There will be books written about this era of synthesis and Korg’s revision of its FM legacy is deserving of a chapter or two. With the opsix line, Korg introduced “altered FM” — an architecture capable of generating sounds across a wider spectrum than available from FM synths. With the opsix SE, they have perfected it.

The first opsix looked a little like contemporary synths like those made by Arturia, designed to be light, portable and have a small footprint. This is a behemoth: 61 keys to play with both hands, a metal body in aluminum casing with natural touch keys with aftertouch. This is made for playing live in a way that synths with a smaller keyboard are not. The original opsix felt cheap and it was in truth cheaply made. This is a tank, it’s tooled beautifully and for all of its heft it handles like a very well-tuned sports car.

It’s obviously still a powerful studio synth too. The original opsix Operator Mixer gave a richer sound than had previously been possible with true FM synthesizers, starting with Korg’s original icebreaker, the DX7. You can apply filters in a way that you never could with old FM synths like the DX7, programmable in a very easy and intuitive interface. The opsix SE also raises the bar to a ridiculous 80 voice polyphony which creates instant walls of sound in unison. The opsix SE still does the FM synth stuff too. Electric piano sounds so icy and so clear, like some essence of Don Henley is trapped inside “E.Piano 1” forever.

The opsix SE and SE Platinum (a special edition with a different body) are available for preorder for shipping in September; MSRP is $1,999.

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