Korg Minilogue XD | 300 custom sounds
(patches compatible with desktop / rack & keyboard)
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How many patches?:
You will receive all the sounds from my Youtube videos plus extra sounds that are not included in the demos = this is 330 presets.
What format / import method?:
My presets will come under the name „WCOG” in a collection available as two files: sysex format and Korg Librarian format. If you are using Sysex, your entire memory will be taken. If you are using Librarian, you will have the choice to import all 330 patches or individual / single patches and rearrange their locations (by drag & drop). The Librarian gives a greater freedom of organization so I recommend this option.
What genre / style?:
There is no one style, because it is you who decides what style these patches will be played in. It’s a wide variety of sounds that are meant to inspire, make you look at the synth in a different light and give you a great choice of directions. Some patches are bread & butter, some offbeat; they’re the result of me trying to find the limits of the instrument. The patches are ready-to-use in music or can serve as starting points; you can find the textures or the dynamics that you like and tweak them to suit your exact taste or purpose. I tried not to include patches that would overlap with any other soundsets out there, so 90% of my patches should be original-sounding to you.
Any external stuff?:
I did not use any external FX in the demo, no layers, no loopers, etc. All the delays and reverbs are part of the XD engine. Also, you don’t need any custom oscillators or addons, just a standard XD unit.
Notes on grades lower than 3/3:
modern: great but not in the same league as the champions (Hydra, Opsix)
vintage: great, but Prologue is better, with the additional voices
engine: nice “multi-engine” but limited filter, no mod matrix, only one lfo
low end: good, but not huge as the champions (like Rev-2 or Pro-3)
high end: good, but not in the league of Prophet / Nord Lead / Peak & Summit
timbre plasticity: very nice but retains the “korg” sound due to one filter
ui & ease of use: very hands-on, but many things hidden under menus / buttons
I was eyeing it timidly from time to time. But the more I looked at it, the more it seemed to me like a no-brainer. The amount of features, the sound, the UI, the price and the size seemed to create a mixture that equals recipe for success (even though I’m not a fan of the recent miniaturization trend; WhyTF is everything being scaled down to ridiculous sizes? Oh I know, it’s because people want to be more mobile and play their synths on the beach while they’re on vacation in Bora-Bora. Or wait, it’s because the space of the average flat is getting smaller and smaller with each decade, even though we’re getting richer? Damn, I don’t know:) At least the XD is not as small as, say, Arturia Microfreak, so it’s ok. It’s comfortable. Synths for the people! Not for dwarfs.
To tell the truth, when I saw that the XD was released together with the Prologue, of course I wanted to buy the Prologue, as I assumed it’s a proper-size XD with more voices (polyphony). Well, you can always prove yourself an idiot, full of assumptions and stereotypes, regardless of your age and experience. The Prologue DOES NOT have the sequencer. I thought “what the heck”. When I learned this, I clicked “buy now” on the Minilogue XD and never gave a second thought to the Prologue (although later on I did get the Prologue;)
The XD arrived, and even though it proved to break the cycle of “it sounds like crap out of the box, I hate it”, because it sounded good, my first big disappointment was the discovery of the fact that the sequencer is not transposable. I thought JEEEEEEEESUS, it’s 2020, why are you guys still doing this? Thank God 2 or 3 weeks later Korg released a firmware upgrade which solved that. Tell me, do you really need a year of research & development or several angry users send you emails to come up with the realization that a sequncer should be transposable? Of course if we indulge in “slowly evolving ambient soundscapes” then I guess it’s redundant. Blip, blap, blop – everybody is already asleep and unaware of the sequencer reaching its limit and looping. But if we’re trying to make a little bit more structured music, I’d say it’s pretty reasonable to have a transposable sequencer. Wait… I know the reason for this… it’s upkeeping the lifecycle of a product by deliberately making it half-baked at the beginning and then releasing firmware updates which make it “more usable”, which in turn excites the consumers, which in turn boosts the sales once again! Sly foxes;)
Coming back to the UI – I would have never programmed these sequences on any other synth that I know of, because the UI just isn’t there. It would be too much of a pain. Hold the sequencer step button, twist a knob. Just brilliant. Wait… forget about the knobs. You can even associate the sequencer step with switches! That’s a big deal. I’ll repeat, because the idea might not be fully appreciated at first sight: let’s say you create a 16-step sequence. Choose a switch, for example “Reverb On/Off”. Pick a step, for example number 7. Now, when you play the sequence, step 7 has reverb in it, but all the other steps stay dry. Can you now imagine the dynamic possibilities?
One more rant: show me the genius at Korg in charge of the design. There are 16 buttons on the panel which are responsible for the sequencer steps and all the various pages hidden in the menu, yet they are not labeled with numbers? That’s very… original… eccentric… innovative… modern… I’m not sure. I am too traditional. I had to cut a strap of paper, write numbers from 1 to 16 with a pencil and glue it under the row of buttons (maybe I’ll set up a business selling these addons for your XDs for just $5 a piece – joke).
But all things considered, I’d say this is a great instrument – not only because it inspires new melodies and allows to create new “tricks” that would otherwise be possible only with rack effects / pedal boxes / etc. The envelopes are not the best in the world and the limited modulation options (just one LFO and a shared Envelope Generator) sometimes let you down, but Korg has always managed to make up in musicality and character for what it lacks in the features. When I made over 300 sounds across the span of several weeks, I quickly forgot about my disappointment with its curbed modulation, it just wasn’t an issue. Plus the sound of the XD has this nice blend of synthiness and plasticity. When the sound of a synth is “synthy” (clasically analog) it seems cool and exciting at the beginning, but at the end of the day it might get “samey”. On the other hand, when the sound of any given synth is too plastic / ambiguous, it might make you uninspired, because that is not the way synths are supposed to sound, but you have to realize that this kind of sound is more malleable and exhibits more tolerance to be tweaked in various new ways. So in my book that’s a huge advantage and something to strive for.
The XD is a perfect balance between any imaginable set of criteria: cost / features, tool / instrument, technical limitations / plasticity of the timbre, etc. Korg again managed to deliver a classic that will be talked about and used throughout the next decade. Also, this is a perfect starter synth for beginners. Easy, cheap, fun to play. Better than the Arturia Minifreak IMO, because the Minifreak has more stuff hidden in menus. Of course it’s more advanced than the XD, but if you’re a beginner, you don’t start with synths that are too deep, right?
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