What a beauty! The Korg miniKORG 700 FS has more funkiness than any other vintage synthesizer we’ve ever seen. Comes in a suitcase, looks fabulous, sounds classic and is so weird that we love it!
miniKORG 700 FS
What is it all about? What’s with those front edge controls? Is this some kind of mad dream? The miniKORG was last seen in the early 1970s and was Korg’s first attempt at a monophonic synthesizer at a time when synthesizers were still taking shape and anything was possible. The beauty of the miniKORG 700 was in the intentional design that placed it directly on top of the organs that people were commonly playing. The front edge controls were designed to be easily accessible for someone seated at the organ. It’s as genius as it is practical as it is wonderfully weird to modern eyes.
Just look at it!
I don’t know quite what to say. It’s one of those things that kind of looks a bit old and dated and sits on the edge between being awesome and being something your dad would play.
Where does it come from?
Korg says that their current analogue synthesizers such as the Minilogue and Prologue owe their existence to the miniKORG 700. It’s interesting because they say that their current younger engineers cut their teeth on designing analogue boxes like the Monotron. That was over 10 years ago and it’s only now that Korg believes they have the experience and know-how to faithfully build something like the miniKORG 700. And they did it under supervision of Fumio Mieda who designed the original. That’s a fascinating and enlightened way to tackle synthesizer design.
What can it do?
The original miniKORG 700 was a single oscillator monosynth but a year later they released the miniKORG 700 S which added a second oscillator for some seriously thick detuning. It also brought in a ring modulator and other features. For this reissue you have all the features of the S plus a spring reverb, joystick controller, patch memory, aftertouch and an arpeggiator.
The controls are simple. You can select from sine, square or sawtooth waveforms or opt for two forms of chorus formed from the detuning of the oscillators. You’ve then got a row of switches for things like brightness, sustain, hold and classic vibrato effects. There’s a little bit of envelope, a little bit of noise, a touch of modulation and then a low and high pass filter on sideways sliders that were designed not to be able to pass one another. But players would often shave off part of the knobs so that they could pass and push the filter into weird places – you can do that on the miniKORG 700 FS.
That case though
This is a wonderfully strange machine that could become a new classic lead and bass synthesizer. The case they’ve designed for it is simply divine and you just know that this is going to be a limited edition deal for more money than you’d hope. It looks like it should be performed, on stage, on an organ, by a long-haired 70s keyboard prog rock god. Maybe it will.
The miniKORG FS will be in limited supply for €1,999 and you know you don’t have the New York apartment looking out over Central Park that this synth deserves or the right sort of organ to sit it on.
Just a thought on the “FS”. Does this mean we’ll get a smaller version like the Odyssey or ARP 2600? Do we want that?