Many in the CDM community miss the days when big-name gear inspired real love. Peer into the studios of even the most dedicated DIY software and hardware maker, and you’ll still see products from big manufacturers. And, much as some may unfairly deride newcomers, the lifeblood of electronic music is the person who opens a box and falls in love with a synth for the first time.

Much of the Korg product line can’t inspire the kind of raw passion that its older products, and boxes from the likes of Roland and Yamaha, once commanded. But then, at its supposedly entry-level end of the pool, something magical happens. It’s hard to put into words, but people really do love some of this stuff.

It’s hard to put into words in English, anyway. For a real demonstration of why Korg is cool and beloved, look no further than Jet Daisuke, who, peering at the Internet onlookers through crazy-colored shades and hoodies and knit caps, speaks to the music tech geek in a way that transcends language (especially as the viewers often don’t speak a word of Japanese). He reviews Korg in a way that silences haters, and he does it alongside reviews of yogurt. (Not a Yogurt soft synth — just, you know, yogurt.)

First up: the microKORG XL. It’s got a silly name that’s a contradiction in terms. It’s pricier than the original microKORG, and, being a typical American, I wondered if the heavier, larger, more feature-packed R3 wasn’t better.

Well, now in translation, Jet explains why the XL is an example of superior Japanese engineering. It’s absurdly light, and ridiculously simple to operate – so who cares if the R3 does a little more? The keys feel fantastic. And when you open a box, joy comes out – certainly in his capable hands.

(For the translation of what he’s saying, you may need to click through to YouTube.)

Jet also has a lovely little jam he’s put together with the microKORG XL and GarageBand. It’s an exercise in minimalism: use what you need, and don’t bother with extra features. Have fun. (Oh, yeah … fun.) Lastly, add bright, neon colors. Awesome.

And then, he takes the nanoKEY ultra-compact controller out on a Shinkansen, the train that makes us rail lovers ready to learn Kanji and causes the Acela to cry itself to sleep every night. Personally, just as with the XL, I love that the nanoKEY is so divisive. Some people hate its action, which feels like the keyboard on a laptop. Some people have managed to break theirs. (Yeah, it’s time for a road-worthy little case, maybe made out of pressed bamboo, a material I’ve been exploring lately.) But there’s one thing you can’t argue with: it’s small. It’s too bad Korg doesn’t just offer these in six packs, so you can grab one whenever you need.

This one isn’t translated, but I think he’s speaking the universal language of music geeks. (If he says anything especially worth noting, to our readers in Japan, feel free to let us know.)

So, Jet loves Korg. And, quite frankly, we absolutely love you, Jet Daisuke. You’re an icon for everything we believe in. Keep the mobile music jams coming:

Jetdaisuke conducts the gadget orchestra [Boing Boing Offworld]

Jet Daisuke Wins the Internets

By the way, Korg, if you think this means we’re letting you off the hook and drawing your name in little hearts, we’d like to see more of the Good Korg out. For starters, you did notice that Jet picks up on the fact that the microKORG XL lacks a shoulder strap. Given that we’ve heard Roland’s upcoming keytar — erm, make that a “shoulder-mounted keyboard” — may be on the pricey side, maybe you could offer one strap as an accessory, huh?

Thanks to LA FORCE in comments for pointing this out to us. And you know what, man? You’re right.

  • tobamai

    I love that he posts videos with those glasses and that outfit, but he wouldn't try the vocoder at a tradeshow because it was "shameful in public" 😀

  • I've been watching this guy's vids for a month now and enjoying the hell out of them, even though I have little to no idea what he's saying. I especially enjoy the vids where he reviews food items 🙂

  • djjc

    Best review of a new piece of gear I've seen for a very long time ! Nice glasses too…

  • I love this guy. "Good work, Japanese product" lol

  • His enthusiasm is infectious

  • robin parry

    love it, so i bought the R3, with the price drop, and got full size keys and a cut down radius i can program with a better UI than the XL,

  • The XL has full-sized keys, too. But the R3 is more powerful for programming. It's just … heavier.

  • Jaime Munarriz

    The R3 has amazing strange effects!

  • All of his videos need to be subtitled. I love his enthusiasm towards everything.

  • i too am deeply deeply in love with korg
    and for good reason
    the nanokontrol/nanopad and the r3 have served me well since i bought them

  • bliss

    Been following Jet's reviews for nearly a year now.

  • velocipede

    Great videos. I love the yakitori song. The lyrics are about as silly as you might expect. "Eat yakitori, eat chicken-onion yakitori, eat…"

    The Microkorg XL keys are not full-sized, but improved. According to Korg:
    Our new Natural Touch Mini Keyboard is firm and easy to play, inspiring confidence and greatly enhanced expressivity. The proportion of the black keys to white keys has been adjusted to make chording easier, and the improved touch allows rapid-fire phrases. The “waterfall” keys project a feeling of quality, and also make it easier to play glissandos, smears and slides.

  • 🙂 you're welcome & thank you as well.

    anyways, i think we will all agree both that jet daisuke deserves the publicity (he's a great reviewer and his youtube page is filled with other equally entertaining korg and other digital product reviews) and also i think that he is doing a great service to provide early exposure to the product:

    truth be told i'm quite the newcomer to digital audio production and it was my noobness that inspired me to scour the internet for as much info on the xl as possible (only after i spent two hours at best buy last week playing with a microkorg that had newly been set up for demo).

    i've actually decided to place a pre-order for an xl myself and i think just the anticipation has me almost as excited as jet the day he received his.

    make sure to check out his vlog product review page as well:

    i really like his presenting style and i'd love to get him a larger us-based audience- so spread the links if you've got friends that would enjoy.

    as soon as i receive my xl, expect to see a review and plenty of additional media (pictures, videos, & additional online resources).

    in the mean time..

    burn enough
    So liver
    salt or sauce
    sauce or salt!

    Yakitori song!


  • "Oh! Piano!?"

    Love this guy.

  • Polite

    @Peter – the R3 isn't that heavy. I pick it up and solo on it one handed during our last song when we play live.

    … okay so i do it at home by myself too.

  • Downpressor

    I love Jet Daisuke and Korg!
    Both are refreshing rays of sunlight in otherwise dreary Japan

    (Roland too but thats another matter)

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  • velocipede

    In one of Jet's recent videos, he eats whale curry!
    Before you jump on him, though know that eating whale in Japan is generally not considered to be bad. Having been tricked into eating it, though, I can say that it is not so tasty.