Korg X3

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The nineties update to the legendary M1. Launched in 1993, it expanded on what made the M1 such a great machine and featured a range of solid, entirely usable sounds. The Strings and Basses are exceptionally good, although truly analog sounding sweeps and pads are not what this machine was about. The X3 (and subsequent X-series models that came after it) was designed as a middle-weight workstation, with the warmer and more powerful 01/W series taking the reins as Korg's premiere ROMpler workstation of the early nineties.

The X3 is based around 6 MB of 16-bit multi-samples, with basses, guitars, strings, drums, pads and much more. You can even add more PCM sounds to the synth, but additional PCM cards are expensive and/or hard to find.

Korg X3R

Detailed editing and a flexible sequencer make this machine more than capable of running a MIDI rig if you are averse to PC based sequencing. If you can live without large touch sensitive screens or resonant filters, then you will find the X3 packs more punch than you may imagine. A rewarding synth to own, even 10 years down the line. What it lacks in instant hands-on tweak-ability and cutting edge sounds, it makes up for in the ultimately usable range of sounds. It has been used by Vangelis.

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Demos & Media

KORG X3 WorkStation Synth Audio Demostration By S4K
ManualDownload the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.


Polyphony - 32 voices (16-part multitimbral)
Oscillators - 32 Osc: 6MB PCM waveforms
Effects - 47 Digital multi-effects: reverb, delay, overdrive, EQ, chorus, rotary speaker, and more.
LFO - None
Filter - Digital Lowpass Filter, velocity sensitive (non-resonant)
VCA - Digital Amplifier with 4-stage ADSR envelope generators
Keyboard - 61 keys with Velocity, Aftertouch, Multi, Layer, Split modes
Sequencer - 16-Track, 10,000 Notes, 9 Songs.
Memory - 200 user programs, 200 user combis
Control - MIDI In / Out / Through (16-parts)
Date Produced - 1993


Images from Thomas Kolb and Perfect Circuit Audio.

Thanks to Phil Young for providing info.

Reviewed December 2007.