RE : Korg M1 (Programing & Questions?)

Hi folks,

The Korg M1 (hardware) does not seem to have it’s own dedicated section on this site (it’s an old synth I know and of course this is a more modern forum). All of the subject matters relating to Korg run right across the board (as one might expect of course). Anyway, rather than try and tag this onto a pre-existing discussion of old, or only partially related, I decided I would open a fresh topic here. I did post on the official Korg forum a few weeks back but received zero response! lol And I have gleaned a few small insights from other various forums but as yet, still no concrete answers.

So, my first question being (please), are there any current M1 owners out there willing to help and discuss certain aspects about the programing and synthesis side of the machine? I did own an M1 in the early 90’s for a couple of years or so, but at that point I was concentrating on other aspects of musicianship as opposed to being specifically into programing as such. And then I sold my M1 when I went to music school.

Recently, an M1 came up on eBay very cheap and located close by, but I narrowly missed out unfortunately. In any case, I am not especially interested in purchasing one (unless it came up very cheap again, as they sometimes do). There is of course the VST version which seems to be quite popular. I may have purchased this as part of a VST (legacy) package had it have contained the Korg POLY 61. But this synth is absent (although the POLY 6 is in there) and so I have put such a purchase on the back burner for the time being.

Many thanks in advance.

Best,

Paul David Seaman

The M1 doesn’t really do a lot of synthesis. It relies mainly upon sampled waveforms, which are then subtractively processed and put through it’s built in effects unit. It is a hardware ROMPler, pretty much. There were two ways to expand the system: one was a data card containing patches, while the other was a wave/sample card, which contained new waveforms, and possibly new patches which used these waveforms. I am going mostly from memory here, and I loved my M1 when I owned it. I think I bought mine in 1989, which was it’s second year, if I’m not mistaken. I also bought a Yamaha SY77 at the same time, which had true synthesis, and subtractive waveform processing, as well. The SY77 excelled at more organic sounds, especially strings and horns, while the M1 excelled in some other areas. The M1 drum kit was particularly good at the time for a built-in synth drum kit, and I used that on just about everything, although for my live rig, I used a Roland S-330 sampler. The M1 also had a very cool organ sound, “Korgan”, which I believe was a third party patch. I used that on several mixes.

Thanks for the reply Dipmcus,

In which case is the title ‘AI Synthesis’ not a little misleading then? Yes, I can see how it falls into the ROMpler catagory.

There were two ways to expand the system: one was a data card containing patches, while the other was a wave/sample card, which contained new waveforms, and possibly new patches which used these waveforms. I am going mostly from memory here, and I loved my M1 when I owned it.

I never owned any cards myself but yes, you could acquire either more waveforms (which Korg refer to as MultiSounds) or 100 x patches (what Korg call **Prog’**s).

I think I bought mine in 1989, which was it’s second year, if I’m not mistaken.

It came out after the DX7II and D-50 so that’s probably around 1989 as you say.

The M1 also had a very cool organ sound, “Korgan”, which I believe was a third party patch. I used that on several mixes.

I don’t remember Korgan ever being a factory preset so indeed you must have obtained it from elsewhere? From memory, all of the Organ presets were simple suffixed with a number (Organ-1, Organ-2, etc).

Many thanks,

Paul

I suggest to still have a look at the VST. I bought the VST single, not part of the bundle, just to get my hands on these typical 90’s sounds… for 49 Euro it will always beat the price of a used model at ebay, it adds a resonance button to the filters and has all Korg extension cards per default available.

I really learned how this synth engine works through the VST, love it, use it on most of my current work.

My 2cts…

Cheers Vinnie,

I have considered the VST version thank you though from what I have seen the menus/pages/edits etc look quite different from how they did on the hardware M1. So I am not sure how far Korg may have deviated from the original model? Of course, some users will find this very appealing whilst others not.

Ta,

Paul

Hi again,

btw - I am looking for an FM BUFF so perhaps you might be interested and kind enough to drop in on my DX thread please:

http://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=198&t=34351

Ta mate,

Paul

Hi again,

Now, this is something I hope I can explain clearly:-

If you edit a patch in PROG (lets say the RELEASE TIME of FRETLESS BASS [009]), you would increase the ‘R’ parameter (using the ‘A~H’ keypad under the display) to (say) '+10’. No problem.

And you decide you are quite happy with this EDIT and wish to SAVE it. Lets assume for now you simply OVERWRITE it (ie to the same location). Again, no problem.

Then a couple of gigs down the line you decide that in actual fact, there is too much RELEASE TIME applied to the FRETLESS BASS patch. The obviously thing to do would be to re-enter PROG mode, and re-adjust the RELEASE TIME again to suit your needs. In theory this is ok, but the problem (for me) is that:-

When you visually look at the RELEASE TIME setting, it does not say (as I would have thought/hoped) ‘+10’, but defaults back to ZERO! Ok, so most people, even after a few beers would remember that they increased the RELEASE TIME by ‘+10’, but what if you had altered several parameters? And you wanted to re-set the patch to its DEFAULT and then start again from fresh. You would be totally screwed because all of the ‘A~H’ parameters will be showing ZEROS and there would be no way of knowing/remembering what you had initially adjusted!

In which case, lets say you EDIT a few of the ‘A~H’ parameters and before you SAVE it, the screen will look something like:-
Att=+10 / Dec=-2/ Sus=+6/ Rel=-9/ and so on…

That’s great, but when you exit PROG and then return to it (the same patch) again, the display reads:-

Att=0 / Dec=0/ Sus=0/ Rel=0/ and so on…!

Surely it would be better to show:-

Att=+10 / Dec=-2/ Sus=+6/ Rel=-9/ and so on… because then you can see (compare) how/what has been changed compared to the factory DEFAULT!?

This has played on my mind for about 20 x years of so, believe it or not!

Please find copy of dialogue between myself and KORG below.

Thanks,

Paul Seaman

Dear Mr Seaman,

That’s a limitation of this particular instrument as explained on page 13 of the M1 owner’s manual. When in PROG mode, those values will always be reset to 0 since changes made in this mode are meant only for realtime/performance purposes. For editing purposes, PROG EDIT should be used.

Best regards,

KORG UK Ltd

Dear KORG,

Thank you very much indeed for your extremely helpful reply.

Yes understand that this is very useful for making LIVE edits during a performance (just like you can on an analogue synth), thank you. But my question was more relating to PROGRAMING. To be precise, if I EDITED a FACTORY PRESET (say a STRINGS) and made the RELEASE TIME value '+10 ’ (because I wanted it to be extremely long!). The DISPLAY would obviously be showing RELEASE = +10. No problem.

So then I STORE this EDIT (ie I OVERWRITE the original location) because I want to keep it. No problem.

Then later on I decide that I preferred the ORIGINAL FACTORY PRESET. I enter PROG mode and look at the display, but instead of it saying RELEASE TIME = +10 (which is what I EDITED/PROGRAMED it to be earlier) it says RELEASE TIME = O. Now this is my problem in that why does it not say RELEASE TIME = +10 because this would be far more logical (and useful) to the user because he would be able to see what CHANGES he made to the sound (and how his EDITS compared to the ORIGINAL sound). And more importantly, he would be able to RESET them easily if he needed to! But having all of the EDIT VALUES return to ZERO (even though AURALLY they are modified) seems very strange and confusing to me I am afraid!? This means that every time you want to EDIT your PROG sound(s), you have to start from a DISPLAY (point) where everything says ZERO!

I hope that I have explained it a little better for you here this time.

Thanks,

Paul Seaman

__

Hi Paul,

I understood your description the first time around but, as I said, that’s just the way it is with the M1. There isn’t a way of changing that. For editing, we recommend using PROG EDIT mode.

With regards to the change in the timbre’s character when changing octave, that is because the original programmers felt it reflected better the way this change sounded in the real world. In other words, most instruments will sound brighter in higher registers than in their lower registers although this is also affected by whatever device you are connecting the instrument to.

Best regards,

KORG UK Ltd

Hello again,

And here is a dialogue (see below) of my second question to KORG. Again, if anyone is able to share their own thoughts and experiences with this factor I would be very grateful. Strangely, I have asked many M1 owners about this (including a guy on the cruise ships who used to use THREE!) and not one person has noticed this until I pointed it out. In fact a couple of owners said they could not even detect any aural difference whatsoever!:


Dear Korg,

I do have one final question if you don’t mind? This is again something which really has massively confused me for a long time! And I would be most grateful for an explanation please:

If you are in PROG mode and choose a FACTORY PRESET such as PIANO 8’ or ORGAN 16’, when you change the OCTAVE of the instrument (ie TRANSPOSE the PIANO to 16’, or the ORGAN to 8’), then the TIMBRE of the sound is drastically modified!? For instance, the TONE becomes either THINNER, BRIGHTER or DARKER etc. And of course this is not limited just to sounds with 8’ or 16’ in their title, but ALL sounds in PROG bank. Why does this happen please because I have never been able to understand this reason?

Thanks.

Paul Seaman


Hi Paul,

With regards to the change in the timbre’s character when changing octave, that is because the original programmers felt it reflected better the way this change sounded in the real world. In other words, most instruments will sound brighter in higher registers than in their lower registers although this is also affected by whatever device you are connecting the instrument to.

Best regards,

KORG UK Ltd

Hi,

I did own the M1 in the past and now the VST. I do put it to use. As for programming I don’t do much of it. But I can tell you that it’s as easy as the M1 hardware or easier. The VST also work with program change in cubase.

Check it out:
m1.jpg

Hi AP,

Thanks. The VST does look quite tempting! lol

So if you do not do any programing as such, then are you just using the factory presets (in PROG and COMBI) please?

Ta,

Paul

Yes exactly I use the presets as is. But I definitely would like to get into more programming. I’m sure you can get some unique yet modern sounds from the M1 still. It’s a classic. A lot of hits were produced with it.

Cheers

Hi AP,

It would be great if you could test out some of my earlier questions at some point please on your VST!?

I watched some You Tube videos on this software. It looks/sounds a very good simulation.

Ta,

Paul

Actually with the VST. When you put your cursor over each parameter example, the release, it shows the value. It’s never 0. It’s what ever value the programmers set it to for the presets and when you save it you can rename it and have a folder for your own presets.

Check out the pics below:
Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 9.23.01 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 9.19.41 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 9.19.36 AM.jpg

AP,

Thanks very much.

In your pics all of the EG (if they were the parameters your were referring to) settings were at ZERO. Or had you simply not changed them?

So you don’t have to OVERWRITE the FACTORY PRESETS because anything you EDIT/SAVE is placed into a FOLDER of it’s own?

Thanks,

Paul

They were never at zero. They were at whatever the programmers set it to. For example the Fretless Bass was at +24.

Cheers

AP,

Sorry to be pedantic, which VALUE was at +24 please mate?

Ta,

Paul

Hi,

Has anyone read/owned the ALEXANDER PUBLISHING books on the KORG M1 please?

Ta,

Paul

The release…

Hi again,

I wondered how the KORG M3R compared to the M1 (keyboard) please? And if it would play/read the same EXPANSION PCM CARD’s?

One has popped up in Liverpool on eBay but I am a bit unsure about the spec’s etc:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Korg-M3R-Rack-Synthesizer-/191599305594?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2c9c35637a

I asked the eBay seller about the M3R and his reply was:

_Korg released the M3/R rackmount in 1989 as a followup to their ground breaking M1 and M1/R workstations. It has many of the same features included in the M1 - AI synthesis, 16 voice polyphony and many of the same types of sounds that made the M1 so popular. However to scale back on costs, the sequencer was eliminated and all voices were processed through a single oscillator instead of the two oscillators available on the M1. This can be a limitation in the sound creation process, but programs can be layered in combination mode to achieve the double oscillator effect.

The M3/R also included 33 of the same effects in the M1 including reverb, chorus, delay, an exciter and a good equalizer. It could also read many of the same PCM data that was on the cards that Korg released as PCM sets for the M1.
\

  • Seller_

To which I replied:

Regarding scale-backs:

I am not bothered about the > SEQUENCER> . Same for > FX> .

From what you are saying regarding all voices being processed thru > 1 x OSC> , do you mean that in > PROG MODE> , it is not possible to > LAYER > (2 x PROG’s together) like you can on the > M1> ? In other words, > PROG > is a > SINGLE MODE > only?

So it can read most of the same > ROM > cards of which the > M1 > can?

  • monsterjazzlicks

Ta,

Paul
M3Ra.png
M3Rb.png

Hi,

On the M1, there is a sound called VENICE in COMBI. I think it is a derivative of the PROG called LORE? It has a STRUMMING effect as an integral part of the patches timbre.

Does anyone know please: is it possible to ADJUST the SPEED of the STRUMMING? Obviously the adjustments would be made in PROG (to LORE, if I am correct).

Thanks a lot,

Paul