It's pretty weird of Korg to create such a device in these times when everything is done with a computer. In the end, this is what anyone may be wondering with this Microsampler ─ the umpteenth version of the very lucrative Micro series of the Japanese brand.
Regarding the features:
37 velocity sensitive minikeys.
Sampling frequencies: 48kHz, 24kHz, 12kHz, and 6kHz.
160 seconds of sampling at 48kHz.
5 sampling modes (ONE SHOT, GATE, LOOP, KEY GATE, and AUTO NEXT).
Sampling sources: Audio IN (Mic or Line) and Resampling.
128 motifs (patterns), configured in 8 banks of 16 patterns.
Number of bars per pattern: From 1 to 99.
21 types of effects, including the effects of the Kaoss Pad: General effect and insert effect.
Built-in mic for fast sampling.
Loop recording in real time.
Sample editing tools.
Import/export of WAV/AIF files via the USB interface.
It can be mains or battery-powered.
It was conceived as a portable and mobile tool. It's not complicated, but the manual is indispensable to find your way. In this regard, the manual is fairly well-done and instructive.
For editing, everything goes swiftly with the "write" button.
The sounds included in the banks of the MS aren't very interesting, except for one or two maybe. So you'll have to import everything you have in your head and play it quickly.
Good sample reproduction at 48kHz, it's pretty smooth and the sound is clean, which is much more important.
Effects are all right but a bit disappointing, in the sense that you can only choose one at a time.
Other than that, it has good dynamics and the sampling system is all right, without being an experimenting nor synthesis beast. Because there's not much to do at this level here, no filters, no specific parameters, no complex editing. Sound goes out as it comes in, with the bare minimum in terms of editing.
The small sequencer is a very good idea, it's the kind of stuff that allows you to quickly build an idea or that can come in handy in case of emergency onstage.
The effects aren't bad, but it's impossible to choose one per sound, you have to do it at the bank level and then you determine the dry for each pattern. It's not great, but it spares you from having to carry an effects rack around, so it's interesting anyway.
You have to take the Microsampler for what it is, a portable sampler to take your sounds anywhere.
It has nothing to do with an Ensoniq ASR10, an EMU 3, an Akai S3000 or the more recent Octatrack. It's not a experimental tool transcending the imported sounds, but rather a sample player with keyboard. People who buy it with the intention to revolutionize their set with the "sampling" legend will be disillusioned very fast.
It's ideal live, for mobile musicians and also for people who don't have the means to buy all sorts of instruments, but who want to get out of their PC/Mac. The Microsampler is, in my opinion, a very interesting unit. But you shouldn't expect from it something it can't do.
Its "plastic toy" aspect doesn't annoy me, because its lightness and the services it provides are more worth than its looks to me.
At the price you can get it secondhand today (it's a bit expensive new), it's a trustworthy companion given its simple but solid features.
This is a piece of hardware i am glad to add to my studio setup. There are many reviews out there that don't explain this instrument with much detail or knowledge, i was scared to purchase this. After i did purchase it and played around with it i will never regret getting this. To me it feels like a instrument that will be a legendary one. The reason i think this is so great is it really is like a swiss army knife of samplers. starting off the knobs are actually really great and smooth they don't feel cheap like reviews say! you can load samples into this from your computer and save them on there for portable use. each sample can be edited from pitch balance volume level start time end time. then effects can be added using to which sample u would like them to be. then you can sequence these all into different length patterns. you can adjust the track bpm easily and everything is smooth if you read the manual and figure it out. my last and final thought is i really like how its battery powered so you can bring it outside the studio to work on tracks anywhere.
Very easy to understand.
It fits my electro/hip hop style of music perfectly.
Overall, I've had the MicroSampler for about 3 months. It's pretty interesting, but I'm still trying to figure out if its the best way to sequence beats. The clock seems to drift a bit after running a pattern for extended amount of time. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. It takes a while to figure this thing out. But now that im getting the hang of it I highly recommend it, I admit I was skeptical on purchasing this at first because there are a lot of bad reviews on it. But I glad I did! Now I recommend it to anyone looking to sample and on a budget. You can sample with this just like you can on all the expensive samplers out there.
The editing software is pretty limited, but it comes in very handy for rough editing (for a sample-detailed work I use Logic)
Effects are of good quality, but they are also limited: : You can only use one effect at a time, which in my opinion is a pity. So, using a compressor or reverb + looping in real time on the fly is impossible! You will have to choose.
If you want effects and be able to work with the samples in real time, you'll need and external effects processor.
The sequencer is very handy (especially to control expanders via MIDI), even if limited to two tracks.
Very easy to use.
The sound is transparent.
I use the microsampler basically as a synthesizer and not really as a sampler. I can sample my keyboards and, thus, have something compact, light at hand, which spares me from having to carry all my gear around with me.
I also use it to create sounds from different sound source that I can play with a keyboard, that way I can get very particular and unique ambiances and sounds. That's certainly something you can do from a DAW, but the microsampler has an immediate feel to it that is very nice to create things. It's a fabulous tool to experiment with.
However, it's good to know it's limited in some ways:
- The controls lack precision: The one that allows you to select the playable sample on the keyboard is not very practical, especially live (2 +/- navigation buttons would've been perfect).
- I find it hard to use for sampling on the fly (for beatboxing and similar). Even if possible, I wouldn't recommend it for this use.
- As I wrote above, you can only use one effect at a time! It's a real pity.
- No octave +/- buttons, which is somewhat of a handicap for what I do.
- Sequencer limited to two tracks.
Many people criticize the memory limitation. To be honest, given that you can transfer banks to your computer and make backups the same way, I can't follow the criticism. 8 banks of 36 samples, 16 patterns, that may seem limited if you ONLY use the microsampler in your set, but together with other synths and a computer, the memory is more than enough for live applications. It has never annoyed me. For studio use it's totally irrelevant.
In the end, this keyboard serves me well and constitutes a truly awesome sound creation tool.
It is limited, like all tools, but it suits my needs perfectly.
I would definitely buy it again with my eyes closed.
See manufacturer's website
Connections are all right: 2 Jack outputs, 2 audio Inputs, USB, MIDI
The memory is indeed short, but you learn to make short loops over time and it's not bad.
Interesting effects, not many controls, but it has the basics.
The utility under Mac is EXCELLENT
Short learning curve.
Excellent manual, as usual with KORG.
The included editor is really handy, drag-and-drop samples, you can do transfers bank per bank or the bulk of the memory.
It's not really high-end, but it's all right.
If you are expecting apogee converters for less than 300 euros, you are in the wrong place.
I've been using it for a little over a month and I think I master about 80% of its functions already.
I've had very similar samplers, the MPC500 and Roland SP505. To be honest, this one is the most practical and user-friendly. I don't do live gigs, but I think it must be great for that. You load your bank at home and you are ready to go on stage.
The same goes for people who make ambiance shows.
It's an EXCELLENT value for money now. I say now because Korg decreased the price of the microsampler after several months and you can find it new for less than 300 euros. For that money it's more than all right.
I don't regret my purchase in any way.