KORG minilogue review – 5 outstanding features
This KORG minilogue review covers 5 features that we think makes this brand new polyphonic analog synthesizer worthy of the accolades it has received since being launched at NAMM 2016.
If you’d like to do a checklist of all the features then check out our Best Choice article which breaks it down nicely. This KORG minilogue review goes a little deeper into the 5 game-changer features that make us want to own one…
Before we even get into what impressed us when we did this KORG minilogue review, we should mention price right up front. The minilogue is an analog synthesizer so for one to be able to pick this up for under R 10k, especially considering our horrid exchange rate is nothing less than remarkable. You can expect to pay between R 8,000 & R 9,000 for this awesome synth.
Right, now that we’ve established the excellent price point, let’s look at why this KORG minilogue review left us wanting one…
The minilogue is a 4-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer. This means you can play up to 4 notes simultaneously which in effect means most chords too. The synth has up to 8 voice modes of polyphony which means that there are 8 different modes in which the 4-voice polyphony can be played. What’s the significance of this you may ask? Flexibility and a massive range of sound variations and playability options. Here are the 8 voice modes;
- POLY – operates as a four-voice polyphonic synthesizer
- DUO – operates as a unison two-voice polyphonic synthesizer
- UNISON – operates as an all-unison mono synthesizer
- MONO – operates as a mono synth with sub-oscillator
- CHORD – produces chords
- DELAY – voices 2–4 sound consecutively at a delay following voice 1
- ARP – an arpeggiated operates with up to four voices
- SIDE CHAIN – when a note sounds, the volume of the preceding voice is lowered
The analogue architecture of the minilogue is perhaps the biggest thing we loved about the synth. The 4 voices boast two oscillators with 3 waveforms, namely square, triangle, and sawtooth as well as a noise source to add additional colour. You can also alter the waveshape of each of the oscillators with the Shape Control to add content and colour to each.
Two VCOs (note: VCO, not DCO – Digitally controlled oscillators) offer one further control over waveform sculpturing – VCO 1 modulates the frequency and VCO 2 controls depth of the cross modulation and one can also switch in ring modulation on the second VCO. The second oscillator can also be synced to the first and the pitch altered with the Pitch EG Int knob.
There are 2 4-stage envelope generators, one for modulation purposes and the other for the VCA. The LFO offers 3 waves, ramp, triangle, and square and proved to be exceptionally versatile. It can modulate the pitch of VCO 2, filter cutoff or the shape of the two oscillators as well as providing rate and depth control by controlling the intensity of the LFO via the Pitch EG Int knob.
Now combine this waveform control with the 8 voice modes and there is a lot of flexible sound shaping that can be done to create that unique sound you’re looking for.
The minilogue has without a doubt its own unique sound and if it’s modern day dance music you’re interested in creating, this synth should inspire you right out the box.
The presets are all quite noisy, aggressive – the type that really cut through the mix – as a good lead should – but it is fairly easy to create more conventional analog synth sounds like phat basses, percussive sounds, flutey type sounds and beautiful bell sounds.
Using the filter and resonance knobs, ring modulator and its wonderful cross modulation capabilities combined with the ADSR-controlled LFO, velocity sensitivity and key tracking we had the minilogue showing off in no time with some impressively complex timbres.
It’s a KORG
KORG’s reputation for quality speaks for itself and the minilogue certainly exemplifies this with a really well-built piece of gear. Despite the price-point and the fact that it is aimed more at the laptop producing semi-pro, although this’ll no doubt find its way into many pro producers studios too, this synthesizer feels built to last. It’s a robust piece of gear and it simply sounds awesome.
This KORG minilogue review may sound a bit like sales pitch but if you were sitting in the demo room with me testing this baby, you’d realise the enthusiasm was legit.
But the minilogue is not without certain shortcomings. The very shallow mini keyboard is not great and will surely bother some folk, and there are no pedal inputs or CV routing options.
However for under R 9K [$500 internationally] the analog power of the two oscillators, the 4-voice polyphony, the 8 voice modes, the 16 step sequencer and the arpeggiator [I forgot to mention these 2 awesome features] as well as a chord mode [to play a chord with a single key] makes the minilogue an instrument that would undoubtedly add a new dimension to any producer’s music, of this I am convinced.
- Mini keys
- No pedal inputs
- No CV
- No mod wheel
- Great price (even with the horrid exchange rate)
- four voices
- Polyphonic Analog
- 8 voice modes all for use as poly, mono, unison etc
- Chord mode
- 16 step sequencer
- Audio in
- Synch in / out
- Easy and fun to tweak and sculpt sounds