Our friend Artemiy has raved at length about why he loves KORG’s hardware development platform, but he just went and did what’s probably the craziest thing yet. Everyone gets an FM engine.
About this time last year, Artemiy Pavlov told us all he thought the ability to treat your hardware like a plug-in development platform was transformative. Specifically:
But maybe nothing reveals just what that means better than Node. It takes the KORG hardware that supports ‘logue add-ons – that’s the prologue, minilogue xd, and the cute little NTS-1 keyboard – and squeezes some 24 FM algorithms into them.
Now, if it’s really hands-on FM you want, KORG’s OPSIX is your ticket. But appealing as that looks, four-operator FM works for a whole bunch of sound design options. (That was the argument Robert Henke made pretty loudly years ago when he created Operator for Ableton.) And I still love the ‘logue series for their flexibility. There are a bunch of low-cost synth options now, but the ‘logue series lets you keep adding functionality. Heck, the NTS-1 has a street of just US$99. (At that price, there’s no reason not to get onboard and stick this alongside whatever synth you’ve got!)
I am very, very overdue looking at this series but that’s my plan for December, so stay tuned. I don’t know about you, but atop everything else I feel like this year even with more time I’ve been doing things in slow motion. That seems to be the other healthy effect of the ‘logue SDK, though – Artemiy has been prolific, happy, and had time for a nice beach holiday. The (desktop) plug-in developers I know, meanwhile, are… rebuilding their plug-ins. I don’t want to read too much into the situation, but that seems a telling correlation, huh?
Anyway, check the specs. What’s Ukrainian for “Damn, son!“?*
- Genuine four-operator FM synthesis engine
- Internally runs at 96 kHz sample rate with an anti-aliasing filter, delivering superior audio quality even in the higher octave key range
- 24 total FM algorithms: 12 base configurations plus two variations each – with and without self-modulating feedback
- Individual frequency ratio selection for operators 2, 3, and 4, plus variable operator detune
- Flexible modulation generator with 24 modes: exponential envelopes, linear envelopes, multi-waveform LFO (triangle, saw, square, pulse, trapezoid, peak), sample & hold, and random triangle
- Built-in lag filters for noise-free, ultra-smooth parameter adjustment and modulation
Also, beautifully, the presets sound fantastic – with just enough shaping possibilities to be expressive. All the good DX sounds, all the useful four-operator sounds, none of the bad flashbacks – it all sounds modern. Seriously, I don’t want to undercut the OPSIX but… you can get so much out of a minilogue xd at this point, it’s ridiculous. And unlike just buying a vintage clone, you also have a versatile instrument that will last you into contemporary projects rather than make you feel stuck with sounds from the past.
But yeah, have a listen here – no need to get lost in the weeds in FM; you can clearly use these in a lot of contexts and shape as you need.
But this is just one choice among many – which is the point. You can mod your KORG into exactly what you desire, rather than either having a unitasker synth on one hand, or some monster that’s just an endless spec sheet on the other.
All that stuff:
Node is US$39 + VAT or applicable sales tax:
*Also let me point out Julia Bondar, as seen in recent days, hails from Ukraine originally. Don’t underestimate the East, y’all! It’s about time we move past just west and east coasts of the US, huh?