The chorus section also includes a handy vibrato setting. Excellent move by Korg there.

Well that's it for now...Until the Mutli-Engine becomes more robust anyway.

Last edited by rotundness; 14th June 2018 at 08:21 AM..

  • 5
19th June 2018

Korg Prologue 16 by Chromalord

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Korg Prologue 16

Korg has introduced a "meat&potato" entry into the highly competitive poly-analog market. I am reviewing the Prologue-16 voice.

Yes, its true. Behringer is flooding the market with insanely cheap synths. So while the Prologue is more expensive, you are still getting a bargain for a 16-voice that has essentially 3 oscillators per voice plus a sub, and internal FX.
In other words, if this were a $5,000 synth, my review would be entirely different.

Seeing how Korg in the past has made some very exotic synths, and currently makes the Uber-sophisticated Kronos, this analog seems intentionally restrained and understated.

As an owner of poly-analogs: Jupiter 6 and 8, Super Jupiter, Chroma and Expander, Oberheim Xpander, SE-Omega-8 and CODE, Modal 008 and 008R, Prophet-5, DSI-Prophet-12 and Expander, just to name a few, I feel qualified in sharing at least a general insight to the Prologue's relative fidelity.

The Prologue is built for speed and simplicity. Its a great go-to synth if you need to grab a pad or make a quick sound. Most everything is right in front of you and is clearly legible. i thought the small screen would have been problematic but its not- the data "pops" on the screen.
Ergonomically, the Prologue is good overall. It employs not-oft used cylindrical toggle switches, of varying functions ( some are a simple switch, others are spring-loaded. The knobs are a little smooth to my taste but it hasn't been an issue.
The Prologue is VERY user-intuitive. I was getting great results immediately, with explicit control of tonality and envelopes, storing/renaming patches, editing FX.
There's no tricky language. Its a synth for a beginner, all the way to the pro.
There is a decent arpeggiator which syncs to MID clock, does poly glide, and in unison mode you can spread the oscillators.

The routing functions are simple and uncluttered and if you have basic knowledge of subtractive synthesis, you will be flying around the panel, as soon as you power up.

The timbral quality of the Prologue is quite nice. Meatier than say a DSI Prophet-12, and with the master compressor and drive functions, you can round-off and fatten the sound even further. Low notes sound full and robust, the filter being on the creamy-side, not overtly edgy or metallic. It sounds like a real poly!
You can alter the shapes of all the waveforms, not just the square, and with the Multi-Engine, effectively a 3-rd DCO VPM oscillator, you can also import your own waveforms into the signal path. ( I have not done this yet, but the prospect is thrilling)

The built in FX, although few compared to the Kronos, are excellent with the exception of the phaser which is anemic. The reverb is superb.


- Mod wheels are above the keyboard. You can't rest your wrist anywhere.
- Only 1-LFO. You can assign to just one VCO, but the routings are very limited; sticking to the basics
- No after touch
- Keyboard may be too short to fit on some keyboard stands.

At a street-price of $1700, the Prologue, IMO, should be in every synthesist's arsenal. Its beauty is in its simplicity: its simultaneously retro and cutting-edge.
The build quality is typical Korg: solid and refined. Highly recommended.

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