Korg M3

Korg M3
Specs Desc FAQ Resources More



Number of Keys: 61
Key Weight: Synth
Key Size: Full
Touch Sensitive:


Number of Voices: 1664
Polyphony: 120
Sound Generation: Enhan
Piano Sounds:
Real World Sounds:
Sounds Editable:

Extra Features



Tablet Connectivity:


Power Supply:


Audio Out:
Audio In:


Sustain Pedal:
Soft Pedal:
Expression Pedal:

Release Info

Year: 2010
RRP: $3000


Having designed some of the most revolutionary synthesizers of the past decade--the KARMA and the OASYS--Korg certainly hasn't made things easy on themselves. When the time came for them to develop a new workstation, they knew they'd have to outdo themselves again. What's a professional digital instrument designer to do? The only thing they could: combine the best parts from their previous keyboards, add some completely new features, and squeeze them all into a sleek-looking, great-playing, easy-to-learn masterpiece of a workstation: the Korg M3.

OASYS-Derived Sounds And KARMA Performance Engine

Any serious workstation needs to start with a serious sound set, and the Korg M3 includes one of the best around. The EDS, or Enhanced Definition Synthesis engine was lifted from the powerful (and far more expensive) OASYS workstation. Meaning the M3 gives you access to the most premium sounds--including girthy pianos, rich organs, thick pads and leads, sophisticated percussion, and realistic-sounding acoustic instruments--that Korg has to offer, but at a fraction of the cost. These amazing sounds can be stacked in massive combi patches of up to sixteen layers; it's like being able to play an entire orchestra at once! With the M3-61's veritable symphony inside, the KARMA engine is the perfect way to show off all those rich textures. KARMA was developed to be the most advanced accompaniment function available in a keyboard, and since its introduction in 2001, KARMA has only gotten more sophisticated, while still remaining completely intuitive. Rhythmic patterns, chordal structures and melodic elements can all be weaved in and out of a sequence, seamlessly and in real time. KARMA makes your backing tracks just as dynamic as your playing, meaning you'll not only sound better, but you'll be inspired to perform better. Should creative lightning strike, you're never more than a button-press away from recording your best performances and compositions.

A Wealth Of Expression Controllers

Every instrument voice on board the M3 has its own unique expressive nuances. In order to take full advantage of the wide selection of instrument types, the Korg M3-61 boasts an unprecedented variety of expression controllers. A responsive, three-dimensional joystick controller lets you pitch bend and modulate in the same gesture. An assignable ribbon controller can emulate vinyl scratching, or allow you to "strum" the individual strings of a guitar chord. The big, full-color display screen doubles as a touch-sensitive X/Y controller that can either dictate effects parameters or bring elements of a KARMA pattern in and out of the mix. Eight faders can also be assigned to control different elements of an instrument or combi patch. Eight rubber pads can be used to play drums or samples, but they can also be assigned to play eight-note chords with a single finger, making simultaneous lead playing and sophisticated accompaniment control easy. With so many different controls, you'll never stop finding new ways of expressing your musical vision. Of course, you also get 61 keys of weighted "synth-action" Korg keyboard playability, so you'll never tire of playing the M3, either.

Rich Computer Integration

By now, you're probably thinking seriously about adding the M3 to your studio arsenal. Let us help seal the deal: the Korg M3 touts computer integration that's second to none. Via USB the M3 becomes a beautiful controller keyboard and DAW control surface that puts you in touch with your sessions and virtual instruments. Korg provides 100 preset control templates for the most popular recoding software, and you can easily create your own custom profiles. The M3 even acts as a hardware plug-in itself when connected, so you've got its great sounds and effects at your disposal in any VST-supporting program. Add the optional FireWire expansion card, and the M3-61 becomes a full-fledged audio interface with six channels of digital audio and sixteen channels of MIDI. The Korg M3 will turn your entire studio into an expressive instrument.

Stand-Alone Production Studio

But you don't need anything other than your Korg M3 to create finished audio tracks. The M3 has a fully featured production studio under its hood, complete with mixdown and mastering tools. A sophisticated 16-track sequencer can support both MIDI and digital audio elements; with built-in instrument and microphones inputs, you can integrate your own samples, or record vocal or instrumental audio to your projects with ease. Mix your projects down to stereo WAV files and drop them onto a USB flash drive, or hook up a USB CD burner and harvest the final fruits of your labor without ever having to touch a computer.

A Full-Color Display For Intuitive Operation

All this production and performance power is made easily accessible, thanks to the Korg M3's intuitive control layout and that big, beautiful, full-color screen. Because the screen is touch sensitive, menu navigation and interaction is quick and painless. Because it's big and in full color, you'll never second guess what the graphical interface is telling you, or how to get the M3 to do exactly what you want it to. Korg knows that a workstation should be more than a tool, it should be a muse. By making all the technical stuff a breeze to master, the M3 becomes an instrument of unbridled creativity.

From live performance to music production to composition, the Korg M3 is an instrument for every dimension of your musical being. The M3 introduces tons of new ways to express your creativity and explore the creative process, and makes learning these new methods easy and fun. Simply put, the Korg M3-61 will breathe new life into your music.

Manufacturer's Description for Korg M3-61 61-Key Synth Workstation Sampler

The M3 features a number of innovations distilled from the flagship OASYS including the new EDS (Enhanced Definition Synthesis) sound generator derived from the HD-1 engine design, the advanced second-generation KARMA functionality, and the multi-purpose control surface. Adding innovations such as the new concept of "virtualized hardware" that allows an even closer integration with DAW systems, Drum Tracks which provide an instant groove to play along with, and the new "Korg Komponent System" concept that facilitates more flexible system construction, the M3 music workstation/sampler opens a new and exciting page in music making -- it's the workstation that rightfully deserves to wear the "M" that started it all.

Enhanced Definition Synthesis -- A New Horizon of Sound-Making Potential

The M3 features a newly developed "EDS" sound generating system based on a new chip design that was developed in parallel with the HD-1 engine from the flagship OASYS. It takes full advantage of the M3's 256 Mbytes of PCM source material which is a veritable "best of" from the OASYS.

Using Korg's advanced voicing technology, the 1,028 multi-samples, 1,606 drum samples, dual oscillators, 4-level velocity switching/crossfading/layering, and stereo sampling allow for an enormous range of high-quality, detailed, and expressive sounds.

The filter section, a vital part of the sound-creation process, lets you simultaneously use 2 resonant filters for each oscillator, and can be configured in series or parallel. Four filter types are provided: low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and band-reject.

The amp section features a driver circuit that gives the sound a sense of edge and character, along with low boost to help shake the walls when needed. Integrated 3-band EQ allows tonal sculpting without needing to go to the effects section. Detailed envelope generators, abundant modulation routings, plus the all-new AMS Mixers for advanced processing all combine to provide a level of sound shaping far beyond previous possibilities.


The all-important effect section provides up to 5 Insert effects, 2 Master effects, and 1 Total effect. In addition to great choruses, flangers, phasers, delays and reverbs, the 170 effect types include dynamic processing effects such as compressor and limiter, amp modeling and speaker simulation effects using Korg's proprietary "REMS" modeling technology, and evocative effects like the Grain Shifter and Talking Modulator.

The M3 includes professional features that allow for many cool applications and routings. Dual Common LFOs allow multiple effects to use the same modulation source; an advanced Control Bus provides triggering input from external audio or internal timbres to effects such as compressor/limiters and the vocoder; and the audio inputs can be freely routed to various effect chains and then run to individual outputs allowing the M3 to be used as a 2-in/6-output effects processor.

Funky Drummer

A drumkit in the M3 can be created from ROM or RAM samples, mono or stereo, with up to four-way velocity switching and cross-fading for incredible realism. Powerful sound shaping can occur here, with EQ, drive and low boost plus individual effects routing per key, delivering incredible results.

New Drum Track

The M3 provides a new Drum Track function that adds a groove to each sound you play. Combined with KARMA it makes a Program a complete sonic adventure that is sure to inspire. You can select patterns from over 500 in internal memory and start them with a dedicated button, from a desired region of the keyboard or by playing a velocity that's above a specified threshold.

Since the Drum Track uses MIDI data stored in a Pattern, it is easy for you to create your own in the Sequencer Mode, either recording them, importing them from SMF data or other user's songs, or converting recorded KARMA data as MIDI events for further manipulation. Even sampled loops can be used! This is a powerful feature with uses ranging from creating music-production memos to inspirational jamming and realtime performance.

Expanded Combination Mode

Combination Mode is where multiple Programs can be freely assigned as splits and layers across the keyboard, including velocity switching and cross-fading for complex and expressive sounds. Sounds can be delayed either by time or by tempo, even when you release a key, allowing you to create sophisticated rhythmic soundscapes and performance effects. Monophonic sounds can be forced to be polyphonic, or vice-versa, and you can select only one of the oscillators if desired. For the more adventurous musician, each timbre can even use a different scale or tuning!

The M3 allows for 16 timbres at the same time, including a Drum Track, up to 4 KARMA Modules, multiple effects and much more. Each timbre has dedicated 3-band EQ for getting the perfect mix, and a powerful Tone Adjust setup for detailed in-context sound shaping.

In addition to providing more sound elements, this means that Combis can be set up and saved as complete 16-part MIDI sequencing templates for use with an external sequencer and computer DAWs.

Great Sounds

In the end it's always about the sounds, and the M3 doesn't disappoint. Korg's acclaimed international voicing team delivers the goods once again: stunningly realistic imitative sounds, fat synth sounds, imaginative textures, evocative sound effects - it's all here. The M3 comes loaded with 512 Programs, and room for a total of 1,664 user sounds (13 Banks plus GM). All sound locations are fully editable (except GM banks), so you are always free to tweak a sound if needed. Adding in the EXB-RADIAS option delivers 128 powerful MMT synthesis sounds. There are 32 drumkits provided, and room for a total of 144. As for the 16-part Combinations, 384 come preloaded, with room for a total of 1,792 (14 Banks).

All sounds (Programs and Combinations) are organized by Categories and Sub-Categories for easy searching and selection, making it easy to find and organize your sounds.

2nd Generation KARMA

The second generation KARMA functionality that first appeared on the OASYS and received wide acclaim from artists and users world-wide is fully implemented in the M3. KARMA is the inspiring, real-time music generation system that can help you play everything from natural instrument gestures like intricate finger-picking, strumming and harp glissandos, to complex cascades of notes, dance-riffs, gated and chopping effects and "improvising" drum grooves. KARMA continues to set the standard by which all other arpeggiators, phrase players, and musical effect generators are judged. The inspiration that KARMA offers, coupled with the unheard-of phrase variability is second to none.

In Program Mode, one KARMA Generated Effect (GE) can be assigned to a single drum groove, melodic phrase, comping gated part or other musical effect. Eight sliders, eight switches, and eight scenes provide dedicated real-time control and the ability to store complete snapshots of your settings.

In Combi and Sequencer modes, KARMA's power increases exponentially, with four KARMA Modules available simultaneously.

The Control Surface can access and manipulate each module individually on its own "Module Layer". In addition to the 4 individual Module Layers, there is a Master Layer that can be mapped to parameters from any of the modules, even grouping them together -- so one slider can control the swing feel of all four modules at the same time, or the rhythmic activity of 2 or 3 modules at once, to name a few. Each Module Layer has 8 Scenes that store the settings of the sliders and switches in 8 different snapshots, instantly recalling completely different settings for that layer.

The Master Layer's 8 Scenes, in addition to storing the settings of the 16 sliders and switches for its parameters, also control which scene is selected for each module. You can control each layer's scenes directly from the control surface, or from the innovative Scene Matrix Page, which also controls whether the Drum Track will play along in a given scene. With 8 Scenes in each Module, and 8 Master Scenes storing which of those scenes are selected at which time (a total of 40 scenes), the possibilities are mind-boggling.

The M3 has incredible control over each KARMA element yet has been refined to be even easier to use, thanks to 13 "Real-Time Control Models" (RTC Models). An RTC Model standardizes which parameters of a KARMA GE are available for real time control, and how they are assigned to the Control Surface. With multiple GEs sharing the same exact setup, what you learn while controlling one GE is consistent and applicable to the thousands of other included GEs as well.

Finally, the 2nd generation KARMA provides a signature sonic effect called KARMA Wave-Sequencing that can change a sound's waveforms rhythmically in realtime, along with everything else KARMA is doing, allowing each note to access a different waveform as it is generated. The results can resemble traditional wave-sequencing, or enter completely new realms of sound design.

Ultimate Expressive Power

The M3 is remarkable not only for the freshness of its sounds, but also for its outstanding new control environment. The color LCD of the M3 music workstation/sampler not only provides a touch-view GUI that ensures intuitive and easy operation, but it also operates as an X-Y Pad, allowing sound and effect parameters to be controlled in real-time by sliding your finger across or tapping on the screen -- much like the innovative Korg KAOSS Pad. Further control is provided by a Motion function that lets you capture and play back your finger moves to shape your sound and performance in unique ways. The screen even changes colors in response to the movement of your finger for cool visual feedback to your performance.

The 8 dynamic, velocity-sensitive pads give you a great way to play drum sounds or up to 8-note chords, either live or as triggers for the powerful KARMA function.

Each note in the chord retains the individual velocity so it can play back with all the nuance of your original performance, and can even be scaled across a full velocity range without "breaking" the dynamic relationship of each note.

Each note in the chord retains the individual velocity so it can play back with all the nuance of your original performance, and can even be scaled across a full velocity range without "breaking" the dynamic relationship of each note.

The 8 slider/eight switch control surface offers the same multi-functionality as on the OASYS: it can be used as a mixer, a set of expressive sound controls, an editing interface, a realtime KARMA performance interface, or to control external software and hardware synths and effects.

There's also a joystick, assignable Value slider, two switches and a ribbon controller that give you convenient ways to express subtle nuances of sound. A newly designed proprietary keyboard with refined aftertouch delivers superb feel and expression that's better than ever before.


You can add an internal RADIAS analog modeling synthesizer sound generator board (one timbre, up to 24 voices), with on-screen integration of all its parameters and full integration with the M3's effects, control surface and KARMA functionality.

This powerful MMT-based (Multiple Modeling Technology) synth engine features dual oscillators which combine to offer analog-modeled waves, DWGS (PCM) waves, noise, ring mod and more. Waveform modulation, Variable Phase Modulation (VPM), Unison voice thickening, PWM and cross-mod expand the sonic palette.

Dual Filters can run in series, parallel, or side by side (individual for each oscillator). Filter1 features a resonant filter design covering 24 dB low pass, 12 dB low pass plus 12 dB high and band pass, with continuously variable "morphing" between these states. Filter2 offers 12dB versions of the low, high and band pass modes, plus a unique comb filter.

Two LFOs and 3 ADSR envelopes shape the sound and add cyclic motion to nearly any voice parameter. Three 16-step Modulation Sequencers provide discrete values to a modulation parameter that change over time, either in stepped or smooth motion, and can loop over and over.

Internal or external audio can be run through the EXB-RADIAS to be gated and filtered using the internal synthesis and effects. Drive adds analog warmth, Punch brings increased definition to the attack of a sound, and 12-types of Wave Shaping provides dramatic timbral shaping -- even offering virtual "pick-up" response.

The EXB-RADIAS offers the same vocoder as the RADIAS, offering 16 bands with individual control over level and panning. Formant Motion records the formant of a sung or spoken phrase so it can be recreated anytime.

And of course, all of KARMA's generative features can be used with the RADIAS to provide even more options, including RADIAS Wave-Sequencing.

Open Sampling

The M3's Open Sampling System lets you sample and resample in any mode to produce new remixed combinations of sounds and effects, or to capture full performances "In-Track" within the sequencer. Cutting-edge editing tools include Time Slice, Time Stretch, Crossfade Looping, Rate Change and Normalize.

An easy-to-use Auto-Setup function makes all the right sampling settings for you, with the press of a button. Stock sampling memory is 64 MB, and can be increased to 320 MB by adding the optional EXB-M256 memory expansion board. Samples in Korg native format, AIFF, WAV, Soundfont V2.0 and AKAI (S-1000/3000 with advanced Program parameter conversion) formats can be used, and internal samples can be exported as WAV or AIFF if needed.

Sampling can also be done to attached media, so USB memory sticks and hard drives can be used to extend memory size to resample a complete song as a WAV file to be burned to a USB CD-R/RW as an audio disc, or for moving to a computer for further editing and manipulation. Audio files on the media can even be edited directly to normalize, trim, and perform other essential editing tasks.

New High-Resolution Sequencer

The sequencer that's at the heart of the M3's song production is an intuitively-understandable 16-track design that holds up to 128 songs and 210,000 notes.

The new high timing resolution of 480 PPQ captures every nuance and detail of your performance. Three-band EQ per track provides detailed sound-shaping, as does the Tone Adjust sound "tweaking" function.

The Cue List function that has been a popular feature ever since the now-classic TRITON series lets you create songs in sections, or play back completed songs as a medley.

All the now-classic Korg features are included, such as the one-touch "Auto Song Setup" feature, which takes you from playing a Program or Combination to "ready-to-record" status in one easy step, automatically arming tracks and routing voices behind the scenes. All KARMA settings are also set up, so you can record every note and controller as they're generated, and even edit them later.

Song Templates contain pre-assigned effect routings and program assignments, providing one more shortcut to help you capture your creative outbursts. The M3 comes with 16 of these Song Templates, plus another 16 you can custom-tailor to your own needs. Each Template Song also provides a number of rhythm patterns -- including intro, fills and endings -- that you can use to instantly create a rhythm track.

Individual track looping allows flexible manipulation of repeated phrases such as drum grooves against longer parts like melodies and solos.

Advanced editing tools like variable quantization with selectable intensity and swing allow for nuanced adjustments to your recordings. Detailed event editing lets you work on your tracks with surgical precision, and a Compare function acts like an Undo for your last change to easily judge the effect of your edits.

Realtime Pattern Play and Record (RPPR) can be used to assign sequenced Patterns to individual keys on the keyboard for an interactive performance, or to quickly build up tracks. You can record controller data, Sys. Ex., or even KARMA phrases and trigger them as you like.

Time-tested features that have been proven to aid in inspiration and song creation combine to deliver an intuitive and enjoyable songwriting experience -- the M3 has it all!

Virtualized Hardware

In addition to being a highly-developed music workstation, the M3 is also able to closely integrate with your computer. By connecting the M3 to your computer via USB and using the included stand-alone "M3 Editor" software, you can edit sounds and settings from your computer.

A plug-in version of "M3 Editor" is also provided, so you can use it from within your DAW as a plug-in instrument. The editor runs as a VST, AU or RTAS plug-in for maximum compatibility. For even more complete integration, Korg's new "Virtualized Hardware" concept comes into play. When the optional EXB-FW FireWire board is installed, a single FireWire cable will convey both the M3's MIDI and audio signals to the tracks of your DAW in which the plug-in is running. This means that you can construct a highly integrated environment that adds the reliability of hardware to your software music production system, adding additional power to your virtual world.

4 Models

The M3 music workstation/sampler is available as a lineup of four models: 61-key, 73-key, and weighted 88-key models, as well as the module-only M3-M. The 61-key and 73-key models use a proprietary new semi-weighted synth action keyboard developed by Korg for great playing feel and expressive aftertouch response. The 88-key model features the RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3) keyboard that reproduces the playing sensation of a grand piano, in which the low range has a heavier feel, with the touch becoming lighter as you play upward on the keyboard, allowing superb response to fine movements of your fingers.

Korg Komponent System

The M3 music workstation/sampler introduces the new Korg Komponent System, featuring detachable keyboard and sound generator sections. The 61-key model lets you mount a RADIAS-R analog modeling synthesizer instead of the M3-M sound generator, the 73-key model lets you mount the M3-M together with a RADIAS-R analog modeling synthesizer, and the 88-key model supports the combination of M3-M and RADIAS-R or even mounting two M3-M units simultaneously. Of course you can detach the M3-M sound generator and use it as a sound module, giving you great flexibility for constructing the system you need whenever you want.

Rich Array of Input/Output Jacks

The M3 provides 2 analog and 2 digital (S/P DIF) inputs as standard. In addition to the main 2-channel output (L/MONO, R), there are 4 independent outputs as well as 2-channel digital output (24-bit optical S/P DIF), meeting the needs of professionals.

Two USB connectors are provided: a type-B USB connector for connection to your computer as a MIDI interface, and dual type-A connectors for connecting external storage media. USB 2.0 is supported to ensure high-speed transfer of large amounts of data.

The optional EXB-FW adds two Firewire ports for conveying both audio and MIDI to your computer, and for daisy-chaining the M3 in your Firewire-based studio setup.

Three pedal inputs are provided, including damper jack support for half-damper sensing. The footswitch and footpedal jacks can be assigned to wide choice of functions including modulation, sostenuto, Program advance, punch-in recording and much more.

For a complete look at the connections and the rear panel, visit the M3 Zoom Tool and then click to toggle the view to show the rear panel.

KARMA (Kay Algorithmic Realtime Music Architecture) is a trademark representing patented technology licensed from Stephen Kay, Karma Lab LLC, www.karma-lab.com.

Sounds processed with INFINITY software.


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