The Microkorg XL series: Micro synths featuring the Korg MMT engine (Radias, R3)
After receiving a lot of questions about the differences between the original Microkorg and the Microkorg XL/XL+ synthesizers I thought I’d put up a blog post about it. First off it’s best to think of the XL series as a variant of the MMT synth engine that is found in the Radias and R3 and to think of the original Microkorg as a repackaging of the MS2000. The XL series has 8 voice polyphony which gives it an edge in creating strings and long sustain pads over the original Microkorg. The XL series also boasts two multimode filters that can be run parallel, serial, or single. Both the XL series and the original Microkorg have a set of the DWGS waveforms that first showed up in the hybrid DW-6000/8000 series. The XL+ has a slightly different set than the XL including valuable mellotron type PCM. One feature that gives extra oomph to the sound generation is the “waveshape” parameter which features (Drive, Decimator, HardClip, OctSaw, MultiTri, MultiSin, SubOSCSaw, SubOSCSqu, SubOSCTri, SubOSCSin, and LevelBoost). This parameter can be though of like a sub oscillator with many variations or an effect if you need Drive or LevelBoost. It has a 16 channel vocoder, 2 band EQ per timbre (it’s a 2 timbre synth just like the original Microkorg), and 2 master effects. The XL series has 2 LFOs and 3 ENVs as well as 6 virtual patch slots. I should mention here that if you like the XL series but want full size keys you should pick up an R3. They share the same synth engine with the following differences: the set of DWGS waveforms is slightly varied, the filter options (R3 has a comb filter) , there are 2 insert effects PER TIMBRE as well as a master effect and the R3 has a valuable MOD sequencer.
“Original or XL?” is the common question I get at my youtube channel. Most of the time it boils down to your own personal taste but if I had all of them in front of me while working on a track I would reach for the XL for strings and long pads , the original Microkorg would be used for basses and bells and synthwave. Both synths , and all VA synths for that matter, can do brass sounds well. For metallic klang type sounds I’d go with the XL series. Another question that comes up is, “are they different enough to own both?” , my answer to that would be no. There is a lot of overlap between the two. For those who like to program you’ll probably squeeze more out of the XL series but it might take a little longer to get it to where you like it. The original Microkorg has more limitations but you can achieve a pleasing sound with less effort. The XL/XL+ editors make sculpting sounds straightforward. The video demo above was created with a set of custom sounds that can be found here:
Microkorg XL custom sound set https://sellfy.com/p/FpCo
MIcrokorg XL+ custom sound set https://sellfy.com/p/6tW8
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