A (Re)Introduction to KingKorg

A fresh look at Korg's royally versatile analog modeling synth

Published April 16, 2020 by John G.

Originally announced way back at NAMM 2013, where it was understandably overshadowed by the show-stealing MS-20 Mini, KingKorg is a 61-key analog modeling synth focused on live performance. Initially available in a champagne gold finish along with a black version introduced later, Kraft Music is once again stocking (and bundling!) the black model (which is the only colorway still manufactured, the market presumably having voted with its wallets against champagne gold).

Korg made a conscious decision in designing KingKorg to eschew the kind of analog fetishism evident in the designs of other virtual analog synths like Roland GAIA SH-01 in favor of a wider sound palette and a streamlined interface. Unlike GAIA this probably isn't the VA for someone who wants to 'learn synthesis,' for better or worse; it's more for a gigging musician or a down-to-business producer who already has a good understanding of synth basics like oscillators and waveforms and even the appeal of different types of filters, since KingKorg has an impressive array of modeled filters on board.

In addition to its wide variety of oscillator and filter configurations, KingKorg dedicates a good chunk of processing power and panel real estate to three master effects sections, with dedicated controls for PRE FX (distortions, ring mod, amp models), MOD FX (chorus/flanger, phaser, tremolo, rotary) and REV/DELAY (self-explanatory). There's even an honest-to-goodness vacuum tube drive circuit separate from the three digital effects, and in case you have any concerns about the tube's reliability/repairability, this the same commonly available 12AX7 tube that's proven itself over time in Korg SV-1, the second-generation Electribes and good old Triton Extreme.

Rounding out the spec sheet are a built-in vocoder with a dedicated XLR mic input, a CV/gate output with an included breakout cable and what Korg calls the 'step arpeggiator,' sitting somewhere between a regular arpeggiator and a full sequencer in that it lets you edit the individual steps of an arpeggio pattern. There's a pitch/modulation joystick with four assignable axes and similarly assignable footswitch and expression pedal inputs, all configured via a deep 'virtual patch' signal routing subsystem.

For preset management there's a favorites function to create quickly-recallable 'set lists' of patches and a companion preset librarian desktop app. In our listings we highlight a couple of free preset expansions Korg offers for download at their site that are focused on emulating popular synths and synth sounds from popular songs.

Accompanying its return to the Kraft Music catalog, we have freshly-designed bundles for KingKorg, including an at-MAP CABLE KIT, a CARRY BAG KIT with Korg's branded bag and a STAGE RIG with carry bag, cables and a Furman power strip. As always, please feel free to contact a Kraft Music Sales Advisor if you have any questions about KingKorg, customizing one of our existing bundles or putting together your own custom package.

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