When Korg released the minilogue xd early last year, it may have taken a moment to realise just how powerful it was and would become. The ability to load customised third-party oscillators, filters and effects are forward-thinking, to say the least, and really opened the instrument to users, musicians and developers worldwide.
The unique hardware plug-in architecture allows customisation of the minilogue xd well beyond the original feature set as designed by Korg. Artemiy Pavlov wrote a great article in CDM where he explains this really well, and it’s no surprise he happens to be the man responsible for the awesome work behind the Sinevibes product Groove. Sinevibes really know what’s up when it comes to effects plug-ins and creative tools for electronic music production, a quick squiz at their website will reveal plenty of products to choose from, however, it’s the range of user oscillators and effects for ‘Logue SDK’ Korg synths that really got me excited.
Fully Fledged Groovebox
What are we talking about here? Well, we’re talking about turning your minilogue xd into a drum machine! Groove is a multitimbral bass and drum machine engine for Korg’s prologue, minilogue xd and NTS-1. Once installed on your synth via Korg’s librarian desktop app – Groove maps bass, drums and percussion sounds to 7 different ‘zones’ over the keyboard, with each zone featuring multiple sounds to choose. All you need to do is navigate to the minilogue xd’s menu, to choose from a library of 72 individual sounds, it’s quite an achievement I must say, I’ve never used anything quite like it. Both minilogue xd keyboard and module feature a built-in 16-step sequencer which you can use to create drum patterns, that sound just like you would using a dedicated drum machine. You can record notes in real-time as the sequencer plays, cool for coming up with some unexpected results or placing notes per step for more precise pattern programming.
Once you’ve got a groove down, it’s time to check out all the modulation possibilities across the minilogue xd’s dx parameters. Turning the Shape knob modifies the bass sound, modulating and changing its expressiveness, the same for the drum sounds (when holding shift + Shape) the sound of the drums collectively changes dramatically. I found a creative use for this was when I recorded those parameter movements using the motion record feature, which lets you automate 4 parameters throughout your sequences cycle.
No matter what kind of music your making there’s pretty much something for everyone, the bass sounds are deep and edgy, and the drums are punchy with an overall aggressive quality about them. Familiar genres of electronic music like Techno and House music will no doubt benefit here, however, all subjective and it’s not to say that these sounds wouldn’t sound fantastic in pretty much any form of music they’re applied to. If you like to live life on the edge, there’s a triggering probability that can be applied to each sound randomizing the playback of the sounds for interesting and less predictable results. Sinevibes have also recently made mention that they intend adding more sounds to Groove in a future update, which blows my mind as it reminds me once again of the power and flexibility that this single voice yields.
Damn, right it is. For me, turning my synth into a drum machine at the flick of a switch is a super exciting idea, combined with the workflow of the minilogue xd gives rise to some interesting creative outcomes. Obviously, you need to own one of the 3 compatible synths to use this, but if you do its sort of like buying one of the cheapest groove boxes on the market. On a deeper level, Groove reflects the limitless power and the intuitive design of Korg’s digital multi-engine, showing there are no bounds as to what it could achieve. If you’re a user of one of these synths it’s well worth checking out and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it as I did.
Sinevibes Groove compatibility:
- Korg prologue
- Korg minilogue xd
- Korg NTS-1
More Info: https://www.sinevibes.com/