Korg M1 By Korg
The Korg M1 Software Synthesizer is a 16-voice, 8-part multitimbral sample-based synthesizer. It’s the software version of the legendary keyboard music workstation manufactured by Korg from 1988 to 1995.
Korg M1 Review
The original hardware keyboard version of the Korg M1 is officially labeled “the all-time best selling synthesizer” by SoundOnSound.
And for good reason. The soundscapes and tones of the Korg M1 keyboard not only revolutionized the synth-making industry after its 1988 release but continue to be used to this day!
The keyboard revolutionized the industry through presets like 01 Piano16’, which became the house-style piano sound of the 90’s era, and was featured on many top 90’s house hits. This is only one of the massively popular presets from the original M1 that found its way into a wealth of top radio tracks.
But since the hardware version was discontinued in 1995, a digital version was made due to popular demand. This digital version quickly became widely used throughout the industry, since it was much more accessible.
Like the hardware version, the VST achieves organic realism and high-quality sounds by doing away with typical analog subtractive synthesis, in which only simple waveforms are used.
Instead, it uses complex digital samples of real-world instruments and sounds as the base.
This technique creates rich, colorful, beautiful, and full tones that are hard to replicate!
Due to this massive popularity of the original Korg M1’s presets, many industry legends still love to use the digital emulation, which vastly expands beyond the previous boundaries of the original!
Transcendent artists like Laidback Luke, Nicky Romero, Eric Prydz, and many more are known to have used the software version of the Korg M1.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into why the Korg M1 Software Synthesizer is so popular!
We’ll be going over:
- Pros and cons
- Key features
- Other functions
- Advantages to the VST version
- Skill level
- Final thoughts
First, let’s check out the pros and cons of the VST.
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- 2,700 premade factory presets
- Thousands of complex and malleable waveforms
- Emulates legendary sounds that defined entire eras of music
- Sophisticated 8-track sequencer
- Individual and global effects racks
- Some presets sound overused and outdated
- Must be purchased along with the Korg M1 Legacy Collection
There aren’t many cons to the M1 VST besides how some of the original presets, naturally, will sound overused and outdated, and that the only way to get it is to purchase the entire Korg M1 Legacy Collection.
The Legacy Collection costs $199, and along with the M1, you get other old hardware keyboard emulations such as the MS-20, Polysix, Mono/Poly, WAVESTATION, and MDE-X.
Despite these cons, the M1 synth plugin is phenomenal due to its wealth of incredible stock sounds beyond the original 100, the wide array of adjustable waveforms, and full customizability in sound design.
Next, we’ll look at some of the main features of the Korg M1 VST.
The 100 original hardware factory sounds, which the VST does a fantastic job of emulating, are what defined the M1’s legacy.
Mostly used for pianos and pad sounds, many of the available presets became staples of electronic radio hits in the 1990’s and beyond.
The opening preset on the VST, 00 Universe, known as one of the most famous presets of all time, is a lush choir sample with a cascading percussion line in the background. It’s generously washed in reverb and delay and has been used extensively in electronic genres.
The next preset, the 01 Piano 16’, contains the typical fullness and richness of the M1 sound and became one on the defining pianos of the 90’s house era!
Perhaps even more recognizable is the 17 Organ 2 preset. It works well in the deep tonal area, as well as its original purpose as a jazz organ.
Because of these famous stock sounds and many more, it becomes easy to understand why the software version of the now-discontinued Korg M1 keyboard is so popular!
Although the hardware synthesizer came with only 100 premade tones, the VST version comes with a wealth of extra sound banks that were released later by Korg, totaling over 2700 new noises to play with.
For a full list of the original 100 presets and short examples of each one, click here.
Built into the M1 synth plugin is a wide-ranging effect unit. Effects built into the unit are as follows:
- Phase shifter
- Rotary speaker
There is a wealth of different preset types for each effect! You can also intricately adjust every effect’s individual parameters.
Each effect can be assigned separately to every available program, combination, and song track. You have the option of using multiple effects in either a serial or parallel manner.
Advantages To The VST Version
As technology in general has advanced since the original M1’s release in 1988, there are a myriad of features to the M1 VST that you’ll be able to take advantage of!
First, the sound quality. Not only will you get a cleaner, high-fidelity digital sound, but you’ll hear some subtle differences such as a more pronounced reverb and a wider stereo image.
As always, these more pronounced effects are fully adjustable on the VST to suit your tastes.
Second, you also get a nice preset browser where you can search based on instrument type and tonal character, making it easy to search through the wealth of sounds!
Next, you get a completely redesigned user interface that emphasizes ease of operation. Many parameters can be seen at once, unlike the original keyboard.
Once you select a sound, you can easily navigate to the “Easy Edit” or “Performance” page for fast tweaking of the preset.
Along with all of this, a couple of completely new features were created for the M1 VST that were commonly requested for the original M1. Korg first added an adjustable resonance to their filters, which opens up endless filter possibilities for deeper sound shaping.
For further sound customizability, two individual effects processors were added to each of the eight multi-timbral parts, as well as two possible master effects! On the original, only two effects at a time were possible.
Because of the exponential advancement of technology over 20 years, massive improvements and many new features are available on the M1 VST!
What’s wonderful about the M1 synth plugin is that anyone, of any skill level, can find incredible value from it!
For beginner producers, 2700 presets are available that are playable straight out of the gate, including the legendary 100 that made the hardware M1 so famous.
Tweaking is not necessarily required as the quality of the presets is so high, and they can be placed into most tracks for immediate use.
After using presets for some time, an easy sequencer interface enables beginners to start digging under the hood and adjusting the knobs to design sounds to their exact liking!
For experts, the tweaking options are nearly endless! The customization of the waveforms, oscillators, effects, and effect types allow you to create a wide array of sounds and timbres.
Download thousands of free synth presets, samples, and more – Click Here
What’s not to love about the Korg M1 VST?
Many legendary presets that defined entire eras of music are emulated within.
It has a cross digital and organic sound that is incredibly tough to emulate.
After decades of being available to the public, it’s still used by many industry legends and expert music producers in software form due to its endless customization options and unique sounds.
The only downside to the M1 is its price of $199 and the bundle you have to purchase it with. But, as the M1 VST perfectly imitates some of the most legendary electronic sounds of all time, we believe this is a price worth paying.
Not to mention that the hardware keyboard was one of the best selling synthesizers of all time!
We think it’s a fantastic plugin that will add something special to your tracks though it’s tough-to-emulate sound and both the original and brand new stock sounds.
To hear some of the M1 VST’s sounds in action, check out this video.