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Studio supervisor Jonnine talks you through the Korg PS-3200

The Korg PS-3200 is a giant semi-modular fully polyphonic sibling to the revered MS-20, both released in 1978. What I find so attractive about the PS3200 is its versatility. Leads and pads are its speciality, but it produces beautiful bass tones and sound effects. All 48 keys are discrete voices each containing two oscillators and one filter—no mean feat for 1978.

Oscillator 1 has six waveforms and oscillator 2 has five or can be disabled. Both have pulse-width modulation, normalised to be modulated together, but they can be modulated independently using patch cables. Modulation for oscillator pitch and the lowpass filter cutoff comes from S&H and/or an LFO with multiple waveforms including white noise. These two sources can be mixed via a modulation balance pot—still a rarity on hardware synths—or several patch points.

Although the PS-3200 has fewer patch points than the MS20, your options are still excellent. It has a second triangle wave LFO and a second (three-stage) envelope generator with positive and negative voltage outputs. Rounding it out are two voltage processors with multiple inputs and outputs. I’d be remiss if I left out the independent micro tuning for each note on both oscillators, and the patchable joystick control on the keyboard. Seriously, this is one of Korg’s finest instruments. Pair the PS-3200 with an MS-20, an MS-50 and/or an external sequencer and you’ve got an absolute beast of a semi-modular workstation to wield at your leisure. Trust me.

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