KORG Collection M1



"KORG Collection M1" is one of Korg's software synthesizers. The original "M1" was a 61-key synthesizer released in 1988. It had a built-in multitimbral PCM sound source, reverb and other effectors, and a music sequencer. The M1 was extremely popular as the first synthesizer to produce the sound of an acoustic piano. The M1 which was made into software with the functions of the M1 excluding the sequencer was not included in the initial version of "KORG Legacy Collection" released in 2004, but was added in the "KORG Legacy Collection Digital Edition" in 2005. The KORG Legacy Collection was renamed to "KORG Collection" in 2017 and upgraded to "KORG Collection 2" in 2020.

At the figure above, the first one is the M1 version 1.8.0 included in KORG Collection, and 2nd is the M1 version 1.8.4 included in KORG Collection 2. With newer version, the screen size can be set in 6 steps. In the above figure, the 1.8.4 screen size is set to "Medium", which is the third from the bottom. Changes have been made to match the current needs of 4K displays becoming popular these days.

The KORG Collection M1 has many tones. As the figure below, I clicked "PROG" to enter the program mode, click "BROWSER" to display the tone browser, click "CARD" to select the M1 card, and then click "CARD 1". Now I found "M01 00 Universe".

With the KORG Collection M1, we can choose CARD 1 through 21of original M1 sound cards (some of which include waveforms). The benefits of the KORG Collection M1 are great, as it is now difficult to get all the sound cards for the M1 today. Click "KLC (Korg Legacy Collection) " to select the tone created for the software M1. User tones can be stored in "USER 1" to "USER 4". It is also possible to load M1 system exclusive files to user areas. By clicking "T1 CARD", you can read sound data from 11 floppy disks released for T series.

One of the great advantages of KORG Collection M1 is the large number of voices. The maximum polyphony of the M1 and T series is 16, and it has become 8 just by using two oscillators in one program. When using a combination of multiple programs, sound interruption was a major problem. With KORG Collection M1, the standard setting is 128 voices, which can be increased to 256 voices.

However, if you play a lot of voices when the processing power of the personal computer is not enough, the processing may not catch up and noise may occur. In that case, it is advisable to lower the setting of the maximum polyphony. And more, the addition of resonance to the filter has made big improvement on the sound editing of KORG Collection M1.

KORG Collection M1 is my favorite software synthesizer. Lots of うぇwaves, programs, and combinations cover most areas of synthesizer sounds. Each sound was created by many programmers' time-consuming effort. It is probably a product of an era when the creation and sale of sound data was a good business.

When auditioning KORG Collection M1 sounds, it's a good idea to have a keyboard with aftertouch. This is because the M1 and T series keyboards all have aftertouch, and the programmed sound may assume that. It is also desirable to be able to send control change No. 1 (cc#1), which corresponds to joystick Y +, and control change No. 2 (cc#2), which corresponds to joystick Y-. Some goodness may hide behind those control changes.



M01 00 Universe
This is M1 preset program number 1. MIDI data was input to the Yamaha MONTAGE sequencer with 8th note quantize, and the tempo was raised a little. Added low and high notes with overdubbing. Added "Diffchorus" of Eventide Eclipse as an effect. Korg's motion sound was in the old M1, amazing. This tone is also used in "Shining Sun" in the "Song" section below.
M02 01 Piano2 16'

M1 had "Piano", and later T series and M1EX had "Piano2" added. The former Piano sounds are short and metallic one, while the latter Piano 2 has the sound of wood. The famous "M1 Piano" is the former Piano, but I bought the T2 in 1989 and liked the Piano2 better. I remember thinking that I like this more than Yamaha SY77 piano I played at the store. Well, after that, I bought the TG77 after all. This performance was recorded on MONTAGE sequencer without a metronome. I'm terribly falling down. Forgive me, please.

KORG M1REX Piano2 16'

The above recording was made with the KORG Collection M1, but here is the hardware M1REX with the same program and the same playing data. The difference was larger than I expected. The sound of the M1REX is moderately mellow, but the KORG Collection M1 is strangely spectacular and the reverb is too much. I'm not the only one who feels that way. Martin Walker wrote in a Sound On Sound review article that "Effects levels in Legacy M1 are slightly higher than on the hardware version."


Waiting Snow

I heard the weather forecast that it would snow, and I was looking at the cloudy sky. I made this song as a synth solo, but I recorded it on the Korg KRONOS sequencer via MIDI, quantized it, and later overdubbed one octave higher melody. The program used is "K 01 07 Winter Sweep". I added "P0 1.5 Good Ol'Verb" of Lexicon PCM90 when recording into KORG MR-2000S.

Shining Sun

Solo performance of "Universe" placed at the beginning of M1 preset programs. MIDI recording to KORG KRONOS with quarter notes quantization. I played it thinking of rounding up early. This tone is fascinating me every playing.

Fanfare For Dinner

Solo performance of M1 combination "K01 10 The 5th Sweep". The left hand is just pressing C as the basso continuo. I played two notes separated by 4 degrees with right hand.

The White Mountain

Combination "M01 04 Fuji-san" has a guitar and koto tremolo at lower keys, and a flute at upper keys. I recorded the accompaniment played with both hands on track 1 of the KORG Pa1000's sequencer, and overdubbed the flute melody. The Pa1000 sequencer cannot set MIDI channels for each track. Therefore, I put both accompaniment and melody on one track. I should have made a multi with M1 but I didn't do it because it was troublesome.

Fanfare For French Horns

A song made by playing "M21 02 French Horn". I had played trumpet at junior high brass band. I was assigned to French horn at high school. After then I had been playing French horn for 10 years. With this recording, I did not add external reverb. It was hard because the volume didn't go up well. If the sound is distorted, please down the software volume of your pc and up volume of audio equipment.

I'd Like To See You

I made this song by playing the KORG Collection M1 with Keith Mcmillen's MIDI keyboard QuNexus. My play fit in two octaves. MIDI recording is done little by little, and I quantized notes except for the last ritardando.

Some Troubles

A solo performance with the program "Soft string". This program was found in my old T2 tone set. I have no idea where the original material is or if I've made any changes. It would have been nice to add a little lower notes, but I couldn't say that the overdubbed recording was a keyboard solo tune, so I ended it simply this time.

I couldn't see the tempo of this kind of slow attack tone, so I quantized it except for the ending. The result was so flat that I inserted the tempo changes with my mouse. The volume was also flat, so I wrote some envelopes. The reverb was "Castle Main Hall" of "BlueVerb DRV-2080", and the MIX parameter was dropped to 69.0.

Yeaning For Scotland

I was happy with the sound of bagpipes in M1. Since my left hand doesn't move much, I often play basso continuo. I thought it would match with bagpipes. Since QuNexus has only 2 octaves, I made this song within 2 octaves. I used aftertouch to add some fluctuations. After recording, I reduced the flanger and reverb effect. I may have reduced too much.

Boring Summer

Solo performance of "K01 35 Hit Round". I am not a good keyboard player. So, I could not play precisely. I played small measures, quantized the notes, and edited with piano roll view. I also edited the effect amount after MIDI recording.

Fall Approaching

Solo performance of "Aeroglide". This tone should be in front of me when I bought KORG T2 at the end of 1989, but at that time, I didn't pay attention to this tone. Because I was influenced by the jazz fusion band and jazz combo, I thought this tone was not usable.


The KORG Collection M1 has many preset sounds. Sometimes I decided to play a combination instead of a program. I selected combination "K01 19 Harder Mode". When I played with the 2-octave KORG nanoKEY Studio, I could play the bass that sweeps in the lower half and the layered sound of square waves and electric piano in the upper half. All three programs are in stereo, so, they comsume 6 parts. It would run out of polyphony if played on the hardware M1, but with the KORG Collection M1, that's okay.

I played the above music and recorded it, and I thought it was all right. But I thought it would be fun to have a drummer, so I tried Apple Logic's Drummer feature. The drummer was "Kyle --Pop Rock", the drum kit was "Socal Kit", and the beat preset was "Half-pipe". I couldn't finish with just the patterns, so I put "Socal Kit" on track 3 and input some drumming. Cowbell was also added in the second half. When mixing, I added the Lexicon PCM81 "P3 0.3 Brick Kit" to the drums.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2020 updated on 2020/11/18 20:29:11