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Korg Z1




korg Z1

audio demo Country: Japan
Weight: 14 Kg
Dimensions: 1089 (w) x 347 (h) x 119 (d) mm
audio demo trend price : 500€
manual demo video comments


Korg Z1 (1997)
Multi Oscillator Synthesizer

The Z1 synthetic purpose is to emulates acoustic reed-breath instruments physical behaviors using Virtual Synthesis.

Originally created on the project OASYS Open synthesis Architecture project

korg osc
korg osc

info KEYBOARD 61 velocity keys with aftertouch.
Main panel features a display at 240 x 60 resolution, 62 button and 25 knobs.
On the left side 2 wheels for modulation and pitchbender, an X-Y axis touchpad and 4 dedicated performances buttons.

Back panel terminal connectors:
- main signal out
- Midi interface
- PCMCIA card slot (ATA linear mode)
- volume pedalswitch input
- damper pedalswitch input
- 2 assignable pedalswitch inputs.



main core D703003 NEC V853TM a 32/16-BIT CPU manages 12 voices polyphony + 6 more if optional DSPB-Z1 board is fitted into the synthesizer.

SOUND STRUCTURE A Z1 sound voice is composed by 4 main elements:
1- oscillator 1
2- oscillator 2
3- white noise generator
4- sub-oscillator.
The elements generate different acoustic models according to the Z1 algorithms.

z1 specs

performance PERFORMANCE
multitimbric system handles 6 parts with various parameters:
- volume / panning
- key zone
- pitch transpose
- special arpeggio zone
- Midi channel assign.

korg z1 specs


editALGORITHMS structure can be routed in 13 path signal or algorithms roughly organized in 2 family groups:
A- Virtual analog (7 algorithms)
B- Virtual acoustic (6 algorithms)

ALGORITHM PART 1 - Virtual analog group:

pot STANDARD OSC generates basic waveforms like a traditional analog synthesizer.
Each oscillator can be either a sawtooth or a pulse mixed to a ramp progressive wave from sinewave to triangle. The saw and pulse waves feature advanced parameters e.g edge, smoothing, width, phasing and 99 waveshaping table (from classic KORG 01/W)

pot COMB FILTER the signal from the other oscillator waveform (or the noise generator) is sent through a comb filter and the feedback level of the comb filter is altered in order to produce a tonal change. The FEEDBACK parameter raises resonance level and DAMP smoothes it.
Input to comb can be either: filter, noise, impulse or subosc or any combination of them.

pot VPM OSC the carrier output is phase-modulated by a modulator and output through waveshape processing. Carrier and Modulator features 4 basic shapes (saw, sine, triangle and square) and special OSC MODULATOR is an oscillator from any other algorithm.
The waveshaper processes the oscillators trough 99 different waveforms, altering the spectral contents with new resonances and distortions.

pot RESONANCE OSC 4 resonant bandpass filters with variable harmonics process.
Each filter mode can be controlled by assignable modulation source such as LFO or Midi Control Change.

pot RING MOD standard ring modulation with 5 variable inputs:
- osc 1 & 2
- filter 1 & 2
- sub
- noise
- carriers: saw, square, sinewave and triangle.

pot CROSS MODULATION quite similar to RING MOD but uses a modulator to frequency modulate a carrier.


pot OSCILLATOR SYNC a slave oscillator is synched to a master osc wave cycle: when master osc starts new cycle, the slave phase is reset to zero and begins a new cycle.

edit ALGORITHM PART 2 - Virtual acoustic group:

pot ELECTRIC PIANO MODEL a EP Rhodes emulation features 4 main parameters definition groups:
- hammer defines the shape, strength and the motion of the hammer that virtually hits the tines
- tone generator: sets the tine dimension and its overtones
- pickup: sets the position and dimension of virtual pickup
- EQ: simple EQ with Shelving at +/- 18 dB range.

Ep model

pot BRASS MODEL physical model of simulation of brass lip-reed instruments with 4 parameter settings:
- instrument : defines preset shapes and length of the virtual instruments according to 7 presets of brasses and reeds.
- pressure: is the breath force blown into the virtual instruments, whose settings can be assigned to expression controller such as aftertouch or wheel.
- lip: defines shape and tension of the lips that variates timbre colors.
- bell: defines the shape of the damper and resulting variable tonal changes and resonances.
Special bending modes: linear for trombone or jumping for a piston valves emulation.

pot REED MODEL physical model of simulation of woodwind reed instruments.
13 preset instruments emulation such as saxophones, double reed, bassoon, clarinet, flute, pan flute, ocarina, shakuashi, harmonica and reedsynth (variable physical dimension and reed characteristics)

pot PLUCK MODEL simulates a plucked string like guitar or bass with 4 parameters:
- attack: alters the waveform when a string is plucked
- string: defines position of string plucking and defines some harmonics settings to match physic characteristics such as thickness or flexibility
- damp: attenuates harmonics for a kind of matched filter key tracker
- pickup: same principle as algorithm number 9.

pot ORGAN MODEL additive synthesis for Hammond-like organs with drawbars emulation.
Each drawbar features 3 possible sinewave variations from pure wave to various levels of altered harmonics. A click percussion can be added with variable amplitude and length.


pot BOWED STRING MODEL simulates bowed string instruments such has a violin with 4 parameters:
- bow: defines intensity of the bow on the strings while the X-Y pad simulates the bow velocity
- damp: attenuates harmonics
- reflection: specify the amount of the wave that are reflected at the end of the string.
- string: various parameters regarding the string structure and point of contact with bow.


filterFILTER 2 digital resonant filters can be combined in parallel mode or 2 serial modes.
Both filters are multimode: lowpass, highpass, bandpass (or reject) and dualband pass.


5 EGs :
- 1 X EG AMPLIFIER 4 segments + 3 levels
- 4 X assignable EGs: 4 segments + 5 levels


lfo LFO
4 freely assignable modulators, relative frequency range from 0 to 60 Hz with retrig mode and Midi clock sync. No less than 8 shapes and variations with variable start offset :
- triangle with adjustable phase
- sawtooth up to 180' or down to 180'
- exponential saw-up or saw-down
- sinewave
- square
- sample and hold
- random
- stepped.


the polyphonic arpeggiator features 5 preset patterns, 15 user pattern (by step entry mode): random, standard up, standard down, alternate mode 1 and alternate mode 2.
Some arpeggios functions: latch, gate, velocity and special KEYSYNC function retriggs arpeggios from beginning when a note is activated.


fx EFFECTS a double DSP processor FX1/FX2 under the hood:
- FX1 is insert and includes these effects: overdrive, compressor, EQ, wah, exciter, decimator, chorus, flanger phaser, rotary, mono delay and talking modulator
- FX2 is for the master mix REVERB, STEREO DELAY and master EQ.

memroy MEMORY
- 32 performances
- 256 internal RAM patches.
More data can be saved using Korg card ZMC01 or standard ATA-PCMCIA, note that PCMCIA file system is custom format and cannot be read back to a computer.
Battery replacement: RAM system works with a 3V lithium battery soldered to the mainboard which requires some soldering, check out picture below:


battery replacement



memory EDITOR many computer based softwares are available:
- Korg Z1 editor 2004 (commercial, PC) PIC
- Soundiver (out of business)
- Soundquest (commercial, PC/MAC) PIC below

z1 editor



  name price link demo

No VST emulation
no sample pack

effet we're looking for a free reliable source of z1 samples.
n/a n/a


z1 evl Z1 EVL -EVOLUTION a special bundled Z1 with different factory sounds.
I believe it was an individual initiative by a third part seller. We should have the patchfile somewhere, we will share it freely asap. Don't' spend money for that it's just a single sysex PIC
moss tri

MOSS-TRI board six Moss voices for trinity series.

exb moss

EXB-MOSS Z1 board six Moss voices for Triton and Karma series.

Optional DI-TRI board adds ADAT digital output

korg prophecy Prophecy little cousin, solo monophonic with different features. Z1 can load some Prophecy patch only with third-part software (and conversion must be tuned).



demo factory demo1
demo factory demo 2
demo factory demo 3
demo Z1 promo cd 1
demo Z1 promo cd 2
demo Z1 promo cd 3
demo Z1 promo cd 4
demo Resonance
demo pluck arpeggio
demo metallic saw
demo sounds RAW
demo reed pad
demo LFO pad
demo VA drum
demo filter ghost
demo LOFI drums
demo future mellotron
demo Church model
demo filter chords
demo relax noise
demo sample and hold
demo arpeggio pan
demo old computer
demo horror bell

effet we're looking more demos.. interested? UPLOAD



Korg Z1 - Deep Synthesizer KORG Z1 Synthesizer Korg Z1 Ambient Space
Deep Synthesizer Synthesizer Ambient Space




Company: Korg
Model: Z1
Class: Synthesizer
Keyboard: 61 keys
Dates: 1997
Price: 500€
Synthesis: Virtual Acoustic
Polyphony: 12
Oscillator: 2
Algorithms: 13
Filter LPF, HPF, Dual BPF
LFO: 4
Arpeggiator: yes
Memory: 256 slots
Demo: 24





rx5 reset procedure

Z1 Factory sounds reset 1. Press [Global]
2. Go to [GLB Data Utility] page by pressing [Page/User Group] buttons
3. Press Software Knob 2 to highlight [Factory: All Data] -- the display
will read "Factory Load " Yes->
4. Press [Enter/Yes] button





zee one




original scan
lfo original Brochure


custom Z1
lfo lfocustom Z1


z1 error
lfolfo Z1 Fun error!

zee one


battery replacement






zee one









synth ring brochure z1 filter
Digital classic complex synthesis


REVIEW "Patience is required for incredible expressive organic sounds and pads - Not so good for analog emulation. An incredible VA machine at the time. For digital retro-hardware tough guys. "

manual manual
- somehow unique - slow CPU
-ahead of its time -intricate


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all snapshots* sounds**, texts copyright Polynominal.com / Eric Pochesci
*except Z1 custom / brochure scan
** demo and promo sound by KORG

polynominal.com is not associated or affiliated with KORG in any manner.

Korg z1 3.5 out of 5 based on 29 ratings. price €300