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