Korg OPSIX FM Synthesizer
Overview by GAK
The opsix from Korg combines their powerful “Altered FM” sound engine with a plethora of hands-on control. Unlike the famous synth which established FM synthesis and ushered in the Digital Age, the opsix is capable of far more than the classic Tine and Bell sounds that you may associate with FM and thanks to its array of knobs and sliders, editing parameters is now a breeze. Now you have analog-style control over a canvas of lush FM goodness.
The opsix features Korg’s innovative six-operator FM sound generator. Whilst the legendary FM synths of yore also had a six-op FM structure, the opsix introduces a whole universe of other sounds beyond traditional FM, with its diverse range of harmonically-rich waveforms and five operator modes (FM, ring modulation, filter, filter FM and wavefolder) that can be combined and then shaped with a subtractive-style filter. Despite the opsix’s broader range of potential sounds, the opsix can also reproduce those classic 80s FM tones with ease.
Creating and altering FM sounds is no longer a chore thanks to the opsix’s intuitive interface, which uses six data entry knobs and a crystal-clear OLED display for instant feedback. Gone are the days of multiple pages and clunky data entry sliders! The opsix builds upon the success of Korg’s first FM reimagination, the Volca FM, by providing quick access to key controls and a host of others.
The handy knobs and sliders give you direct access to the pitch and volume parameters for the carrier waves, enabling you to instantly adjust the brightness and the strength of the modulator’s harmonics. It’s a similar workflow to using a mixer or drawbars on an organ. The two-colored LEDs let you see the relationship between the operators as you change algorithms.
Not only does the opsix provide a whopping 40 preset algorithms (the combination of “operator” and “carrier” waves), the User Algorithm functions allows you to create your own custom algorithms.
With a separate processing section that contains three envelope generators, three LFOs and twelve virtual patch points, you’ll have plenty of modulation options to add depth and movement to your sounds.
A fun Randomise button on the front panel introduces an element of surprise into your sound design explorations, enabling you to randomise sequences, the algorithm, the operators or the complete sound - perfect for when you’re looking for something unexpected!
You can use up to three simultaneous high-definition effects per patch, with thirty unique effect types that you can choose from to enhance and add depth to your sounds. From conventional effects such as compression, EQ, chorus, flanger, phaser and stereo delay to more out-there options like grain shifters and shimmer reverb - the opsix’s toolbox of effects will have you covered.
The opsix boasts a selection of juicy filters - with a variety of modes, slopes and authentic emulations of the Polysix and MS-20 filters - that enable you to imbue some analog subtractive synth-style flavour into otherwise bright, glassy textures.
Performance-features include a velocity and release-sensitive 37-note keyboard, a latchable arpeggiator and a multipurpose 16-step polyphonic sequencer. The sequencer can record up to six notes per step and motion recording of up to six parameters, as well as the ability to edit velocity, gate time and playback timing for each note.
In addition to the fantastic opsix synthesiser, Korg are also throwing in a free software bundle that includes an iZotope suite, Skoove, Ozone Elements, Reason Lite and a library of software synths from Korg and other brands.
Just like what the Wavestate achieved with wave sequencing, the opsix presents a reinvented approach to FM synthesis - packing an insane amount of power into a compact 37-key design that is portable and easily integrates into an existing setup. Whether you’re new to synths and want to add some fresh textures to your productions, an analog synth nut or an FM veteran - you’ll find something to inspire you with the opsix.
Overview by Korg
ALTERED FM SYNTHESIZER
Rethink everything you know about FM synthesis.
The opsix represents a new and expansive reimagination of classic digital synthesis. Much like KORG did when bringing wave sequencing back in a more powerful, more musical, and more immediately accessible way with Wavestate, so was the approach to FM sound generation of the opsix, resulting in another incredibly flexible and unique synth. The opsix is an “altered” six-operator FM synthesizer. With its astoundingly accessible operator mixer and flexible sound the engine that goes well beyond traditional FM, this instrument widens the potential of digital synthesizers to their utmost. The opsix is an instrument for players of all generations — modern in every way, getting back to the basics to offer you a glimpse of the future. Whether you are new to synths, looking for a completely unique addition to your sound palate, or an original FM purist, opsix will deliver on all expectations and more.
True six-operator FM synthesis, and more
The opsix is a new digital synthesizer that features our newly designed six-operator sound generator. Although the instrument has a six-operator FM sound structure like classic FM synthesizers, the opsix doesn’t just reproduce their sounds — it totally reimagines them! With a diversity of waveforms, operator modes that go beyond the realm of FM, and a filter that brings together a fusion of subtractive synthesis, opsix tames complexities of FM so that you can focus on exploring sounds instead of programming them. Simply put, opsix offers the editing simplicity of analog synths to control the power of arguably the deepest type of digital synthesis.
FM exploration, easier than ever
Musicians today use hardware-based digital synthesizers to achieve a level of operability that just cannot be found with software-based instruments. The six sets of knobs and sliders on the opsix panel, as well as the operator mixer, are symbolic of this fact. KORG’s volca FM was the first FM reimagination that helped to bring the most dynamic parameters of FM to the surface, and we expand upon that with opsix’s workflow.
The knobs and sliders with two-colored LEDs on the opsix let you quickly and clearly see the relationships between operators, whose roles change with each algorithm. This lets you make direct changes to the pitch and volume for carriers, and to the brightness of the sound or the strength of the harmonics for the modulators. These controls give you sonic control over the unpredictability of FM just by subtracting and adding sounds as if you were using a mixer or drawbars!
Full editing with the DATA ENTRY knobs
To add to the six operator mixers, the opsix features several knobs on the right side of the panel. Use the six DATA ENTRY knobs for full editing without minimizing or summarizing any information. Taking a look at these controls, you might think back to the days when traditional FM synths were more difficult to operate. Back then, you had to move through massive numbers of pages, and couldn’t figure out where you were in the overall scheme of things. Rest easy — with the opsix, we’ve taken away these worries. You can now edit without getting lost, thanks to the combination of six graphical parameters on the large OLED display at the center, and the rotary encoders. The HOME/ALGO page is the starting page for everything on the opsix, and features major parameters including algorithms, EGs, and effects. Use this page with the operator mixer to get started with everything you need to do.
Five operator modes that expand FM synthesis
Of course, the opsix is a collection of everything appealing about FM synthesis… but that’s not all. Aside from sine waves, the opsix offers an expanded list of diverse waveforms in pursuit of sounds with even more complex harmonics, which can also be used as a subtractive synth offering simple filtering. Operator modes on the opsix are used to generate sounds that are completely outside what a traditional FM sound generator can make. The operator modes let you create sounds using modulation other than FM. The opsix offers you a much wider range of sound creation, letting you combine the five operator modes (FM, ring modulation, filter, filter FM and wavefolder) and select from a wide range of waveforms.
40 preset algorithms and user algorithms
An algorithm is a combination of different operator roles and connections. The opsix goes far beyond classic FM synthesizers by offering 40 preset algorithms and then goes on to offer a user algorithm function for exponentially greater sound possibilities which lets you construct and arrange an algorithm from scratch.
Wide range of modulation
The synthesis offered by the opsix is made even more powerful with the processors that come at the end of the signal chain. The MOD section works separate from the operators, with three EGs and three LFOs; and 12 virtual patches make a wide variety of routing possible. Use these features for a huge range of modulation to create swelling or add rapid motion to your sounds.
In contrast to FM, the FILTER section follows your creation of sounds by offering analog synthesizer-like subtractive synthesis. Select from a full range of filters you want to use, from the radical MS-20 low-pass/high-pass filter, to the powerful yet soft Polysix low-pass filter that gives your sound a “vintage” feel; as well as two- or four-pole low-pass, high-pass, band
-pass and band reject filters with resonance.
A treasure-trove of effects
The high-definition effects you’ll find on the opsix can be used right away in recording. The instrument offers up to three simultaneous high-definition effects with 30 types available.
From standard effects like a compressor, EQ, chorus, flanger, phaser and stereo delay, to distinctive effects like rotary speakers, grain shifters and more… as well as shimmering reverbs, the effects add a new dimensions to the already awesome sounds.
Spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope
The analyzer built into the opsix is a must-have feature for visualizing FM synthesis. It shows output levels for each frequency band, so that you can see the distribution and changes to the harmonics at a glance that are caused by modulation. The opsix also features a built-in oscilloscope that lets you check the output waveforms. The colorful changes to the sound and visual feedback are sure to draw you into a deep “synthesizer vortex”!
Powerful 16-step polyphonic sequencer
The 16 buttons on the bottom right-hand part of the panel glow green with the colors that evoke FM synths, while providing you with a multipurpose 16-step sequencer. With this onboard polyphonic note sequencer, you can record up to six notes per step, and edit the velocity, gate time and playback timing for each note. This lets you create long phrases or make subtle shifts in timing to emulate strums or drum rolls, something that’s not possible on a typical 16-step sequencer. Also, the motion sequencer of the opsix lets you record changes of up to six parameters, creating smooth motion changes in sound within a phrase, or building rhythms that change dramatically with each step.
While the opsix has an easy-to-use 37-note keyboard, it also features a sequencer that rivals that of grooveboxes. Just press the PLAY button — you’ll be floored by the power that this sequencer lets you unleash.
Add unpredictability to sounds with the Randomize feature
Use the Randomize feature as found on the wavestate if you’re in the mood for unexpected sonic discoveries. Press the button marked with the die icon to generate a newly randomized sound. You can use the Randomize feature for the entire sound, or just for the operators, the algorithm or the sequences. Use the randomized sounds as-is or edit them as you like — the sky’s the limit.
Free bundle of music software
The opsix comes with a diverse variety of music software from Izotope including “Ozone Elements” which lets you not
only create songs but also master them
using AI, “Skoove” which will help you improve your keyboard playing skills,
“Reason Lite” DAW software, as well as software synths from KORG and other brands.
- True six-operator FM synthesis, and more
- FM exploration, easier than ever
- Full editing with the DATA ENTRY rotary encoders
- Five operator modes that expand FM synthesis
- 40 preset algorithms and user algorithms
- Three EGs, three LFOs and 12 virtual patches offer an extensive range of modulation
- Eleven powerful filters including MS-20 and Polysix
- Visually-satisfying editing with a spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope
- Powerful 16-step polyphonic sequencer
- Add unpredictability to sounds with the Randomize feature
- Favorite and smooth sound transition (SST) functions
- Compact design featuring a 37-key keyboard
- Keyboard: 37 keys (velocity and release-velocity sensitive)
- Maximum Polyphony: 32 voices (or a max. of 24 voices, depending on the settings)
- Sound generating system: Altered FM sound generator
- Structure: 6 operators, 1 filter, 3 EGs, 3 LFOs, 3 effects, step sequencer, arpeggiator
- Algorithm: 40 presets + user algorithm (unique to each program)
- Operator: 5 modes (FM, Ring Mod., Filter, Filter FM, Wave Folder)
- Oscillator waveform: 21 waveforms (Sine, Sine 12bit, Sine 8bit, Triangle, Saw, Saw HD, Square, Square HD, Additive Saw3, Additive Sqr3, Additive Tri3, Additive 12345, Additive 1+2, Additive 1+3, Additive 1+4, Additive 1+5, Additive 1+6, Additive 1+7, Additive 1+8, Noise S/H, Noise White)
- Filter: 11 types (LPF 12, LPF 24, LPF MS-20, LPF POLY6, HPF 12, HPF 24, HPF MS-20, BPF 6, BPF 12, BRF 6, BRF 12)
- EG: ADSR
- LFO: 23 waveforms (Triangle, Saw Down, Saw Up, Square, Sine, Sample&Hold, Guitar, Exp. Triangle, Exp. Saw Down, Exp. Saw Up, Step4 Triangle, Step6 Triangle, Step4 Saw Down, Step6 Saw Down, StepRnd:Time, StepRnd:Lvl&Time, StepRnd:Level, Random:Time, Random:Lvl&Time, Triangle + , Saw Down + , Saw Up + , Square +)
- V.Patch: 12 routings
- Effect: 30 types (Chorus, Unison Ensemble, Phaser, Phaser (BPM) , Auto Pan, Auto Pan (BPM), Flanger, Flanger (BPM) , Rotary Speaker, Auto Wah, Exciter, Enhancer, LFO Filter, 3-Band EQ, Distortion, Guitar Amp, Decimator, Grain Shifter, Master Limiter, Compressor, Delay, Delay (BPM) , Autopan Dly, Autopan Dly (BPM), Tape Echo, Tape Echo (BPM) , Early Reflection, Reverb, Shimmer Reverb, Spring Reverb)
- Sequencer: Step Sequencer (up to 16 steps, up to 6 notes per step) , Motion Sequencer (up to 6 lanes)
- Arpeggiator: 7 patterns (MANUAL, UP, DOWN, ALT1, ALT2, RANDOM, TRIGGER)
- Number of programs:
- 500 (250 preset programs and 250 user programs as the factory-set)
- FAVORITE: 64 (16 Slots × 4 Banks)
- Controllers: MODULATION wheel, PITCH wheel, RATIO OP 1–6 knobs, LEVEL OP 1–6 sliders, DATA ENTRY A–F knobs
- Inputs/outputs: Headphone (6.3 mm stereo phone jack), OUTPUT L/MONO and R (impedance-balanced 6.3 mm TRS phone jacks), DAMPER (6.3 mm phone jack, half-damper not supported), MIDI IN and OUT connectors, USB B port
- Power supply: AC adapter (DC12V)
- Power consumption: 5 W
- Dimensions (W × D × H): 565 × 338 × 90 mm/22.24" × 13.31" × 3.54"
- Weight: 2.9 kg/6.93 lbs.
- Included items: AC adapter, Precautions, Quick Start Guide
- Accessories (sold separately): DS-1H damper pedal, PS-1 pedal switch, PS-3 pedal switch