Korg R3 37-Key Synthesizer/Vocoder

No longer available at zZounds
No mini-keys here! With 37 full-size velocity-sensitive keys, the R3 is a powerful little synth with the guts of the Korg Midas, plus a mic for vocoder fun.
The R3 is a full-fledged synthesizer that provides an easy and affordable way to enjoy sophisticated synthesis and advanced sound creation. In a compact and lightweight body, it packs 37 full-size, velocity sensing keys, along with 2-timbre/8-voice performance power.

The sound generator section uses the same acclaimed MMT (Multiple Modeling Technology) used by the Korg Radias, delivering thick, gutsy, and crisp analog sounds. And with a such a wide range of tones, the R3 is a great choice for adding synth sounds on stage or in music production.

MMT Synthesis

The versatile range of built-in oscillator algorithms covers everything from familiar analog synthesizer waveforms, to unique digital waveforms and even live audio input. For each voice, the R3 provides 2 oscillators. Oscillator 1 (OSC1) gives you a choice of seven waveforms including sawtooth, pulse, formant, noise, and DWGS, as well as allowing you to select an external audio source connected to the Audio Input 1 and 2 jacks. To enhance the basic analog synthesizer waveforms such as the sawtooth, pulse and triangle waves, you can apply cross modulation, pulse-width modulation, unison voice-thickening, or even VPM (Variable Phase Modulation).

Oscillator 2 (OSC2) gives you a choice of 4 waveforms such as sawtooth and sine, and can also be used as a modulation oscillator to apply sync modulation, ring modulation or a combination of the two for distinctively analog read more synthesizer sounds. The noise generator (Noise) produces white noise, and provides a useful way to create breath noise for wind instrument sounds, or to produce evocative sound effects. The sawtooth wave and pulse wave use the same basic low-aliasing design as the AL-1 Analog Synthesizer found in Korg's flagship OASYS synthesizer.

2 Filters with Selectable Routing

The R3 features a dual filter structure that can be configured in series, parallel or an individual structure allowing each oscillator to have its own dedicated filter. Filter 1 is a multi-mode resonant design that lets you continuously vary between various low-pass, high-pass and band reject characteristics. Filter 2 has a switchable, multi-mode resonant design that also includes comb filtering, which can be made to feed back in order to boost multiple series of overtones, giving you amazing potential for generating unique tonal changes.

Amp Section with a Drive/Waveshaping Circuit

The Drive circuit lets you create the subtle yet distinctive distortion typical of an analog synthesizer, or generate new overtones by deeply overdriving the sound. The Waveshaping circuit gives you twelve types of transformation including hard clipping, and can be used as a decimator to produce typically digital roughness by converting the sampling frequency. It can even be used as a sub-oscillator, opening up new sound-making possibilities. The Drive/Waveshaping circuit can be placed either before the amp section or immediately before Filter 1 to give you different nuances of sound. With additional parameters -- such as the Punch Level setting that emphasizes the attack, giving greater impact to percussive sounds -- you have the tools to enjoy radical creativity that's not restricted by concepts of the past.

Multiple EGs and LFOs

Each voice provides three ADSR envelope generators (EG) for classic analog synthesis control over pitch, filter and amp characteristics. The classic and intuitive four-stage ADSR design has been enhanced with 5 different attack and release curves, allowing the EG contours to be crafted with new levels of precision and articulation.

Two LFOs with 6 waveform choices can be used to apply cyclic modulation to synth parameters. High-speed digital processing ensures that vibrato, wah, and tremolo will produce extremely smooth tonal changes, and each waveform can be extensively modified via the Shape control, greatly expanding the versatility of the LFO section for creating highly complex types of modulation.

Sophisticated Sound-Creation

The R3 provides 6 Virtual Patches that simulate the patch cord functions of the PS series and MS series -- classic Korg synthesizers of the past. There are 12 modulation source including EG, LFO, velocity, and keyboard tracking (the position at which you play the keyboard) that can be used to apply modulation to 15 different destination parameters such as pitch, oscillator 1 control, or filter 1 type.

Dramatic Tonal Changes

The Modulation Sequencer can apply a time-varying change to a specific parameter, similar to CV control on an analog synthesizer. You specify the value of each of 16 steps, and then choose how to play back these steps (forward, backward, looping etc.) to vary the sound in unique ways. There's also a Motion Rec function that lets you capture and replay real-time knob movements.

Personalized Vocoder Sounds

The R3's powerful vocoder function lets you use your voice to add a distinctive tonal character to the sound of the oscillator, creating "speaking" tones. The vocoder consists of sixteen filter bands, and can replicate the classic vocoder sounds of the past, as well as letting you dramatically transform the timbral character by adjusting the level and pan of each frequency band to create absolutely original vocoder sounds. The R3 comes with an XLR-connector gooseneck microphone, so you can start enjoying this superb vocoder functionality right away.

In addition, there's a Formant Motion function that lets you capture the movements that occur in the vocoder's filter bank when you route your voice through it. By playing back these movements you can produce vocoder sounds without inputting your voice. The R3 lets you record a maximum of 7.5 seconds of Formant Motion data into each of 16 internal memories, and use this data in multiple vocoder programs. With the factory settings, the bank marked FORMANT MOTION on the dial contains preloaded programs that use formant motion data.

Effects to Enhance the Sound

For each timbre you can apply a 2-band EQ and 2 Insert effects. There's also a Master effect that lets you apply reverb or delay etc. to unify the entire program. For each effect, you can choose 1 of 30 different effect algorithms. The delay time and other parameters that use an LFO can be synchronized with the arpeggiator or to an external MIDI clock. You can take advantage of this in a variety of situations -- including live performances.

Flexible Arpeggiator

Six different arpeggio patterns are built-in (UP, DOWN, ALT1/2, Random, and Trigger). For each of the possible 8 steps you can specify whether a note will sound and the duration of that note, letting you produce unique phrases with rhythm variety.

128 Powerful Programs

The R3 contains 128 great-sounding programs organized into 16 banks of 8 programs each. These banks are organized by sound category, and can be quickly accessed using just 2 actions; the bank select dial and the program selector buttons.

From rich sounds that are nearly unimaginable to be coming from such a compact instrument; highly complex sounds using cross modulation, formant motion, and the arpeggiator; thick and warm sounds you expect from analog modeling; to sharply aggressive sounds, there's an amazing spectrum of sounds instantly available to enliven your music.

Process and Transform External Audio Sources

The R3 has 2 external audio input jacks. By selecting an external audio source as an oscillator, you can filter the external audio source, or apply effects to it using the full range of processing potential available for the internal waveforms. This is a great way to create unique and original sounds, for processing audio loops from a computer and even playing another instrument through the R3.

A Full Complement of Displays and Indicators

Editing sounds is quick and intuitive using the R3's elegant interface -- simply select a page and turn the four edit knobs. In addition to the main display that shows the program name and the name of the parameter page you're editing, a sub-display above each of the edit knobs indicates the specific parameter and its value, ensuring that your editing will be smooth and easy. A "halo" or ring of LEDs surrounds each edit knob, clearly indicating the current parameter value. You can also use these knobs to modify the sound while you perform. Filter cutoff, resonance, attack, and decay are assigned to the four knobs by default, so you can easily vary the sound to your taste.

LED indicators are also located around the bank select dial, so it's easy to see the selected category even if you're performing on a dimly lit stage. Switches that are frequently used in live performance, such as octave shift and arpeggiator on/off are located for easy access.

Editor/Librarian Software Included

You can connect the R3 to your computer via its USB connector, and use the included stand-alone editor/librarian software to conveniently edit the sounds, using the enhanced graphics that the computer provides. You can edit, create, save, and store programs to the R3 or to your computer. Sounds you edit or create using the editor/librarian software can be used in realtime on the R3 itself.

Power Supply:DC 12V Power Cord (Included)
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Power Supply:DC 12V Power Cord (Included)
For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 631-390-6800
(16 ratings)
Submitted November 2, 2011 by a customer from gmail.com
"Good Synthesizer for the price"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I will probably be using this for a while. May get another keyboard from the same manufacturer at some point.
Has great sound presets. Controls are easy to manipulate and are very responsive. Vocoder has low latency.
Oscillators, Filter, Envelopes, Vocoder, Arpeggiator, Weighted Keys. It has all the desired features and even has formant motion that can be applied to all presets.
Ease of Use
For a beginner, it will take some time to get a hang of the controls, but for someone with experience using synthesizers, it shouldn't present any problems.
Sturdy construction. Knobs do not wobble.
A mid range price point. Seems to keep value pretty well.
Manufacturer Support
Have not experienced compatibility issues as of yet.
The Wow Factor
A good layout for easy use. However, some of the text printed on the layouts can be hard to read.
Musical Background:
Hobby Musician/DJ
Musical Style:
Electronic, House, Techno, Rock
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