Jun 9 2013
For over 50 years, KORG has been a formidable manufacturer of electronic musical instruments and components. Since 1962, the Japanese manufacturer has been producing various devices which are used extensively by musicians across the world internationally. Known more widely under the Vox brand name these days, they have a reputation for creating some of the very best audio equipment available. KORG was the brainchild of Tsutomo Kato and Tadashi Onsanai and after they were approached by engineer Fumio Meidia, a path was set to design and manufacture keyboards. At the request of Kato, Meida built a prototype programmable keyboard which paved the way for a range of highly sophisticated musical devices for the fledging synthesizer market in 1973.
It’s all about the Korg?
The KORG name is a made up of the surnames of the two pioneers and the ‘OR’ from the word organ.
In 1987, the Yamaha Corporation gained a controlling interest in KORG which was shortly followed by the release of the M1 Workstation. This was an amicable take over since Yamaha had always had involvement with KORG from the start by supplying them with electrical circuitry and various other parts. The M1 Workstation went on to sell very well indeed breaking the 250,000 barrier by 1988. It became the best selling synthesizer ever at that time. After just 5 years of Yamaha control, most of the KORG share capital was reacquired by Kato and in 1993, KORG acquired Vox which was a guitar amplifier manufacturer.
Over the years, KORG has grown from strength to strength, diversifying in a plethora of musical products such as tuners, digital effects and software instruments. All of these have proved tremendously successful.
Despite all of this continued success, the company has not rested on its laurels and has sought to grasp opportunities where possible. The Smartphone phenomenon has created one such opportunity.
Korg App Central?
Apps have been created by KORG which allows professionals as well as amateur musicians and producers on a budget to gain access to the technology which is normally only possible with the notoriously expensive synthesizers. A KORG Polysix from 1981 will usually command a sale price of over $1000 but for just under $15 you can be the proud owner of this remarkable Japanese musical innovation as long as you own an iPad. The Polysix has all the features of the original with some additional ones such as ‘choral support’, ‘dual Kaoss Pads’, a ‘drum machine with a mixer’ and the brilliant Polyseq Step Sequencer. The ‘Sound Cloud’ feature enables the user to create samples, publish them and share with other iPad users.
The Polysix is very user friendly and includes some unique features such as an additional key which displays an overlay and allows the user to adjust values down to two decimal places which makes for brilliant accuracy. You can tap the screen to reveal larger keyboards for adjusting octaves as well as the Kaoss option which displays X-Y track pads.
The sound created by the KORG app is very impressive indeed. Some have said it is superior to the original device since this app has 28 internal effects as well as 35 various scales and modes.
KORG has completely embraced the App market and many of their best selling physical synthesizers have been developed for tablet devices in addition to the Polysix such as the best selling M1 Workstation, the MS-20 and the Wavestation.
It should be noted that these types of virtual synthesizers are more suited to electronic styles of music as opposed to classical or jazz genres for example. Therefore this aspect should be taken into consideration before you download the app.
The future for apps like KORG looks good. One thing’s for sure is that they have certainly proved their coolness over the years. New and improved techniques are constantly being developed by the company with the iPad user firmly in mind.