Home » Music » Microkorg Vs. Microkorg XL [Is the HATE for XL Even Justified?]

Microkorg Vs. Microkorg XL [Is the HATE for XL Even Justified?]

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If you really want your music to come to life, or have your audience chanting your name or going gaga over you, what you need is an excellent sound-quality instrument and, of course, the skills to play it well.

Once you have both of these under your belt, there is little that can stop you. If you are only starting out as a musician or do not wish to buy a very expensive instrument, ensure that you get one with good sound quality and reliable controls.

This brings us to our topic of discussion today- microKORG vs. microKORG XL. But what are these? Is there any detailed microkorg xl review or microkorg review? What is Microkorg mellotron or microkorg xl mellotron?

Can the Microkorg or Microkorg XL be played with other instruments, for instance, microkorg xl+ drums? What are microkorg xl patches?

Do not fret too much, as we are about to reveal the answers to all of these questions.

We will break down each of these products for you and discuss their features, performance, usability, and other essential details so you can invest in the right virtual analog synthesizer and the music that you desire.

Microkorg Vs. Microkorg XL

While the Microkorg uses the MS-2000 engine, the Micorkorg XL utilizes the Radias or R-3 engine, so it is safe to say that they sound different. The Micorkorg XL has an updated sound engine and greater polyphony.

However, the Micorkorg XL does have a drawback, that it does not edit as well as the Micorkorg. The Micorkorg XL also comes up with eight voices, while the Micorkorg has four voices on the regular.

The Micorkorg also has a grainier analog sound, along with some scorching leads and gritty bases. On the other hand, the Micorkorg XL has a cleaner sound.

The differences are more apparent once you play both. Therefore, don’t forget to play each of the Micorkorg and Micorkorg XL at the store before you decide to bring one home.

Let’s now go deeper into the details of the Micorkorg and Micorkorg XL, so you can pick the best virtual analog synthesizer for yourself.

Korg Micorkorg Review

The Microkorg is basically a MIDI-capable digital virtual analog synthesizer featuring DSP analog modeling. Many think it is crafted upon the idea of the Korg MS-2000 but has better programming, such as the programmable step arpeggiator (the MS-2000 only has six simple patterns).

The Microkorg by Korg is also a less advanced vocoder (MS-2000 had 16 bands, while Microkorg has 8) and has a lesser number of sequencing than the MS-2000 and lesser XLR microphone input, and few real-time control knobs.

A release in 2002, the Microkorg is still ruling the music world since many Microkorg models are being made and sold even today.

It has been among the most famous music synthesizers since its release, with an estimated 100,000 units sold according to May 2009 reports.

Korg released a limited edition Microkorg in September 2007 with reverse-color keys, but the functionality remained the same.

In 2008, Korg came up with a successor called the Microkorg XL at NAAM, which is still in production. It uses the Multi Modeling Technology (MMT) from Korg’s more modern and powerful R-3 synthesizers and Radias.

The Microkorg is purely a digital synthesizer with 37 keys. While an analog synthesizer pushes signals in waveforms through circuits, a digital synthesizer does the same but with a modern touch.

These signals can then be altered and filtered to make various sounds, as required.

Some argue that analog synthesizers are a better option since digital synthesizers only copy and do not have the ‘classic’ touch.

They believe that creating sounds through onboard electronics is a lot different and makes one think they understand the authenticity of these virtual synthesizers.

However, there is no doubt that some of the digital synthesizers perform this process so well that you can hardly notice the difference.

At first glance, the Microkorg seems pretty complicated with all its controls and knobs on the keyboard’s face. Some beginners may even be a little overwhelmed.

However, remember that each of these controls has a function and a particular assigned task and will only help you make better music.

To navigate through this, start with picking a preset genre, such as rock, electronica, drum and bass, trance, hip hop, or retro.

Next, take a look at the row of buttons that allow you to select from various patch numbers with two sides to each patch set, A and B.

If you have picked A-2 on trance, you can play it as it is, giving you a pleasant sound. The truth is that all the presets on the synthesizer sound terrific, but they still might not be what you are looking for.

But that is where the controls come in; you can tweak the sound to your desire. All the controls on the right side will allow you to tweak the sound as you like so you can get the sound of your dreams.

The knobs that you see above the list will allow you to quickly tweak or release the beat. Similarly, you can add to the sound and set its tempo and resonance.

These knobs are also found on analog synthesizers and help you filter the sound with standard controls.

For the Microkorg, if you want to tweak beyond the set controls, such as an LFO or pitch, don’t shy away from using the controls on the list’s left side.

While all of this is possible with a digital synthesizer like the Microkorg, a lot of analog synthesizers also offer all of these functions with individual knobs. But the good thing is that Microkorg offers all of these functions at a lesser price.

You will see a volume knob, octave shifter, wheels that modulate sounds and pitch, and an arpeggiator on the farthest panel.

The arpeggiator is pretty easy to understand and use, so you can edit the method it sequences with by choosing the options present on knob 2.

You can also set the tempo yourself or make use of the key at the back that allows you to connect a device with a MIDI clock that uses its own tempo with the Microkorg’s tempo in sync.

Its polyphonic nature enables you to play four notes at once. The Microkorg does not come with speakers or headphones, so you either have to buy them or connect them with mono outputs or a stereo.

Another option is to connect the Microkorg with a computer and use its sound program to set your melody.

Microkorg XL Review

The Microkorg XL has been a success story since its launch. Its simplest breakdown is that it is a virtual analog sound engine and a more modern version of the MS-2000 synthesizer.

It also has an arpeggiator and plays retro sounds beautifully. The Microkorg XL features an MMT architecture from the Radias and R-3 series. It has a larger size and a wider selection of Kaoss pad-derived effects.

The Microkorg XL is not really something you would consider a top-class build since its exposed rivets and plastic case don’t give this impression.

Nonetheless, the Microkorg XL’s basic sound engine is indeed improved with a considerable number of tweaks that ensures you are not entirely disappointed with its performance.

With the Microkorg XL, you can download the MS-2000 and MS-2000B patches that give you access to more functions.

It can play the MS-2000 patches remarkably well. The other inclusive patches are also pretty useful if you have a liking for them. The sound released by the Microkorg XL is smooth, clean, and pristine, as some might describe it.

The high-quality mic comes with it, with a nice windscreen that fits directly into the XLR jack at the front panel.

The editor will not disappoint, though there is a little small GUI on the screen. The knobs are also enough to help you create the music you cherish.

The tones the Microkorg XL produces are warm and pleasant. It can also update sounds via editor software and USB and lights up to show you the default settings for whatever modified value you have opted for.


While both the Microkorg and Microkorg XL have good and useful features, it all comes down to personal preference about the kind of sound you want.

Both feature different sound engines, the Microkorg boasting the Korg MS-2000, while Microkorg XL has the Radias and R-3 series one. Listen to as many samples as you can and buy the one that produces the sounds to your liking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, MicroKorg or MicroKorg XL?

The Microkorg produces a grainier analog sound with a gritty base and scorching leads. The Microkorg XL has a cleaner, filtered sound that may come out better. The result may vary from person to person, so play both models at the shop before you bring Microkorg or Microkorg XL home.

What is the difference between MicroKorg and MicroKorg S?

Both the Microkorg and Microkorg S are almost entirely identical except for the internal speakers. The Microkorg S also has added programs apart from the original ones. It also comes with a favorites function and an easier operation.

Is the MicroKorg discontinued?

The Microkorg was launched in 2002 and is still in production in 2022.

Does MicroKorg XL have speakers?

The MicroKorg does not have its own speakers but does feature an output section with three labels, R, L, and headphones.