KORG Nu:Tekt NTS-1 digital kit



"Nu:Tekt NTS-1 digital kit" is a digital monophonic synthesizer released by KORG in 2019. I purchased the NTS-1 on November 23, 2019 and broke its output terminal on December 25, 2019. Originally, stereo sound was output from the TRS mini terminal, but I broke it and ended up with mono output. It was so shocking that I couldn't put together this article. However, during making this page, I heard the files below that I recorded during a month with healthy NTS-1.And I remembered that I was happy with NTS-1 then.

NTS-1 is provided as a kit and is a synth that we assemble ourselves. No soldering is required and it's not that difficult. The photo below is a group of parts before assembly.

NTS-1 operates by receiving power from the USB terminal. If you connect it to the USB terminal of your computer, you can not only receive power supply but also receive MIDI data. However, when connected to the USB terminal of a personal computer, the output sound becomes dirty due to the influence of noise from the personal computer. To avoid this, select an independent USB AC adapter with less noise, supply power from it, and send MIDI signals separately via MIDI connection. The photo below shows that, the blue plug is MIDI, and the black plug to the right is USB for power supply.

The MIDI input terminal of NTS-1 is a mini TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve), and a cable that converts a normal MIDI DIN to a mini TRS is not included. I made my own cable from other some cables. To be honest, I think it's troublesome. Also, even if you take the method of connecting MIDI separately using USB as the power supply, the audio output of NTS-1 is weak and it does not sound very good depending on the connection destination. It is necessary to connect to various preamps and find one that is sounding nice.

The mini TRS audio output of the NTS-1 is on the front side. The plug at the bottom left of the photo above is for audio output. One terminal doubles as both line output and headphone output. Since I play the keyboard while operating the NTS-1, I wanted to place the NTS-1 in a position that is as easy to operate as possible. However, the audio output cable hangs on the keyboard. I didn't like that, so I added a pressure to the cable and turned it back. Then, a lateral force was applied to the audio output terminal, and as mentioned above, one of the stereo signal was dissapeared. Sigh.

I thought about buying NTS-1 again, but I gave up. I have a prologue-16, so I decided to use it.

NTS-1 has one digital oscillator derived from prologue. After the oscillator, there are a digital filter, a digital amplifier, and digital effectors. The digital oscillator can load "user oscillator" program. Prologue does not produce the same sound as NTS-1, but the sound tendency is similar.

Is NTS-1 a synthesizer worth buying? KORG has released many "gadget" and "toy" synthesizers that cost less than 100 us dollars in the past. You may know "monotron" and "Kaossilator". NTS-1 belongs to its class in terms of body size and price. However, since NTS-1 is fully digital, it has abundant functions enables a wide range of sound creation. Especially in the initial version, it was possible to use three types of effects at the same time: modulation, delay, and reverb (with v.1.03 released in January 2020, reverb and delay cannot be used at the same time). The NTS-1 is cheap and small, but I think it is a synthesizer with functions that go beyond the boundaries of "gadgets" and "toys".

On the other hand, KORG has released a number of compelling synthesizers. The "volca" series is interesting. Although monologue does not have audio effectors like NTS-1, it has two oscillators, a memory function that can display tone names, and a high-quality keyboard compared with NTS-1. The 4-note polyphonic "minilogue xd", the 8-note polyphonic "prologue-8", and the 16-note polyphonic "prologue-16" are clearly higher-ranking synths on NTS-1. Playing the NTS-1 is a lot of fun, but if you spend a lot of time doing recording work, the work might be easier to choose a model that is a little more expensive.



Saw with Delay

NTS-1 is a monophonic synthesizer and does not have presets. When the power is turned on, sawtooth wave comes out without any effect. I added a little delay to it. I sent note messages with KORG prologue-16 keys and control changes with KORG prologue-16 knobs. The control change message table between NTS-1 and prologue-16 is shown below.

Percy in NTS-1

The 5 recordings from here use "user oscillators". The 1st is "Percy" by hammondeggsmusic. I was interested in portamento function. But, the percussive attack makes the sound differ from usual synth lead sound.

Souper in NTS-1

"Souper" from hammond egg music resembles super saw. The NTS-1 has only one oscillator, so the detune function is nice.

dmFume in NTS-1

"Fume (2-op wavetable FM)" demo version from Roll-log Sounds. When I tried, their user oscillators did not work good with prologue-16. But, they are nice with NTS-1. 

dmSyng in NTS-1

Roll-log Sounds "Syng (formant oscillator)" demo version. I added a little shape modulation. I chosed this oscillator to widen the wave variations.

Scan in NTS-1

Roll-log Sounds "Scan (wavetable scanning)". We can use various wave from adjusting "Bank Mode" parameter.

NTS-1 Bass with Pa1000 "Standard Kit Amb"

Combination of NTS-1's bass and KORG Pa1000's standard drum kit. I recorded notes in Pa1000's sequencer. I quantized them. Although NTS-1 may not a great bass synth, not bad.



NTS-1 Solo. I chose sawtooth wave, narrowed the filter, lengthened the attack and release a bit, and added deep reverb named "Riser" (someone commented that it was a fad these days). I played notes by the keyboard of prologue-16, quantized notes with KORG M3 sequencer. After I started MR-2000S recorder and M3 sequencer, I tweaked knobs of prologue-16 to add some tonal changes.

I Will Go There

I played the NTS-1 arpeggio and decided the overall length. Then, I added KORG M3 drums. The drum program was "U-D000: Electro Rock Kit", and the pattern is "P144: R & amp; B 1 [Hip Hop]" to 147. I used M3's RPPR (Realtime Pattern Play & Recording) function. Such as screams are added. After MR-2000S started recording, I adjusted cutoffs and resonance.

My Dear Digital Delay

NTS-1 solo. I chose "Waves" oscillator. Shape modulation a little bit. Long and loud delay and small amount of chorus. I set KORG M3 sequencer bpm to 141.08. Quantize in 8th note. After notes were fixed, I turned MR-2000S recorder on, and tweaked prologue-16 knobs. I changed cutoff, resonance, filter EG intensity, atack, chorus depth, delay depth, and so on.

Silent Night

Play the user oscillator "Scan" introduced above with arpeggio (maj, length 24). I recorded the arpeggio trigger on KORG M3 sequencer and layered the melody with prologue-16 and M3. When I recorded, my NTS-1 was connected to the computer, and the output noise was bad. I disconnected NTS-1 and plugged the AC adapter. You know, the sound setting in NTS-1 was gone. So even if I remade it, not the original sound were there. Lack of reproducibility of NTS-1.

"Ondo" for Reversed Delay

NTS-1 solo. The musical theme is above. I improvised much. With the reverse delay, the sound with an attack becomes a sound without an attack, and the phrase is reversed. I used KORG M3 sequencer in order to keep tempo.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2021 updated on 2021/09/13 20:08:37