Here's what we said about the original Korg SV-1
New from Korg for 2009 comes a comprehensive stage piano that not only looks great, but sounds even better. The SV1 series (two models available, this smaller model has 73 keys) covers just about everything anyone could want in a stage piano and more.
The SV1 puts the player back in touch with their sound. With no LCD displays or fiddly menus to change parameters, you can enjoy a clean, attractive and uncluttered panel with clearly labelled knobs and buttons. You can still store presets and vary your sounds so you can enjoy all the flexibility of a digital piano, with all the warmth and lovely character of the individual keyboard instruments that the SV1 sounds are based on.
Furthermore, with the unit's built in effects, you can take your studio sound on the road. Amp & cab modelling effects mean that your sound won't be sterile when you're plugged straight into the P.A.
This keyboard was made for the stage, with retro looks and style, Korg's unique RH3 key weighting (the best keyboard you are likely to find on any stage piano) and 36 essential sounds ranging from great quality classics to unique vintage instruments; any keyboardist would surely be spoilt for choice with this amazing instrument that is a pleasure to play, listen to, or just look at!
Sound on Sound have conducted an in depth review of the SV-1. Here are some excerpts from it.
- "The timbre of the SV1's [Yamaha CP80] emulation is very good, and it has a much smoother velocity response and less obvious multisampling than the Rhodes and Wurlitzer... Its amplitude envelope is distinctly superior to emulations that I have reviewed on other instruments. I like this one a lot, and so should you."
- "There are six excellently captured organ multisamples in the SV1 but, with no drawbars or tabs to adjust them, these are essentially presets; you'll either find them useful, or you won't... With leakage available via RX Noise, all of these can sound highly authentic"
- "Perhaps because we are so accustomed to affordable workstations delivering such an amazing breadth of sounds and features, the current rule seems to be 'more is better, so lots must be best'. In contrast, the SV1 is not feature laden and it's not designed to be all things to all players... It's designed to do just a handful of things, but do them extremely well. In this, it succeeds admirably."
- "I have in the past expressed misgivings about stretching e-piano sounds beyond their historical limits, but given the success with which this has been achieved on the SV1, I'm ready to overlook my reservations..."
- "If I had been Korg's design team... I would have called it the SVP1 'Stage Vintage Piano' rather than the SV1, and marketed it as the best acoustic and electric piano emulator on the planet. Which, in all likelihood, it already is."
Gordon Reid - Read the whole article in the October 2009 issue
Here's what Korg Say about the SV Pianos
The name pretty much says it all. The SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano offers the most rewarding compendium of electro-mechanical, transistorized, tape-driven, analog, and early digital keyboards ever available in a single instrument. Crafted using Korg's RX (Real eXperience) Technology; each sound is a detailed and authentic re-creation, accurately capturing the full range of expression and dynamics of the original. But for Korg, even that is not enough. The SV-1 also provides access to the effect pedals, amplifiers, speaker cabinets and studio techniques that gave these sounds their original lustre. Together, they provide fingertip access to the sounds that defined generations of popular keyboard playing.
Designed with performance in mind, the SV-1 is a pleasure to play. Once you try it, you'll understand what all the excitement is about. The RH3 Real Weighted Hammer Action is the finest keybed Korg offers, with a solid, responsive feel that inspires confidence. Forget menus. Never mind banks and programs. Stop staring at displays. With the SV-1, the entire front panel is always live, using clearly labeled knobs to dial up just the sound you are looking for. Saving your eight Favorite settings for quick recall is as easy as saving a station on your car radio.
Best of all, the Korg SV-1 provides an economical, reliable, portable, and maintenance-free alternative to collecting and maintaining a stable of vintage instruments. The cabinet styling (and optional chrome stand) clearly defines the SV-1 as an instrument that was made to be played; providing a retro-chic appearance that reflects the pulse and heart of the original instruments.
The 36 sounds in the SV-1 span from electric pianos, acoustic pianos, organs, strings and synth. Each category of instrument starts with the essential classics and then moves beyond what other products offer, going into some rare and unique instruments that were the part of the soundtrack of their eras. So the electric pianos start with a seven-way velocity switched “tine” version, continue through the classic “reed” based model and then into a vintage analog “electra” instrument (all from American manufacturers), as well as two different Japanese mid-80's digital classics.
The acoustic pianos include three-way stereo versions of both German and Japanese grand piano giants, a more intimate upright piano, a much-needed mono piano for small gigs, a late ‘70s-mid 80's Japanese electro-acoustic variation, plus some blended sounds. Organs include three variations of the classic tonewheel model, plus the most famous British and Italian combo organs, along with the first known offering of a signature American tube-driven console organ.
Clavs include four variations of the tonal settings plus a related keyboard from the same manufacturer that used a plucked-reed mechanism for a unique and intimate sound. Add in real, tape-based, and analog strings; choir; and a couple of fat analog synth sounds and you have an incredibly versatile palette of sounds to perform with.
Each of the core instruments has been accurately sampled including tine, key-off, damper and hammer noises at different velocities. We even sampled piano cabinet resonances to enhance the accuracy of our pianos. This attention to detail, called the RX Experience, is what makes playing the SV-1 a joy. It comes to life under your hands, with a three-dimensional sound evoking the electro-mechanical legends, reborn.
- Vintage FX chain and amp modeling
The superb sound generation of the SV-1 is further enhanced with the inclusion of six separate stages of signal processing, all bypass-able.
- EQUALIZER (bass, middle and treble)
Controllable from the front panel, the EQ allows you to shape the tonal quality of your sound in real-time.
- PRE FX (Compression, Boost, U-Vibe, Chorus/Vibrato, Tremolo, Wah)
This section provides the essential effects for pre-treating your sound or adding some vintage vibe, with some classic effects modeled by Korg's legendary guitar effects designers. Add a sweep pedal (i.e. Korg's EXP-2 or XVP-10) to get funky with the Wah.
- AMP MODEL (Amp Modeling, cabinet simulation and noise reduction)
A wealth of amp heads and speaker cabinets are available to add color, drive and edge to your sound. Plus, Korg's exclusive Valve Reactor circuitry adds the warmth or snarl that only a real tube can provide.
- MODULATION FX (Chorus 1 &2, Phaser 1&2, Flanger and Rotary)
Some of the most famous stomp-box pedals have been recreated to give you the signature sounds for these legendary timbres. Korg's rotary speaker emulation has long been acclaimed as one of the best, faithfully adding nuance and motion to any organ sound.
- REVERB/DELAY (Room, Plate, Hall, Spring, Tape Echo and Stereo Delay)
Four types of reverb are provided, along with a classic tape-echo, plus a tempo-based digital delay – complete with a tap tempo switch.
- LIMITER This final step in the chain ensures your level remains balanced across all sounds, and is adjustable only via the included computer editor/librarian software.
Intuitive and simple interface
The user interface has been designed with performance in mind; every essential control is quickly accessible on the front panel, with no confusing menus or multiple button presses. Rotary knobs include illuminated LED's to show the position of the knob, and can be pressed to restore the original setting. For really quick changes, the SV-1 has eight car-radio style buttons to instantly call up your eight Favourite sounds and settings. Storing a Favourite is equally as easy. Simply adjust the controls to your preferred settings, then press and hold one of the Favourites buttons; when the button flashes, press it again and the settings are now stored.
Keyboard, tuning curves
The SV-1 is equipped with Korg's finest graded-hammer action (RH3) keyboard on both the 73-key and 88-key versions. The FUNCTION button provides access to eight different tuning curves including equal, grand piano stretch, electric piano stretch, electric grand, upright stretch, detuned and two user-definable types (configurable using the editor/librarian software). Overall tuning can also be accessed via the FUNCTION button, and adjusted by using the EQ treble control. While in this mode, concert pitch (A=440) can be recalled quickly by pressing the treble encoder pot. Needless to say, the SV-1 can be transposed into any key.
Housed in a bold, curvaceous body, the SV-1 really stands out from the crowd. Coupled with retro-style controls and stunning metallic red (73-key) or carbon grey (88-key) finishes, the SV-1 oozes desirability – and playability! An optional adjustable and collapsible chrome stand is available, along with a gig-ready rolling soft case.
A pro keyboard would be incomplete without all the right connections. The SV-1 is equipped with balanced XLR and ¼" outputs; Left and Right audio inputs; MIDI In and MIDI out jacks, USB MIDI Port, and 3 pedal connections: Damper, Pedal 1, and Pedal 2. The Damper pedal is included, and responds to half-pedaling for authentic piano response. Pedal 1 is designed for a switch type of pedal, and can operate as a piano Sostenuto pedal, or as a Fast/Slow switch when the Rotary Speaker effect is on. Pedal 2 can accept either a sweep-type pedal – great for authentic Wah effects – or an additional switch pedal, providing the piano purist with access to all three piano pedal functions by adding the Una Corda (soft) function.
While setting out to create an incredibly friendly and easy-to-use instrument, we knew that there were more tech-savvy players out there that would love nothing more than to dig in a little deeper. The SV-1 Editor/Librarian software provides cool graphic-based programming, including access to certain parameters not available on the SV-1's panel. In addition, the Editor/Librarian software allows each of the 36 sounds and the eight Favourites to be programmed and saved individually. This points the way to users sharing and swapping their favourite settings, and for Korg to supply more sounds in the future. The SV-1 Editor/Librarian runs on Mac or PC, and is included free with every SV-1.