The name Korg has been synonymous with synthesizers for many years, perhaps even longer than you may realize. Their iconic patch bay laden semi-modular MS-20 dates back to 1978, however, Korg’s synth journey really began with the 1973 unveiling of the miniKORG 700.
Intended to compliment more common keyboard instruments of the time, the miniKORG’s compact frame and front panel mounted controls are designed for easy operation at head height when placed atop organs or electric pianos.
As beautiful as it looked and sounded, it wasn’t until the miniKORG 700S was released the following year that Korg really found mainstream synthesizer success. The basic architecture remained relatively unchanged, however, the addition of a second oscillator transformed the miniKORG from a great sounding synth into a true classic.
It’s still remembered fondly today for its rich tone, perfect for smooth leads and full basses. Its cult classic status has lead to Korg producing the miniKORG 700FS, a limited edition reissue of the 700S, with impeccable authenticity and attention to detail, as well as some nice whilst tastefully subtle modern upgrades.
Most notably, the miniKORG 700FS adds preset storage. Its simple top panel implementation doesn’t feel at all out of place. The new X-Y joystick for pitch bend and modulation does feel somewhat more anachronistic, but a welcome addition nonetheless. In fact, the original design illustration of the organ prototype that eventually became the miniKORG 700 included a similarly positioned joystick for pitch bend, so this is its inclusion is true to the initial vision of the product. Other new features added to the miniKORG 700FS include aftertouch, spring reverb, USB connectivity, MIDI in and CV/GATE in.
Another nice detail relates to the fabulously titled ‘Traveler’ controls. This pair of horizontal sliders operate the dual filter section, with the top slider being low-pass cutoff, and the lower slider being high-pass cutoff. Original designer Fumio Mieda describes this concept as ‘two travelers who travel back and forth on a long journey..’. It’s certainly an evocative way to imagine a synthesizer’s filter section.
The miniKORG 700’s signal path was designed in a way that meant setting both filter’s cutoff sliders to maximum settings would result in no sound, the Traveler knobs featured protrusions to keep them from passing each other. Some players found this to be creatively restrictive and shaved off the protrusions.
In light of this, the miniKORG 700FS reissue includes a second set of knobs without these protrusions so players are free to explore previously restricted filter cutoff territory without damaging their prized possession.
The reissue also includes a highly attractive and truly retro hardcase specifically made for the miniKORG 700FS, complete with time accurate vintage Korg logo.
The miniKORG 700FS is available now in very limited numbers, so talk to your local Korg dealer quickly to secure one for yourself!