Return of the King - the KingKORG Neo

Back in 2013 Korg released the KingKORG:

Picture of the KingKorg synthesizerPicture of the KingKorg synthesizer

This was a virtual analog (VA) synthesizer with a distinctive gold color, a cool logo that featured the Empire State Building in place of the letter i” in King”,

KingKorg LogoKingKorg Logo

a 5-octave keyboard, and a bunch of knobs making this a nice synth for performance. It featured filters modeled on famous vintage synths like the Korg MS-20 and the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, and others. But the one real standout for this was the global vacuum tube pre-amp (yes a real vacuum tube, seen on the left side of the keyboard under the logo glowing in red).

This instrument came in at $999.99 retail and several years later a black version was released at the same price point. Yesterday, as part of their announcements for NAMM 2024, Korg announced a new version of the KingKORG - the KingKORG Neo.

Feature-wise there isn’t much King here, it’s nearly the same as the original. The two big differences are now it’s only a 3-octave keyboard and the vacuum tube pre-amp is gone. The case appears to share the same platform as Korg’s Wavestate, Modwave, and Opsix. What isn’t different? The price. It’s still $999 which seems a bit of a stretch for a 3-octave VA synth, especially in 2024.

I’ll be curious to see if anyone does a comparison between the Neo and the original on YouTube. The architecture is almost identical but I’d hope that in 10 years they’d have made improvements on the modeling of the filters and that the effects are better.

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January 20, 2024