Korg 01/W

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01/W
An image of a Korg 01/Wfd
An image of a Korg 01/Wfd
Manufactured by Korg
Dates 1991
Technical specifications
Polyphony 32
Oscillator 2
Synthesis type Digital Sample-based Subtractive
Effects 2x47
Input/output
Keyboard 61-key Aftertouch, Velocity
Left-hand control Joystick
External control MIDI

The Korg 01/W was a workstation synthesizer, released in 1991, and was intended to replace the M1 and T series. The workstation/ROMpler was based on AI², an improved version of the AI (Advanced Integrated) Synthesis technology found in the M1. The success of the AI² architecture ensured it was used in the majority of subsequent Korg synths of the 1990s.

Variations[edit]

  • 01/W: The basic 61 key model
  • 01/WFD: Same as above, but with an internal floppy disk drive
  • 01/Wpro: Same as above, but with an extra octave of keys (for a total of 76 keys) and an extra sampled Acoustic Piano sound.
  • 01/WproX: This model had 88 weighted keys (to simulate the feel of a real acoustic piano) and also has the extra Acoustic Piano found in the 01/Wpro
  • 01R/W: A 2U high rackmount version of the 01/WFD, with the sequencer maintained from the keyboard versions but without a floppy disk drive.
  • 03R/W: A stripped down version of the 01R/W Rack, 1U in height, with a smaller screen, only about 90% of the samples found in its bigger brother, and no waveshaping. It was General MIDI compatible and the sequencer was removed.

There was also a subsequent 05R/W, which was based on the Korg X5.

Improvements over the M1[edit]

  • 254 sampled instruments in 6 megabytes of ROM (the M1 had 100 sampled instruments)
  • The AI Squared Synthesis produced much cleaner sound and twice as many effects were available when compared with the M1 and T series.
  • Korg introduced a feature called Waveshaping.
  • The 01/WFD, 01/Wpro, 01WproX models had an internal 3.5" floppy disk drive that could read 720k Floppy Disks, custom Korg format.
  • The sequencer of The 01/WFD, 01/Wpro, 01WproX could hold up to 47 thousand notes, several times more than the M1.
  • The polyphony was doubled to a maximum of 32 notes with 16 tracks/MIDI parts.

Key differences[edit]

The 01/W only had a few of the M1's samples. Particularly missing were the M1 Acoustic Piano, and some of the M1 Electric Piano sounds. These were replaced by more realistic versions (the Acoustic Piano in the 01/W was radically different and sounded more oriented for classical music).[citation needed] The 01/Wpro even went a step further and added another even more realistic Acoustic Piano.

The M1's piano was so bright and metallic sounding that it found its niche in Dance/Electronica and some Latin Music where it could cut through the mix easily. Korg acknowledged this fact by integrating their M1 piano back on later incarnations of the X range, such as in the X5D synth and N264/364 workstations.

The 01/W also added more electric piano sounds, having at least 5 times as many,[citation needed] therefore becoming one of the standard keyboards used in smooth jazz, which often uses electric piano sounds.

The 01/W introduced a feature called "Waveshaping". Basically it was a crude variation of Additive Synthesis. One could select a sample from the ROM Wavetable, and process it with one of 59 waveshapes. The feature would add a specific set of harmonics to the sound depending on which type of waveshape one would select, from for instance, names like "Rezzy", "Parabola" & "Comb". The waveshaping feature could make some very interesting sonic textures as it would literally reshape the sound to fit that specific waveshape. However, the feature was discontinued on subsequent models. Original sounds were achievable but required significant experimentation, as using waveshaping on stock samples often only seemed to add distortion.

The 0 series took a step backward from the T series in one area: the 1-megabyte sample RAM, on which users could load their own multisamples, was removed. More current workstations almost invariably have integrated samplers or user sample playback features.

Sonic character[edit]

The 01/W is also known for its "warmth". It has been suggested[citation needed] the 01/W sounded richer than the Korg synths that came afterward. The two most probable reasons for that are:

  • The 01/W's samples were recorded at 16 bit 32 kHz. Subsequent Korg synths had their samples recorded at 16 bit 44.1 kHz. The sample rate of 32 kHz limited the frequencies possible in any sample to below 16 kHz, instead of the 22.05 kHz of later synths by Korg.
  • More ROM memory was allocated to each sample than the synths following afterward (As an example, the 01/W used 6 MB of ROM to fit 254 compressed samples. The Korg X3 also used 6 MB to fit 334 compressed samples in its ROM)

The fact that the 01/W's samples were recorded at a slightly lower sampling rate, therefore reducing sample size, plus the advantage of having more ROM memory meant that longer samples could be stored, possibly adding more realism to sustained sounds and so forth. The 32 kHz frequency might give the illusion of a more acoustic instrument, because it might be perceived as reducing the amount of high frequencies, which tend to be attenuated in physical/analogue instruments when compared to digital ones.

Options[edit]

  • XSC PCM cards set
  • XPC ROM cards
  • SRC512 RAM card
  • VUK01W ROM upgrade kit

Trivia[edit]

Reportedly when the engineers at Korg were presenting their new workstation to replace the Korg M1 they had used the working name Korg M10, but marketing saw the name upside down, and M10 was read as "01W". That name was preferred and it became the instrument's official moniker.[citation needed]

References[edit]