The term “Workstation Keyboard” is a bit of a misnomer, because the people who play them tend to have a really good time. These keyboards enable you to access a large variety of instruments, and sequence entire songs with multiple layers of sounds and effects. Recently, Korg announced the new microSTATION, a full-blown, 61-key workstation keyboard with a revolutionary ultra-compact form factor.
While workstation keyboards remain popular, one thing they’ve never been is terribly compact and portable. Traditionally, they aren’t the kind of instrument you’d just walk out of the house with under one arm. However, because the new microSTATION weighs less than 6 pounds (2.59 kg), there will be nothing stopping you from hopping painlessly out the door with one tucked neatly beneath your flipper.
Like the microKORG XL, the new microSTATION features a “natural touch mini-keyboard.” If you think that having smaller-sized keys is a deal killer, I strongly suggest you reconsider. Korg’s “micro” series has been the most wildly popular line of keyboards in the industry for more than half a decade. Droves of musicians have adapted their playing style to accommodate the micro series keys. Their compact size just makes them easy to bring to rehearsals, shows and the recording studio. For the first time, workstation keyboard users have the opportunity to take advantage of the liberating portability with which these keyboards empower you.
This keyboard is packed with 480 instruments. You can connect it to either a Mac or Windows computer via its USB port and use an included software editor to tweak and save custom sounds. If you’re the type of person that prefers to stay away from computers, all of the tweaking and sound editing can also be done directly on the microSTATION itself. An onboard SD card slot allows you to save your customized sounds and the songs you compose.
If you’re the type of person who’s into computer recording, then you’ll appreciate the microSTATION’s ability to operate as a virtual instrument as a VST, AU or RTAS plug-in. It transcends being just another virtual instrument because the keyboard exists both in the physical world and in the digital one.
To give you a better idea of the fun that you can have with a workstation keyboard, let’s look at the microSTATION’s “combinations” functionality. Combinations are collections of instruments that work well together (pianos, basses, drums, horns, etc.) that are laid out in segments on the keyboard. For example, the first 10 keys may be a harp sound, the next 10 may be an organ, etc. You can freely twinkle the keys and play these instruments simultaneously. The microSTATION comes loaded with 256 of these combinations right out of the box.
The onboard 16-track sequencer has been designed to be as easy to use as possible, which is great news for beginners and pros alike. If all of your fingers are too busy playing notes and chords in a song, you can use the sequencer to play additional parts of the tune that you’re physically incapable of playing. You can use the sequencer as a powerful drum machine, drawing from the included 484 percussion samples. You can also tap into its loop-recording ability to build up rhythm and bass lines.
This kind of keyboard should appeal to a wide range of people. If you play mostly solo, this workstation can be your backing band. If you play with others, there is a lot you can add to a group with all of this power. If you have any questions about the Korg microSTATION, we’d love to hear them in the Comments section of this post!
You can purchase this keyboard from B & H Photo and Video; Great vendor and source of information