I would say that over half of the live bands I have seen that incorporate Electronica have done so with a MicroKORG.   I have a microKORG in my setup, so I know first-hand what it’s like to use live.   This article will cover the pros and cons of  the synth in a live environment.


Pros

Accessibility

The microKORG is a very easy to use synth.   Switching banks is simple, and there are plenty of spaces to store your effects in genre-based groups of presets.   It’s simple to set up, requiring only a 1/4 inch jack into an amp and the supplied plug to get going!   The Arpeggiator is simple to set up, and as long as your drummer has a click track to follow, it can be really effective.

Quality of Sounds

The presets are decent for the most part, but it really shines when you put in the time to make the sounds yourself, which is fortunately not that hard to do.  Unlike other starting-budget synths, the sounds can be actually pretty meaty, which is great for those epic breakouts.

Price

About £150-200 on eBay at Time of Writing means that this synth is fantastic value for money.

Cons

Keys

While it looks cool to have miniature keys, this can be awkward for playing accurately live.   Also it gets confusing if you have a synth with normal sized keys that you play simoultaneously (I have a Yamaha CS2X as well), as this takes a while to compensate for the difference in key size from one hand to the other!

Vocoder

While it advertises a fully functional vocoder, it is not actually very useful.   It is difficult to discern what you are saying in comparison with other vocoders, and the last time I tried to use it live it made masses of feedback before I gave up.   May have just been the environment I was in, though.   So if you’re only thinking of getting it for the vocoder, look elsewhere.

Similar Sounds

While some of the sounds on it are good, they are very recogniseable as MicroKORG sounds.   This isn’t a problem for most music listeners, as they won’t all have an intimate knowledge of the synth, but if you are marketing to a community that listens to a lot of electronica, they might know you’re using the presets!

Conclusion

If you are a beginner, the MicroKORG is ideal.   It’s a great way to start incorporating decent synth sounds into your music, and if you put in the effort you can learn a lot about creating your own synth sounds.   I am very happy that I bought my microKORG and have kept it in my setup ever since.  A definate Yes to the MK from me!

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7 Responses to “Using a MicroKORG in a Live Band”

  1. do you know anything to improve or put a distortion on the acustic drum ?

    pads . . .

  2. if i am going to use a vocoder live which vocoder should i use

  3. I actually really like that you can tell when people are playing the microkorg presets, it really has a distinct sound, and the presets are really great for making corny 80s riffs and such. Someone who listens to a lot of synths is going to know what you’re using regardless, so it’s nice to have those fun sounds that are easily recognizable.

  4. i think the vocoder is quite go it’s the microphone that you get with it is crap

  5. i think the Korg R3 Vocoder is better

  6. LOL!! you own the same setup as I do. Microkorg and CS2X!!

  7. MK:s vocoder is really really good. Take away that mk:s own microphone and change it to any reasonable good dynamic mic (even 15euro t-bone dynamic mic works better than mk:s own) and you get the full power of the synths vocoder.

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