Korg SV-1, Minilogue XD, and microKORG Keyboard review

Kevin Busse Feb 07, 2024
60 People Read
Keyboard player SV-1, Minilogue, and microKORG

I interviewed my friend Ian McInroe while he was on his 10 day tour with his band Spirit Ritual which included a visit to a venue named Brooklyn Made in Brooklyn, New York, near where I live.

Ian McInroe Keyboard player for Spirit Ritual

While I play acoustic pianos more than electric pianos, Ian owns 3 Korgs that he has unique performance experience with, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to him about his experience with these keyboards.

Stage Performance of SV-1, microKORG, and Minilogue XD

That night, I sat him down and wrote as much as I could about his experience with these instruments that I heard him play live on the Performance Stage that night.

I asked him all sorts of comparative questions, without further ado here's what he said!

Korg SV-1 with 73 Keys

Korg SV-1 Keyboard

“The main one I use is a KORG SV 1 where I use it for piano sound, but primarily the Rhodes sounds, and organ.”

“Essentially, it’s an analog synth with a vacuum tube amp.”

“That’s the one I take to most gigs. It has 73 keys and is a little heavy to carry, but if you own an SUV you’ll have no problems transporting it.”

“I would estimate that I’ve done at least a couple hundred shows to date with it.”

Spirit Ritual live concert Brooklyn Made

What are the best Features of the KORG SV-1?

“My favorite features would be that it has the best Rhodes preset in my opinion. I like the phaser on it, there is an EQ that I use occasionally for high, medium, and low.”

“It has built in effects like reverb, tremolo, and vibrato to turn on and off too.”

Korg Minilogue XD

How good is the Korg SV-1?

“My overall rating is a 9 out of 10 just because it’s a really good keyboard especially for its price range.”

Ian went on to discuss how the KORG SV-2 is even better than the SV1 with its vintage sounds.

“The sounds are even better, it’s an upgrade, like the next generation kinda like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.”

After researching a little bit about the SV-2 I read that it comes with free SV-2 editor software that is a treasure trove of SV-2 features.

Korg SV-2

Back to Ian's KORG SV-1 Stage Vintage Story

Spirit Ritual Live Performance

“The first time I played the SV-1 was in the winter of 2016 when Berklee College of Music started up again for my sophomore year. I was at a party with my friends and that was the first time I played it and fell in love with it immediately.”

The SV-1 remains one of Ian's favorite keyboards because he chooses to bring it with him across the country with his other stage pianos.

“I knew someday I would get that keyboard.”

“When I moved to Nashville I bought one used. At the time I was making ‘X’ amount per hour and it took a year for me to pay off but it was worth it.”

“It’s been good to me since I haven’t had to replace or repair it yet. It has traveled with me quite a lot.”

From the sounds of it, the SV-1 may be one of Ian's best-maintained instruments based on how robust the instrument has been throughout the 4 years time he has owned it (7 years since he discovered it).

Most of the features are available with a touch of a button/knob on the front panel above the keys.

True to its vintage character, it does not have an LCD screen.

Ian's other secondary instrument: The MicroKORG

microKORG

“I have two secondary instruments being the MicroKORG, which is my next addition after the SV-1”

“I played it for the first time when I was visiting a friend in Virginia, whom I first met in Nashville.”

"He was the frontman for my old band Midnight Trust. In fact, his older brother had the MicroKORG."

“It was the same situation because I knew I wanted one when I played it.”

That’s because as soon as he played it, Ian fell in love with the sounds.

“It had such great sounds.”

With the right effects and keyboard sounds, this new piano was one of Ian's latest additions to his electric piano sounds.

$600 stimulus check was well spent on the MicroKORG

“I wanted to use the stimulus check for something valuable. So I used my $600 stimulus to buy it, and it was well worth it! It was perfect!”

“At the time my job was an essential business so I didn’t get laid off so I wasn’t behind on bills or anything like that.”

“I used it more for chords and sustains, although it had good hip hop presets which was really good for indie music.”

“It has that warm sound, it has a cutoff knob, and you can change the attack.”

The added warmth made it one of Ian's favorite sounds for melody lines.

“Lately with my band Spirit Ritual that has been the keyboard I used to play the melody of certain songs. It had some good leads and good tones.”

As a piano technician/tuner myself, I had to ask Ian what he thought of the feel of this instrument.

“I will say this, however, that the aftertouch is not the greatest.”

Ian's other, OTHER secondary instrument: KORG Minilogue XD

Korg Minilogue XD

Minilogue Features

“You can turn on and off the arpeggiator.”

“You can change the tempo of the arpeggiator.”

“The aftertouch was better as well, and it has a lot more presets which are all really good but you can design your own synths from it.”

“The tone and presets are good. A "lushish", chill tone to it. You can play up to four voices at once.”

“The sound quality was better than the MicroKORG.”

Ian's Latest Keyboard addition

“The Korg Minilogue XD is my latest addition.”

“The drummer of my band Spirit Ritual recommended that I get it.”

“For Spirit Ritual I like to use it mainly for pad synths and chords. Although, it’s good for making beats too. Also good for hip hop and R&B.”

The sought-after sounds of the KORG Minilogue XD inspired Ian to go into the store and get one of his very own.

“And so I went to Guitar Center last November where I played it, tried it out, and fell in love with it, and bought it then and there.”

Spirit Ritual Band Members

Spirit Ritual Band Members

Conner, (drummer): Conner is the newest member, outside of drums he’s edited a lot of their videos which can be found on the Spirit Ritual Youtube Channel. He played a large part in creating their most popular Youtube video titled ‘Ring around the Rosé.’”

Jef, (Artist/Singer): On top of being the bands crafty artist and singer, Jef does most of the booking and organizes the tours. Between having experience and great patience he single-handedly booked the whole tour.

Hunter (Guitar): Hunter switches between bass and guitar, but is mainly on Guitar. He may play a larger role as the “budget guy.”

Ian (Keyboard/Helps with Marketing): Ian described his role as such:

  • “I try to figure out what it is we’re not doing”

  • “What it is that we should spend less time doing”

  • “What it is that are a waste of time and money”

  • He also described himself as the marketer

At the gig, I bought this copy of hand-drawn lyrics that Jef made. It took him 14 hours to put it all together and it includes all of the lyrics within the entire album which has 6 songs.

Midnight Trust and Spirit Ritual EP Album Cover

In it, you can see the name of their previous band name “Midnight Trust” on the Spirit Ritual’s debut EP album cover. It’s the same group, just a different evolution of their journey as a group.

Psych Pop is their home made genre that is said to be similar to Indie Pop.

Here’s a picture of Ian and I that night taken on a Fujifilm Instax mini.

Kevin Busse and Ian McInroe

It was a perfect way to remember the night by enjoying the band's performance as well as hearing about the keyboard’s that Ian performs with after he agreed to my spontaneous interview.

Here is some more Artwork made by Jef where you can find the email to contact the band, or message them on Instagram on their Spirit Ritual Music Instagram page.

Email: SpiritRitualMusic@gmail.com

Spirit Ritual Band Artwork

The QR code takes you to the website for Spirit Ritual where you can find the bands social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram, as well as their Spotify Music, iTunes, and more!

Spirit Ritual QR code

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