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To say we were impressed with the Minilogue at NAMM would be a bit of an understatement. And after playing with our own hands-on, we were left scratching our heads. All this, and it’s under $500? Analog engine? Check. Polyphonic, up to four voices? Check. Built in 16-step sequencer? You got it, dude. Wood paneling? Now you’re speaking my language!
But really, what you get with the Minilogue is nothing short of amazing. You have instant access to a few really cool modes, starting with true 4-voice polyphonic, duophonic for the Odyssey heads (worth noting that KORG also makes the new ARP re-issues), a neat unison mode, monophonic mode for the Moog junkies, chord mode for…well, duh, arpeggiator mode and something we’ve never encountered before: side chain mode, whereby the amplitude of the previous note you’ve played goes down when you strike a new note. It’s actually pretty cool, and each mode allows layering so that you can really fine-tune your patches to the nth degree.
Build quality was great – no wobbly knobs to speak of, and the unit itself is substantially constructed. The metal face plate looks futuristic, but still employs an easy-to-follow panel configuration. Those looking for a standard pitch/mod wheel set up will have to get used to a little “wiggle stick” (our term, not theirs), but since it’s located in such a good place on the panel, it actually lends itself to being used in a musical way, unlike the proportional pitch pads KORG has to use on the Odyssey re-issues (which never really worked all that great on the originals, anyway).
All that said, we dug the two oscillators on the Minilogue; each provided a unique set of selectable waveforms that were great for solos, bass lines as well as pads, and the LFO and modulation routing options were actually a bit more flexible than we imagined they would be, offering a pretty wide range of mod options that are intelligently presented and can add a real sense of depth and texture to boring old waves. To top it off, you have a little display which sort of acts like a mini oscilloscope when you’re playing, allowing you to “see” the waveforms you’re dialing in – actually, this was really cool and a nice bonus to the board we weren’t expecting.
If you want to do just about everything you could possibly imagine, and you want the circuitry to be all analog, AND you absolutely refuse to spend more than $500. Well, then. Here you go. Enjoy.
Feels great, looks super-cool, offers an amazing range of features, and sounds fantastic in all modes.
Keyboard: 37-keys (Slim-key, velocity sensitive)
Sound Generation: Analog synthesis
Maximum Polyphony: 4 voices
Sequencer: 16-step polyphonic sequencer
What do you think of our review of the new KORG Minilogue analog synthesizer? Let us know in the comments below or drop a line on the Performer Magazine Facebook page or on Twitter @Performermag. And be sure to read more from the special Synth Issue of Performer Magazine.