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NAMM 2020: Synths and Keyboards from Korg

The doors haven't even opened for NAMM 2020 and Korg are already serving up some brand new releases. Here, we'll give a little summary of some of the hot new keyboards and synths for both beginners and virtuosos about to come fresh from the Korg kitchen. Read on to find out more!

We'll open with the student models that, although they have the same core engine, are specifically designed for different goals. This line-up includes the EK-50L keyboard, the XE20, and XE20SP digital pianos and two Korg i3 workstations. The last might be a touch confusing, since Korg released an i3 model way, way back in 1993. Maybe some rookie came up with the name with no idea of the historical overlap? We have no idea. In any case, we're also left wondering just how is it that they manage to cram more than 700 high-quality sounds, a mass of drum kits, vivid styles, effects into the core of this new family of instruments? And then, effortlessly maintain the clean, easy operation that every Korg model humbly boasts.

The Stage Pianos: Stage Vintage 2

These are the instruments designed for gigging key players. With the already older Stage Vintage, Korg hit every mark with its refined sounds, an incredibly supple and comfortable keyboard and a perhaps limited but no less well-chosen bank of controls. Now, in introducing the Stage Vintage 2, there are certainly reflections of the same concept, but now with way more space for incredibly good samples. The SV2 is available with both 73 or 88 keys, with or without integrated speakers.

The Synthesizers: Wavestate and ARP 2600 FS

Two blasts from the past and in quick succession. The first to hit is the Korg Wavestate, a new synthesizer with a mass of operational elements with a concept based on the older Korg Wavestation. We don't often get to hear from synths such as these and the Wavestation was already incredibly unique for its time: its ability to overlap sampled waveforms quickly crept into soundtrack compositions. The Wavestate follows much the same path but it with far more streamlined operation.

The second hit will probably cause the biggest explosion. This is a replica of the ARP 2600: a genuinely vintage modular monophonic synth, teeming with patch gates and sliders. The originals were built in the '70s and, while the ARP 2600 FS replica (fitted with DIN-MIDI and USB-MIDI for easy studio integration) is undoubtedly a synth of our times, it drips with just as much character. If you're already drooling over this thick slice of pop history - if you're itching to join the musical giants who have had the privilege of handling one of these synths, you'll not only have to cough up some cash but you'll also need to move quickly since only a few of these are being made.

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