Korg has already made several announcements ahead of NAMM 2024, and now the company has one The Opsix mk II still offers an accessible entry into the world of FM synthesis, and it’s even based on the original’s “Altered FM” digital sound engine. But this is nothing more than a minor update.
The big news is a big boost in polyphony. The original had 32 voices, which is still a lot, but the mk II offers 64 voices of pure polyphonic goodness. This should allow for some really complex and layered sounds, or just an explosion of cacophony when you try to press every key at once.
The six-carrier FM engine is more or less unchanged, but it can be fitted with all sorts of new “audio components” that can change the signal dramatically. You can run it through up to 30 effects including 3-band EQ, chorus, phaser, flanger, distortion, compressor, delay, reverb, grain shifter and more. Signal paths can also be switched internally for semi-modular synthesis.
Of course, there are a number of analog-style filters, including filters modeled on the Korg MS-20 and Korg PolySix, along with resonant two- or four-pole low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-reject. filters. You’ll have no trouble creating unique sounds here, as any parameter can be modulated using a special matrix equipped with three envelope generators and three LFOs.
The essence of this technology allows digital recreation of subtractive, semi-modular, waveshaping, additive and analog modeling synthesis types, in addition to classical FM synthesis. This is what Korg means by calling it a “six-operator” FM synthesizer.
For those who are worried that this update will change fundamentally The mk II is fully compatible with the sounds and samples from the original, and it integrates with the company’s proprietary software suite, giving full access to numerous sound libraries. So you can just download the sounds from the original if that’s your bag.
The 37-note keyboard is velocity sensitive and release rate sensitive, with a programmable step sequencer offering 16 steps per pattern and six notes per step. There is also an onboard arpeggiator with seven preset patterns. Like the original, the mk II has a bright front display and plenty of backlit faders and knobs for making adjustments. As for connections, there’s a headphone out, stereo line out, MIDI in/out, a USB-B port and a jack for a damper pedal. The Korg Opsix mk II will hit store shelves this March for $700, which is $200 less than its original launch price.
Korg has a massive presence at NAMM this year, as the company also used Opsix’s desktop module, along with desktop modules for its Modwave and Wavestate synthesizers. There’s also a little synthesizer called the MicroKORG 2 that’s selling like hotcakes.