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  • " This is because I called Korg technical to discuss the XPanded version, and it actually has a revised memory architecture and includes an internal SD card with the additional three soundbanks already installed, so no need to constantly have a USB stick plugged in to load the sounds from."


    I would like to know if this is true. Is there a new revised model. Or is it just the same M3 and Xpanded, even if you bought separately?

    Comment


    • Well it's time for another round in what someone called "a job for life" - doing a Pro Review of as deep and sophisticated a workstation as the M3

      This time, I want to focus more on using the M3 as a VSTi. To do that, it's necessary to add the EXB-FW FireWire expansion board, which provides two FireWire ports on the rear panel.

      Updating is painless and requires only a Phillips head screwdriver. You remove a cover plate on the bottom of the M3, screw the board to two posts, then fasten the board to the front panel.

      The first image shows the board snuggled into the M3; it's the board below the ribbon cable, which provides the electrical connection between the board and the M3. The second image shows the M3's rear panel, where you can now see the two FireWire connectors.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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      • I figured while I was in an expansive mood, I'd also add in the RADIAS expansion card. This was also easy; it mounts on the underside of the cover that was removed to install the FireWire expansion. You can see the board in the attached image.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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        • Well, it took me a long time to figure out how to get everything tweaked up, but now I've installed the editor, and the M3 is working great as a VSTi. The basic problem was that despite installing it, in Sonar I couldn't get the M3 to show up in the list of plug-ins, or in stand-alone mode, transfer data between keyboard and computer.

          Now, I have a really nice PC Audio Labs computer that doesn't screw up, and I know that Korg has its act together in terms of running their instruments as VSTi devices - they've been doing this for a while.

          And then I remembered: This happened to me with the Yamaha Motif review, and to Jon Chappell with the new Korg Pandora. Yes, it was the infamous dreaded 10 port MIDI limitation in Windows bug (also known as the "Why would anyone ever need more than ten MIDI devices?" bug). So I went through the laborious process of going through the registry, weeding out duplicate MIDI port entries, and then firing up the M3...yup, that was it.

          You'd think that if you tried something that violated a Windows rule it would throw up a screen that says "You have exceeded the MIDI 10 port limit" or at least "Screw you, figure out what's wrong" but no. So, take it from me: If you're using gear from a company that knows how to do drivers and they don't drive, make sure you're not exceeding the MIDI port limit.

          BTW the editor is completely bidirectional: If you tweak a control in the editor, it gets tweaked in the M3 as well.

          Anyway, think about the implications of this mode of operation. You can boot up your DAW, load in the M3 "plug-in," and you now have access to a complete multi-timbral workstation with great sounds and a very nice control surface - the M3 itself - with virtually no CPU loading, other than the minimal amount presented by the plug-in editor. And it doesn't cause any distress because it's not really a plug-in but an editor - the M3 does all the heavy lifting.

          Guitarists who use virtual instruments and amp sims, take note: This means that if you create your instrumental backing tracks in the M3 to start off a song, you can play your guitar with very low latency - you don't need to increase the latency to accommodate running a bunch of CPU-hungry soft synths.

          The editor itself is rather plain, in both a disappointing way (no cool eye candy) but more importantly, in a very good way (highly obvious, readable, and easy to use). I'm going out of town for a few days, but will post a bunch of screen shots of the editor so you can see what I'm talking about when I get home.

          Meanwhile, the attached image will give you an idea of the editor's basic look. And the overall summary is this: Korg M3 + Included Editor Software = DAW Plug-In that Works Really Well.
          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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          • Let's dig a little deeper into using the M3 as a VSTi, because the more I use hardware synths as VSTi devices, the more I realize you need to do things right or your system will go off in a corner and pout.

            I checked over the PDF on how to use the M3 with Sonar, but that was one of the few hosts that wasn't covered (there was info on Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, and Pro Tools). So, as a public service to those who own an M3 and Sonar, as well as to illustrate how one works with hardware VST instruments in a typical host-based scenario, let's do a step-by-step description of how to get the M3 working in Sonar 8. This is all based on trial-and-error, so if I'm doing something wrong, I'm sure someone from Korg will corekt me.

            But first, the most important thing: In the Global >Audio Options screen, DO NOT select the Korg ASIO drivers! Ditto MIDI devices. The Korg FireWire driver magically takes care of all the transfers "behind the scenes." For Audio, choose your standard audio interface. Note in the first attached image how the Korg drivers are unchecked in Sonar.

            1. Make sure you have installed the most recent Korg FireWire driver and M3 Editor on your computer. If you've already installed these, go to www.korg.com and see if there's a newer version.
            2. Connect your computer FireWire's port to the M3 FireWire's port while both are turned off.
            3. Turn on the M3. Gaze in awe at the beautifully illuminated joystick while you wait for the M3 to boot up.
            4. Turn on the computer and boot Sonar. If this is the first time you've opened Sonar since installing the M3 editing software, Sonar will scan its VST plug-ins in order to recognize the M3.
            5. In Sonar, go Insert > Soft Synths > vstplugins > M3 Plug-In Editor.
            6. Specify the options you want for the M3. I'd suggest checking MIDI Source, Synth Track Folder, and Synth Property Page. If you want to use the M3's individual outputs, click on All Synth Audio Outputs Stereo. If you want to mix within the M3 and simply present a stereo output to Sonar, check First Synth Audio Output.
            7. If Sonar asks if you want to scan for the M3, go ahead. Otherwise, Sonar, will detect the M3 and synchronize the plug-in editor with the M3 itself. After scanning, the editor GUI shows up, as shown in the second attached image.
            8. Go to the Utility button and choose what you want to bring into the editor - specific combis, all combis, a particular bank, etc. I saved a Sonar template for the M3 that automatically calls up the "Songwriting Combi" I want, which is the easiest way to go. But let's pretend I didn't do that, and just want to open up a particular combi and work with that. Select it on the M3, then from the editor's Utility menu, select Receive Current Combi (third attached image). When asked if you really want to do that, click on OK.
            9. Tweak away! Note that communication is bidirectional, so if you tweak in the VST plug-in editor, the values will change on the M3 as well. Conversely, you can think of the M3 as a control surface for your VST instrument. Nice
            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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            • Craig: Great review. I have owned an M3 for a while now, and it *is* a deep instrument, which I just dont seem to be able to find the bottom of. I love mine, and its already paid for itself.

              That said, while exploring its depths, I have found one very annoying behavior. When saving a bank of sample data (either has 'save all' or 'save all sampling data') the system absolutely will NOT overwrite files that already exist. All the other types(PCG, SEQ, etc.) it prompts me if it wants to overwrite - but NOT the sampling data. If I have a bank loaded, make changes to it, and want to resave the data over the old, I need to first go in and manually delete the directory containing all the sample data and THEN save all.

              I cant find an option, and I remember my Korg Triton did this as well - so this must be designed this way on purpose? Perhaps the 'Korg Guy' can shed some light on this, but for me it is terribly inconvenient. In such an otherwise perfect instrument, its really a confusing issue. The process should be as it is with every other type of data - Select save, if it exists, prompt to overwrite - if I say 'yes' then its my own fault if I overwrite something I shouldnt have.

              Thanks again.

              Comment


              • Tony,
                I think that this is something done on purpose, as I heard that there have been complaints with other systems that files were being overwritten way too easily, and that this was put in as an extra safeguard. It's a small price to pay for an incredible system!
                Gregg
                www.justmusicamps.com The leader in Musical Instrument Amplifiers on the internet.

                Comment


                • Tony,
                  I think that this is something done on purpose, as I heard that there have been complaints with other systems that files were being overwritten way too easily, and that this was put in as an extra safeguard. It's a small price to pay for an incredible system!
                  Gregg


                  I can understand not overwriting files without prompting the user. I cannot understand not allowing the user to overwrite them under any circumstance. Its counter to every other system I have ever used (and I have used just about all of them).

                  It would be nice if there was at least an option that could be switched, but I guess Ill just continue living with this.

                  Comment


                  • Craig,

                    Thank you again for your Pro review. I look forward to the next installment(s). Your information about setting up the Korg M3 VSTi under Sonar was extremely timely since that's exactly what I'm doing right now.

                    I had difficulty running the Korg USB MIDI device driver on my Dell Windows XP laptop computer. I wanted to have both my Pa2x and my M3 accessible via USB MIDI. The problem I faced was that neither the M3 Editor nor Cakewalk would recognise the Korg USB Midi device driver as an input/output option.

                    The problem was not caused by hitting the "10 MIDI device driver" limit that you mentioned. In fact the latest Korg USB MIDI Installer utility has an "uninstall" option which is very good at sorting any problems with duplicate or unwanted MIDI device drivers - it recognises all MIDI devices in the registry (including non-Korg ones) and it allows you to uninstall any duplicates or unwanted MIDI devices without having to hack the registry. However if you uninstall the M3 Firewire MIDI driver, the M3 Firewire audio driver is also removed.

                    Instead, the problems on my PC were caused by a USB Web camera device driver, which I uninstalled and then all the problems with MIDI over USB went away. Everything is working like it should!!!

                    PS This thread gave me the hint about a USB Web camera driver interfering with USB MIDI. However if anyone is having similar problems, then I recommend uninstalling any USB web camera driver using the "Control Panel -> Add/remove programs" rather than trying to patch the registry.

                    http://forums.techarena.in/windows-xp-music/559307.htm#post3948208

                    Best regards,
                    Rob Sherratt

                    Comment


                    • Really nice review thank you.

                      Comment


                      • That is an impressive piece of equipment. I've reviewed similar components and are critical of its functions.
                        Paul @ WorkingDJ a place for DJs.

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                        • Hi,

                          I think this gonna be my new home.

                          I bought 'Korg M3 xpanded 61 keys' few weeks ago from Korg agent in China and surprisingly i can do everything except the display is not lit unless i use a torch. There's a contrast knob which also seems to work although it doesn't make the display visible, it changes display intensity slightly and you can only notice this when you turn on the torch.

                          anyone with this experience or advice, i cant return it back as i'm on another continent, billion of miles away from the dealer!

                          Note: the touch screen is working when i use it with a torch

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