PCM perfected: the omniscient M1
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.