Korg Sound Module Buying Guide

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Korg Sound Module Buying Guide

Korg is a Japanese corporation that specialises in the production of electronic musical instruments, guitar pedals, electronic tuners, audio processors and recording equipment. A subsidiary of the company also manufactures some electric guitars and amplifiers too. Korg is one of the most popular manufacturers of sound modules and also produces some of the external input devices that produce sounds for sound modules too.

About Sound Modules

One of the electronic musical instruments produced by Korg is the sound module, which is also often called a tone generator, and is used to play musical pieces. These pieces do not require the input of a human-controlled input, such as keyboards or physical instruments, but instead produce their sound using a range of technology through other devices. They must be played with a device connected externally, which can be either a controller, which is a device providing the human operator with a playable interface, or a sequencer, which is a piece of computer hardware or a computer programme that is designed to play musical instruments electronically.
In layman's terms, these pieces of equipment contain pre-recorded samples from other musicians, which take much of the time and effort out of composition of waveforms; this means that a buyer can focus upon creating new pieces of music without starting from scratch. However, this music has to come from somewhere, and this is where input devices area involved. These create the aforementioned music samples to be uploaded to the sound module.
Some technologies that can produce sounds for sound modules are synthesisers, samplers, romplers and digital pianos, each having unique features and some being more functional than others. More details on these are included in the following table.

Why Buy a Sound Module

Sound modules are very useful pieces of kit for aspiring musicians, as they can contain a range of prerecorded sounds to use in music composition. While it is possible to create complex pieces on external devices such as synthesisers, the sheer number of options and functionalities available on products like those can be overwhelming. By using a sound module, other people's samples can be available for modification and use in unique, new compositions, in a fraction of the time.
The main drawback to purchasing a sound module outright, rather than a synthesiser, for example, is the fact that it has less capability to produce new waveforms from scratch.

What Devices Are Used to Create Sound Module Samples

There are a number of different types of external device available that can produce sound for a sound module. The following table lists some of these modules with a description of their functionalities. The functions that each module is capable of can differ.

Synthesiser

Synthesisers have the capability of producing a number of sounds, such as imitations of a wide variety of musical instruments. However, they are also capable of creating new waveforms that can be combined to form new musical samples. These sound modules are very popular in both old and new music, with some bands using them more heavily than others to modify their recorded songs. The number of techniques used in waveform synthesis are too numerous to list, but some of the most popular methods include frequency modulation, subtractive synthesis, and additive synthesis.

Sampler

These are quite similar to synthesisers in some ways, but rather than generating sounds, they use recordings – also called samples – of sounds that have been either preloaded onto the instrument, or recorded into it by a human operator. These sounds can be played back through the sampler and altered by the module in order to create new scales, pitches or chords, and then used in the composition of new music.

Digital Piano

A digital piano, as would be inferred by the name, is similar to a traditional, physical piano instrument, imitating the method of play and sound produced by a piano. It is designed specifically to reproduce the experience of playing a real piano as closely as possible. Despite their obvious differences to the actual experience of playing a real piano, they do carry some advantages. Digital pianos are often much less expensive than their physical counterparts, of course being more company and lighter too. Because of their obvious lack of strings, they do not have to be tuned. Furthermore, they can provide additional sound samples to accompany the piano key sound, such as guitars.

Rompler

A rompler is used simply to play stored audio samples, saved onto ROM chips, in order to produce sound. Unlike samplers, these devices are unable to record any new audio and have little to no ability to generate original waveforms. However, like samplers, some romplers have sound editing capabilities, which allow for the prerecorded samples to be digitally altered.

Purchasing a Korg Sound Module

Shopping online is by far the easiest way to purchase a sound module. Buying a sound module online can also result in a cheaper purchase as opposed to buying offline. Good places to search for these items are on marketplace auction websites such as eBay.
When purchasing a Korg sound module, it is useful to know that there are some other accessories that may be needed to fully utilise the module's capabilities, or bridge connections between other pieces of relevant equipment.

Useful Accessories to Purchase with a Korg Sound Module

A MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) may be required to facilitate the setup of a network of sound modules, external input devices, and controllers. These allow a wide variety of computers, electronic musical instruments and other relevant devices to connect to each other and communicate. One MIDI interface is capable of up to sixteen information channels, and each of these can be routed to an external device.
Cables may be an important purchase, too. Due to the large number of connections that can be made, it is important to first consider what the specific required purposes is for the sound modules, and then make sure to purchase the required number of cables to achieve the setup.
Finally, headphones can be connected to the headphone jack of a sound module in order to listen to playbacks of the samples contained within or any newly created compositions.

Finding Sound Modules on eBay

It is easy to find sound modules for sale on eBay, and there are frequently many listings available for a range of different models. Thanks to eBay's method of categorising all item sales, locating a specific product category is a simple and efficient process. Sound modules, as pieces of audio technology, are found under the Pro Audio Equipment category.
To find this category, buyers should start from the eBay homepage and click on the Musical Instruments heading, which will display a wide number of further subheadings. Under the Pro Audio Equipment category, buyers can find a specific subcategory for Synthesisers & Sound Modules, and may use the Korg brand filter to find Korg sound modules specifically. Synthesisers can also be found in this category. Samplers can be found too, under a different subcategory, named Samplers & Sequencers. The Korg brand filter may also be used here to produce brand-specific matches.
Amongst the various filters listed down the left-hand side of the webpage, and used to narrow down search results in these categories, are parameters for item condition, manufacturer or brand, and type of sound module.

Conclusion

Korg is a Japanese company specialising in the production of numerous pro audio equipment, including sound modules. Also called tone generators, these products are used to play back musical scores. Externally connected devices are required to create the sound for sound modules, and include synthesisers, samplers, romplers and digital pianos. The functionalities of each difference type of input device are different. Purchasing a sound module can bring advantages to music composers, in that they already have a host of music samples to work with. In comparison, using a synthesiser to create pieces from scratch can take a great deal of time, owing to the sheer number of options commonly available on such units. Therefore, a great amount of time can be saved in using a sample from a sound module as a starting point.

 
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