ARP 2600 M, MiniKorg 700FS, Modwave, & More: Korg's Quintuple Threat for NAMM 2021

At least winter's NAMM, Korg had an incredibly strong showing, announcing the Wavestate, limited-edition full-sized MS-20s in custom colors, the RK-100 S2 Keytar, the prototype of the Opsix FM synthARP 2600.

This January, though NAMM 2021 is a virtual show, Korg has announced yet another lineup of new synths: the ARP 2600 M, miniKorg 700FS, Modave, Wavestate SE, and Drumlogue.

ARP 2600 M

Korg's ARP 2600 M announcement video

When Korg brought back the ARP 2600 FS last year, that "FS" or "full-sized" label tipped fans off that a miniature version may soon be on the way. Today, Korg made it official, announcing the ARP 2600 M.

The smaller, less expensive 2600 M contains all of the original analog circuitry, at about 60% of the original size, with a re-engineered spring reverb to fit the new enclosure.

The features, according to Korg, include:

  • Plug and play: Connect any class compliant MIDI controller such as a KORG microKeys, nanokeys or SQ-64 to one of the ARP 2600 M’s USB ports (USB-A and USB-B) and automatically get full control of your instrument!
  • Resized: The new size makes it easier to visualize your patch and also allows you to use shorter patch cables
  • Two types of filters from two versions of the original ARP 2600(4012 type, 4072 type DIN MIDI IN added
  • Pitch-bend, Modulation and Portamento ON/OFF can be controlled through MIDI CC messages (USB/DIN MIDI)
  • Normalized voltage: The threshold of the trigger signal required to activate the ADSR through the S/H GATE JACK has become 5V, making it much easier to use in combination with other gear such as volcas or Eurorack modules
  • Improved Attack and Release time ratios
  • L/R Stereo Output Jack (instead of XLR)
  • Speakers turn automatically off when using headphones
  • Improved, smoother sliders

The ARP 2600 M will be available summer 2021. While the price hasn't been officially announced, it's expected to be below $2,000 USD. In the meantime, find all used and vintage ARP 2600s on Reverb.

MiniKorg 700 FS

Japanese composer and electronic artist Kitarō talks about the MiniKorg 700 and MiniKorg 700FS

Korg is also reaching back to its own history, with the reissue of the MiniKorg 700. The company's first mass-produced monosynth, the original MiniKorg 700 was the company's pseudo-attempt to compete with the MiniMoog, though the more-compact and less-expensive Korg had unusual sounds and controls all its own, and the closest resemblance it bears to a Moog lies in its name.

A 2002 Sound on Sound article by Gordon Reid says of the 1973 original:

Taking many of the concepts from the 1970 organ prototype, they broke numerous unwritten rules that decreed that synths should have multiple oscillators, self-oscillating filters, and variable parameters for all the functions on the panel. Instead, the 700 offered oscillator settings such as 'chorus I' and 'chorus II' (which produced rich, swirling tones), and its strange percussion/singing controls created envelopes quite unlike those of the competition. But the little synth's greatest strength was its 'Traveler', a low-pass/high-pass filter section that proved to be extremely intuitive and manageable.

In 1974, Korg introduced MiniKorg 700S, which added a second oscillator and new effects, including ring modulation. Today's MiniKorg 700 FS is a modern recreation of this more-advanced classic, with some added functionality as well. The limited-edition model features:

  • Fat and dense bass sounds
  • An authentic recreation of the Traveler controller, one of the key features of the miniKORG 700
  • An intuitive controls layout, positioned below the keys so that you can easily rest the MiniKorg on top of another keyboard
  • A spring reverb
  • Joystick for pitch-bending and modulation
  • Aftertouch (though no velocity sensitivity)
  • An arpeggiator and memory program button
  • USB port, MIDI in, and CV/Gate

Hear the MiniKorg 700FS in action here:

Both ship date and price have yet to be announced.

Modwave

Korg Modwave Announcement Video

Taking cues from Korg's DW-8000, the Modwave is nonetheless a brand-new wavetable synth, with analog filters and an intuitive knob-per-function layout. It also offers unique ways to shape and color the 200-plus digital wavetables and thousands of individual waves: the x- and y-axis Kaoss Physics pad and Motion Sequencing 2.0, where you can sequence timing, pitch, shape, and four sets of step sequence values.

Its specs include:

  • 37 keys (velocity and release-velocity sensitive)
  • 32 stereo voices
  • Mod Wheel, Pitch Wheel, Kaoss Physics, 4x Mod Knobs
  • 4x Envelopes, 5x LFOs, 2x Mod Processors, 2x Key Track, Seq Lanes A-D, Step Pulse, Tempo, Program/Performance Note Count, Program/Performance Voice Count, Poly Legato, Velocity, Exponential Velocity, Release Velocity, Gate, Gate+Damper, Note-On Trigger, Note-On Trigger+Damper, Note Number, Aftertouch and Poly Aftertouch (external MIDI only), MIDI CCs +/-, MIDI CCs +
  • Depending on Motion Sequence length, there can be more than 1,000 potential modulation targets per Program.
  • Pre FX: Decimator, Graphic EQ, Guitar Amp, Modern Compressor, Parametric EQ, Red Compressor, Ring Modulator, Tremolo, Wave Shaper
  • Mod FX: Black Chorus/Flanger, Black Phase, CX-3 Vibrato Chorus, EP Chorus, Harmonic Chorus, Modern Chorus, Modern Phaser, Orange Phase, Polysix Ensemble, Small Phase, Talking Modulator, Vintage Chorus, Vintage Flanger, Vintage/Custom Wah, Vox Wah
  • L/C/R Delay, Multiband Mod Delay, Reverse Delay, Stereo/Cross Delay, Tape Echo
  • Early Reflections and Overb Master Reverbs
  • Headphone (6.3 mm stereo phone jack), OUTPUT L/MONO and R (impedance-balanced 6.3 mm TRS phone jacks), DAMPER (6.3 mm phone jack, half-damper not supported), MIDI IN and OUT connectors, USB B port

Hear the Modwave in action here:

Release date and price are still TBA.

Wavestate SE

Korg Wavestate SE - First Look

It all started with Korg's Wavestation, released in the early 1990s, which introduced people to the revolutionary innovation of wave sequencing. Wave sequencing is when a single oscillator switches or crossfades from one waveform to another, continuously evolving, as a single note is held down.

The Wavestation was discontinued after a few years but returned as a piece of software in the early 2000s. Then last year, Korg introduced the new Wavestate which wasn't as much a reissue as it was an evolutionary step in digital synthesis, combining the wave sequencing of the legendary Wavestation with lots of other cues from modular synths, grooveboxes, and algorithmic compositions.

This year, the Wavestate gets a bigger sibling with the release of the new Wavestate SE. Built with performance in mind, the new Wavestate SE is a 61-note keyboard complete with aftertouch, vector control, 64-voice polyphony, and tons of filter options—including models of the MS-20 and Polysix.

Release date and price are still TBA.

Korg Drumlogue

Korg Drumlogue - First Look

Last but certainly not least, Korg announced the newest member of its 'logue family: the Korg Drumlogue. As with the other announcements, we just got a preview of this exciting new piece of hardware, but it certainly looks quite promising.

The machine is part analog and part hybrid and excitingly supports the 'logue SDK (found on the Prologue, Minilogue XD, NTS-1) which means that players can customize the drum machine with their own oscillators, third-party effects, synth voices, and custom samples.

It's not entirely clear right now what effects will come built-in, but the video mentions a "rich effects section," so perhaps something similar to what we get with the Opsix and new Modwave. The video also promises that the new Drumlogue has a "direct, performance-oriented interface" and a sequencer with "deep features," so we're certainly excited to see more when the Drumlogue gets further along in development.

Release date and price are still TBA.

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