Korg microSAMPLER Sampling Keyboard

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Specifications
Keyboard: 37 Natural-Touch mini-keys, velocity sensing

Sampling Specs:
- Sampling Rates: 48 kHz, 24 kHz, 12 kHz, 6 kHz
- Bank Structure: 36 Samples per Bank (160 Seconds max.)
- Available Banks: 9 Total (8 User +1 ROM)
- Sampling Time:
- - 48 kHz: 160 seconds (mono) per bank; x 8 Banks = 21.33 minutes (max.)
- - 24 kHz: 320 seconds (mono) per bank; x 8 Banks = 42.66 minutes (max.)
- - 12 kHz: 640 seconds (mono) per bank; x 8 Banks = 85.33 minutes (max.)
- - 6 kHz: 1280 seconds (mono) per bank; x 8 Banks = 170.66 minutes (max.)

Polyphony:
- 16 voices

Sampling Modes:
- One-Shot; Gate; Loop; Key Gate; Auto-Next
- Resample in any mode

Keyboard Modes:
- Sampling Mode: 36 Sample Playback Keys + 1 Audio Input
- Keyboard Mode: Single sample assigned chromatically across the keyboard

Effects:
- Structure: 1 Master FX
- Effect Types: 21 (Compressor, Filter, 4-Band EQ, Distortion, Reverb, Delay, L/C/R Delay, Auto-Panning
- Delay, Modulation Delay, Tape Echo, Chorus, Flanger, Vibrato, Phaser, Tremolo, Ring Modulation, Grain
- Shifter, Pitch Shifter, Talking Modulator, Looper)

Pattern Sequencer:
- Patterns: 16 Patterns per bank; x 8 Banks
- Note Count: 64,000 notes total; 16,000 per bank
- Resolution: 480 ppq (parts per quarter note)

Audio Connections:
- Input: 1/4-inch Jack (rear); XLR Balanced (top); with Mic/Line switch; Level knob
- Outputs: L/Mono, R; 1/4-inch unbalanced
- Phones: 1/4-inch Stereo Jack

Other Connections:
- MIDI: In, Out
- USB: Type B

Display:
- Custom LCD; 37 LEDs above keys

Dimensions:
- W x D x H: 20.31 x 9.37 x 2.56 in.
- Weight: 4.19 lbs

microSAMPLER Editor Librarian Software

Operating Requirements:
- PC: Microsoft Windows XP (SP3 or later); Windows Vista (SP1 or later); USB port
- MAC: OSX Version 10.4 or later; USB port

Power Supply: 9V DC AC Adapter (Included) or 6 AAA Alkaline batteries (Not Included)
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 631-390-6800
(6 ratings)
Submitted January 24, 2011 by a customer from hotmail.com
"An Inspiring and Fun Tool for Sound Design and Making Loops"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
If you want to get into the art of creative sampling, this is one of the best tools available. It's also terrific if you just want to make a beat quickly and jam. I could also see this being a great alternative to Ableton Live for live performers who want to trigger loops and have some fun with the effects. It is rather limited compared to software tools such as Live, Kontakt, NN-XT, etc. but it is a really great asset if you are the type of person who finds computers kind of un-inspiring when you are trying to develop ideas. The limitations actually make it easier for me because I don't have 8 million samples, a hundred parameters, and dozens of effects plug-ins to choose from whenever I want to make up a 4-bar loop. If you share this appreciation for the limitations and immediacy of hardware, do yourself a favor and purchase a microSampler. I really think it offers the best balance of sampling features at an affordable price.

Sound
The highest sampling resolution is 48 kHz at 24-bit, but you can also sample at 24, 12, or 6 kHz or use the decimator effect to reduce the resolution and/or bit depth. You can get anything from better-than-CD quality to lo-fi dirt. The onboard effects sound pretty good to me; they are much better than the effects on the Korg Electribe ES-1 MKII sampler I used to own. As for the included ROM sounds; they are mostly useless-- some beatboxing one-shots and loops, some keyboard sounds, and a read more few others miscellaneous ones. Of course, you will mostly be recording/loading your own samples.

Features
The microSampler is great for working with one-shot samples (e.g. drum hits) or loops. The sequencer is simple, but it is adequate for making rhythmic patterns. You can slice a loop using the auto-next or key-gate sampling modes, which is useful if you want to do something like creating a drum kit from a loop. If you want to use the keyboard to play pitched samples, however, the microSampler is very limited. The microSampler cannot do multi-sampling, so most samples will sound crap if you play them more than an octave above or below the root note. Also, the sequencer can only sequence one keyboard part per pattern. You can adjust the decay and release of samples, but not the attack or sustain, which is kind of a strange omission. I would say that the pitched keyboard sampling features are adequate for doing little experiments or putting down a harmonic or melodic idea quickly, but most types of instruments will sound crap on this compared to even the most basic software sampler or rompler. The 21 effects are quite useful and really open up the sound design possibilities-- a multi-mode filter with a dedicated, tempo-syncable LFO, stereo compressor, 4-band EQ, decimator, several delay algorithms, reverb, various modulation effects, etc. You can only control two effect parameters at a time, but you can choose which two to assign the knobs to. Since you can only have 1 effect per bank, the re-sampling feature is tremendously valuable. Re-sampling enables you to apply an effect, re-sample, apply another effect, etc. and even tweak parameters as you are sampling, which makes some really wild sounds possible. The keys are very small, but they are velocity-sensitive and the feel better than a toy casio. No pitch or mod wheels, but you can use a pitch wheel if you plug in an external midi keyboard. The included gooseneck microphone is a really great tool that will let you get started recording your own samples right away. One other great feature is the free software editor that you can use to transfer samples between the microSampler and your computer via USB. It's very easy to use and is a vast improvement over samplers like the Electribe that require you to copy samples to a media card and load them into memory, etc. Because you cannot use media cards, the storage is somewhat limited, but I expect that it should be big enough for most applications.

Ease of Use
The interface is simple and intuitive. Everything pretty much works as you would expect it to.

Quality
The build quality seems decent. The plastic case seems durable and the knobs and buttons are recessed to prevent them from breaking. The audio ins and outs sound okay, and the backlit LCD screen looks nice. Overall, I think it is a well-built little unit.

Value
This product is a great value. It is definitely superior to the other hardware samplers in this price range, and can even compete with the more expensive MPC's.

The Wow Factor
It's kind of ugly looking, but the flashing buttons look cool in the dark. To many people, the microSampler (like the other "micro" keyboards from Korg) probably looks like a toy, but this is absolutely a professional-level product that is great at what it does.

Musical Background:
Music student and hobbyist

Musical Style:
Electronica, ambient, experimental
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