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songboy 01/09/2011

Korg Radias : Recensione di songboy (content in English)

"Amazingly Versatile"
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Although the original model did come with a 49 key keybed, the one I own was only the rack unit. The unit itself offers the normal octave range with any keyboard. There are a ton of preset sounds on this baby, but its a analog modeled synth which means it has all the knobs you could ask for in order to design your own sounds. There are a lot of effects that pretty much cover the full gambit of what you would expect including compression, eq, delay, phase, vibrato, distortion, etc... you can run a total of 9 effects simultaneously in one program alone. Everything is extremely editable. Beyond the huge array of knobs and buttons there is a lot of deep editing you can do either on the screen (via control buttons on the face plate) or via the free editor software which can run on both Mac and PC computers. All controllers are present including sustain, expression, pitch, modulation, etc... The polyphony is 24.



UTILIZATION

Most of the parameters you are going to need to access often are all located on the front of the synth via knobs and buttons, so it doesn't get much easier than that. Most every knob has at least two functions which can be tricky at first. Most of these multifunctions are operated by using "shift" style buttons (hold a button done and it changes what another button does) which again can be a pain at first, but I feel I am pretty comfortable with the action now. I would consider the configuration relatively simple in the fact that you have realtime control of over 46 parameters. At the same time, if you are not familiar with how a synth operates, than this thing can be very intimidating. The manual is kind of a pain. There doesn't seem to be a decent "index" area for quick look up's and it is very very thick. But I plan on reading it cover to cover as this synth is very complex.

SOUNDS

The sounds on this synth can range from realistic to some grungy digital mayhem. It has pretty decent rhodes, clav and whurly patches. The "Analog Synth" sounds of this synth are a little thin in comparison to my Moog Slim Phatty, but this was expected and in fact sought after. I feel the bright aspects of this synth mix perfectly with the stout "round" flavor of the Slim. They are quite the pair. The expressiveness of the synth is quite nice. Again the Keys are what show this the best but the pads are quite responsive too and can come in real soft or shoot in like a hurricane depending on your touch. The effects on this unit are pretty decent and totally usable. I feel the reverbs could have been richer and more full, although the "Room" reverb is quite realistic. I also think the phase is pretty creamy and can really be pleasing when dialed in just right.
I purchased this synth to mainly handle atmospheric pads and other ambient sounds which it does very nicely. I have been discovering the Drum engine more and find that I like that as well very much. Very similar to the Earlier EMX models which I was considering buying before I got the Radias. The only sounds that I don't like are the crazy presets that Korg programmed in here. Its not that the sound quality is bad, they just slam you with loud wild noises when you are simply trying to peruse the presets. It can be very loud and shocking so be warned. This synth does have audio input options which can be quite nice. I have run audio and my voice through the unit dry and it really doesn't sound that good. To be fair though, I don't believe the inputs are intended to just route audio of course, but rather to use as "Waveforms, Oscillator, and Vocoder" controls, which is very very awesome. This is definitely one of the big highlights of the Radias.

OVERALL OPINION

I absolutely love this synth. It's extremely versatile offering all the things mentioned earlier as well as Sequencing capabilities, Vocoder and "Formant Sampler", 4 individual voices, two stereo ouputs, and a ton of deep editing options. If I had to pick one thing that I love best about this synth, it would be the Vocoder. It's just too much fun and can yield some out of this world realtime effects. The only dislike is the obnoxious presets I mentioned earlier. I bought this synth used for a fraction of the original price so I am very happy about that. I give it a 9 out of 10 in sound quality. It only loses 1 point because the Moog Slim is a step above the radias. I have used many hardware and software synths. This is definitely one of my favorites.
Yes, if it only had two voices per program, I would buy another one, but thankfully it has 4 so you only need 1 unit.