PCM per­fected: the om­ni­scient M1

Computer Music - - Korg Legacy Session -

Yamaha's DX7 had proven in 1982 that syn­the­sis­ers could rack up block­buster sales, but no­body was quite pre­pared for the world­wide sat­u­ra­tion or longevity of Korg's M1.

It wasn't the first work­sta­tion, nor was it the first to use sam­pled in­stru­ments as os­cil­la­tor sources. But the M1 was the first to mix mul­ti­sam­pled in­stru­ments, a fully kit­ted-out eight-track se­quencer and a multi-ef­fects pro­ces­sor into one sleek pack­age. This was an in­stru­ment on which you could cre­ate en­tire pol­ished ar­range­ments, and all for £1499.

Un­leashed in 1988, the M1 would re­main in pro­duc­tion for seven years, with a stag­ger­ing 250,000 units sold. Even to­day, the de­signs of new work­sta­tions and ROM­plers can be traced back to the in­flu­ence of the M1.

Sur­pris­ingly, the M1 still holds up. Sure, some of the sounds are a bit thin and life­less com­pared to mod­ern ROM­plers, but the M1's patch de­sign­ers did a su­perb job with lim­ited re­sources. Its patches live on, in­clud­ing the tin­kling Uni­verse choir, the Magic Or­gan with its church bells and Ham­mond, and of course, that fa­mous M1 Pi­ano! 3 Next, let’s go to Mul­ti­sound 1’s Browser. This time, we’ll look to the var­i­ous cat­e­gories. A syn­the­sised tim­bre might be nice, so let’s choose the Synth Wave cat­e­gory. Here we can lo­cate a suit­able patch… say, Syn­thPad. No­tice that if you trig­ger a note with the browser open, it au­di­tions the se­lected sound. Let’s load our Syn­thPad. 4 Ad­just the lev­els of each Mul­ti­sound. Find the Link Edit but­ton and ac­ti­vate it. This al­lows us to edit both parts of our patch si­mul­ta­ne­ously. It makes the sound a lit­tle less ex­cit­ing, but speeds up the work­flow con­sid­er­ably. Try ad­just­ing the fil­ter in the VDF dis­play. Maybe we’ll change up the ef­fects, too, slot­ting a Cho­rus in af­ter Hall Re­verb.

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