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Rating and Reviews: Korg microSTATION Synth

Packing 480 Korg sounds in under 6 pounds, the uber-compact 61-mini-key microSTATION synth has a 16-track sequencer ready to loop beats and build songs.

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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Outstanding value with room for improvement" submitted July 21, 2012

By Kurt N in Robbinsdale, MN
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Musical Background: 50 years piano, 40 years synthesizers and drums. Professional back in the 80s.
Music Style: Pop/rock with a cinematic sensibility, downtempo electronica.
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Sound: It sounds every bit as good as bigger and much more expensive workstations. The samples are very high quality. I have auditioned them all and the only sample I'm not crazy about is the brass sample. It sounds a bit thin and synthetic to my ears. Careful programming, judicious use of FX and playing technique can compensate for that. The sampled instruments are clear and realistic. Many of the analog emulations sound quite warm. The variety of samples are a little more limited than you would find in a more expensive workstation, but all of the basic "bread and butter" sounds are covered and they are good. Feature: You have the ability to create and store completely customized drum kits where you can assign any sound to any key, or one sound to multiple keys (important for things like drum rolls). The ability to program velocity cross switching between sounds on each key adds even more versatility. The joystick and four assignable knobs on the control panel give you plenty of expressive capability in any program or combination. The depth of programability is excellent. You have dual multimode filters with resonance, filter, amp and pitch envelopes along with a variety of creative modulation options. The variety, quality and usefulness of the FX are excellent as well. Ease of Use: There are plenty of great factory presets to play right out of the box. The Arpeggiators are fun and can provide musical inspiration. The 2/3 size keyboard takes getting used to, but has a good feel and works quite well. I still hit an occasional sour note when I'm playing fast arpeggios or chord changes. The included editing software is a godsend. I wouldn't want to deal with a few buttons and a two line LCD for editing like I did in 80s and 90s. The one major oversight in the editing software is the lack of event editing in sequencer mode. I'm using this as a standalone program, so an event editor with a piano roll view would come in very handy. I do have a couple of issues with the sequencer. One is that from what I can tell, you have to work on and save an entire piece of music in one location at a time. I prefer to work on different parts, save them in different locations and then assemble them all in one location when I'm done. I've only been using this for three weeks, so I might be missing something. The other issue is having to save sequencer data to an SD card or lose it when the instrument is turned off. No big deal unless there's power failure in the middle of a masterpiece you are working on and haven't saved it yet! Internal, non-volatile memory would solve that. I had that on other instruments and liked it a lot. As far as other software goes, there's a good video demonstration and plenty of documentation in PDF form on the supplied disc. A paper quick start manual is included in the box. Quality: The microSTATION feels very solid. Nothing feels flimsy. The keyboard is nicely responsive with a good solid feel to the key-bed. There is a minor cosmetic problem. The button function labels on the control panel are silk-screened gray on a silver background, making them almost impossible to read unless I'm crouched right over the instrument. Black lettering would work better. Fortunately the buttons are few enough in number where I have most of them memorized. Value: Incredible value. The sound quality, depth of programability, and sophisticated sequencing capabilities are at level I would expect in an instrument costing three times as much. The only real marks against it is the lack of battery power as an option and the lack of internal, non-volatile memory for the sequencer. Manufacturer Support: I have never had any major issues that required me to contact Korg. With the exception of a somewhat temperamental Polysix I owned 30 years ago, all Korg products I owned always work perfectly and as advertised. I think that speaks well for their quality control. The documentation included on the supplied DVD-Rom is excellent. The Wow Factor: There is real wow factor here. It's amazing that such a small, inexpensive instrument can create such big, sophisticated sounds. I can take and use it in places where I wouldn't want to lug my larger keyboards. I have a dedicated music room, but I set this up at my basement computer where I also have an Arturia Minimoog installed as a micro studio annex. The microSTATION makes a great USB controller and I don't need any additional sequencing software. Overall: The Korg microSTATION is an incredible value. It has everything you need to produce professional and polished compositions in a very small, very inexpensive package. My biggest complaint is that the size and weight make this a take it anywhere, play it anywhere instrument and you can't run it on batteries! Wherever you take it, you will have to be tethered to an electrical outlet. It does fit nicely on my compact computer desk in front of my monitor.
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"A must have peice of gear" submitted March 25, 2012

By Jimmy Macedo in Houston, TX
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Musical Background: Been doing music for about 10 yrs. now.
Music Style: Hip-hop and Rap
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Overall: I bought this keyboard to expand outside the box and try hardware instead of vsts for my beats. I gotta say, I am completely amazed at how good it sounds and how much easier it is to make beats on this.My friend has a Yamaha MM6 and he regretted buying it after trying and hearing the Microstation. I highly recommend it. The small keys get some getting used to, but I did in about a week of using it. Once you learn how to work it, which was a little complicated since it was my was first hard synth, then you won't be able to put it down.
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"Great value" submitted May 10, 2012

By Robert A in Toronto, ON
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Musical Background: 25 years
Music Style: Rock, hip hop. country, blues, new age
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Overall: I traded in my Korg Micro X for this unit as the MicroStation actually has a decent piano sound!! The sound set is solid top to bottom... hey, this is an under $500.00 board and for that money the sound value is astounding in my opinion. I liken it to having a sound module with the bonus of some keys that you actually can play on if needed and you get a nice Korg sound set in your arsenal very inexpensively. Playing it right out of the box is very gratifying. I find the accompaniments fun and inspiring as well. Lots of editing and effects as well and unlike Roland (sorry but they frustrate the heck out of me with limitations they make sure are present in their mid to lower end boards) you get useful sounds in all categories with ample effects to shape and tailor them to suit. I have found the organ sounds to help fill in the gaps that are present in my Roland Juno Stage (sorry again) and even the piano sound is more balanced than that board and it's supposed be a Stage keyboard??? With weak organs, and average at best Piano sound? lol. Point is with the MicroStation, despite it being a value priced board, you get pretty good quality all around. Big sound, big value, small package! Nice job, Korg... Impressive.
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"superb workstation" submitted June 21, 2012

By don s in cloudcroft, NM
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Musical Background: 47 years, guitar, bass, keys. rock and blues/rock. weekly gigging/sessions
Music Style: rock, blues/rock, 80's hairband rock
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Overall: lifelong guitarist that got into sequencing when the korg m1 came out. have owned / currently own almost as many synths/workstations as i do guitars :) i have a weekly outdoor (looping) gig and i power my rig via 12v battery and dc/ac inverter so i can run the "good stuff" mobile. anyhow, the microstation completed my ultimate mobile rig. the sounds are top notch the mini keys took 10 minutes to get used to build quality is, imho, good yeah, lots o plastic, but i dont abuse my equipment so i expect long service this microstation and my rc 300 looper are the ultimate looper tools :) lay down a thick bed of drums/bass/keys and solo forever the only minus to this rig are the manual (loads of ommissions) and the crappy, crappy software editor. if i was korg i'd hang my head in shame, saddling such a fine workstation with such horrible software. i also have a micro x and it's software is fine. coming from the m1 era, i have no prob editing on the ms itself. i now only use the editor for arp editing 'cause you can't edit arps on the ms itself. i have both triton and fantom workstations but now i only use this ms. sit in my easy chair at night sequencing/etc. i'm gonna buy a second microstation just in case this one quits and korg quits making them. the korg microstation is a MUST HAVE piece of equipment.
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"I would have stayed in computer VST land had Korg not offered a professional workstation at this price point. THEY NAILED IT!" submitted December 18, 2010

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Musical Background: Church musician. I lead the praise!
Music Style: Gospel/Worship and good old R&B
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: The sound of this unit exceeds my expectations. Competing unit the Yamaha MM6 only has SOME original Motif sounds. The rest are PSR sounds. The Roland Juno Di does have the Fantom engine, but I have not been impressed with any Fantom. This unit has the same engine as the M3 which I have loved since its' release. I have owned the MM6, the Motif ES and the MO6. I have played the XS. For $600, the microSTATION gives you excellent sound comparable or better than the Yamahas that I have seriously been a fan of until now. The last time Korg was the lead unit in my arsenal, I played a Wavestation EX. I still miss that big boy! Also, the audition tracks for each sound can be an inspiration for how to use each sound. Also, this keyboard is so smart that it will set up the sounds and effects to play a certain style and I does not sound canned in any way. Your playing ability is reflected in the result. (So you still have to practice. :)) Feature: Compared to the Yamaha MM6 and the Roland Di, this unit has more professional features than the others starting with the sequencer. The Sequencer can capture quick grooves and jam sessions with the dual arps, or it can be a track by track recorder. Or, one can use the grid method as with drum machines and groove boxes. There is nothing out there like this. I thought the mini keys would be a down side when I bought it. But I read up on the MIDI spec first so I could use my 61 full size key controller. Those mini keys play organ patches better than I could ever play them on a full size-key keyboard. The small size allow the ability to play everything quicker. I haven't even connected my other controller yet. Add to it the ability to use a SDcard to store everything, this is truly amazing. You have all of the basics in a workstation that would normally cost $2K without sacrificing sound. Impressive! The mini keys are great for laying drum tracks too. Ease of Use: I played all of the programs and combis plus recorded a jam session with the dual arps without even cracking the manual. They only provide a quick start manual. The complete manual is on the disk. But the quick start, gets you going very well. I read it after I did most things intuitively. Quality: This is a plastic keyboard. Don't drop it and you should be fine. I will say that the keys are made to last. I don't feel like I have to hold back in fear of breaking them. Value: I rate this 100!! I feel like I own a M3 or a Motif XS in terms the ability to play so many dynamic, relative/up-to-date sounds. Add to it that I can sequence and vibe with the intelligent arps is great! The MM6, nor the Juno Di can do this. And if you hate the mini keys? Buy a CakeWalk/Roland A-800PRO, the fastest USB MID and regular MIDI controller (Very playable full-sized keys.) out there to use the microSTATION as a cheaper M3 module. Very sweet! Manufacturer Support: Never had a problem with Korg. The Wow Factor: Very nice and compact. Great space saver. Overall: This is all I need in a workstation. The rest of the stuff a more featured workstation might offer I can do on my laptop with my many VST's and DAWs.
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"Korg microstation Pros and Cons" submitted January 18, 2013

By George P
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Musical Background: Music teacher
Music Style: Ambient, new age, classical
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Overall: Pros:1.Very portable and lightweight you can curry it easily around, in gigs or in the studio, and also fits nicely in your desktop.2.It has so many features which normally you can find only in the expensive workstations (16 track sequencer, combis, dozens effects, and many more) 3.Is bundled with software editor which allows you to customize your parameters from your Pc and at the same time it gives you the ability to use the microstation as Vst instrument in your favorite DAW.4.The electronic preset sounds are in a decent level. If you really know how to make electronic music, you can perform, compose and record masterpieces on it. 5. From the aesthetic point of view is an very cool unitCons: 1.Is very poor and thin in the acoustic instruments (piano, strings, horns, woodwinds). 2.The workflow, particular in sequencer mode, is not so intuitive with the very small (only two lines) screen. 3.You can save your arrangements as midi files only in the SD card. Not USB to device included.Conclusion:ēIf you are electronic musician with a tight budget the korg microstation is your keyboard that you really need! If you donít want to make and perform electronic music, then go further.
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"Best synth for its price!" submitted November 17, 2012

By Amit Sen in Redono Beach, CA
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: ambient, electronic, trance, techno, house
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Overall: I got this keyboard after I tested several in the same price range. Honestly there aren't any direct competitors. The keys are mini, but hey are springy and nice to play! The keyboard exterior does not look very pricey and is visibly low in quality. But once, you start playing the device...you will eventually realize that there is absolutely no comprise in sound quality! It is excellent. Honestly, I couldn't figure much of a difference in sound even when comparing with Kronos. Seriously, there isn't any difference! Of course, the bigger workstation features many more sounds...but even with 49MB ..the Microstation can compete with any top workstations. The biggest drawback is probably the screen size. But, Korg tried really hard to pack everything and still manage to keep the price below $400 which is remarkable! Absolutely the best music workstation/synth for its price! And in terms of sound quality/phrases, it can compete with any high end workstation including Korg Kronos, Yamaha XF and Roland Fantom G!
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