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  • #61
    Hi Anderton

    thank you for this wonderful review so far. I own an M3 myself. Its the 88 key version with EXB-Radias. I really like this instrument very much and it sounds great. A great replacement for my good old Trinity with Prophecy board (though I never sell the beauty).

    About using the M3 as guitar rig:
    Your topics about the m3 as a guitar rig processor is quite informative. Yesterday I connected my Ibanez to the M3, set the effect routing to IFX1, dont forget to set the switch to LINE (NOT Mic!), and just scroll through the preset sounds. you will hear some pretty cool effects in combination with the guitar and they do sound really really good. It is good fun to just get an impression on what the M3 is capable of as a 'guitar rig'.

    I will try to give some examples of combinations/programs that do sound great for guitar.

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    • #62
      I will try to give some examples of combinations/programs that do sound great for guitar.


      That would be very cool, thanks. I was fooling around with the M3 earlier and also found that it does some very cool effects with vocals, too.

      It's a pretty multi-purpose device...

      BTW how do you like the keyboard feel on the 88-note model?
      _____________________________________________
      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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      • #63
        Well, I play 88 keys for lots of years right now, so I pretty much prefer a fully weighted action over a semi-weighted any day. I play both classical and progrock. For that purpose I find the RH-3 keybed wonderful. Really, its not too stiff and very dynamic for playing piano. With velocity setting 9 the piano really comes to life. Furthermore I find it also very comfortable for any other keyboardwork like for example synth lead sections.
        So yes,

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        • #64
          The M1 was the keyboard that pretty much popularized the concept of putting a sequencer inside a "workstation," and here we have the M3 with - of course - an internal sequencer. It's 16-track (along with a master track for tempo/time signature), and holds up to 210,000 MIDI events.

          So is it MIDI-only? Not quite. If you record digital audio, the M3 does what's called "in-track" sampling where it will create a trigger for the recorded sample if you record it while the song is playing. How this differs from straight-ahead hard disk recording eludes me, but hey, Korg wants to call the process in-track sampling and so it shall be. Furthermore, you can re-sample as well as sample when in Sequencer mode. Of course, you can also use the sequencer to drive external MIDI gear.

          All of this happens in RAM, so everything's basically lost when you power-off unless you save to a USB memory stick or CD (not included; you need to use an external USB drive). However, you can save a template file with track parameters as a place to get started.

          Like most sequencers, the M3 works on a Pattern/Song basis, where patterns (user patterns or factory patterns, i.e., drum patterns) get strung together into songs. But of course, it can also do linear MIDI recording and step-time recording. In addition to recording all the usual messages (notes, controllers, etc.), it can also record and play back system exclusive messages.

          The M3 holds up to 128 songs, but then you're looking at under 2,000 events per song. If you're just doing notes you probably won't hit that, but if you're doing lots of tracks with lots of controller data, don't expect to hit the limit. As to the songs you have stored in memory, the M3 has a playlist function (they call it "cue list") where you can string together songs.

          These are just the basics, but I wanted to give a sort of "frame of reference." Although on paper the M3 sequencer doesn't look that different compared to what's come before, in practice the "feel" is more like a hard disk recorder than an old-school MIDI sequencer, and there are a lot of editing options to keep you busy. Let's check out some of the functions.
          _____________________________________________
          There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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          • #65
            The M3 includes 12 demo sequences, so you have something you can play with immediately to check out the various functions (except for RPPR, which we'll get into later) and get a feel for how they work. So, that's what I did.

            But first, I should point out that to make this happen, I actually had to look at the manual. But I have a good excuse: The demo material has to be loaded separately, using the Global function. One that was in memory, it was back to using the touch screen and page select/number buttons to fumble my way around.

            (At this point, I can imagine people from Korg getting seriously weirded out: When is he going to start reading the manual? He's missing this feature, and this feature, and this feature... Well, I will get to the back corners of the M3. But this is a review, and one of the aspects that's of paramount importance to me is how easy it is to get the basics down on a piece of gear. Honestly, if I can record, play back, mix, process, and edit, I'm not so concerned if I'm missing out on some function that allows batch processing all controller 4 data and transferring it to another sequence. I will try to pick up the loose ends at some point - bearing in mind that to cover everything the M3 would take months, if not years - but I think it's crucial to see if a sophisticated piece of gear fights you or hugs you. So far I've been getting hugs.)

            The centerpiece of the sequencer consists of the two sets of Program and Mixer screens. Each one of these covers eight tracks (1-8, 9-16). The attached image shows the program page for tracks 1-8. At the top, you can see where you do the "housekeeping" - call up the sequence, check out tracks, set track resolution, tempo, time signature, etc. This remains the same for both program pages.

            Below that is the area when you select programs. There are separate options to select Category and Program, which is convenient when you're rummaging around trying to find the right sound. Below the program selection area are Play/Mute and Solo buttons (note that the first two tracks are muted). The Solo buttons default to being additive, e.g., you can hit Solo for Track 1 to hear it, then hit another Solo button for Track 4, and now you'll hear both Tracks 1 and 4. But if you go into the infamous Menu touch button in the upper right, you can choose an "Exclusive" (i.e., "radio-button") Solo mode, where hitting one turns off any current Solo buttons. This is also where you can decide whether you want the front panel controller buttons to control Solo. Otherwise, they control Mute/Play.

            When in non-exclusive Solo mode, I looked for a way to turn off all Solos that are on at once, perhaps by double-clicking on an already "on" Solo button...but to no avail. Maybe that's one of the hidden functions where I need to read the manual .
            _____________________________________________
            There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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            • #66
              The sequencer’s mixer, shown for tracks 1-8 in the attached image, has a pretty basic interface: Pan and Volume. There’s no way to adjust pan using the touch screen; you need to touch a Pan control and use the Value slider or Data Wheel. The Volume sliders, as I’m sure you anticipated, tie in with the physical sliders on the control surface (they also can’t be adjusted directly from the touch screen). However, if you want really fine control over volume, you can do so with the data wheel – change one value at a time if you want.

              My take is that the mixer is happiest when used for a set-and-forget type of compositional situation (you can automate track parameters if you want it to remember changes) as opposed to live performance-based remixing. Still, if you put your “most need to tweak” channels in either the 1-8 or 9-16 layer, you can use the sliders to do some serious remixing as long as you need to do that only with eight tracks. Of course, you can also switch over to the other “bank,” but that’s not the same thing as having instant access to 16 channels at once, which at least for me, is pretty much a requirement for live remixing. (That’s a limitation that I also find in most control surfaces, and a big reason why I still use Peavey’s PC-1600 for my live remix act.)
              _____________________________________________
              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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              • #67
                There’s no way to adjust pan using the touch screen; you need to touch a Pan control and use the Value slider or Data Wheel.


                interesting point! The Trinity featured the option to adjust the Pan settings on-screen. By holding-on a slider the forementioned slider would popup in a large scale onscreen, allowing you to adjust the slider my moving the finger. Since the Trinity was somewhat slow in response, this was not an easy to use option back then. But the initial idea to control everything onscreen is very cool and with a reponsive screen like on the M3 this function could be worthy.

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                • #68
                  A little sidestep to previous discussed Guitarrig possibilities. As promised some example of the M3 being a Guitar rig.The following examples show what the insert effects are capable of. just connect a guitar to the input, set to IFX1 and scroll through the programs.

                  I-A005 Attacking synth: flanger with limiter
                  I-A011 r&b planet: compressor/flanger/ wahwah
                  I-A018 dirty guitar + ac30: set gain to 100 for even more heavyness
                  I-A076 Paddylicious: dreamy guitar!
                  I-A066 Xfade guitar: flanger, biphase mod, gain
                  U-C048: Blues tweed
                  U-C060: New fuzz guitar: guitar in talkbox. Very good sounding.

                  Ok, now back to sequencing business

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    As promised some example of the M3 being a Guitar rig.The following examples show what the insert effects are capable of.


                    Great choices, thanks. I recommend that any M3 owners who play guitar check these out as well
                    _____________________________________________
                    There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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                    • #70
                      Craig:

                      Thank you for doing this review. I am currently in the market for a workstation for stage use, and the M3 (along with the Motif XS and Roland G6) are the three I am considering (what else is there??). I am finding your review most helpful.

                      Initially, I had written off the M3m because it has significantly less sample RAM than either the Motif or the G6, particularly when you consider it ONLY samples at 48khz. However, if I am reading your review correctly, your saying that you can sample directly to a USB stick and treat it like essentially more RAM. Is that a correct interpretation? 30 minuts of sampling time would not be enough for me, however 80 minuts would be more than enough It would also make the in-track sampling more of a real feature for me. Perhaps you or 'the korg guy' could clarify this?

                      Thank you for this review.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        First off, you're very welcome! It's been kind of a tough review to do because for some reason, I've had an insane travel schedule this summer...normally things slow down, but I guess not this year. Anyway...

                        Actually, the sampling is a bit more flexible than you might think. As you probably know it has 64MB of RAM built in, and you can get the EXB-M256 expansion board for another 256MB. So with the expansion board in place, you have about 23 minutes of stereo sampling time. Also note that you can load WAV, AIF, Akai S1000/3000, and SoundFont2 files into the expansion board.

                        However, not only can you sample directly to a USB memory stick, you can sample directly to a USB hard drive. This gets stored as a standard WAV file, so you can plug your USB peripheral into a computer if you want to do sophisticated editing, apply noise reduction, etc. However, there are two limitations:

                        * The largest size of a sample file (mono or stereo) is 80 minutes. If you're sampling in stereo, that's 880MB.
                        * If you want to use the sample as a sound generator waveform, it needs to go into the M3's RAM, so you have that 320MB maximum RAM limit. In other words, you can't load samples from the hard drive/stick that are longer than 23 minutes into the M3 itself. From what I understand (Korg Guy, correct me if I'm wrong!!) the USB hard drive is not like a "swap file" where if the M3 runs out of RAM, it pulls data from the drive. Instead, it's a way to store samples (and do resampling) that would otherwise not fit in the M3's internal memory.

                        You'll find having a USB memory device is very important, because whatever you store in the M3's RAM is lost on power-off (it's not flash memory, just regular RAM). If you have a USB hard drive, you can save all your samples/files using those samples, as well as sample to it.

                        Hope this helps! By the way, I think there's a general consensus that while the sound sets for the M3 and XS are both strong, the M3 has the edge for electronic/synthetic sounds, while the Motif XS has the edge for acoustic sounds. But not everyone agrees, so you'll need to check them out side by side to decide for yourself.

                        Having worked with both machines, I'd say I generally agree, although there are many other differences that may mean much more to you than any perceived sonic differences - for example, only Korg has KARMA, and only Yamaha has the tight integration with Cubase SX.
                        _____________________________________________
                        There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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                        • #72
                          Great review ,

                          My first question is about the amount of storage for samples. Let me first explain that I have learned all about synths starting from software and am now getting into the hardware side of things , so , I might be coming from a "software-centric" paradigm here!.
                          Is the need for all those minutes of sampling time related to ambient , evolving pad type of stuff ? I mean most of the old romplers could make a hell of a lot of sound from 32mb of waves, right ? When you say up to 80 minutes of time , it makes me think someone needs a recording deck , not a workstation!


                          That said , it seems to me that the Motif XS , having 8 "elements " ( is that like rapture x 2 ? ) all with different ways to trigger them ( so you can vary the samples into articulation groups ) makes me think of soft samplers like Kontak with scarbee Black bass and key switching . But that is an instrument that streams from disk and takes up 1.5 gig !! Still the motif is very sample (rompler) centric with it's big ass Rom ( lots of waves there) and has a beefed up DSP ability , so it sounds great !! There a some keys that act like the "key switchihg" in those soft samplers and allow you to switch between say a heavy plucked sound or a harmonic or a slapped sample , so I think for doing natural instruments , thats quite a set up !!

                          I like that the M3 has the RADIUS option ( can be had for the time it takes to fill out a form and send the PDF now!!) so you have an VA option, But I am a little bummed that neither is offering FM methods at all ( FM is quite popular in soft synths now )

                          I myself really dig the new style to ( Being called the I-KORG !!) And Think the touch pad LCD is quite an advantage !!
                          First kill the goose by refusing to feed it , then blame it for dying and not giving anymore gold eggs


                          Professionalism is an attitude and , not a possesion that you own forever once you have acheived something.



                          "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                          Albert Einstein


                          .

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                          • #73
                            and only Yamaha has the tight integration with Cubase SX.


                            Which makes a Sonar user like me wonder how well they play together !!!
                            Since Roland is now in with sonar , they better catch up soon!!!!!



                            Which reminds me Craig , You Still need to get into the optional FW card and the KORG implementation of " studio connectivity. I went by the forum and there are some doubts about how that facet of the M3 is going !!! also the synth editor for PC needs a look (Crackes the Whip whilst laughing manically !!!)


                            Cheers
                            First kill the goose by refusing to feed it , then blame it for dying and not giving anymore gold eggs


                            Professionalism is an attitude and , not a possesion that you own forever once you have acheived something.



                            "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                            Albert Einstein


                            .

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Craig:

                              Thank you for clearing that up. I think I get it now.

                              I have demo'd both the M3 and Yamaha Motif, and I concur with what other shave said: the Motif has better accoustic sounds and the Korg has more 'synthy' sounds...and thats exactly what I am after.

                              I am also looking forward to hearing more about the FW card, if you have that to review. I am curious what it gives you that the standard USB connection doesnt.

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                              • #75
                                Craig:

                                Thank you for clearing that up. I think I get it now.

                                I have demo'd both the M3 and Yamaha Motif, and I concur with what other shave said: the Motif has better accoustic sounds and the Korg has more 'synthy' sounds...and thats exactly what I am after.

                                I am also looking forward to hearing more about the FW card, if you have that to review. I am curious what it gives you that the standard USB connection doesnt.


                                That will be covered too. I had a choice with this Pro Review: I could whip through it fast and trade off detail for speed, or I could take a long time and get into a lot of the features in serious details. I chose the latter because I believe (and this is true of the XS as well) that this is a keyboard with "legs." Whether Korg will keep manufacturing it or not I have no way of knowing, but I just don't see this being replaced in the next six months - it's a deep, well-thought-out instrument that I think would keep users occupied for quite a while.
                                _____________________________________________
                                There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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