MATRIXSYNTH: Korg X-911 Analog Guitar Synthesizer

Monday, November 01, 2021

Korg X-911 Analog Guitar Synthesizer

via this auction

“Unlike other 'synth' pedals, the X-911 gave players real synth controls to play with; things like portamento, voltage-controlled filters and real ADSR generation were built right in. And unlike many other synth boxes, these actually worked, and worked well.

The heart of the X-911 lies within its mixer; a crossfader between the “instrument” section and the “synthe” section. The former bank of knobs and switches transforms your guitar into six polyphonic voices: Electric Bass, Tuba, Trumpet, Distortion Guitar (!), Violin and Flute. Each of these voices gives you a tone knob, while the Violin setting offers up an attack control. Those of us that caught wise to synths early on knew there was no chance on Earth that your guitar was going to magically turn into a Mellotron and spit out a pristine violin or flute sample, but the X-911 got decently close. However, it was a lot easier to digest the idea of your guitar pumping out floor-thumping bass rather than emulating a tuba, so most of us gave it a pass and saw it for what it was.

The Synthe section is where the X-911 earns its money, serving up several stackable waveforms along with the ability to sculpt your own custom ADSR envelope for a complete synth experience. Frankly, it’s what synth pedals should have been from the get-go. Other offerings include extra synth touches like analog octaving, touch sensitivity and a slick portamento knob to easily and seamlessly glide between notes without so much as a hiccup. The front panel let you control the various parameters with a variety of foot-controllable extras, letting you use the X-911 as a brain for your entire setup. This thing was serious.

Strangely, it’s one of the most unsung Korg units, even though it should be celebrated far outside of its brand, category and segment of history. Frankly, the X-911, despite its at-times questionable tracking (just put a compressor in front) is the yardstick to which all other guitar synth units should be measured.”

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