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Korg SV1

4.1 4.1 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

This review will encompass topics of ease of use, function, quality of both construction and sampling, and aesthetics.

16th March 2012

by joshuarlyon

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4

Since the early days of the Yamaha CP series, fender's famous rhodes models, and many others like them... the piano has been transforming from just hammers and strings to much, much more. Electric piano, digital clavichords and organs, synths... Sure we've seen units that can perform with these sounds... and perform well, but in my opinion... nothing comes close to the SV1 when it comes to sound, style, and portability.

Just looking at the SV1 immediately attracts players and non-players alike. its comes in 73 key and 88 key models. Both with graded hammer action (huge ). And the touch is as good as any other plastic representation out there. The controls are as far out as any I've ever seen. It kind of resembles the Moog style IMO. Simple on/off push buttons along with digital rotary dials make carving your unique sound a snap. Way easier than navigating a menu. And saving 1 of 8 user presets means... make your sound... press / hold... done!

The SV1 comes with 36 preset sounds... 6 tones in 6 categories...

E. Piano 1, E. Piano 2, Clav, Piano, Organ, Other

"Other" includes strings and synths mainly. But Korg has released another SoundPack for download on it's website for FREE! And says they'll continue to release new ones. The SoundPacks can then be loaded into the SV1 software and mixed and matched to your liking then loaded into the unit. The best part about this keyboard for me is the ability to change multiple effect parameters on the fly... for example...

If the verse of a song has a softer organ sound for a verse, then a more gritty, distorted sound for the chorus... All I have to do is reach over and grab the "DRIVE" knob and give it a turn. The signal is sent through the internal tube section (elegantly displayed on the front panel) and out the outputs on the back. This kind of quick adjustment can be applied to almost all parameters on this model... EQ, compression, vibrato, tremelo, wah, 6 different sounding amp circuits, 2 chorus', 2 phasers, flange, rotary, 4 reverbs, echo, and stereo delay. yeah.

As for the quality of the sounds? I have my favorites... and my less favorites...

The piano sounds are nice, but not great. Kinda dark for me, but in those situations where you want that... they sound right on. Mix well.

Where these keys really shine is in the electric pianos and organs. MAN this thing is killer. There are videos of people A/Bing them with the real thing and I swear you cant tell the difference.

KORG Sv1 vs Fender Rhodes - YouTube

When I play shows and people hear the rhodes sound from this thing I get asked all kinds of questions. The organs are strong and meaty. and a good variety to choose from (especially when you download the other soundpack).

Connections... There's quite a few.

- headphone out on front left panel
- Stereo XLR outs (Major win! no more direct boxes! And the output is blazing)
- Stereo 1/4" outs
- Stereo 1/4" Ins
- USB midi
- old skool Midi
- 3 pedal inputs (typically sustain, volume, and effect such as rotary speed)

As for things I don't like...

1. Maybe I'm crazy for wanting a keyboard that can change sound banks without stopping the previous sound. As far as I know only midi software like MainStage is capable of this. But it was on my demand list and it remains unchecked.

2. Main volume isn't saved when saving a preset. I thought for a while on whether or not to mention it. Seems like sometimes that might be a pain, but when I switch from a dark piano to a driven organ... I either have to grab the volume knob... or compress the organ to maintain levels. Again, maybe not a failure on Korg's part... but maybe make it an option in the software?

3. My last complaint doesn't have to do with the keyboard so much as my options of how to transport it. This keyboard has no edges... making secure transport in a square case somewhat of a conundrum. I ordered a custom case from GetOffMyCase for about $400. But Korg offers a gig bag for it with a pull-out handle and wheels, but it looked kind of... wimpy. If I'm protecting a $2000 instrument (at the time... now down to $1500 ) I need more support than what I saw.

So there you have it. my review of my favorite keyboard I've ever owned. It may not have as many options as a fantom... or the pianos of the motif... But I've never owned a digital instrument that more accurately represents who I am as a player and offers the ability to customize it so easily.

  • 1
17th March 2012

by soundrick

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25

I use my SV1-73 for live performance and as a controller for soft synths.

First off, live use: This keyboard sounds GREAT live. I use a synth as well for texture stuff, but as my main keyboard instrument, the SV1 has great piano, rhodes and organs. Warm and big sounding, and very realistic.

I actually chose this particular model because it was the only graded, hammer-action keyboard I could find smaller than an 88key, and I wanted something easier to load into gigs. It's built like a tank, but I can easily get it out of it's case and onto my stand. That being said, it is heavy enough that I wouldn't want to have to carry it very far (especially in it's roadcase). For me, this speaks to the build quality, it's very solid.

As a controller and for playability, it's the best keyboard I've ever owned or played. Feel is really great and solid. Drivers and software are great and easy to install/use. I use Native Instruments mostly ITB for keys and synths, but I have used the onboard sounds from the SV-1 on recordings and it's very competitive sounding, just not as flexible. In a pinch, I would have no problem using the built in sounds for any recording.

Sound Quality: It gets a 9, because some of the sounds are not a usable as others. Pianos are pretty good, like another reviewer stated a little "dark". Organs are good, maybe a bit too clean for me. Of course you can turn the drive, but the resolution of the drive control heats up too quickly. I would prefer more control or a grittier sample set. The rhodes and wurly sounds are really excellent. No other keyboard I've heard has Rhodes sounds better than the SV1. Besides a Rhodes of course, or there could be others I haven't heard.
The Electric Pianos on this thing are probably worth the price of admission, for live use anyway.

Ease of Use: 10, WYSIWYG, doesn't get any easier than that. And if you want to make it harder, there's some software to dive into, LOL.

Features: I'm giving it an objective 7, because if there's one thing it lacks, is features. However, I don't think of this as a bad thing, because what it does, it does right. It just doesn't do A LOT, like some other keyboards/synths. If you need a few things done right, it's a 10. If you need tons of options and flexibility, eh...........7

Bang for Buck: 8, It's reasonably priced, and I think it's a high quality product. You're paying for quality, so it's more expensive than some other keyboards than might get you close and probably lower build quality with more features, but for what this keyboard is, I think it's reasonable.

There should be a "looks" category as well, because I think this keyboard is really sexy and simplistic design. Those two things aren't easy to combine.
I get compliments on it at EVERY show, sound and looks. I can't say that about any guitar I've ever owned.

7th April 2012

by Ripple Q

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4

I have a few keyboards and chose this model for the action and modelling features.

One thing I do not like is the closeness of the lowest buttons "transpose/local off/touch/function group.

I find that my fingers tend to 'tap' the transpose button during 'moments of passion?' ..the thing is, on a live gig, you are feeling the groove and suddenly you are playing in a different key. This usually happens when I have the keyboard (88) on the second tier above my primary - causing me to reach more and hence, making contact with that $#$ transpose button.

As a new keyboard, only 8 months later, the entire AMP MODEL segment crashed and resulted in the key board being sent away for warranty repair..I still do not have it back and am using a loaner from the store (thank you for pro warranties!).
> just sayin'...what? Other keyboards of similar quality have lasted for a decade with zero issues. This does not merit a best quality control comment, which it should have.

>Stand alone Strings are simply harsh.
>E.Piano is killer.
>Piano is 'Floyd Cramer-like'...I like it!
>Organ is ok - tweakable makes it fun.

All in all, I do not regret the purchase - I still like the action and modelling features.

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